The Garage Gym

Building your own home gym can seem intimidating!

What's the right flooring to use? Do I have enough space? How do I best utilize the space? What equipment is going to last the longest and be safe? I had so many questions in the beginning. After measuring out my garage space, I knew I didn't have a ton of space to work with, but I had to make it work. Yes, one day I dream about opening up a much bigger, prettier, and more finished/custom-looking gym in my home (not my garage!) that I can use for future clients... but this is where we're at in life right now and I wanted to take advantage of the situation. So we made do with what we had, and I feel like it's a perfect starting point. 

Honestly, I know to some of you it may not look like much, but it's everything to me right now. This small place is the beginning of a dream for me, and something I never thought would be able to happen so soon. It's a place that I hope my clients will always feel comfortable in, and feel of their worth. I've kept mirrors out of it for now, and on purpose. It's not a place I want them to be worried about what they look like on the outside, but rather, a place they feel strong from the inside out. That's the change I'm pushing with people... to feel of their strength starting WITHIN, first and foremost. We work hard here, we sweat, we keep things positive, and when people hear music blasting from the street and a garage full of strong women, they're bound to get a smile on their face. It has been such a fun space.

Our space is 12'x18'. It fits me + two clients easily at a time, and I feel like we're not ever bumping into each other.

Here are some links to the equipment I have and things I love and would recommend for your own home gym.

1. Dumbbells

They're a must. You can get stronger or build muscle without heavier weights, and this is a good starting place. If you are just starting out, I'd recommend getting a pair of 5# and 10#. If you have more experience, they range all the way up to 100#! I prefer the cast iron dumbbells over the vinyl ones, and this is why. The vinyl ones are a cheaper option, and are definitely good for beginning weight lifters because they have some protection over them, but for long-term use, they can crack and begin to fall apart. I decided to go with cast iron hex dumbbells, and I've loved them. I feel like they're going to last me a long, long time.

Find them here.

2. Flooring

If you're going to be lifting heavy weights and need a padded surface (and one you can clean easily), I'd recommend getting a good flooring. This is the flooring I used for my gym and it's been awesome. There's one area in my gym where I've had some scooting of the flooring due to heavier nearby equipment, but the great thing about it is that you can just move it to fix your needs! It's SO easy to put together, has amazing reviews on Amazon (4 1/2 stars with >1,800 reviews), and is much cheaper than other options I looked into. It's super easy to clean and to add onto if you need. If you have a space that isn't exactly the measurements of the mats, you can cut through it really easily with a blade and custom-fit it into your space. 

Find it here.

3. Resistance Bands

When I need just an extra push, I throw a band above my knees or ankles and all of the sudden my muscles are burning! Even just the most basic moves can be made more advanced with the help of a resistance band. I love using them with my clients, and I also love they fit right into my pocked if I'm running out the door to the gym. 

Get them for a steal of a deal here.

And some longer ones to hook to other equipment here.

4. Foam Roller

If you're finding yourself frequently feeling tight and sore, I'd absolutely recommend you get one of these. They don't cost very much, but it's a piece of equipment I use multiple times a week with my quads, back, and IT band... really anywhere I'm feeling tight. 

Get one here.

5. Yoga Mat

If feel like a yoga mat is critical for a gym, even if you don't practice yoga or not. I use it to protect my elbows and knees while I'm doing things like planks, commandos, or anything on the floor. Plus, you can roll it up, throw it over your shoulder, and take it anywhere on the go.

Find one here.

6. Sliders

I went to Michaels and bought those felt squares that cost me $0.30 each, and I made a pair  of sliders out of them. From towels to felt squares, you can make really anything work, but here are some for cheap that look a little more durable than mine. ;)

Find them here.

7. Jump Rope

I love incorporating the jump rope into my HIIT circuits because it's a great way to keep your heart rate between lifting. Give it a try! 

Find them here.

8. Physio Ball

This is my favorite out of the two I have. It's durable and I love the quality of it. I also love that it comes with a pump! I have a yoga mat from this company as well and really love it. They have been a good company to work with.

Find it here.

9. Bosu Ball

I know these are expensive, and I'd even recommend getting one off of KSL (I got mine used), but the great news is that it's a one-time purchase and then you have it forever. I use this for everything, and highly recommend saving up for one. They can be so useful in the gym!

Find one here.

10. TRX Straps

My clients know that when the TRX straps are out, they're going to get a good workout. Seriously no matter how in shape I've been, I always walk away from a TRX class feeling sore and with my muscles burning. It works your muscles in such an effective way using your own body weight as resistance, and I love that I also can take these straps anywhere! Hook them to a door, to a tree, to a soccer goal post... the options are endless. Such a great way to get in a workout. And again, a little bit of a splurge at first, but these things last forever. It's a one time buy and one you won't regret.

Find one here.

11. Squat Rack + Bumpers

My squat rack/bar/bumpers were from a contact that my friends Erika and JJ recommended to me. If you're interested in big equipment like this, please feel free to message me and I can send information along.

12. Miscellaneous

A box fan, protein bars, towels, body bar (this is something I LOVE more than I thought I would and I use it with my clients. I got the 20# bar and it's perfect!), aerobic step: health club size (which I have and love)... or circuit size (smaller and cheaper), whiteboard and markers, wall clock, battle ropes, plyo boxes to jump on, a hydroflask pilates balls (I have two of these and love them), and a journal to keep track of progress (I also have one of these for each of my clients and we write goals/progress in each one... plus, these ones are CUTE!

Let me know if you have any questions, and I'll do my best to answer them. Good luck in your own home gyms! Remember that it doesn't need to be fancy- just practical! And that's the beauty of being able to build it anywhere!