Fuelled by lockdowns and anxiety about COVID-19, the garage home gym has, over the past year, become a thing, so much so that even post-pandemic the home gym appears to be a trend that will endure. Why pay to work out elsewhere when you can do so in your home for free, and with greater convenience?
If you’ve eyed turning your garage into a space that Joe Weider would envy, you’ve no doubt suddenly come face-to-face with a number of vexing questions – not the least of them being where you’ll put your car.
Rest easy. There are plenty of resources out there to help, including this blog post, which will focus on making sure your garage gym space delivers value and the utility you need.
It’s no surprise that garages have emerged as one of the most popular spaces to devote to a home gym. Compared to other areas of the home, the garage is a relatively large space and it usually has some unused square footage.
Still, devoting some of your garage’s precious square footage to a home gym and investing a lot of money to do so is a big decision; it stands to reason, therefore, that an important first step is deciding whether investing in a garage gym makes sense.
Keep in mind there are ways to keep costs under control and creative, cost-efficient, solutions that can generate enormous value from even small garage spaces.
Here are some good reasons go ahead, and a few advantages of a garage gym rather than a traditional gym facility:
- Ease of access means you’re likely to work out more often and for longer periods.
- You can tailor your space and its equipment to meet your specific fitness goals.
- Over time, the cost savings can add up: child-care costs are potentially eliminated; gym initiation fees, which can run into the hundreds of dollars, need no longer be paid; and monthly gym membership payments will no longer eat into disposable income.
- You’ll never again have to wait to use a piece of equipment – or wipe it down after the previous user forgets.
Garage gym ideas
If the decision is to move ahead, the first step is to calibrate your vision, fitness goals, and budget to the available square footage. A large-scale, deluxe garage gym setup clearly isn’t going to work in a 1930s-era one-car garage.
But, by the same token, products exist that will allow you to generate useful utility from even a relatively small garage gym setup. More about those shortly.
Think long and hard about your fitness objectives, because those will determine the garage gym equipment you’ll need and your garage gym layout – how the available footprint will be utilized. Is your fitness priority strength? Or cardio? Will ceiling height accommodate a squat rack, or a treadmill or elliptical machine? Will wall studs or ceiling joists support a chin-up bar?
Consider drawing a scale version of your garage on graph paper or use one of the many free online design apps that exist (SmartDraw, for instance). Rough in to your design each piece of fixed equipment you’d like to have, as well space for a yoga-style mat and perhaps some free weights and a bench. This should give you a good idea if your space matches your ambitions. Adjust as needed. If size allows, leave space to move freely between workout stations.
Walls and floors
Consider if any mechanical changes will need to take place. A garage gym in a cold-climate location will, for instance, require insulation, an insulated door, and a heat source. Likewise, warm-weather locales will potentially require air conditioning; a capable portable air conditioner may well do the trick.
Will extra lighting be required? If so, suitable fixtures will be needed, and likely an electrician hired.
Consider what kind of garage gym flooring you’ll need. Many options exist that can be laid over bare concrete. Foam or rubber surfaces keep weights from being damaged by concrete floors – and keep floors from being damaged by weights. A floor treatment will also absorb and reduce noise.
Amazon stocks many high-density, interlocking foam and rubber mat options at a variety of prices.
And then there are the walls and ceilings.
Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard and Trusscore SlatWall make an ideal garage gym wall system.
Trusscore products have a bright, white finish that enhances existing light and gives a garage gym a crisp, professional, look.
Garage gym storage
Wire baskets, hooks and shelves for accessories, like skipping ropes, tension bands, and fitness balls, can be hung on Trusscore SlatWall without using nails or wires, generating space-saving utility that can be reconfigured at a whim.
And walls and ceilings outfitted with Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard or Trusscore SlatWall can be cleaned easily and quickly with a cloth and spray cleaner or detergent. Both products are impervious to moisture and sweat and discourage mold growth.
Low in weight, Trusscore products install fast and easy even, by a do-it-yourself gym designer, and without the tape and mud and sanding of drywall. Installed cost is comparable to drywall.
Trusscore products are also strong, typically lasting longer than the lifetime of the structure they’re installed within. They don’t crack, handle wide ranges in temperature, and can be installed directly over your garage’s existing drywall or over bare studs.
If competing demand in your intended gym space requires you to share your garage gym with, say, your automobile, TempWall by Trusscore may be your answer. TempWall is free-standing modular wall system that lets you instantly reconfigure or wall off space, allowing a gym to exist on one side of the wall, and a car park on the other.
Building a garage gym is not a small decision, but it’s an investment that can pay back enormously in terms of your home’s resale value, and will do so long after the pandemic is, blessedly, in the rear-view mirror.
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