Joshua Keel

The Joys of a Home Gym

March 15, 2020

When we moved into our new house back in July, I knew I wanted to build a home gym. I spent months researching equipment, scouring Craigslist, and saving money in order to get the basics.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been consistently working out with what is essentially a fully outfitted gym at this point. And I love it! Working out at home has been amazing, and I’m writing here to recommend it.

Home gyms have a lot of advantages over commercial gyms. For instance:

Let me take these one at a time and show you why you might want to get on the home gym bandwagon.

Convenience/time savings

Having to drive 10-15 minutes to the gym can take a lot of time out of your schedule. Let’s say you go three days a week. That’s 1 to 1.5 hours each week that you’re not spending on more meaningful pursuits.

If you had a home gym, you would just head downstairs, or out to the garage, and you’d be ready to work out. No muss, no fuss. You also don’t have to pack a gym bag, or shower at the gym. You’re already home, so you have everything you need.

Convenience can be an important way to help you stick to a gym habit. If you want to create a new habit, make it easy. Instead of spending 20-30 minutes of drive time to get in a workout, spend 20 minutes in your garage instead. A short workout is a lot more valuable than the workout you skipped because you couldn’t make it to the gym.

Lower cost

The typical gym membership I’ve held has cost me anywhere from $60-70 a month. And I’d say for some gyms, that’s on the low side. $60 a month is $720 a year, and $720 can buy you a power rack and a bench pretty easily. Spend another $720 and you’ve got the makings of a nice little home gym.

So for the same cost as two years of a gym membership, you can buy your own equipment that will last you decades if you treat it well.

No waiting

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the gym and been forced to wait on a piece of equipment. The gym would get so crowded around 5pm that I was forced to work out in the early morning (a time when I am far from my best physically).

I’d be waiting around for a squat rack, wondering why there were so many useless pieces of equipment around me that no one was using, while the main thing I came in to use was occupied.

Now, with my garage gym, I don’t have to wait on anyone. I get in, I work hard, and I get out. There’s no one to bother me or distract, no one to compare myself to, no shitty music, no frustration at the last person who didn’t re-rack their weights—just a nice, quiet time with me and the iron.

Gear is maintained

Most commercial gyms have well-maintained gear for the most part, but I’ve been to some that needed help: bench presses and squat racks with pegs I couldn’t move and had to pound with a plate to adjust properly.

With a home gym, you set the standards. If there’s rust on the barbell, it’s on you to clean it up. This could be considered a disadvantage, but I love the control.

Choose Your Own Adventure (er, Equipment)

I’ve been in a lot of gyms that did not cater to the kind of lifting I’m into. I’m on the powerlifting/strength side of things, so I want a power rack, and I don’t need a lot of fancy machines.

Give me a rack, bench and barbell and I can do 80% of what I need. Throw in some dumbbells, a GHD (that’s Glute Ham Developer), and a couple of plyometric boxes, and I’m pretty much set. It’s nice to be able to choose the equipment that you want instead of having someone else decide for you.

I wanted a great barbell, so I splurged on a Rogue Ohio Power Bar. Meanwhile, the bars at Gold’s Gym are some cheap-feeling nonsense that leaves much to be desired.

Open 24/7

My garage gym is open any time of the day or night I care to train. How’s that for flexibility? I know of people who work out late at night, after dinner. They’re able to do that because they have the equipment in their own home.

If I wanted to get up at four in the morning to work out (which I definitely don’t, but if I did), I’d be able to. No problem. The gym would be open. If there’s two feet of snow on the ground, my gym is still open.

Home gyms rock!

I love my garage gym. It’s a place that I can train in peace, just the way I want to. It’s incredibly convenient, saves me loads of time, and costs less money in the long run than a gym membership. The equipment is also an asset that I can sell to recoup some of the money I’ve put into it, if necessary.

I’m so glad I invested the time and money into making my garage gym a space that I love to train in. If you’ve got the space, I definitely recommend investing in your own home gym.

And if you’ve got any questions about my equipment setup (which I plan to do a post on in the future), hit me up. I’m happy to chat about it.

A picture of my garage gym, with a power rack, barbell and bench.