Browsing Tag: fitness


    My Sub-$250 Home/Garage Gym

    June 25, 2019

    Gym #1: I used to go the gym right up the street as part of my less-than-hardcore efforts to lose weight and get in better shape. It was one of those strip mall, 24-hour gyms with really basic weight and cardio equipment, and not a lot of either. There were a lot of nights when I couldn’t use the equipment I wanted because someone else had already claimed it.

    Gym #2: That frustration, combined with the fact that I can’t do much cardio work that involves putting a lot of wear-and-tear on my ankles, got me to switch to a Big Brand gym about 10-15 minutes away.

    This place had a pool, which was great for my cardio workouts — no stress on my ankles from swimming. Yay! But pretty much every time I was doing laps in the pool, someone would walk out of the steam room and/or sauna, dripping with sweat, and jump in the pool to cool off. EWWWWWW! The pool was small — only four lanes — so this guaranteed that I was swimming in these people’s sweat. There were signs posted that forbade getting in the pool right after being in the sauna or steam room, but no one cared. And when I mentioned to the gym staff that this kept happening, they promised to keep an eye on it … but nothing changed. So I let my membership expire.

    Gym #3: A couple summers ago I was doing some yardwork when I heard the sound of metal weights clanging nearby. Turns out it was our neighbors across the street — their teen son was lifting weights in their garage and the lightbulb went off over my head.

    I could do that, too!

    With a little bit of re-arranging of garage stuff, I was able to make enough space for some workout gear of my own … if I had any! But I was excited about the prospect of being able to workout in my garage whenever I wanted. There’d be no pool, so I’d need to find some other way to do cardio exercise, but the weights and fitness-style workout could work just fine.

    It’s been about 18 months now and I’m loving it! I generally workout 3 times per week in my garage gym, lifting weights and doing stomach crunches. And then I try to get in 2-3 neighborhood walks per week for cardio health, but that’s sometimes really tough on my ankles and I’m not consistent with it. Here’s how I’ve setup my garage gym:

    I added some numbers pointing to certain pieces, so let me share how I tracked this stuff down, and how I did it so cheaply.

    (1) Body Champ Olympic Weight Bench

    I walked into our local Goodwill store one day looking for weight equipment — bars, weights, etc. — and saw this thing sitting there in brand new condition. I’m convinced it was never used. It was perfectly clean and looked untouched. I had no idea what the retail price would be, but Goodwill was selling it for $49.99. I thought about it for maybe 30 seconds, then grabbed the sale sticker and went to the cashier to buy it.

    Turns out that this sells on Amazon for ~$200 these days, so I got a great deal!

    Sitting on the arms is a 6-foot barbell, which I got on Amazon for about $35.

    (2) Free weights / A-frame plate tree

    This was a Craigslist find. Local guy was selling the plate tree, a curling bar and a bunch of weights — like 100 lbs worth — for just $75, which is a steal! I’ve also bought some more free weights at Goodwill, so my collection of gear is a mishmash, but it works. I’ve probably spent about $30 or so on additional weights, so total cost here is about $105.

    (3) Floor mats

    A must to protect the garage floor. Amazon Basics for like $22, if memory serves.

    (4) Outdoor fan

    We don’t have any temperature control in the garage. I’ve learned in winter that I can workout as long as it’s above 40 degrees — I wear gloves because the metal bars are freezing, but it’s all good.

    In summer, I can workout until it gets to about 90 degrees. But anything above 75-80 and it gets too hot … so the outdoor fan comes in real handy. This was a Home Depot purchase for about $25, I think.

    Not visible without knowing where to look: a pair of barbell collars that I got on Amazon for $5. These are the gizmos that you use to hold the weights in place so they don’t slide while you’re lifting.

    Total Price

    Body Champ bench: $50
    6-foot barbell: $35
    Plate tree & weights: $105
    Floor mats: $22
    Fan: $25
    Barbell collars: $5

    All of that adds up to only $242, which is about the cost of eight months of a gym membership — and I’ve been using it all for 18 months now without all the frustration of the local gyms!

    The best thing of all, though, isn’t the money I’ve saved. It’s the fact that having the gear right in the garage has made it so much easier for me to stick with the workouts. I still have about 5-10 pounds that I’d like to lose right now, but I’m feeling stronger and more fit overall than I have in a loooooooong time. And that’s way more important than saving a few bucks.


    How I Lost 26 Pounds in 2.5 Months

    March 26, 2010

    I woke up today, stood on the scale, and good news: I reached my weight loss goal!! Woo-hoo! I’ve lost 26 pounds since January 6 and now weigh what it says on my driver’s license.

    Now, I’m no diet guru or health expert, and I’m really hesitant to write this post because it’ll look that way … but, a couple things:

    1. Whenever I mention my weight loss (including today on Twitter), people inevitably want to know how I did it.
    2. If, by sharing this, I can help even one other person lose some weight and get in better shape, it’s worth it.

    So let’s throw caution to the wind, shall we? Here’s what I did…
    Continue Reading…


    8 Great Workout Songs

    February 13, 2010

    I’ve been working out pretty consistently for the past six weeks or so. And by that, I mean I’m going to the gym about 4-5 times per week. My workout usually consists of a little weightlifting, some situps, and I’m now up to 45 minutes on the treadmill. That’s where the music comes in.

    I’ve got a workout playlist on my iPod with 24 songs. Here are the best workout songs I’ve found so far:

    “Chocolate” by Snow Patrol

    Such an ironic title for a workout song, but this one has the perfect drum beat and rhythm. I’ll let me treadmill time go a little long when this song comes on at the end. It’s too perfect. Unquestionably, the greatest workout song ever.

    “Politik” by Coldplay

    Another one that’s great because, depending on how fast you’re walking, each step hits at the same time as each drum beat. There are some slow parts in this song, so it’s pretty good at the beginning when I’m just starting the treadmill session.

    “When We Were Young” by Whipping Boy

    Great, short song from an Irish band you’ve never heard of. I’ve never seen this video until just now when I went searching on YouTube (since LaLa doesn’t have it).

    “Hysteria” by Muse

    Perfect song for the middle of a long treadmill session. “Uprising” is another great Muse workout song, but I like this one better.

    “First Time” by Lifehouse

    Remember this song from the Dodge TV commercials a couple years ago? It was good then, but even better for a workout. Again with the consistent drumbeat that you can walk to super easily.

    “The Secret” by Vib Gyor

    Another one I couldn’t find on LaLa, so here’s the video. If everyone listed to this song first thing every morning, there’d be no need for coffee runs. Wait ’til the drums kick in at the 15-second mark, and then you’re off.

    “Bad” by U2

    You knew there’d be U2 somewhere on my workout playlist, didn’t you? I’m still searching for good U2 songs to include, but the live version of “Bad” is winning so far. It’s kinda slow in the beginning, but builds up over the second half of the song. It’s good at the beginning of a walk, and also at the end for winding down.

    “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” by Counting Crows

    One of my all-time favorite songs. It’s a great, great driving song and also works in a workout. Pretty good wind-down song since it’s not super fast.

    Okay, enough of my workout song list. If anyone has their own favorite workout songs, drop a comment so I can build my playlist!