Being a stay-at-home or work-from-home mama can make it tough to get your workouts in, especially if you have a husband that travels. Every mama needs their “me-time” to rejuvenate and be a better mother. For me, that is working out. When my husband is in town, I’m able to get away to the gym and spend an hour on my own; however, during the long months he’s gone, it’s just not possible with my little ones. Before our garage gym, I was attempting to workout in my living room which just wasn’t cutting it. If I’m being honest, I only was doing it a couple days a week because I had zero motivation and only had a couple dumbbells and a yoga ball to work out with (because apparently having a squat rack in your living room isn’t very fengshui.)
Creating our gym has given me space to have quality time to myself even when my husband is gone. I can play my loud music without worrying about it waking my twins, and I have all the equipment I need to get in a full body workout without doing it next to a pile of laundry that convinces me it’s more important.
The most important thing we wanted to be sure of when creating our garage gym was both of our cars still fitting, so if that is one thing holding you back, know that it is possible to do! For reference, we have a small two car garage with no extensions on any of the sides.
PREPPING THE SPACE
Declutter – Our garage was filled with a lot of random junk that accumulated since we moved in. To make this process a little easier, we asked ourselves “Will we use this in the next year?” for every item. If the answer was no, it was sold or donated.
Clean – Garages attract a lot of dust and dirt, and if you have windows with blinds: yikes. I will admit there was a point I considered just trashing the old blinds and buying new ones, but we were on a budget and didn’t exactly allot any money towards window treatments. I ended up uninstalling the blinds and spraying bleach all over them (may want to research that before just going for it, but it didn’t hurt ours in any way!), scrubbing, and then spraying them down with a water hose before letting them dry in the sun to avoid any rust on the metal areas. It was some extra work I wasn’t prepared for, but they look brand new. You also want to be sure to clean all the walls really well, especially if you plan to paint as it won’t adhere very well to dirty walls.
Paint – A nice coat of paint will make a huge difference in your garage. Ours had so many marks all over them and were covered in dirt, so putting a new coat of paint quickly made the space look much better. We used Sherwin Williams Repose Grey since we had some leftover from the inside of our house. It’s one of my favorite greys as it is very neutral.
Organize – We wanted to dedicate half of our garage to the gym which meant we needed to fit all our garage belongings on just one side. To do this, we purchased this to put all of our items that couldn’t be hung on the wall and a couple of these to hang our lawn equipment and strollers.
Plan – Take measurements, draw a blueprint, whatever it takes to make a well though-out plan as to what can fit in your space and where exactly it will be placed.
Dumbbells – I use 10lb-30lb dumbbells (in sets of 5 increments); however, you can definitely get away with having just a couple sets in the beginning, especially if you have weight bands.
Dumbbell Rack – I like having a place for all my weights to be racked to keep them organized and off the floor; however, if you just have a couple sets at first, this isn’t needed.
Squat Rack – You can get away without having this in your home gym if you don’t do a lot of heavy squats; however, this was a must for us. We really like this one because it quickly folds flat in to the wall which allows us to park both cars in the garage when we aren’t working out. This one also includes a pull up bar which is an added bonus.
Barbell and Bumper Weight Plates – You’ll need these to go along with your squat rack. It’s important that you get bumper weight plates as they are made of hard rubber which makes them safe for use in your home or garage if they are dropped. I’ve listed links here; however, these are things you can typically find very reasonability priced on Craigslist or used fitness equipment stores.
Kettlebells – These allow for a wide range of lifting and cardio exercises that can’t be obtained with dumbbells.
Yoga Mat – Even though my floors are padded and I do my best to keep them clean, I like using a yoga mat on top for floor exercises.
Mirrors – In addition to needing them during your workouts, having mirrors in your home gym will make a dramatic difference in the space as they make it appear larger and brighter. After doing a lot of research, I choose these as they were affordable and easy to instal. We put up three (two behind the squat rack and one on it’s own for the dumbbells).
Fan – This is a must for a garage gym as it gets very stuffy in there (even if you aren’t in Texas like I am!). I’ve been very happy with this one. It’s currently four hundred degrees here in Texas on the daily, but this fan allows me to work out in the mornings without passing out.
Floor Mats – This is the way to go for your floor mats! We used six of them to make a large area; however, you could get away with just four if you had to. The best part? You can park your car on top without any damage to the mats.
Clock – A clock was a must for our gym so I can keep track of how much time I have left before my twins wake up. I really like this caged clock as it reminds me of the clocks in elementary gymnasiums from when we were kids, yes?!
Dry Erase Board – This is great for writing out your sets and keeping yourself accountable for finishing the full workout. Any dry erase board will do. I bought a sheet of plain dry erase board from the lumber section at Home Depot just because I liked the look of drilling it right into the wall (and it was only $7!).
Shelf – I like having a shelf in the gym to put my water, towel, and phone on.
TV – I mix up my workouts with Beachbody On Demand (if you haven’t checked this out, DO IT!!), which is accessible through Amazon Fire or Apple TV (or you can just play it from your phone or iPad if you prefer no TV!), so a TV on a adjustable mount was a must.
The before and after is pretty drastic, yes? As you can see, painting your garage will make a huge difference by really brightening up the space.
I wanted to spruce up the whole garage to make the entire space a place that I looked forward to going each morning. I had some extra paint left over from our front door, so I did a quick makeover to the door. If you plan to paint a door in your home, it’s as easy as sanding it a little (nothing crazy!), painting on a primer (I always use Kilz brand), and then two coats of your favorite color.