Today is our country’s independence day. The day that brave men made the choice to sever their ties to a way of life that was comfortable and familiar but that was choking out their ability to grow. 200 plus years later and most people are focused on getting to the barbecue, the cookout or the fireworks display. But you’re dedicated. You have that competition in a few weeks. Or maybe your pre season practices start in a month and you need to be ready. You don’t have time to slack off. Too bad your gym is closed for the holiday. Or maybe the gym is open but there’s no childcare that day. Which for you as a busy mom or dad is the same as it being closed. What to do?
Look At The Headline
I am a passionate advocate for the garage gym lifestyle. Not just because I love being able to saunter downstairs any time day or night to get in a training session, although I do. But because I have the freedom to choose to train when I want. It’s my house; my rules. I enjoy going to my coach’s garage to train. I crave the camaraderie of training with a team. But I love the psychological muscle I build by training at home on my own terms. If I’m not getting ready for a competition, I thoroughly enjoy the ability to train with my sons and their friends. To train with my infant daughter waddling around the room. To choose the music, to dress how I want. To focus on my training rather than wasting time in small talk.
Sacrifices and Benefits
I didn’t always have as much equipment as I do now. I left a gym that only cost me $.50 a day because they were closed by the time I’d get home from work. My first home gym was a wooden box and two 70lb dumbbells. After that I graduated to the shed in this picture. I had a standard bar, a rickety bench with standard sized weight plates I picked up here and there at Play It Again Sports and on Craigslist. I couldn’t do any pullups because I couldn’t get a grip on the roof beams and my landlord wouldn’t let me hang a bar in his shed. I did cardio by walking from my house to the Laundromat down the street and back. I happened to be in the Marine Corps Reserves at the time and when we did our annual physical fitness test, I ran three miles in 22 minutes, did 19 pull ups, one less than my previous year’s best and 100 strict crunches. With no squat rack, I had to clean the weight every time I wanted to squat and my upper back was it’s most developed up to that point. And I was free from the need to meet someone else’s schedule.
I love that when my daughter can’t sleep, I have the option to take her downstairs to get in a deadlift session while watching The Hobbit at 4am. I love that I don’t have to wait in line for equipment, that I’m forced to be creative when I don’t have a piece of equipment. I love that I have to go outside to do pullups on a tree branch outside, that I have to roll up my garage door so I can do keg carries because the garage isn’t long enough. I savor the cold mornings when I have to turn on the space heater and it’s just me and the downstairs television against the urge to drop everything and go upstairs. I love that I train my willpower every time I choose not to stay on the couch upstairs but leave my family upstairs enjoying a movie so I can get done what’s important to me.
Time To Choose
Isn’t it time you stopped being afraid of leaving your comfort zone; afraid of what you might lose if you left the juice bar and built what you keep saying you wish you had?
Isn’t it time for you to declare independence? I think so.
Shoot me an email or drop a comment if you make the choice to start your garage gym and I’ll do what I can to point you towards inexpensive but effective equipment. I don’t get a dime for any of my recommendations but I love helping people to succeed. Best of luck.
John Greaves III is a freelance writer in North Georgia. His work has been featured in the pages of Power Magazine and The Chattanooga Times as well as on Powerlifting Watch, Natural Strength and Strength Advocate.com.