By any standard, the garage home gym is an idea whose time has arrived. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has closed gyms across the U.S. or made it unsafe to go, but that’s far from the whole story. Lots of people are likely to keep working from home even after the pandemic is behind us, and many more are starting to wonder if that expensive gym membership is really worth it.
Enter: the garage home gym. If you’re like many people, you have some extra space in your garage, especially if you’ve just sold the vehicle that you used to commute to the office. That space can often be put to better use holding some fitness equipment that will help you stay in shape throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Ready to turn your garage into your personal 24/7 fitness center? Let’s take a look at how it can be done and how to decorate it with awesome vinyl wall decals and more.
Advantages of a Garage Home Gym
There’s a lot to like about a garage home gym. Here are some of the major reasons why garage home gyms have become so popular in the United States and around the world:
- Staying Safe: During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been unsafe for many people to work out at their normal gym. A garage home gym allows people to keep their fitness game up while staying safely at home and avoiding potential infections.
- Saving Money: Over time, a home gym can save you some substantial cash compared to a gym membership, especially if your gym is on the expensive side. The initial cost of equipment and setup can be pricey, depending on what you’re looking for. However, a home gym may be able to pay for itself relatively quickly, especially since you’re not paying for a gym subscription that may include amenities that you don’t use.
- Convenience: A gym that takes less than a minute to walk to is a great excuse-buster, and it’s guaranteed to be open 24-7. Plus, you’ll never have to wait for a piece of equipment again, or catch a mean-mug from a stranger who’s eyeing the same gear.
- Customization: Pick the gear you want and nothing else! You get to set up your space just how you like it and stock it with the equipment that provides the most effective workout for you. Plus, you’re the decorator. Want to add a wall growth chart for your kids, or a giant flatscreen TV? You’re limited only by your own resources!
- Privacy: Wear whatever workout clothes you want and do whatever moves suit you—no one’s going to stare or judge! If you tend to get gym anxiety, a garage home gym will provide some much-needed privacy that can make it easier to work out.
First Steps for Your Garage Home Gym
First, you need to make sure that your garage home gym is a safe and comfortable place to work out. That will require a few modifications, such as:
- Insulation: If you live in an area that gets cold in the fall and winter, insulation is a must for your home gym. Unfortunately, many garages are not insulated, so you’ll need to do some work on that. A DIY insulation job on your garage is certainly possible for an experienced DIYer, though it’s also never a bad idea to trust a professional instead. Make sure to close up any gaps using a spray foam sealer.
- Heating/AC: Again, depending on your climate, these can be a nice extra or a must-have. Ductless mini-split AC systems are an awesome invention that can heat or cool your garage space independently of your normal home HVAC system, and they’re relatively cheap and easy to install. Space heaters can be an economical choice for staying warm in cold weather, but be sure to follow safety precautions, as they can be dangerous if misused.
- Flooring: Most garages have a concrete slab floor, which can be hard (no pun intended) on both your equipment and your joints. Rubber “puzzle piece” floor mats and horse stall mats are a great solution to this problem. They’re simple to install, inexpensive, easy to move and easy to clean.
- Cleaning: Garages are a popular place to store all of your extra stuff, but that stuff is going to take up valuable space that could be used for equipment. Now is a great time to figure out a permanent home for all the stuff that’s been living in your garage for years.
Equipment for Your Garage Home Gym
When it’s time to equip your garage home gym, you’ll need to think carefully about what you need from your workout, as well as the physical constraints of your garage. These factors should figure into your calculation:
- Consider the space limitations of your garage home gym. If you’re still going to have to park a vehicle in it, you’ll obviously have a lot less space available and may need to get a little more creative with your home gym design. Parking one or more vehicles outside can free up tons of space but might not be a good permanent solution.
- If you want large pieces of exercise equipment like a squat rack, treadmill, elliptical or rowing machine, your space will usually need to be designed around that equipment. Start with the largest equipment you need and work your way down to the smaller stuff to make planning easier.
- It’s a good idea to establish a designated zone for yoga, bodyweight fitness exercises or just pre-workout stretching. Add a soft mat or other fitness-friendly floor covering to make it a comfortable space.
- Making sure that you’re equipped for different types of workouts will help you get the most out of your home gym. Fitness experts recommend that you include five key areas in your workouts: strength, cardiovascular endurance, balance, agility and flexibility.
- Combination exercise equipment that combines multiple workout types is a popular choice for home gyms because it reduces equipment footprint while allowing you to still target multiple key areas.
- When shopping for garage home gym equipment, check secondhand sites like Craigslist and OfferUp. You’ll often find used fitness gear in good condition on these sites, although it’s obviously important to exercise caution and common sense.
- Prioritize quality in the equipment you buy. The old saying among home gym nerds is “buy once, cry once”—it’s better to spend the money now to get good gear than to have to drop the cash again when low-quality gear breaks.
- Wall slats with metal hangers are a popular option because they’re easy to install, highly versatile and space-efficient. Be sure that the slats you get are rated to hold the weight of your equipment.
