Garage Gym Conversion: The Essential Guide

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Gyms are like marmite, you either love them or hate them. Hopefully if you’re reading this you are the latter type. Even if you aren’t, however, a well-done garage gym conversion can be all you need to get and stay fit while crafting your summer body.

If you’re finding yourself making excuses for not going to the gym by not wanting to leave your house, converting your garage into a space to workout may be perfect for you. This article will give you a complete and comprehensive overview into how you can convert your garage into a gym.

Why Should you Convert your Garage into a Gym

While it can be costly upfront, there are many benefits to a garage gym conversion, here are the main benefits:

Save Money in the Long Run

Upfront costs will vary on the amount of equipment you want to buy and how much you need to do to your garage. This cost can be in the hundreds very easily.

Saying that, if you consider the normal monthly or annual rates for gym memberships, the comparison may have you in favour of a garage gym conversion.

Once you’ve paid for your gym equipment, you’ll find that most of the costs have been paid already. If you plan on keeping the equipment for a matter of years, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run. You’ll probably need to use your garage gym for a year or two to start getting your return on investment.

A Whole Gym to Yourself

There are many reasons you could want a gym to yourself. Namely, no dress code, no waiting around for weights, nobody’s back sweat on the equipment, the list goes on.

Having a gym in your garage means you can come and go whenever you want. Or even play your favourite gym playlist while making as much noise as your family can out up with.

This is an obvious advantage and, in my opinion, is enough reason by itself to have a gym in your garage. Be sure to invite your friends round to spot you for heavy lifts or you’ll injure yourself!

Convenience

With a gym right in your garage, there is none of the baggage or straight up inconvenience that’s involved with going to a commercial gym. Firstly, you’ll pay absolutely nothing for membership fees and nothing for those hidden costs. These can eat up your bank account if you’re not careful.

Secondly, no commuting, no traffic, no petrol wasted, and no dodgy clutch control when your legs feel wobbly after some squats. If you’re the average gym-goer, you’ll likely be going when there’s a good deal of traffic on the way there and back. Don’t waste your time staring at the back of the car in front of you and instead walk the 20 paces to your garage.

Finally, you won’t have to share equipment and therefore wait for equipment. Saving you time and making your exercise that much quicker and convenient.

So now you’ve realised a few of the main benefits of a garage gym, let’s look at how you can get started.

How to Convert your Garage into a Gym

These steps will help you get your garage gym-ready. Make sure to prepare your garage enough and make sure you have enough room for all of your equipment.

Step 1: Clear the Space

The first thing you’ll want to do after figuring out how much space you’ll need is clearing up the space. This is as simple as removing junk, hoovering the floor, and making sure valuable, fragile materials are well out of the way.
This will also make your garage a better environment to work out in. Nobody wants to lift weights in a dump.

Step 2: Prepare the Floor

Since most garage floors are hard concrete, you’re going to want to lay down gym mats and floor tiles, luckily for you, I have articles on them both.
There is a great incentive to do this as it will help you avoid injury, keep your equipment from being damaged. It is really easy to install floor tiles and gym mats, so there’s no excuse really.

Step 3: Choose your Equipment

Now you’ve prepared your garage, it’s time to hand-craft your ideal gym. My advice is to buy equipment with multiple uses, such as free weights. I’d also recommend buying at least one machine you can do cardio on, as there are many options. That being said, here are the best options for a garage gym that won’t take up the whole garage:

• Squat rack: These are great for exercising your legs and can be very versatile too. Most squat racks are roughly a metre by a metre, taking up minimal space in your garage.

• Free Weights: These can be dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells. Each of which can be stored very easily and can be used in basically any workout for any part of the body. If you’re on a budget, I’d recommend free weights very highly.

• Cardio Machines: If you’re looking to fit some cardio in, don’t be shy to invest in a good exercise bike, rowing machine, or a treadmill. Each of which are space efficient and great for staying in shape. Another great option for a whole-body cardio session is a cross trainer. This will target both your arms and your legs.

• Bench: It doesn’t get more basic than this, you can get a bench with or without a bench-press feature, I’d recommend the former as it’s a great way to exercise your chest, just don’t be tempted to make it the only workout you do, I know too many people like that!

Make sure to spread your equipment out enough and keep it safe by putting weights in a certain place and make sure heavy weights are either placed on the ground or securely set after each workout.

I’d also recommend opting for the equipment with the best safety features, such as the one seen on a Smith machine. Since you may be exercising alone without a spotter, it is wise to take the steps needed to avoid injury.

