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What It’s Like to Create a Garage Gym

You guys know how much I’ve written about the Fit Pit, right? The gym that taught me that I was stronger than I thought? And that I could overcome this and this. The gym that helped me to get my fitness groove back after babies? I’d even go so far as to call it the community that inspired my soul.

Yeah, it’s meant a lot to me — and my family. Gwen’s been there almost weekly since she was just a few months old — and so have the twins. Although some days it wasn’t easy to get everybody there and then keep everybody entertained long enough for me to get a full workout in, I’ve also felt really proud to show my kids that side of my husband and me. For them to see us do hard things, and be around other people pushing their limits. It’s a special place; a special energy.

But, late last year we got word that the gym was closing.

It literally brought me to tears, a number of times. So many memories. So many workouts. So many good friends. So much self-discovery. So much … LIFE.

I knew it would leave a big ol’ hole — not just in our fitness, but in our day-to-day lives. Like, what in the world would we do?

After a lot of thought and discussion, we decided that joining a new gym just wasn’t right for us — at least not right now. But you know what was? This.

Say hello to our garage gym, which we’ve named “The Barn Box.” (Our house is a 1919 Colonial and looks a lot like a barn and I love alliteration, hence the title.)

We were lucky enough to buy some of the Fit Pit’s equipment (you can see most of it above but it consists of: a rower, dumbbells, barbells with plates, a slam ball, a box, kettlebells, and some mats), so we cleared out the mess that was our garage, and made it our very own slice of Fit Pit.

Commute time: 15 seconds.

In the coming weeks, I’ll share some of the workouts I’ve been doing in the Barn Box — both here on the site and on @FitBottomedGirl and @FitBottomedMama (because the kiddos are still very much a part of my workout routine, even when I try to work WODs in during naps!) — but creating a garage gym has been really … fun. In a surprising kind of way.

My husband has taken the reins on laying the space out, and we’ll continue to work on it (removing shelving and other clutter) as time allows and the weather warms. We also have plans to invest in a squat rack and pull-up bar, along with maybe a few other toys (I’d really like a shorter box and a battle rope). Not to mention that we got a WOD timer/clock for Christmas (thanks, Mom and Dad!) that we need to set up and hang, and I’m looking into some fun ways to really make the space our own (thinking, like, an inspiring neon or custom flag with a phrase). We’re also creating the most epic workout playlist ever (yep, I’ll share that, too, once it’s more complete).

When we decided to buy the equipment, I wasn’t 100 percent sure how much we’d use it. Would we still workout as much — or as hard? Or would it be kinda, sad, little, and lonely? While it’s definitely different and not the same, it’s — pardon the pun — working out really well. (Even if we do have multiple strollers to move around.)

I’ve fallen in love with creating workouts (based on many of the ones I did at the Fit Pit over the years). Since they’re just for us, it’s been a fun and intuitive process for me to design workouts that target my imbalances or weak spots or avoid areas I’m sore in — and then do the same for my husband, too.

I can also limit how long they are, or switch things up according to the weather. Because our garage isn’t climate controlled, I’ve done a few bodyweight workouts in my basement. Dude, when barbells get cold, they are COLD.)

Basically, I’ve never been more consistent in making it to the gym.

I may not always have as much fun or go as hard as I would before, but the ability for us to keep a little bit of the Fit Pit alive, in our garage — especially while we’re busy raising our three little girls? Well, I’m hella happy — and proud — about that.

Anyone else out there have a garage gym? What’s your favorite workout or piece of equipment? The rower was definitely the priciest of what we bought, but it’s been SO worth it!Jenn

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13 Comments
  1. Amar Kumar says:

    Hey Jenn,

    In my opinion – Ideally fitness spaces should be as spacious as possible to facilitate numerous workout positions as well as accommodating adequate training equipment and storage.

    The home gym design should allow for future expansion or addition of more equipment.

    A home gym can be a great convenience. The best home gym design increases the chance of achieving maximum workout benefits while maintaining aesthetic properties with the rest of the house.

    Working out and keeping on track can be very time consuming and the thought of working out in a crowded gym does not make the situation any better.

    Eventually, thanks for sharing your creative ideas with us.

    With best wishes,

    Amar Kumar

  2. Kratika says:

    Converting extra space int he house to gym is a great idea and that you’ve been working out regularly. Kudos!

  3. Samad Khan says:

    Your posts really motivates me, now I know how to use that extra spaca of my garage.

  4. Wow! Finally, I got an idea of what I’m going to do during this quarantine. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  5. OITOO says:

    Great article to workout from home or even if you want to do some online personal training.

  6. Sky Lee says:

    How many square meters are the minimum needed for building one like this?

  7. anna says:

    it is cool and afforadable idea i love this

  8. jennifer says:

    my sister has done the same thing and this is a brilliant idea

  9. carol says:

    hey this is a great idea i think i will give this idea a thought

  10. wow what an amazing idea i am definitely try this one, garage into gym, even in corona time this is the best option,

  11. Especially during this time, home workouts are great to keep us in shape.
    There are an abundance of calisthenics (body weight) exercise that can really help at home. Limited equipment needed!

  12. The garage gym is really amazing and a lot of benefits of workout and it’s very beneficial for muscles, but it’s not easy for who those recently started the workout because weight lifting is very difficult for the beginner, and every gym trainer does not recommend the lifting heavyweight in the initial step. and many people also make a gym to own home the reason is they are very interested in gyming.

  13. I prefer the garage gym and I owned a garage gym because I require to exercise, cardio, and workout later my Online Class. Exercises are imperative because health is wealth.