The evolution of fitness and using exercise to maintain health can first be attributed to human’s need for survival and can be traced back to the beginning of mankind where people would remain physically fit in order to hunt and survive. Back then, there was no such thing as a “gym” and people certainly didn’t have memberships in order to work out around the clock. Having a home gym in the garage, yard, or local park was simply not a thing.
The first “gymnasiums” found in history are from over 3,000 years ago, in ancient Persia, where they were known as “Zurkhaneh” (areas that encouraged physical fitness). Gyms as we now know them now formally came into existence in ancient Greece, and the word ‘gymnasium’ is derived from the Greek word ‘gymnos’, which means naked. In those times, gyms were usually a place for the education of young men, which included physical education, bathing, and studying. The ancient Greek gymnasiums were places where athletes trained for public games such as the Olympics, but without the benefit of a sports physical or modern medicine. After this period in history, gyms seemingly disappeared for centuries. By the 1800s, schools and colleges started building gymnasiums along with organizations like the YMCA. Now people have access to a home gym in the garage or memberships to widely available corporate gyms as a part of the modern health infrastructure.
Gyms are arguably more important than ever, with the CDC reporting that only 1/3 of Americans exercise on any semblance of a regular basis. Since we know scientifically, medically, and psychologically that exercise is overwhelming a beneficial activity to the human being, building a home gym in the garage no longer seems like an eccentric idea for those obsessed with muscles or vanity. In fact, you might even become the talk of the neighborhood for your practicality and forward-looking attitude. Who knows, you might even have your neighbors want to sign up for “memberships” on a regular basis!
In this article, we want to go over how to transform your garage into the perfect home gym for your health and overall well-being. This includes not only providing a space to exercise in, but also a sanctuary and positive environment in which to rest and recover when the iron pumping is done and you need a breather. We hope that you’ll not only learn lots from these tips and tricks for a home gym in the garage, but take what you like best and personalize it to your own tastes. You may even take the knowledge that you’ve learned and share it with others, making the whole world just a little bit healthier.
Is Your Garage Ready to Work Out In?
Wanting to build a home gym in the garage is a lofty goal, but are you prepared for the work that it will entail? The garage is one place that homeowners seem to leave alone, never thinking much about their residential garage door or the contents of the room inside until something goes wrong. It makes sense because most garages aren’t utilized as living spaces or entertainment dens. Unless a male in the household has made it into a “man cave,” then it is probably only being utilized for light storage and automobile access. This is, of course, what garages are made for and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
The first thing you need to do, before attempting any exercise or equipment buying, is thoroughly clean your garage of trash, debris, and hazardous materials. You do not want to be breathing in anything that will make you sick or compromise your workout, because that defeats the purpose of your home gym. It will also be a great exercise in minimalism and organization, because you’ll likely come across items you haven’t seen in years and either still enjoy or will decide to get rid of. In a way, this may be purging and calming just like your future workouts, and having a clean space will only further you toward your goal of creating a home gym in the garage.
When you’re getting ready to work out in your garage, it needs to at least be a suitable space to breathe and exhale carbon dioxide. This can be difficult if you’re in a particularly dry or humid climate, and so you’ll have to decide whether you’ll keep your garage door open all the time or contact someone for humidifier repair or installation. Having the proper humidity in your home gym can mean the difference between sweating bullets and gasping for breath, which will go a long way toward productive workouts. You may also want to install air filters for the air coming into your new work out space.
Another thing you should inspect is the floor. You don’t have to get crazy off the bat and hire a custom garage floor contractor to replace what the foundation is, but if you’re serious about never using your garage again for automobile storage again it’s something to consider. Most garages are laid with cement floors, which are perfectly fine until you accidentally fall down and smash your head on them. Not only is that a hazardous injury to recover from, but it is a liability for anyone else that works out there are well. It is much better to either put down removable mats or install custom rubber flooring or another similar shock absorbing material in the long run.
Machines, Security, and More
When you’re buying machines for your home gym in the garage, you may be tempted to go buy the best and latest from a sporting goods store. There’s nothing wrong with this if you can afford it, but try not to forget that there are lots of perfectly good workout machines at discount sporting goods stores and thrift stores just waiting to be found. An entire weight set can be found at Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other discount retailers for a high percentage off the retail price if you simply put in the effort to locate it. Sometimes these sets are missing particular weights, but these are easily filled in from a store. Even with buying additional weights for your home gym, finding a used set can significantly reduce your costs.
