gym garage

The Day I Turned My Garage Into a Gym

My wife and I have a two-car garage, but I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve parked our cars in there. In fact, I’ve never parked my car in there, because one half of the garage is dedicated to a home gym.

During the warmer months it’s pretty easy to toss on some gym shorts and head over to a box gym, but those winter months when you need to bundle up and change three or four times just to work out requires an extra level of effort. Especially when it takes 10 extra minutes out of your day just to defrost the car windows.

Having experienced this for years, I dreamed of the day I’d be able to have my own home gym. I’m not talking about Dwayne Johnson level, but a little something that checks off the main boxes to guarantee a solid workout.

One of the first things you’ll want to consider when building your own garage gym is what to put down on the floors. You may be thinking, “Why does it matter?” Well, maybe it’s the REALTOR in me, but if you’re going to potentially drop heavy weights and slide around some machinery, don’t you want to keep the ground protected from chips, scratches, and divots? Not to mention, a little cushioning under the feet is better for your knees and ankles anyway.

After browsing around online message boards, I picked up horse stall mats from Tractor Supply Co. Seriously. These mats are meant to go inside a horse stall and, as you can probably guess, are made to sustain the weight of a horse. No matter how much I veg out in the winter months, God willing I’ll never weigh more than a horse. Fingers crossed, though.

After that floor foundation, the rest is pretty much up to you. Do you want to build out a cardio gym? Then you can probably pick up a ton of equipment on the cheap via Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, or OfferUp/LetGo. The same goes for any sort of weight sets or benches. My wife and I picked up 400 pounds of weights off Craigslist for our squat/bench rack, and then not long after that a Black Friday sale at Dick’s Sporting Goods led to us buying another 200 lbs of weights, Olympic bar, and a set of adjustable dumbbells.

I later added a stationary punching bag with speedbag attachment, built my own deadlift platform, tossed in a versaclimber, bike, and elypitcal machine. All but the climber were purchased used and if I had to guess, all-in, I put less than $800 into the project.

In theory, this should now give me zero excuses for not working out now, right?