Quiet and unassuming, Rob @theguyinthegarage flies under many people’s radar. I only discovered him because I saw one of my other followers tag him in one of my Instagram posts. He doesn’t come up when you search #garagegym, #garageworkout or even #squateveryday which is what he’s become known for among those of us who follow him. So who is he? And what motivated him to squat every day for 365 days rain or shine? Let’s find out!
How long have you been training? Where did you get your start?
I played a year of high school football and two years of high school basketball. In high school I didn’t take lifting serious at all and focused mainly on my ability to run. I had some natural athletic ability so I never took anything more than that very seriously. I wish I would have.
As I got older and got into police work I began to focus more on being functionally fit, in 2000 I became part of a SWAT team where I had to run more but also have a good amount of strength to do pullups, pushups and sit-ups. Around 2008 I started looking at doing more weighted movements and then in 2011 I attended a Crossfit Level 1 seminar. From there I realized in order to be able to do the weighted volume needed to perform those workouts, I was going to need to get stronger. That has morphed into me focusing primarily on powerlifting movements, which has created a larger frame for me that I hope to soon start cutting back down while maintaining as much strength as possible.
It’s obvious from your Instagram name that your gym is in your garage. Has it always been there since you began training at home? What was your first piece of equipment?
The name “the guy in the garage” came from my neighbors down the road who didn’t know my name, but would refer to me to other neighbors as “the guy in the garage”. I’m sure what they meant was, “the crazy guy in the garage”, because I would workout at odd hours, dropping weights, playing music loud, and doing things like tire flips and lunges up and down the road.
I have had a gym in my garage since 2010 when I first started getting interested in Crossfit. My first pieces of equipment were a pullup bar and some kettlebells.
You recently completed 365 days of squatting every day. What motivated you to start that journey?
I heard Cory Gregory talking about squatting every day on the Barbell Shrugged podcast.
One of my favorite podcasts by the way. I actually met Chris Moore in the Animal Cage watching the lifts. I was sad to hear of his passing. But back to the interview!
I also heard Travis Mash talking about it on his podcast. Travis is 2 years younger than me and beat down from being one of the best powerlifters in the world. I figured if he could do it, then I could give it a try. It started out with me setting a goal to get to 30 days, then to 50, then to 100. From there, it became a habit and a determination that I would not quit for at least a year. At day 50 I started my Instagram page, which was very helpful since I was able to find an accountability group of other people doing the same thing. It was the closest thing to having someone in the garage with me, motivating me, while the workout was going on.
What were your squat numbers before you began this journey and what are they now? How about your other lifts? Did any of them suffer from so much emphasis on squatting or was there positive carryover?
I think squat every day did get in the way of technique of other movements, only because of lack of time on my part to do other movements. However, I found I was doing the other movements less often, but all my numbers went up.
- Squat 300 for a pitiful almost parallel squat single
- Bench 225
- Deadlift 455
- Clean 225
- Snatch- Muscle snatch only.175- I didn’t have the flexibility to drop under the bar.
- Front Squat 275
- Squat 405 to parallel and 300 for a set of 12, which equates to a calculated max of 420. I’ve box squatted 435
- Bench 245, 275 from dead start at 4 board height. I will be changing those numbers soon.
- Deadlift 475
- Clean Will be trying clean and snatch max within the next few weeks, didn’t do much of either one except for recovery during squat everyday. I have done hang clean complexes with 205 during that time.
- Snatch Same as above, nothing to compare it to. However, I have done some sets where I am showing the mobility and strength to drop into a squat almost immediately.
- Front Squat 335, missed 350 a few times during the year. Had a wrist injury that set me back a few months ago.
Squatting everyday generates a ton of muscle soreness in the first few weeks. How did you get through that initial breaking in process?
It did generate soreness, however I would mitigate that by self-regulation and by doing a ton of pause squats and lunges. Those two things were the key for me.
What have you learned about goal setting and about yourself through this process?
There is a reason why I do something every day. Before it was always too easy for me to skip a day and say I will get it later. Now, every day is every day. If I were to miss a day it would have a compound effect later with excuses. I don’t miss for that simple reason.
I am a stronger person mentally, physically and spiritually because of setting goals like this. I believe I am a better person, husband, father, Christian, and co-worker because of it. That has in turn helped me prepare as a better leader. It has given me more confidence and also allows me an opportunity to burn off any stressors in my life.
You did squat every day at home training by yourself. Was it tough to do that or did you train with other people sometimes to keep you motivated?
Training with other people does keep me motivated and that part is awesome. The thing I learned from squatting by myself is I had to be my own motivator, chasing away excuses, and driving myself to be better without a lot of positive talk and motivation from others. There is a lot of inner strength to be found there.
You finished off day 365 by training at the gym where you work. Why was it important to you to do that?
I had some buddies from work who asked to be there for day 365. Since it was so early in the morning I needed to leave the garage knowing it was going to be a little louder, so I went to work. That part was awesome, because I got to finish up the year with folks who have shared in the journey the whole year.
It was also great because one of my closest buddies looked at me after I hit rep 12 and said he thought I looked like I had a few more reps in me. That’s the advantage when other people are around during a workout. He was trying to push me to do more, but I think we both realized the strength was there, but the work capacity was not.
What’s next on the horizon for you? I saw something about loaded carries is that going to be a year challenge as well?
There are roughly 100 days left in the year and roughly 100 days left in my Bible every day challenge. So I will continue squatting every day, 5 light days and 2 heavy days until then. I will also push myself to get to 100 days of loaded carries. I know there is going to be some CNS conflict there, but I plan to auto-regulate that by using a conjugate method.
From there I will do an assessment for next year. That may include squats and loaded carries everyday or I may identify other weaknesses and go after them.
What advice do you have for others who are embarking on their own challenges? First to anyone who may be trying to lose weight and then specifically if someone is attempting to try daily squatting like you did.
Everyone has challenges in life. Whether it is to be a better spouse, parent, be lighter/heavier, lift heavy, or run faster. The list could go on forever. The first step for me was to find something I know was going to be tough, but attainable. Then I took it in baby steps by setting a short-term goal of 30 days, then 50 days, and then 100 days. The true challenge is in the mind. If you can commit to doing something daily, whatever it is, the body will adapt and follow and the mind and body will then grow together.
With squatting everyday, for me the support group with having an Instagram page where I followed other people doing the same thing helped me a ton. It’s an accountability group that I didn’t want to disappoint.
How can people follow your training?
I’m on Instagram @theguyinthegarage