How to Build Your Home Gym

Brian Haveri

Brian Haveri

Hi, I lead the Engineering team at TrainHeroic. Together we build software that helps people be their best through strength and conditioning – everyone from professional athletes to moms recovering from pregnancy and middle school gym classes. Our team works in a highly collaborative way and we’re deliberate about fostering a welcoming culture – lots of pair programming, iteration, and appreciation for each person’s unique perspective.

How I built my Home Gym

Before and After

Before home gym
After home gym

I had one fundamental question to answer when building my garage gym. How do I create an inviting and energetic space?

The garage gyms I saw on Instagram were functional but also felt cliche. Branded flags. Motivational posters. Grayscale.

I’m Brian, the Director of Engineering at TrainHeroic and last March I built my home gym with a focus on creating a welcoming environment that my spouse and I would both want to train in.

Yoga studio meets minimalist DIY weight room.

Early on I listed two must haves:

  • Greenery, good lighting
  • Easy to clean

Total budget for environment (not equipment): $450

Home Gym Layout by Spreadsheet

I find spreadsheets are the easiest way to design your home gym layout. Increase row and column size until the cells resemble squares. Each square is 1ft x 1ft of floor space.

Home gym layout spreadsheet

My Home Gym Flooring Solution

While I had considered plants, I realized early on that artificial grass would be the easiest and most practical way to inject greenery. The only problem was cost.
When I first started researching turf, I only came across expensive gym turf that would explode my budget. Then I found a potential candidate on Home Depot’s website: Jade 50 7.5 ft. Wide x custom length for $2.53 per square foot.

Two weeks later, my roll of turf was delivered and I just dropped it into place – no special adhesive required.

Home gym puppy

This turf immediately brightened the space and brought a healthy and vibrant energy. It’s comfortable enough for stretching and stable enough for deadlifts. Rated 10/10 by my dog.

With the turf installed, I moved onto finding stable ground for my squat rack. I thought about building a platform, but opted for horse stall mats for simplicity and budget.

 

Garage gym horse stall mats

I purchased these 4×3 horse stall mats from Tractor Supply Co. for $30 each and laid them in the sun for one day to remove the rubbery smell before dropping them onto my cement garage floor.

These horse stall mats stay in place and rarely require adjustments. Sometimes I need to use a wet rag to wipe mud off them that my dog tracks in.

Lighting my Home Gym

Many garage gyms feel too dark, especially with the door closed. To combat darkness, I implemented two solutions – mirrors and LED light fixtures.

Garage gym mirror

Mirrors are for more than flexing – they reflect natural light and will make your garage gym space feel larger and more energetic. I found these 36×60 Glacier Bay Frameless Rectangular Bathroom Vanity Mirrors from Home Depot for $50 each.

If you’re not already using TrainHeroic to plan and log all your training sessions, buy some whiteboard markers and write your training on a mirror.

To adjust my lighting, I didn’t want to touch any electrical or spend much so I looked for inexpensive solutions.

These flexible three wing LED fixtures easily replace standard light bulbs and illuminate the entire garage. $25 on Amazon.

Home gym lighting

Storage for Lifting Equipment

Spending a small fortune on barbell and plate storage wasn’t in the works nor desirable. I’d rather spend that money on the actual equipment.

Vinyl coated screw-in hooks from Home Depot are strong enough for bars and weights under 50 lbs. My 55lb bumper plates sit on the floor next to my squat rack, but all smaller plates hang on the wall. $25 total.

Home gym storage

Cleaning is a Breeze

Garages naturally accumulate dust and dirt. There is a simple solution – a leaf blower. I already had this on hand, so didn’t consider it in my budget calculations.

I use a leaf blower once per month for five minutes to keep my garage gym clean and inviting.

Leaf blower for garage gym

Temperature Control

Although I haven’t figured out heating yet, Colorado has 300 days of sunshine which means I can comfortably train most days. More than the cold, I need to worry about heat.

For hot summer days, I bought the B-Air FIRTANA-20X High Velocity Electric Industrial and Home Floor Fan. $55 from Amazon. This fan circulates air and provides a nice breeze for 1-2 people.

Home gym industrial fan

What’s Next?

My garage gym feels welcoming and energetic, which helped me log +150 training sessions last year.

The only thing I’m considering changing is the heat and insulation. Many winter days in Colorado drop to below 30 degrees and when temperatures drop that low I end up taking days off whether my programming calls for rest or not.

Maybe I should insulate and heat my garage. Or I should just throw on an extra sweatshirt and get after it.

TAKE YOUR TRAINING

TO THE NEXT LEVEL

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