“I Want to Build a Home Gym… In My Garage… Right Now”

"I Want to Build a Home Gym... In My Garage... Right Now"


In today’s post, I’ll discuss the vitally important organizations that are dueling piano bars, my love for fitness and working out, throw in some quality GIFs, but mainly this post is a well-calculated and analytical ploy to a readership of 1. I’ll be passively-aggressively forwarding this link to my wife as my opening and closing argument for why we should need to build a home gym in our garage.


You with me?


Or, like the masses, do you think I’m a 6 out of 10 on the ‘crazy spectrum’ as well?


Let us know in the comments!



The Desire to Build a Home Gym Doesn’t Crop up out of Nowhere – Here’s my Origin Story…


Have you ever been to a dueling piano bar?


I’ve been to 2 and each time I’ve come away with sore cheeks (smiling) and no voice (singing yelling my heart out). It’s an amazing experience from start to finish, but the part that gets me the most geeked out is when the dueling pianists obliterate a fan favorite. Absolutely love it.


ms iLtNlp


I mention the dueling pianists because just the other day, I had visions of these duels in my head as my wife remarked, “I think we should let our Y[MCA] membership lapse…”


At that moment, 2 of my more prominent internal personalities were in an volatile battle for dominance (there are about 5 in there somewhere – unconfirmed reports).


Finance Blogger Mike: “This’ll be great!! $879 per year that we can shuffle off for a different need! Oh, the savings!”


Fitness Junkie Mike: “Wait…? What about me? Remember how we never miss a Monday workout and one of my goals for 2019 is to exercise at least 3 times each week? How will we get swole…?”


ms KEdm6T


It was a battle of epic wit, brute strength, and tactical prowess. And neither side claimed a victory.


I honestly didn’t know how to take my wife’s comment. She was also concerned about the Y’s prohibitive cost. And now that it’s warming up outside, we’re free to use our nearby trails and parks to walk, run, and workout for free in our local area.


But as I’ve mentioned a time or two, I really love and advocate for diversity when it comes to my workouts. That means outdoor runs, rides, and calisthenics, to be sure. However, that day will come (at least once every 10 days or so) when I want to pick up heavy things, put them down, and then start all over again.


Regular strength training is key to building and maintaining muscle growth, boosting endorphins, and staving off injury as my age reaches more and more advanced stages by the day… The Y was my default place to lift, and although I was stoked for saving that money, I was at a loss for where to scratch that physical fitness itch.


All that being said…


We decided to call it quits on the Y for this spring, summer, and early fall seasons… and reevaluate as winter approaches


ms FrFmmW


In the months since that decision, I’ve done well with increasing my runs and I’m very excited to get the old road bike out to start training for a triathlon (Shh… don’t tell my wife yet. That’ll be another pitch for another day).


And I’ve also hit up my good buddy, Mr. David Eagle at Mighty Micks Gym near my house.


IMG 4227


Dave has a punchcard system available to patrons which is great for my 1-2 visits each week. I’ve always loved the atmosphere and the folks over there, so it’s been great to get back with them, however…


I’ve had the thought of building my own home gym for the past 15 months


My normal cutoff is 13 months. Anything that persists in my mind longer than that is either something I’m wholeheartedly interested in – or – something I haven’t pitched to my wife yet…


With this post, I’ve decided to address the latter so my hatchling idea of building my home gym can either leave the nest and fly – or – crash and burn like so many other ‘decent’ ideas of years past.


Last time I came to her with a new off-the-wall fitness idea, she told me I wasn’t allowed to talk about Jiu-Jitsu for 4 months


ms hUfBtZ


“I Want to Build a Home Gym… In My Garage… Right Now”


Just so we’re clear – I’m pitching my wife on the idea to put a 150-200 sqft home gym in our 2-car garage (my side) and you guys are along for the ride (thank you). The idea is that this gym will be toward the back and ultimately allow my car to fit in the garage during the winter… But we’ll let the cross-examination and my redirect determine if that’s the case or not.


My wife hates it when I beat around the bush (sorry for the 650-word intro, Love), so I’ll get straight to my opening arguments:


Here are the undeniable benefits of having our own home gym


1- Convenience


There are really no excuses when you eliminate the commute, your gym is open 24/7, and you’re never waiting for a piece of equipment. I could literally open the door to my garage and be working out instantaneously.


IMG 3292


2- No recurring membership fee


Sure, there’s a one-time cost (which I’ll cover more below), but after that initial investment, I don’t have to pay $100/month, $50/month, or even $10/month. We’d pay $0/month and that is unbeatable.


3- Our gym = our music/podcasts


I have an old-school, circa ‘99 boom box that hangs in my garage and it’s lonely. It’s all plugged in and ready to roll, but it just needs some jams or some killer podcast vocals to vibrate its speaker box. I’m your huckleberry. (I don’t know which GIF/video to use here so I’ll do both)



ms czfVb6


4- Our gym = our rules


Is this a safe space? OK – good. Here’s me sharing: In the summer, I’m not a huge fan of shirts. Also, if I’m wearing compression shorts… do I really need more shorts over top of those? Well, at the Y, my lack of shirt would get me kicked out as would my spandex/no shorts combo. At Mike’s Gym, no shorts – no shirt – no problem (thanks, Kenny).