- The basic steel shelving racks available at any home goods or hardware store are a versatile and cost-effective storage solution that can usually support a lot of weight.
- Plastic storage bins are also great for organizing miscellaneous workout equipment. You can even find options for mounting them on the ceiling of your garage.
- Choose workout equipment that offers built-in storage and a small footprint whenever possible. Adjustable dumbbell sets with built-in storage trays are a perfect example.
Decorating Your Garage Home Gym
OK, now it’s time for the fun part! Decorating your garage home gym will help motivate you to work out by creating a space that expresses the passions driving your life. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Prints and Signs: Prints, murals and wall signs can instantly add tons of character and fun to your garage home gym. Fathead offers custom wall signs, including durable metal wall signs printed with your favorite images, that will keep you going and pushing harder.
- Wall Clock: A clock is a great addition to your home gym that will allow you to keep an eye on the time while you’re crushing your routine. Grab a clock with the logo of your favorite team to motivate you and turn every workout into a championship.
- Vinyl Wall Decals: Looking for a decoration that’s easy, expressive and won’t damage your walls? Vinyl wall decals are an awesome choice. Fathead’s wall decals are available in a huge array of designs—everything from basketball wall decals for your favorite team to Star Wars character decals and superhero character decals for when you need to feel extra awesome. We’ve even got custom wall decals that allow you to create your own design or use a favorite photo.
- Peel and Stick Wallpaper: Wallpaper can make your home gym look amazing, but do you really want to go to all of that trouble? Here’s the secret: With peel and stick wallpaper, it’s a breeze to paper your walls with your favorite sports team logos, decorative patterns or whatever else strikes your fancy.
- Lights: Lighting is an underrated aspect of home gym design. Many people like natural light the best, but some versatile, soft-colored lighting will help make late-night workouts not only possible, but pleasant.
- Outdoor Decals: Looking for a tougher grade of wall decals for your garage home gym? Our garage door decals are the perfect outdoor-grade solution to put your favorite teams on display, and our outdoor graphics even include curb decals and mailbox decals to stake your claim as the neighborhood’s biggest fan. Complete your decor with metal signs of your favorite sports team.
- Mirrors: Adding a mirror to your home gym helps you work on your form—and, yes, admire how good you look, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Media in Your Garage Home Gym
Most people like to keep themselves entertained during their workouts, and a garage home gym will give you the freedom to enjoy your favorite media just the way you like it. These suggestions will help you integrate your favorite shows, music and books into your workouts:
- TV: Whether you’re into Real Housewives or The Mandalorian (or both), a TV in your home gym can make your workouts fly by with the shows and movies you love. Wall mounting is usually the way to go since it helps conserve space, so make sure to check out our guide to creating a TV wall. Smart TVs are also popular for home gyms because they give you a simple, all-in-one media center that can also do things like play music, search the internet or even use fitness apps to digitize your workout.
- Speakers: Does anyone actually like the music that they play at public gyms? No matter what kind of tunes you’re into, there’s probably something you’d rather be listening to, which is probably why you see so many people with headphones on at the gym. But in your home gym, you’re the DJ, so get things wired for sound! One decent Bluetooth speaker will be enough for some folks, while audiophiles might want to create a surround sound system that lets them immerse themselves in their favorite tunes.
- Books: There’s also lots of ways to get literary in your home gym, from tablet readers to audiobooks to (gasp) physical books. Combining your gym time and your reading time is an awesome way to get more reading done and improve your fitness. Just try to get your reading material in a position that doesn’t require you to constantly look down as you’re working out, since that can be detrimental to your neck and spine.
Keeping Your Garage Home Gym Clean and Organized
We all know that commercial gyms can be pretty gross places. We’ve all seen someone completely neglect to wipe down a treadmill after dumping sweat all over it during their workout. With a home gym, it’s up to you to keep things clean and fresh, which can be both a blessing and a burden. These tips can help:
- Cleaning Supplies: The best way to keep your home gym clean is to make it fast and easy to clean it. To that end, you should keep some cleaning supplies on hand so that you never have an excuse not to clean things up when you’re done. Some paper towels, cleaning spray and a broom will usually do the trick. Schedule a deeper cleaning once a week or month as needed.
- Pleasant Scents: Not everyone enjoys scented items, but if you do, they can be a great way to keep that sweaty, musty smell out of your home gym. Whether it’s a plug-in air freshener or a favorite scented candle, adding the right scent to your garage home gym could be just the thing you need to freshen it up.
- Fresh Air: For many people, the best air freshener of all is the natural smell of the outdoors. If weather and air quality permit, open up your garage door and let in the breeze.
A garage home gym is a great way to bring fitness home and make working out fun and convenient. If you’re in the process of creating a garage home gym that brings your fitness dreams to life (or at least offers a suitable gym replacement until the pandemic passes), make sure to check out Fathead’s full selection of sports decals, home decor and much more.