Alvin Remoroza is one of the most determined young garage gym athletes whose story I’ve had the pleasure of learning this year! Despite being born with fingers not fully developed on one hand, Alvin has found his why and there’s no turning back! Find out how he stays consistent, his favorite place to find deals on equipment and how he got his garage gym to pay for itself!
Alvin, you said you began working out in 2007, then took a break and came back to the iron in 2014. Why do you think you stopped being consistent in your training? What led to you taking that break?
I didn’t have the love I have for training then that I do now. I was doing it for all the shallow reasons. Plus there’s life too. Around that time I was going out and partying about three to four days a week! I was also pursuing other things as well and felt I didn’t have time for training.
You said you did random workouts at home when you quit, did you have a home gym set up or were those just bodyweight workouts?
Just a few random dumbbells which I did what I could with. Along with some bodyweight workouts. Also had one of them old school Total Gyms, Chuck Norris style! It allowed me to do a few extra exercises. But it was kind of a joke because I didn’t care about my diet and I would only workout out two to three times a week. Sometimes I’d [go] weeks without training. No consistency at all.
How Alvin Got His Groove Back
You said you caught the fitness bug in November 2014; why do you think this time was different?
It was different ‘cause one day I was looking myself in the mirror and realized “Wow! I let myself go!”
That was the actual thought running through my head at that moment. I then made a commitment to myself to get back into training and get in better shape. I was more serious because I had a stronger why. It’s also the reason that I developed a passion and love for training. So I try to absorb as much info as I can from everything I can get my hands on to optimize my training. Whether it be on nutrition, training, concepts, even training equipment. I started at the lower 260 lb. mark. A little over a year later I was down to about 215-220 lbs. Even better shape than I was in before stopping. The progress pic is somewhere on my Insta page.
What’s a training split like for AVR?
Currently I train about four days to five days a week. For the most part four days of weight training, two days of active rest; sometimes pure cardio/martial arts days and one full rest day. I’m currently focused on Powerbodybuilding style leaning a bit on the bodybuilding side but I like lifting heavy weights too so sometimes the struggle is real depending on the goal. Haha.
Do you plan to compete?
No plans to compete as of right now. Doesn’t mean I may not in the future. We’ll have to see. Training is an important part of my life but it’s not everything. I have goals in different areas of life as well and I give them all the attention required.
Did you immediately start training at home consistently or was there a mix of gym and home gym sessions?
Yeah, I just trained at home because when I got back at it, it was winter time & winters can get pretty cold and snowy where I’m from.
Your garage gym looks pretty well equipped. Break down what you have in Casa de AVR.
When I started I had a few fixed dumbbells along with some spin lock dumbbell handles that you load with standard plates. A cheap bench press along with some standard bars and weights. Of course that evolved over time and I got my hands on higher quality equipment & upgraded to Olympic style bars & weights among other things. As I learned to find better deals and incorporate some sales skills to make the gym fund itself I’m able to upgrade to more commercial grade dumbbells. I now have dumbbells that can go up all the way to 125’s. I made sure I had benches for both incline and flat exercises too. Those are the essentials. A power rack, my dual cable system which is probably my most expensive purchase as I bought it brand spanking new! I knew I wanted to do cable variation exercises to really have that gym feel to my home gym. I also accumulated a pretty complete set of cable attachments. The lesser essentials like the leg extension machine as well as the leg Press/Hack Squat machine which I got for an amazing deal by the way came later for the same purpose. Variation.
So your home gym pays for itself. Could you elaborate?
I basically just sell equipment that I don’t need anymore. I’ve become pretty good at detecting good deals when it comes to equipment so I usually buy equipment for a really good price so when the time comes that I need to sell, I usually sell for a higher price than I bought them for. Sometimes I won’t sell equipment until I have my eye on buying something new. When I find a good deal I check it’s price and try to sell equipment I no longer use for that same price or more. Of course I make sure those who buy from me get a great value off of it so I do my best to make it a win-win. I always weigh prices and their value to see how I can fund my next purchase and see what sale I’ll have to make. Sometimes when people sell me equipment it comes with extra they don’t need for free. Sometimes I sell those bonus items for a price. There is always someone out there willing to pay for a piece of equipment as long as it meets their expectation. There’s always a demand for any item cause they have value to someone else, basic economics right?
Where are your favorite places to find equipment?
This site called Kijiji is pretty big here in Canada. It has some amazing deals and where I got the bulk of my other equipment, especially free weights. It’s allowed me to accumulate well over a thousand pounds of plates. I pretty much have more weight than I know what to do with it. Comes handy on leg press though. I got some amazing deals through there on my sturdy flat/incline bench, heavy fixed dumbbells and my leg press/Hack Squat machine which I got for about a third of retail price labor included. It’s the equivalent of Craigslist for those of you in the States. Craigslist in Canada is terrible for deals. I also like this popular Canadian store named Fitness Depot where I got both my cable system and power rack, they have some of the best prices on training equipment in the country
Fitness Depot seems to only have two locations here in the States; maybe it will catch on down here eventually.You have some challenges because some of your fingers never fully formed. You mentioned that deadlifting is especially a challenge. Do you use straps when you do heavy pulling like shrugs, rows and deads?