Another thing that most people forget about when planning a home gym in the garage is the added security concerns. Not only do you have valuable workout equipment, food, and other valuables in the garage, but you’ve made another access point to your house high risk. For this reason, you should think about installing some smart home security features inside or outside your garage in order to add another layer of calm to your well-being. Simple things like motion-activated lights that send notifications to your smartphone, or an alarm system that calls the police department can help in numerous ways if something should go wrong.
In order to prep your garage or home for smarter security systems and more, you’ll probably want to enlist the help of an electrical lighting service which can provide you the contact information of a licensed electrician. Not only will they be able to route and install outlets into your garage, but they may also be able to fix concerns that have been nagging your property for some time. They can also help you install special electrical items such as sun lamps, in case you’d like to have an area of your gym for tanning, sun lamp therapy, and more.
Don’t Forget About Nutrition
With all the fuss about worrying how the overhead door in your garage looks (and if it’s suitable for your new digs), it can be easy to neglect what you’re in your garage for in the first place: to work out and get healthy. Part of being healthy is following proper nutrition advice and sticking to acceptable patterns of eating. This will be different for each person, and only you can determine what is right for your body, but there is a broad spectrum of advice that applies to every human out there whether they’re working out in a home gym in the garage or training for a marathon in Alaska.
The first piece of nutritional advice that should never be neglected is always being properly hydrated. Your body is made up of mostly water, and to deny it that water is to accept that it will function at an inferior capacity. Always have a water bottle, sports drink, or another form of hydrating beverage with you while working out. Your hydration schedule may vary, but you never want to get yourself into a situation where you need water, but don’t have it.
The second piece of nutritional advice that applies broadly is to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Some people don’t eat animal protein, but can still derive protein from beans, soy, and nuts. Without protein, your muscles can’t recover and your workouts will be for little gains. Combine these with good fats such as olive oil and the wide variety of fruits/vegetables mentioned previously and you’ll be well on your way to having a rounded diet where all your vitamin and mineral needs are also met.
Sometimes when you see people working out at a home gym in the garage, you’ll see lots of dietary supplements around them. Usually, it’s protein powder or multivitamins, but it can be a whole host of things. The only person that can really determine whether these things are right for you and your workouts is your doctor and other qualified health professionals, so direct all questions you have to them. Only they will be able to give you advice that you can appreciate and take seriously.
Working Out With Others
Working out at a home gym in the garage can be amazing, until you get lonely. When it’s just you by yourself, you suddenly seem to remember why people pay for those expensive gym memberships and access cards: there is a social component to modern gyms that is lost for the home aficionado. But the benefit of having private property in a free society is that you can invite over anyone that you like for as long as you like. The only real limit is how much space and patience you have for other people.
When you have other people at your home, you always want to ensure their safety as a liability against getting sued. So instead of paying the bill for someone to see spine surgeons after a crushing workout, exercise proper form and caution instead. The benefit of having a home gym in the garage is that it’s on your property and you can evict someone if they are making you uncomfortable. There’s no need for a negative attitude about someone pushing farther and farther in their fitness goals, but if it makes you uncomfortable you can always put a stop to it.
Additionally, if tensions ever run high during a workout (such as boxing, karate, or a pushup challenge), remember that the surge of adrenaline, testosterone, and other hormones is elevated for everyone and that people may act irrationally. Arguments that are had after just getting done on the bench press may be different than cooler heads over coffee and donuts. You can eliminate this social dynamic by simply reducing the number of people let in your home gym, but remember that eventually, you may have to play the part of chaperone or therapist if people get out of hand.
Make Sure to Take Time to Recover
After working out, you always want to make sure to take time to recover and rest your body. But that doesn’t just mean your muscles, it can mean your mind and spirit as well. Working out, whether it’s at a home gym in the garage or Planet Fitness downtown, takes a toll on you. You have to gear yourself up to be exerting lots of energy against heavy weights and challenging obstacles that aren’t the normal experience for everyday life.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to call a quality plumbing service and have a sauna installed in your home, that is one of the optimal ways to decompress after a hard workout. But if you’ve only got a bathtub or warm couch, that can work too. Remember to try and gently stretch after getting done with all those weights, and recharge with some cool, clear water. Deep breathing exercises and a meditation on the progress you’ve made can also help.
Perhaps you kept your garage door as is and didn’t need to enlist the help of any garage door services. Maybe you’ve decided to have no equipment at all in your home gym and stick to body weight exercises. Whatever the case is, we hope you’ve learned some valuable tips and tricks from this article about how to approach building a home gym in the garage with some sanity and clarity. There’s no “wrong” way to do it, but there are some things to avoid. Having learned more, you’ll now be more adept to helping others pump iron and get healthy.