A Guide to Build a DIY Garage or Home Gym

Creating your very own gym is all about combining the stress and adrenaline rush of your workout with the comfortable and cozy environment of your home. With 2020 having just begun, millions of people have resolved to turn their bellies into abs and to finally get that summer body they’ve been dreaming of. But not everybody has either the time to commute to the local gym or the patience to wait for that dude who is always hogging the bench press to finish his turn. In addition, having a gym inside your house has tons of other benefits.

Apart from the obvious savings in subscriptions and transportation, having your own gym gives you the flexibility to workout whenever you feel like it. Heck, you can work out at 4am in the morning! You don’t have to wait for someone to finish using the treadmill so you can hop on. You can work out for 2 min or 6 hours, using 2kg or 20kg dumbbells, without any form of judgement from anyone. You’re the king of the castle. Nobody is stronger than you inside your own gym. So, now that we have jotted down WHY you should build your own gym, let’s focus on HOW to do so.


Choosing the right area

You may not realize it, but the space you choose for your gym has a profound effect on your physical nourishment. The mind is subtly impacted by the small nuances of working out in a basement compared with working out in the lounge. Respectively, whichever place you choose should satisfy the following criteria.

  • Spacious area. The room of your choice should have space not only for all the equipment. But also, ample room to walk about. Apart from needing space for squats and stuff, empty space gives your mind a feeling of openness and relaxation whereas confined spaces negatively constrain your mind.
  • Adequate natural lighting. Lightbulbs are not enough to cut it. Your room should have sizeable windows through which natural light can enter the room. Natural illumination is infinitely better for reasons too long to discuss.
  • At least, one empty wall. This requirement gives the room a quite pleasing touch and can be used to place a giant gym mirror for you to admire your newly trained biceps in. 
  • A green touch. Your room should have a few potted plants placed here and there, preferably where they have access to ample amounts of sunlight during the day. The oxygen produced by these plants has a positive impact on your respiration during exercise and can significantly boost your health.

Setting up the Gym

Now that you’ve weighed the ups and downs and decided on an appropriate area for your personal gym, time to start actually setting it up. This is the difficult part and requires a lot of critical thinking, cost analysis and motivation so that you don’t give up midway. Start by considering the following:

  • Sparring partner or not? Most people often train with their friends and/or family at home just to keep the atmosphere lively and for them to coax you into doing 15 reps when you only wanted to do 10. Your program also depends on whether you are doing it alone or with a spotter. In solo training, I might want to avoid getting stuck under a bar.
  • Professional trainer. Now that you are within the confines of your house, there isn’t anybody to snicker at you behind your back(yay), but there also isn’t anyone to correct you if you’re doing something wrong. It is always a good idea to invest in at least a single session with a qualified trainer to get your workouts straight. You can also hit the local gym and ask the super-buff guy at the counter about your workout regime and if you need to amend it.
  • Inspiring décor. Since it’s your own gym, decorate the place with posters, stickers, and whatever else you need to get into the mood. You should feel instantly pumped as soon as you enter the room. An exercise mirror to admire your six pack in is always a good idea.
  • Second Hand equipment is just as good. Brand new equipment can be extremely pricey, especially the bigger machines. Always buy second hand and during sales to get a really good bargain. It is also wise to check at multiple sites/stores before making your purchase.

Which equipment to buy

This is the most important part. The equipment is of course the heart of any gym (unless you only feel like doing yoga). But buying everything is unaffordable and impractical. Buy only the bare essentials and work your way up from there. You can find good deals at Amazon. At minimum, you will need:

  • Bench
  • Rack
  • Barbell and plate set
  • Dumbbell set
  • Spin-bike (putting your running shoes on and going outside is always preferable)
  • Gym mirror (see section below)

Additionally, it is ideal to consider flooring options before you begin. The right flooring can make your equipment last longer as well as reducing the noise produced by your clanky equipment. Similarly, it is important to get rubber plated dumbbells and plates so you can carelessly drop them on the floor without them breaking either the floor or themselves. Don’t start mindlessly chucking them though, they have a rather short drop distance which the rubber can sustain.


Keeping track of progress

It is true that we need positive reinforcement from our friends and family to keep us going but the real driver that can keep you going for months is yourself. And, one can only see his progress with a well-placed gym mirror on the wall. This may sound narcissistic, but unless your own mind feels a sense of achievement and satisfaction, you cannot continue straining yourself for no reason. There are countless vendors for high quality gym mirrors such as this place where you can get quite a steal.

Final Words

As convenient and cozy as home gyms are in your garage, you have to ask yourself if you really need one. Some people enjoy the peace and quiet. Others can only work out when they are surrounded by people and take joy in chatting, hanging out, making friends, or just being in the company of others who have resolved to work on their summer bodies as well. Neighborhood gyms are also a great way to get sparring partners as well as make role models. And, that super-buff guy at the counter is always eager to throw in a quick word of encouragement or correct you if you are lifting your plates improperly. If you feel like you fit in here, a home gym is a bad idea. That being said, if you enjoy solitude and would rather listen to tunes on your air pods rather than have people constantly asking for their turn on the dumbbells, then home gyms are the way to go.

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