In the last couple weeks I’ve been busy setting up my home gym, well actually more like my garage gym. Think bad ass man cave but with weights…..in my in-laws garage, yeah baby! No matter what anyone tells you, once you start having kids it makes it so much harder to find the time to work out.
Don’t confuse this with an excuse. If you have the time to sit and play Xbox, or watch reruns of the Soprano’s, you have the time to exercise!
My reasoning behind setting up my garage gym went something like this:
The first nail in the commercial gym coffin was time. My gym use to be a 12 minute drive away without any traffic. Add in 5-10 minutes on either side to change, take a piss, shower ect. and I’m already looking at 30-45 ish minutes and I haven’t even worked out yet. Add in a 45 to 90 minutes for the workout and as you can see that’ s quite a bit of time I needed to allocate during the day.
The second nail in the coffin was my schedule. My CrossFit gym was only open during certain hours. Being an airline pilot with a varied schedule, I need the convenience of working out during off-peak hours.
The third nail in the coffin was the co$t. I’m a big advocate for investing in yourself (ie. your health.) However, the cost to set up a decent garage gym is like HALF of what you’d pay at a typical CrossFit box for the year. Although incredibly effective, joining a CrossFit box is expensive.
And lastly the final nail in the coffin was… shall we say “hiccup” I had at my current gym with a trainer. Coles notes: If I’m putting in the time and effort to make myself better and healthier, I don’t need to be competing against anyone else but myself. Worrying about how I compare to others in the gym is just not in my DNA.I exercise to improve myself, not my worth against others. Click To Tweet
My buddy Rico has been working out in his home gym for years and he swears by it. With a family, a full-time job and several side business’ (RTA electric, Toronto Pool Supply), he just doesn’t have the time to make the trek over to a commercial gym. After flirting with this idea for a while now, I realized it was the right time to do this.
My garage gym guidance actually started by reading this great article in the CrossFit journal called “The Garage Gym”. It’s a great article that gives you somewhat of a blueprint on what you’ll need to buy, especially if you’re on a budget. It also has plenty of DIY ideas to help make your plans a reality even if you’re tight on cash.
World Class Fitness……in 400 sq ft!
Surprisingly it doesn’t take much to forge world-class fitness in your garage. All you really need is a healthy dose of motivation, 400 sq ft and a place to run. Forget all the isolation machines and fancy cardio equipment you see in large commercial gyms. Here’s the basics:
- Squat rack.
- Flat bench.
- A bar (mounted to the wall or overhead) to do pull ups.
- Barbell with some (preferably bumper) weight plates.
That’s it. Those are the basics. You can accomplish some pretty nasty workouts with just these bare bones essentials. Further to the above recommendations I also purchased a GHD (glute and ham developer) some gymnastics rings (any grandmother can do bar dips, try doing ring dips tough guy), a 20 lbs wall ball, a 53 lbs kettle bell and some elastic rubber bands. I also built a 24″ x 30″ x 20″ plyometric box. Most stores sell plyometric boxes for $100+. I went to Home Depot for some wood and screws and it cost me $40 and 1 hours worth of work. Here’s a how-to guide in case you’re interested.
Eventually I’d like to add a couple cardio machines like a rower, assault air bike and maybe some gym mats and some free weights to the arsenal. But for now what I have will give me a world-class workout and it all fits in the space of a single car garage.
As for buying recommendations, I’d first try to find quality used or new stuff on places such as ebay, Kijiji or Craigslist. If you want new and you live in Canada, I’d hands down recommend a place called Fitness Avenue. I am in no way affiliated with them and I am in no way being compensated by them.
I am a pretty savvy shopper though. After doing lots of research, Fitness Avenue has the best quality at the most competitive prices. They beat their competition (Treadmill Factory, Fitness Depot and Spartan Fitness) on virtually every piece of equipment. Their quality and customer service is top-notch too. My buddy Rico has been buying from them for years.
The same 2.5” x 3.25” 11-gauge steel squat rack I bought from Fitness Avenue, sells at places such as Rogue Fitness for over double the price. It’s the same bloody steel! The real kicker in all this is your motivation. There’s no sense in setting up a home gym only to have the equipment become coat hangars. It sounds great in your head but you need to want to work out at home. I should also mention that the whole garage gym or home gym idea may not work if you don’t have the space.
You can’t exactly build a home gym if you don’t have a garage or basement. In Canada we have places such as Fit for Less, Anytime Fitness or Snap fitness that are open 24/7 and only charge a couple latte’s worth of membership dues per month. Depending on where you live or your needs this could be an alternative option.
The Take Away
Whether you work out at home with nothing but a pull up bar over a doorway, or you belong to the latest ‘chic’ big box gym, the important thing is that you’re doing something. If you’re a busy person with limited time during the day, maybe consider a garage gym/home gym. Just because they’re in your garage, the weights won’t move themselves though! I’ll post an update on some of the benefits I’ve noticed since setting up my garage gym in the future.
So anyone else out there using their garage or basement as a sweat box? Prefer the home gym or the commercial gym? Comments are always encourage both good and bad.
Keep the blue side up.
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