The following blog was submitted by our friend and garage gym goer, Jake Jaworski, founder of Garage Gym Experiment (@garagegymexperiment).
Why the Home Gym for Me?
About 4 years ago, I used old equipment that was given to me as a birthday present in high school to create my first home gym (thanks mom). This was soon after my wife and I moved into our first home and put it in the “office.” It was one of those bench press/leg curl combos, a few hundred pounds in metal plates, and some other random pieces of equipment. Soon after, we moved it to the garage as my workouts evolved past the bench press... Even then, it wasn’t used a ton because I continued to go to a commercial gym. That changed soon after having a child, which was almost 3 years ago. It immediately became a very important part of my life. No longer did I have as much time as I wanted to go to the gym, and I’m the type of person that needs a workout. There is a noticeable difference in my production at work and I’m much more likely to be a crank (just ask my wife) if I don’t workout.
What to Put in your Garage Gym?
It was nice to have while going to a different gym, but I didn’t fully start realizing the benefits of the home gym until I began working out there on a daily basis. The most important advantage to the garage gym was the additional time I was able to spend with my family. I workout in the mornings, so if I was to do that still, I would not be able to see them before leaving for work, which is a standard 9-5 job. It also gave me more freedom to do the types of workouts I wanted, I didn’t have to deal with the typical gym crowd, hang out with my dog more, and it’s a lot cheaper than going to a CrossFit gym to name a few. Ultimately, it made getting a workout in much easier and more enjoyable. The home gym gives me the fuel needed to take on life.
Your garage gym should be designed to match your goals and your fitness interests (hopefully these align). In addition, it is very normal to add one piece at a time, so keep that in mind. Personally, I think the best way to start a home gym on a limited budget is to simply get a barbell and some bumper plates. With just these tools, you can do cleans, deadlifts, shoulder press, bent over rows, lunges, etc. You can do hundreds of exercises if you combine that with bodyweight exercises, all in very little space. After that, a squat rack is the next step if you can afford it. If not, you can get equipment like a jump rope, kettlebells, or a set of dumbbells to add to the arsenal. These do not take up much space, so the amount of room one has should not be an excuse! Also, this does not have to be done all at once. Many of the beautiful garage gyms that you see on social media happened one step at a time.
Future of the Home Gym Industry
There are a few recent changes that have led to the recent popularity of home gyms. The first is definitely social media. Social media allows for you to see other setups and everyone can collaborate on best practices. You are able to see that there are many like-minded people who also benefit greatly from having a home gym. The second is the availability and pricing of the equipment. There are more strong options at reasonable prices than before. It’s not as intimidating and there is more information out there to help guide you in deciding what to add. I think it will eventually be the “cool” thing to have a home gym if it’s not already.
Life is busy. Easy access to fitness helps. Even if you love your gym, it is beneficial to slowly build out a home gym. It doesn’t matter if you are a CrossFitter, Strongman/Woman, Powerlifter, Runner, or just want to stay in shape. There will be days when you don’t want to or have the time to go to your normal gym. For me, as a parent, it has made all the difference and I can’t imagine life without it.
Shoutout to Jake Jaworski for sharing his thoughts on the rise of popularity in home gyms. Go follow Jake at Garage Gym Experiment (@garagegymexperiment) for garage gym inspiration or his personal page (@jakejaworski).
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