If you’re reading this, you’re probably already either leaning towards or have already adopted the garage gym lifestyle. A garage gym may not have all of the bells and whistles that commercial gyms have but they’re hands down the best option especially for lifters with families. But let’s say you’re still on the fence about it. Here are my top six reasons I decided to say no to commercial gyms:
If you live in a city with a lot of traffic congestion as I do, then to get to the gym involves either waking up extra early to get your clothes ready so you can drive twenty minutes to the gym. Then after an hour plus training session, you get to sit in rush hour traffic for an hour and a half to two hours before you get to work. Or, you sit in rush hour traffic for an hour and a half, work eight to ten hours then sit in rush hour traffic to get to the gym, train for an hour or so, then sit in traffic again on the way home. Or you could do what I do and just walk down the stairs.
Family Friendly Environment
This means both that my kids are welcome in the gym and that the gym environment is kid friendly. Most of my sons are in their teens now, but when they were all under the age of ten, there wasn’t a gym in my area that would let me take them on the workout floor even if they weren’t training. Furthermore, I’d have to pay for childcare for all four of them which would add even more to my monthly bills.
Granted there are gyms with 24/7 access, but if you add this to what I said about the commute you understand that convenience is about more than just the gym being open. I’ve had many training sessions after being at one of my son’s wrestling tournaments all day but still had to deadlift. Of course, I could just shift the training to the next day, but this isn’t always an option. For me it’s not an issue, I’ve come home, loaded the bar and got the training done. This would be a lot less likely to happen if I had to come home, change clothes, grab my gym bag and drive to wherever I had a membership at 10pm.
Well, hopefully not. But I still remember the first time I squatted 315×20 and ripped the
crotch of my shorts on rep number five. I didn’t skip a beat, which I certainly wouldn’t have felt comfortable enough to do if I were in a public place. When you train at home, you don’t have to dress to impress anyone. No matter how hardcore someone pretends to be, they usually still want their gym clothes to match. I on the other hand, have done many a training session in my pajamas, barefoot with whatever t-shirt happened to be clean. So go ahead and bench press naked in your garage gym if you like (just please wipe off the bench before you let the neighbor kid come over to train for off season football!)
Training Is More Focused
No matter how dedicated you are, any commercial gym has its distractions. From the girl
deadlifting in high heels to the guy who insists on correcting your form without being asked.Granted, that last one is mostly a danger to women, but never fear, the know it all gym guy who doesn’t look like he lifts, will eventually work his way around to bothering you. Unless you pull the rip cord and head home to train out of his reach. My wife and kids are accustomed to my training schedule and don’t bother me. Of course, I enjoy spending time with them so it doesn’t bother me when they come in to tell me about school when I’m benching because I want to hear what they have to say. And I still get done in a fraction of the time. Which leads to the next point.
No Waiting In Line
I save a ton of time in training because I don’t have to wait for anyone else to finish using the equipment. If my wife or kids train with me, we work in with each other so it’s still very time efficient. At a commercial gym, if you’re doing a superset using two different stations, you might have to reset everything each time you walk away from a machine because other people want to use it. Or you might have to wait while somebody finishes their circuit. Either way, you burn time that could better be spent training or starting the recovery process.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy visiting gyms when I’m out of town or I want to train with someone specific. But as a general rule, I much prefer the freedom and independence I have as a result of my garage gym lifestyle. What are your reasons for training at home? Did you think of a reason to train at home that I missed? Add it to the conversation in the comments below!
John Greaves III writes for a variety of outlets including Power Magazine, StrengthAdvocate.com and Powerlifting Watch. He is the founder of Garage Gym Life and has authored two fiction books involving powerlifting both of which are available on Amazon.com. He is a record holding Masters powerlifter, a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a former Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor and was a silver medalist at the 2001 International Kickboxing Federation National Championships. He is constantly seeking out interesting people who have rejected an average life in favor of building an extraordinary legacy. John’s been training for twenty-three years and from a garage gym for sixteen. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.