We’ve been working out in our current garage gym since January 2015. Before that all I had were some running shoes, bowflex adjustable dumbbells, and a pull-up/dip station. I was able to get in some great workouts with that minimal amount of equipment, but I had a desire to lift heavy and give some crossfit style workouts a try. I’ve been steadily building the gym piece by piece. I love having a gym in the garage, but there are a few setbacks and since we’re all about being healthy with a busy schedule I figured this was a good topic to cover.
Save Time – Having a garage gym can save you time in multiple ways. You don’t have to drive to the gym or wait your turn to use the equipment. You could also change your workout schedule based on the amount of time you can save by working out at home.
No monthly membership – There is no monthly membership cost to workout at home. Gym membership prices can run from $10 to a few hundred depending on what they offer. Having a gym at home isn’t completely free, but there is no reoccurring monthly charge just to workout.
Never wait for equipment – You never have to wait for someone you don’t know to finish their set… Or text. I see people sitting on a bench texting more than lifting all to often. We do have gym partners in our garage, but we all know it’s time to work when you walk in.
Open 24 hours – You can get in a quick workout in a time crunch or workout into the wee hours of the night (which is often what we do). It’s never closed and it’s never busy.
Workout partner (family, friends, and neighbors) – Our current gym crew is made up of family and neighbors. When it’s your gym you get to pick your training partners. My kids often join us for workouts or at least play on the gymnastics rings while we lift. My wife likes the fact that she can workout alone without being judged and the absence of gym trolls.
Workout outside – As long as the weather permits you can soak up some vitamin D or lift under the stars while training. I really enjoy getting some fresh air during a good lifting session. Even when we stay in the garage we like to keep the doors open for a little breeze.
Good deals online or garage sales – Most of our equipment is from Rogue Fitness, but not all of it was purchased directly from them. I keep my eyes open to online classifieds and garage sales. You can often find some really good deals or even just save on the cost of shipping.
Music of your choice – No headphones required (unless you like that). You can listen to whatever music you like (except Nickelback). Sometimes we’ll watch some sports or refresh with a movement demo video to make sure we’re using proper form.
Weather – We live in Southern Utah and it’s often still close to 100 degrees when we workout after the sun goes down. Our summers are really hot and although we rarely get snow it does get pretty cold in the winter.
Easily disturbed (kids, wife, dog neighbors) – Working out at home means the kids can and will interrupt whenever they need something. Or the wife can show up with a random chore or topic to discuss that cannot wait. I’ve also had neighbors stop by to chat from time to time.
Street Parking – Say goodbye to covered parking for at least one vehicle. We have a three car garage and with one bay dedicated to the gym and another for bikes and kids toys we’re only able to park one car inside the garage.
Commercial gyms have more equipment – You’ll only be able to use what you buy. A commercial gym pass will get you access to everything they have. Although you don’t need a lot of equipment to get a good workout it still something to consider when starting a garage gym.
You are the cleaning crew – There is no night cleaning crew or anyone to perform maintenance on your equipment. We usually take a Saturday morning or night and clean the gym including taking apart the rower and oiling the bars.
Upfront cost of equipment – There’s a lot to think about when adding up the cost of a garage gym. Besides equipment you may need flooring, chalk, towels, fans, heater etc. You’ll definitely be spending more than one month of a commercial gym membership. If you don’t have a lot of money upfront we recommend to start small and build from there each time you can afford another piece.
I feel the pros far outweigh the cons. I don’t feel any of the negative aspects are deal breakers. Having a garage gym let’s me be in total control of training experience. Although it does require more money up front and more responsibility I feel it’s worth it in the long run.
Keep checking back for a more in depth post on each of these topics.