If you have made the determination that you’d like to get in better physical condition but the idea of going to the fitness club several times a week is either unappealing or impractical turning an unused garage into a home gym is an idea that makes a lot of sense. It’s not as difficult as you might imagine if you have any DIY ability and some basic tools along with the time, money and energy necessary to see the project through. So if physical fitness is an important part of your life and you happen to have an unused garage space pay close attention because below we’re going to provide you the recipe for converting your garage into the home health club of your dreams.
- Determine the scope of your project - The first question is: what do you want from your home gym? If you just want a place where you can toss around some free weights with impunity the scope of your project will be limited both physically and financially. If, however, you want something more from your home gym then you’ll need to decide now. You’ll need to come up with a rough design, research costs and determine a budget for the project. That includes not just the cost of equipment but of capital improvements to the space as well, such as a drop ceiling, track lights, ambient heat in the floor, furniture, sound system and/or a full bar. Once you have determined the scope, come up with a rough design and laid out a budget it’s time to move on to the next phase.
- Clean the garage and determine storage needs - Once you know the scope of your project you can determine how much of the garage you’ll have to dedicate to it. Whether it’s a corner of the garage for some free weights or the whole space you’re going to have to take stock of what’s in there now, clean the garage and move any unwanted items out of the way. You may be able to move some to the basement or attic but there are likely to be some that will have to stay in the garage. Set aside all the items that are going to need to stay put and determine how much storage space they’ll require. If your gym is going to be a simple affair you can purchase ready-made storage containers and set aside a part of the space for them. If you are going whole hog you can refine your rough design to include ample, built in storage capabilities.
- Build out the space - If you are simply dedicating a corner of the garage to some free weights and a stationary bike now’s the time to clear it out and spruce it up so that it’s clean and comfortable and ready to accept equipment. You may want to lay down carpeting in this part of the garage as well. If however you are transforming your garage into the equivalent of your own personal fitness club now is the time to build it out. Depending on how deluxe your modifications you may have to hire a contractor. If you are determined to do it yourself you will need to secure any necessary building permits and arrange for inspections as well. Either way this is the time to build out the space.
- Purchase equipment - While the space is rounding into form it’s time to purchase the equipment you’re going to need. If you are determined to keep things simple your list of equipment will be a short one. For those who want something more here is a list of common home gym items to consider.
- Power rack - This is baseline equipment for any serious home gym. Make sure your power rack has a built in bench to maximize your exercise options.
- Free weights - No power rack is much good without a full complement of free weights.
- Treadmill and stationary bike - To be a well-rounded home gym you’ll need to account for cardio and that means either a treadmill or stationary bike or, ideally, both.
- In addition - Exercise mats, dumbbells and a dumbbell rack, a punching bag, medicine ball, chin up bar, kettlebells and mirrors (to check your posture as much as your progress) should all be part of your deluxe home gym.
- Install equipment and get to work - Once the space is ready install the equipment along with any furniture (if you’re going whole hog). If you installed a fridge stock it with water and fruit juices and get to work.
Your ultimate aim should be to build a home gym that reflects your fitness goals and stays within what is a reasonable budget for you. It doesn’t make any sense to build a pro-style gym if you only go there once a week to lift a few free weights.