Yeah, some of my fingers are shorter and it gives me trouble in deadlifts and bent over rows when doing pronated grip. Bar slips easier. I used to utilize straps but I wanted to strengthen my grip naturally since I have that disadvantage. So I just use wrist wraps more. I value safety first. It’s one reason I’ve never been seriously injured from training. I barely use straps now. Only when I’m doing barbell shrugs but even that is rare. I focus more on strengthening my disadvantages ‘cause that’s something I have control over.
How about some of the old time strongman one finger lifts, like ring lifts and two finger deadlifts? Have you ever tried to maximize your strength in the fingers you have that are fully formed? Maybe put the AVR name on some of the standing records?
No, I don’t really do any of that. I just try to strengthen them by doing exercises that complement grip strength like heavy pulling movements. It’s worked wonders for me. I may try the things you mentioned one of these days though.
If you’re interested in the finger lifts, I’d recommend reaching out to James Fuller and some of the guys in Strongman Archaeology on Facebook. It’s a cool place to see a mix of accomplished strength athletes as well as newbie physical culturists like me trying a ton of cool stuff! We limit ourselves too much to just the big powerlifts or even kettlebell movements. Getting stronger has no limits and I learn that the more I follow people who train at home and see the different ways they do it.
I’ll have to check those. I agree. We always have to learn from great people who offer tremendous value. There’s always different ways to do everything. As home gymers innovation is definitely one of our credos! There’s always new concepts and discoveries out there specially in the fitness industry. One way to keep up with them is to learn from the wisdom and experience of others through their work. I’ve always been a huge believer in self education As Isaac Newton brilliantly said “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”
What’s on your wish list for new gear for your garage gym?
It really depends on the space I have. If I had more space I’d get a whole bunch of Hammer Strength machines and all that. One of my main goals is to have a full commercial gym in the future. Hopefully near future.
Is this an expansion of training you do now with an established client base?
Yeah, that’s definitely a goal. How big it can get? The future will tell. I’m a believer of dreaming big but focusing on getting the little steps done that leads to that dream. Yes, it will be an expansion of training I do now and if time will permit with a client base in the future. Step by step.
Have you read my interview with your fellow Canadians at Kingdom of Iron? I like how their YouTube channel outlines the process they’re going through to start a gym from the ground up.
Yes, I read the interview. What they’re doing sounds interesting. I’ll have to check their YouTube channel to check their progress and follow their journey.
What advice would you give to someone setting up their garage gym or home gym for the first time?
Do your research! Never sacrifice quality for price because most of the time you get what you pay for. Know your budget and how big of space you have to work with. Start with the essentials I mentioned earlier. Get an FID (Flat/Incline/Decline) Bench or at least Flat to Incline bench to cover your bases. Always check for weight capacity especially for benches. You don’t want to pay more for something that you may quickly outgrow. I made this mistake once when I started and learned my lesson. You don’t want a bench collapsing on you while you’re doing a bench press! Don’t hesitate to buy things second hand as long as you get a decent deal out of it. Only buy what you need especially if you don’t have a big budget. No impulse buying!
For those newer to training have fun! Enjoy the process of everything. The training, equipment gathering, researching, etc. It’ll make you that much more passionate about fitness in general. Innovate and never be afraid to try new things. One last important thing is always have your physical safety in the back of your mind and let your body be your guide, not your ego.
If you had to go back and do it all over again, what would you differently whether it be in terms of setting up your gym or your workouts themselves?
Maybe just try to find better deals very early on in starting my home gym. I do my best not to have regrets about things that’s already come to pass though. I’m more focused on the things I can control. I have no regrets about my training because its help get me to where I am today. I wouldn’t change a thing. Your physique can be changed when you want it to. What you learn during the process that’s priceless.
Do you have any sponsors or anyone else you’d like to thank?
My first one will be to God for giving me the heart and ability to do the things I can do despite whatever disadvantages there may be. I feel blessed whenever I get in the gym and accomplish goals big or small. Even on the bad training days ‘cause I still learn something. Another would be a thank you to all those who support me and what I do in any way. I will always attempt to return the favor you can believe that! I’d like to thank you John and Garage Gym Life for your constant support and giving me the opportunity to share a little bit of my story with your supporters. You always got my support.
It’s my pleasure Alvin! I love helping people tell their stories. Where do you want people to follow your training and how can they get in touch with you if they want to ask you any questions about fitness?
I’m looking to get a website up in the near future. It’ll be a blog/vlog on a range of topics including fitness. I’ll have a future store up there too for future merch and training programs. Until then just follow me in social media and private message me. As I currently use those platforms blog style sharing different types of content. It’s the best way to keep up with what I’m up to. My social media is the same for everything. It’s AlvinRemoroza. Message me and I promise to reply as soon as I can.
This is for all my fellow Home Gymers, as I often say at the end of my YouTube videos; To all my brothers and sisters in iron out there: Keep being a savage and keep killing it in the gym!