Another thing – I can rack the weights if I want to or sweat like crazy, and as long as the gym owner (me) is cool with it, no big deal. And I don’t have to pretend to wipe down equipment when I’m done (sorry I’m not sorry).


5- The dress code is flexible


Mostly covered above, but there’s more. If I want to go sleeveless, that’s fair game. No shoes because I’m trying out some new-age millennial, ‘I squat without my shoes today’ nonsense – I’m technically allowed (even though I’d be foolish). The point is that I don’t have to worry about gym rules.


6- This gym is available for both (all) of us


Yes, of course, the gym will have a pull-up bar and squat rack, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have an elliptical, stationary bike, or treadmill, too. There’s no membership limit (in case our family expands again) and both you and the girls are welcome – and the golden point: our membership fee will not increase… guaranteed.


7 – We can make it exactly how we want it


We can hang flags or pictures on the walls. We can paint crazy inspiring things. The pieces of equipment we choose are exactly that – our choices. The canvas that is this gym’s future home is completely blank and we could literally paint said canvass however we’d like. That’s pretty exciting.


8 – I can workout while Stella (our baby) is napping


So as I’m not sacrificing fatherhood or my ability to give you free time if Stella is napping the monitor will stretch down to the garage and keep signal. Definitely don’t get that at the Y.



Here are the main concerns I think you’ll have about our new (possible) home gym and my responses to them (your cross-examination)


1- The up-front cost is prohibitive


I understand that you’re concerned with the cost and I agree that is a real issue (I’m practicing my empathy here, Team). Howeva…


ms REkdzu


We paid $840 for our entire family’s annual membership to the Y last year. Our daughter thinks the pool is too cold and most of the workouts you (my wife/Monica) enjoy at the Y were of the treadmill/elliptical variety.


We already have a (hand me down) treadmill in our basement and I’m 100% in favor of getting you an elliptical if that’s your jam.


That being said, I can furnish Phase I of our gym for some number between the $840 annual Y membership and $1,000 (not including the elliptical).


With roughly the same amount we spent on fitness last year, I can outfit our garage with a squat rack, the bars, and all the weights I’ll need to lift (heavy or light) ‘till the cows come home.


That upfront cost – call it $1,000 for safety’s sake – will show its financial benefits shortly into what would be Year 2 of our continued Y patronage.


Any additions to the gym would delay that cost savings, but the point is that nothing else needs to be added above the $1,000.


Pay now – save later.


2- “You need to have your car in the garage in the winter”


Although we don’t live in Cleveland, we still don’t live in Cincinatti either. This is Columbus – ‘Where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain…” and the temps dip below freezing in the winter.


When you mix those conditions with my 10-year-old Camry (what financial blogger doesn’t have one of those, amirite?) you get dead batteries, cars not starting, flat tires, and God knows what else.


All this to say that I agree my car needs to be in the garage in the winter.


I have the solution


The gym mats can be rolled up in the winter and the footprint of the squat rack I have eyeballed is small enough to fit both my car and my swole set… at the same time


To be sure, this will impact neither your vehicles ability to park in the garage nor your ease with which to get the girls in and out of the family vehicle. (I’m not sure if I used neither/nor correctly there, but I’m trying to sound smart and confident – I think I sold it)


ms GJGGfu


3- “There’s no room in the garage as it is”


You’re 100% correct and I can’t argue this point…


What I will say is that during the spring, summer, and fall months, my car will be parked outside and the gym will take up about 60% of my side of the garage. In essence, it’ll feel more spacious 75% of the time.


During the winter – things’ll get tight.


ms U16guI


But that’s only 25% of the year, so… Can we just ignore that fact?


4- “You’re literally crazy”


I asked my wife if she had any additional concerns about my preparing to pitch my home gym idea and this was her retort. A) She’s not wrong and B) I love you… thanks for putting up with these “ridiculous” ideas. 😉



Building our home gym – my closing arguments


(Picture yourself on a jury here and me standing up while delivering this highly-engaging closing argument)


Life is about peaks and valleys.


(extended pause to let that sink in and allow you to start pondering)


The mantle I’ve worked to uphold for the past 5-ish years is to maximize our peaks and minimize our valleys. It’s literally what MikedUp Blog is about – becoming the best version of YOU.


And while we can’t control what external events happen to us in life, we are 100% in control of our response to them.


In my experience, I am the most capable and effective version of myself when I’m at my highest level of fitness.


I’m more confident, stronger, durable, and tolerant when I’m in shape and well-rested.


But fitness doesn’t come easy. You have to work at it day in and out.


  • When it’s 0500 and the ice is covering the road
  • When it’s 2200, you finally put the last child to bed, and you have no energy – but you know that you need to push through
  • When it’s Friday and you haven’t slept “well” all week – make that all year – but you know that your actions carry consequences


In all of these difficult moments – that is when your fitness level is decided. Will you rise to the highest level of yourself or will you fall to the one who’ll “get on the train tomorrow.”


I know one thing – I. Want. To. Rise.


I want to make the difficult decision every day so that one choice begets another, and another, and another…!


Until one day I’ve formed a habit.


And although I will not have achieved the highest version of myself – I’ll be on the path…


(another extended pause for dramatic effect…)


The tool that will best allow me to achieve these goals is this home gym. The cost is manageable – space is available – and benefits undeniable.


The only question left to ask is… – will YOU join me on this path?


(prosecution rests, Your Honor)

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