Thinking about how to convert your garage into a gym? Say less. This Home Gym DIY guide will help make sure you’ve got all your bases covered.
Having a gym at home kicks ass because it means you don’t have to sit in traffic to go to the gym, wait on equipment, shower at the gym, etc. Hell, you can workout naked if you want to. While the investment is totally worth it, it pays to be strategic.
When I built my gym I had three main goals: maximize the space, make it look as clean & minimalist-chic as possible (I wanted a sexy gym, sue me) and achieve the former while doing it cost effectively. It was a learning experience for sure. In this article I’ll walk you through the process of building out a home gym and share many helpful time and money-saving tips I learned in the process.
Doing some initial prep work will greatly streamline the process of building out your gym. First and foremost, you’ll need to get the space ready. Clear everything out & clean the space top to bottom, including the walls if you intend on painting. Next, take measurements. You’ll need to know your total square footage as well as exact measurements when you go to purchase everything from flooring to lighting to equipment so keep them somewhere handy. Then, if your wall color is dark and drab I highly recommend painting before moving on to any other step or you will have the additional task of covering flooring, equipment, etc.
There are many options for gym flooring but one thing holds true for all of them: the less pieces the better. The tiles just don’t stay locked in that well. Rolled rubber gym flooring is the best, hands down. 8mm thickness will cut it but I suggest going with at least 3/8″ thick. Find a local distributor if you want to save money on the flooring as shipping costs can get outrageous due to the weight. As far as color, I love the solid black but it shows every fingerprint and speck of dust. Black with fleck is the better selection for gym flooring if you want to keep the space looking nice.
When it comes to installation, these strips can be glued or taped to the floor. Glueing them might be the dumbest thing you can do. If you ever decide to move or repurpose the area you’re screwed. Plus, there’s no way to flip the strip over to use the other side should the top side ever become damaged. You can save money by installing them yourself if you’re physically strong enough but it’s not a task for the faint-hearted. If you can, let a professional do it. As with painting, I strongly advise installing the flooring this while the space is empty.
Mirrors are incredibly helpful in ensuring you are performing exercises with proper form, which is crucial to an effective workout. They also do wonders for opening a space up and making it look larger. They are also stupid expensive. That being said, you should at least invest in one full length mirror if you can’t cover an entire wall. The mirrors can be installed with clips or glue. DON’T GLUE THE MIRRORS.
Adequate lighting is so important. A bright room will make you feel energized and awake. A key to making sure the room is well lit is to calculate the amount of lumens you will need. To do this, multiply the total square footage of the room by 80 (this is the minimum # of recommended foot candles for a garage space) and that will tell you how many lumens you need.
If your garage doors aren’t insulated you can buy a door insulation kit and insulate it yourself in about an hours time. Once I insulated my doors and put a rubber seal along the bottom I was able to sufficiently cool the space by leaving the door open to my house for about a half hour and keeping a small running to circulate the air. In the winter I purchased a space heater from Target for $40 that would heat the entire space in 20 minutes flat.
In a separate post I will do an in depth review of the equipment I purchased. For now let me just assure you that you don’t need a ton of workout equipment to have a killer home gym and you don’t have to buy it all at once. Start with a foam roller, a yoga mat, some mini loop resistance bands, a few dumbbells, a kettlebell and a barbell and build your arsenal from there. That’s the “Get This Home Gym Started” party pack.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me recently that there’s a shortage of fitness equipment at a lot of retailers and/or that the markups are too high at the places where the items are in stock, so make sure to check apps like Next Door, OfferUP & Facebook Marketplace for equipment. There’s usually always some deals to be had on home gym equipment. It’s a smart idea to invest in good equipment so while you wouldn’t want to buy a used weight bench that’s wobbly, a 20 lb. used kettlebell would be perfectly fine.
I made use of every inch of space by utilizing metal pegboards and double pronged hooks to store all of my loose gym equipment on the wall. This is by far my favorite design aspect of the gym.
I chose pegboards because I wanted to keep everything off the floor and I needed something heavy-duty enough to withstand the weight. I also wanted a clean uniform look throughout the gym and I couldn’t stand how ugly and bulky all the fitness equipment storage solutions were so I created my own. You can’t beat the cost and size versatility of pegboards and I think they look so gym-chic I can’t stand it. For aesthetics I also placed black metal strips flat on the wall alongside the boards to create a “frame illusion”.
I hope this post gave you some direction and insight into the garage to gym conversion process. Please don’t hesitate to leave any questions or tips you may have in the comment section. If you’re shopping for fitness equipment to build out your home gym, check out the images below which contain hotspot links to purchase many of the items shown here. This post contains some affiliate links and I may be compensated, but all opinions expressed are my own. Thank you all for your support & good luck with your gym!!