At some point, your neighbors are going to notice that you’re training at home. It may start as a conversation when they see you doing farmer’s walks in your cul-de-sac, it might come up at a party if they go in your garage and see your equipment. The best case scenario is they notice your progress and ask what you’ve been doing. Let’s take a minute to bask in that potential conversation. Okay, back to reality. Once the secret’s out, you might get periodic requests to train with you. But is this a good idea?
- You now have a training partner or partners. This can increase your safety. Even if you
don’t do exercises that require a spotter, it’s possible that you could have a medical emergency and if no one’s at home, it could be hours until you’re discovered.
- Motivation is easier with a shared burden – there are days when all of us lack the motivation to train. Knowing that someone else is depending on you can help drag you out of bed to train. Especially if they’re outside honking the horn.
- You might need more equipment. That set of Bowflex dumbbells (which you shouldn’t even have by the way) might have been fine if you were the only one training but now you’ve got others to consider, with different strength levels and leverages.
- It just got a little more crowded. It’s fine to do your Insanity DVD when it’s just you but the available space in your garage might not immediately accommodate another adult, especially if they are, shall we say . . . sizeable.
- Less privacy. If it’s just you, training in your Hello Kitty slippers and vintage Joe Boxer underwear from college can work. But your next door neighbor will probably prefer that you wear something that covers up a little more and if they don’t tell you, I’m telling. You should shower, put on deodorant and brush your teeth before they come over. If they’re of the same sex, your significant other will also have to adjust to having them in the house which can be an issue depending on when you train.
- Training has to accommodate more than one schedule – One of the perks of training at home is getting to do it whenever you please. Motivated to squat after seeing Jose Aldo’s legs in the UFC fight? Go for it! Who cares that it’s midnight? With training partners, you still have the option to train like that but if you continue to train without your new partner, they’ll start to wonder if you’re avoiding them on purpose. Speaking of schedules . . .
- My brother trains a group of other guys in his backyard gym. He spends quite a bit of time waiting for them to show up because few things suck as badly as getting into the workout and having to take all of the weight off of the bar so your training partner can warm up. Granted, you can have some stern conversations about it but do you really want to put yourself in that situation? On the flip side, do you want to deprive yourself of the camaraderie and potential to grow as a lifter and athlete that you can only get by training with like minded people just because you have to coordinate schedules?
- Insurance – This not be a big deal unless you start charging. Generally, homeowner’s insurance covers anyone in your home as long as they’re there with your permission. But if you start charging, then you might want to look at liability insurance protection. You might want to check into that anyway as an umbrella policy is fairly inexpensive and will cover the gaps in insurance that a normal homeowners’ or renter’s policy would cover.
- Local ordinances – if you are charging, you need to check with your local government business office because they will definitely have some prerequisites for your business that you haven’t considered. For example, in my area, you need to have a specific bathroom capacity if you’re going to have more than one person per hour in your facility.
At the end of the day, this is obviously a decision that requires some careful consideration. It’s not as simple as letting your buddies train at your place; you have to be sure that your entire family is okay with the idea and then if you decide to go ahead with opening up your facility to others, create some guidelines to keep this from being your worst idea ever.
I strongly recommend posting the rules somewhere in plain sight and that they include basic things like housekeeping, how much access you’ll allow to the rest of the house and the hours your gym is available.
John Greaves III is a freelance writer in North Georgia. He is the founder of Garage Gym Life and a graduate of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. His non-fiction work has appeared in Mark Bell’s Power Magazine, The Chattanooga Times and online at Powerlifting
Watch, Natural Strength, Strength Advocate, Digital Media Buzz and Yahoo Voices, Tennessee Parks & Recreation Magazine and print promotional material on behalf of the cities of Marietta, GA and Chattanooga, TN.
John is a combat veteran and former Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor who earned a silver medal at the 2001 International Kickboxing Federation National Championships. He now competes as a powerlifter in the Masters Division in several federations. John is available for guest posting and ghostwriting. You can connect with him by filling out the form below or visiting his website.