Why We Gave Up Garage Space For a Gym

Converting some or all of your garage space from a place to store your shit, into a functional garage gym seems to be a pretty popular trend these days.  Mrs. Jake and I decided to convert some of our garage space into a gym at our house and not only do we love it, we actually use it almost every day. (Weird right?)  After posting about building a Slosh Pipe, I’ve received a few questions about what else we put in our garage gym.  This post breaks it all down.  I’ll answer why we did it, what we have in there and where we shopped to find some pretty great bargains. 

One thing that I should note is that going into this, we decided to focus on "function" not "form".  I wasn't worried about whether or not the stuff we purchased was pretty or not or whether everything matched or not.  It needed to be functional and that was the only criteria. For example, I have mismatched dumbbells and I don't care. They get the job done.  That one decision helped save us a bunch of money.  One last comment before I jump into this, neither my wife or I are hard core work out people.  We didn't need super specialized equipment or a bazillion pounds of weights in every conceivable configuration.  I'm not trying to retrieve my six back from back in the day either.  I'm 45 and happily married.  I'm good just trying to keep the midsection from expanding over my belt.  Our objective was and still is to simply stay in shape.  That's it.  

Our Reasons Why

  1. No Gymtimidation.  When you're over 40, out of shape and still think you're hot and 20 something until you look in the mirror, sometimes it can be a big ego hit when you walk into the gym and are surrounded by young sexy and super fit people, (yes, both male and female). Admittedly, in the past, I hurt myself in the gym while trying to relive my former glory only to realize the hard way that I can no longer bench 300lbs.  Those days are long gone.
  2. Our house is oddly located close to many things but at the same time far from many things.  For example, the closest gym to our house is 7.3 miles away.  That may not sound like much but at 5:30AM, that's far enough where my lazy ass can easily manufacture at least 100 plausible reasons why I can't get there each day. 
  3. I'm cheap.  Gym memberships can be pricey and I'm not one for unnecessary recurring spending (when I have alternatives).  Being frugal and purchasing quality inexpensive equipment one time is much more my style.
  4. Lastly, we had the space.  When we bought this house one of the selling points was a detached garage.  The space is huge.  It's 36'x36.  I'm not handy in any way so I don’t have a workshop that I need space for and we don’t have a bunch of cars to fill it up with. The main house has a 3 car garage so it was a no brainer to use a good portion of the space as a gym.

The "Equipment"

Here is a look at some of the equipment that we've added to the gym:

Body-Solid EXM 3000 Home Gym

This piece is the main equipment piece in the garage.  I bought this machine used at Play It Again Sports. It was in good condition and was on sale.  It was taking up space on their floor and they wanted it gone so I got even more money off the final price with a little good old fashioned haggling..  It retails new for about $3,000.  I got it for $700 and that included delivery and assembly.  Admittedly, this was a major steal and I'm pretty proud of myself for this one.  The machine has 8 separate stations:

  1. Multi-Press Station
  2. Leg Press/ Calf Press Station
  3. Pec Dec Station
  4. Roman Chair
  5. Lat Pulldown / High Pulley Station
  6. Leg Extension/ Leg Curl Station
  7. Seated Row / Low Pulley Station
  8. Mid Pulley Station (Ab Crunches)

Treadmill

We purchased a Sole F85 Treadmill off of Craigslist. We scooped this baby up for only $400.  Retail price is over $3,000.  (Here it is for sale on Amazon)  We bought it from a young couple that was moving across country, having a baby and needed to get rid of it quickly so they didn't have to move it from Florida to Washington state.  It's in great condition and it was barely used.  They owned it for about 9 months and used it as a laundry rack.  Admittedly this is another rare find. We got lucky once again on this one

I also have become a pretty good Craig's List shopper.  Craig's List is a great place for deals if you're patient. I used CL to buy equipment for the gym and to hire people to help me move large or heavy things.  Here's a snapshot of a few things that I picked up.  255 lbs. of Olympic style barbell plates for $180 which nets out to about $0.70 per lb. I think that's a pretty good price.  They sell new for about $1.75 per lb. Also, that $200 included a floor rack tree to hold the plates.

Alert Tire Services in Plant City, FL.

We wanted a big ole tractor tire for flipping and beating with a sledge hammer.  I found this place by doing a little research.  Plant City is a heavily agricultural area just outside of Tampa.  Alert Tire Services does work on big tractors in the area and generally has old tires available that they would otherwise have to dispose of.  I gave them a call and brought two home.  One was converted into a drag sled and the other is for flipping.  Both were free.