Step 4: Insulate your Garage

If too much moisture gets into your garage on a regular basis, you may find that your gym equipment will get rusty if it is metal and ungalvanized. To avoid this from happening, make sure to take the steps necessary to insulate your garage properly.

I have an article here on how to properly insulate your garage. But if you’re looking for simple steps you can take, I’d just recommend getting a garage door insulation kit. Make sure to insulate any windows in your garage as well.

This will increase the lifespan of your gym equipment not to mention anything else in your garage that is metal. It will also mean your garage isn’t freezing cold for those winter workouts.

On the flip side, I’d also recommend investing in a good fan/air conditioner for the warmer months. You’d be surprised how quickly things can heat up after just a few minutes of exercise. For the colder months, I’d recommend a good garage heater depending on where you live.

So, there you have it, your garage is transformed and looking like a gym! I’d recommend adding additional features such as a sound system or perhaps a TV, but that’s up to you. Just make sure the security of your garage is tight since most gym equipment isn’t too cheap. If you’re looking for the best garage door locks, check out my article on it here.

How Much will this all Cost?

Well, this of course varies, but here is a breakdown of the average prices of each bit of equipment you might choose to invest in:

Flooring: Gym mats and floor tiles will cost you around $20-$50 and $50-$100 respectively. Meaning that the flooring for your garage gym will most likely cost you just over $100, depending on how big your garage is.

Squat rack: The most basic squat racks will set you back around $500, but if you’re looking for a squat rack with all the bells and whistles, with cables included, it can cost upwards of $3000-$5000.

Free weights: A whole dumbbell set up weights up to and including 10kgs will cost you upwards of $1000. However, I’d recommend buying the weights you know you’ll use. For example, if you’re an experienced gym-goer, it’s unlikely you’ll need the 2kgs and 4 kgs. Buying the weights individually will be way less expensive, with 10kg weights costing around $20-$30 for a pair.

Cardio Machine: This will depend on the type of machine you’re purchasing; you can usually get a high-quality cardio machine for under $1000. Cross-trainers are usually more expensive.

Bench: Benches are usually quite cheap; you can expect to find a decent one for just $300 or less.
As you can see, the equipment isn’t all that cheap, but in the long run you should still be able to save some money. Now we’ve looked at the prices, let’s have a look at some other considerations.

Extra Tips/Information

Preparing and setting up your garage for a gym conversion is a fairly straight forward process, but you may want to consider just a few more things before making the final decision.

Garage Gym Maintenance

Like normal gyms, your garage gym will need some maintenance. I’d recommend giving your equipment and floor a good clean every couple of weeks. Also, wiping your sweat off the machines every workout is also a good idea.

This can be done with a simple anti-bacterial spray and will make the world of difference when it comes to the longevity of your equipment. Meaning that you actually will save money in the long run.

Having a Garage Gym may Improve your House Value

Assuming you’ll leave your equipment in the garage, you might not, but it definitely won’t make your house any worse. If you’re lucky, when you eventually do decide to sell your house, you may be selling it to people who’d love the idea of a garage gym.

On the off chance that someone wouldn’t find this attractive, I’d say just sell the equipment and perhaps use that money to refurbish anything outstanding that could potentially decrease the value of your house.

Planning Permission

When changing anything about your home, it’s always a good idea to ask if you’ll need planning permission or not. Assuming you own your house, pay a mortgage, and don’t rent, you’ll only need planning permission for any changes that alter the shape or size of your garage space.

This is highly unlikely, and I’d say unless you’re looking to have a whole planet fitness in your garage, you won’t need to bother for a garage gym conversion. But it’s always handy to check.

Final Thoughts

Now you’re all set and ready to pump some iron in your garage, just make sure to follow each step-in order and focus on preparing your garage. Having enough space is key as weights are, you guessed it, heavy. You won’t want anything damaged, especially anything valuable. (Trust me, I’ve had a laptop smashed because of a home gym that wasn’t spread out enough).

With that being said, just make sure to choose equipment that will be right for your workout. There is no right or wrong, you’d be surprised for far a bench, treadmill and some free weights/dumbbells can go if you do research on some good exercises with minimal equipment.

Thank you for reading this post on how to handle a garage gym conversion. If you’re looking for some good gym mats to get started on, check out my article here. Please share this if you found it useful, and have fun getting and staying fit in the comfort of your own home.

James Johnson

What started out as an intention to create my dream garage has turned into a mission to share my research, whether that's guides or product recommendations, with as many people as possible. I believe that everyone should be proud of their garage, and by reading my guides, you are in good hands to make that a reality.


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