How To Turn Your Garage Into A Gym

This is the story about how I ended up turning my garage into a gym.

Right now it’s a mini gym, but I already have some ideas for other pieces of equipment I’d like to add in the near future. I’ll get to that at the end of my tale.

Let me start off by saying that I did not start out seeking a space to do more aggressive or sweat-inducing exercises. But my garage was begging for some attention ever since we bought our home.

Our garage looked like a catastrophe had blown threw and first responders did a patch job to hold it together.

You can see in the ‘before’ pic (below) that we did our best to organize our belongings in the far back of the garage so that we could pull our car in, but because the garage isn’t attached to our home we found ourselves using the space less and less. Plus, it’s a tight squeeze to navigate the garage doors and requires multiple carefully calculated turns to get the car into and out of the stall.

Garage Into Gym Makeover – BEFORE Pic

Below is a picture of what my garage looked like the day I started the ‘garage into gym’ makeover.

My garage BEFORE the makeover

Let me explain what you are looking at, starting from the front and heading back.

On the left side you’ll see a bunch of old paint cans and other mixtures and chemicals. These required being disposed of in very specific ways. I couldn’t just dump them in the trash and call it done. More on that in a bit.

There is also a charging cord laying haphazardly across the buckets that are conveniently serving as its shelf next to the outlet.

The big piece of wood against the wall is the headboard from our bed. We recently bought a new bed frame and put this one to pasture (the garage, where all good things go to die or be forgotten about).

In the far back is where we stored everything and anything we didn’t want to get rid of but don’t use on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. A chair, books (which were SUPER heavy to move), a dog carrier, extra coat hangers, etc., etc.

The walls are what jump out at me every time I walked into the garage. Or look at this picture. They are in fact the reason this whole project got started in the first place.

Plus, look at all that glorious space just begging to be used and loved! So much potential. But I wanted to start with a small goal. Something I new I could accomplish and would test whether I really wanted to dive into this project at all.

My initial (=small) goal: Paint one of the walls.

I wasn’t even concerned with the rest of the items in the garage. All I wanted to do was paint one wall.

And as it turned out, one of those paint cans was an off white color (albeit slightly expired). Game on!

My husband gave the green light to use the paint in the garage (seems only fair to ask your spouse if the color you are going to use inside a large space does not offend them) and I trekked off to a local hardware store to get a roller, paint brush, paint tray and goggles.

I started by pulling everything off one of the walls. I moved the headboard and all the storage containers to the middle of the garage.

I collected a bunch of newspapers (mostly coupons sent to us in the mail) and spread them on the floor after I gave the garage a good sweep from front to back. I even swept the walls with the brush. There is a surprising amount of dust and grime on your walls. I also woke up a bunch of spiders and saved them from being painted over.

It took me 3 days to do the first side. One half of one side, then the other half and then the trim (top and bottom).

I used a bunch of the empty storage bins as a makeshift shelf to hold the paint tray as I did the spots closer to the ceiling. We had a small step ladder (2 steps) that was super helpful for me to climb on for reaching the corners of our garage.

Once I finished the one side I couldn’t help but admire the difference.

Even my husband came down to check out what I was up to and got inspired to help out. Suddenly, I knew I had progressed to setting my next goal.

New Goal: Paint the entire garage and organize the storage bins

My husband came with me to get more paint and disposable roller brush heads. We ended up renting a van for about an hour after we decided to donate the headboard. The pieces were way too large for our car.

Fortunately, the shelves we bought just barely fit into our car with the seats down. Two sets of 6-tier shelves made it home with us (turns out 5 tiers would have been plenty).

Disposing of the paint required two trips. One to our local recycling facility that accepts oil-based paints (free!) and then to a commercial store that took our water-based paints (small cost).

With the amount of space we were creating in the garage, it only made sense to use it for more than a place to store our belongings. My final goal for this project became clear.

Garage Into Gym Goal: Be able to cycle indoors

Everything was already in the garage to begin with – bikes, trainer, trainer mat, wheel riser – to make this possible.

Garage Into Gym Makeover – AFTER Pic

Here is what my garage looks like now:

My garage AFTER the makeover

I knew that carving out some room for me use my trainer (that was collecting dust for over two years) and roll around on an exercise ball would be the perfect motivation to get the job done.

My bike is perched on the trainer and ready for instant use, and I love that.

My exercise ball is super easy to extract and replace, nustled in between the two shelves.

I’ve got tons of shelving space to place additional equipment – since most of the tubs are only partially filled.

And check out all that S-P-A-C-E. As I told my husband, the spirit of the garage was thanking me for a job well done.

And guess what? Not only did I paint the sides of the garage, I did the ceiling too! The black pipes running at the back of the garage are hidden by the height of the shelving and all the stuff that’s being stored on the shelves.

Cost Breakdown: $300 Dollars and 9 Days

It took me nine days to complete the project. I attacked the project a few hours every few days.

I ended up needing to buy two more gallons of paint and few disposable roller brush heads. Fortunately my broom handle (that I used to sweep the garage with before painting) was removable and I was able to screw it into the roller handle to use when painting the ceiling.

Clean up was tedious, but pretty simple. The paint was water based, so it was just a matter of rinsing (vigorously) to get the paint off my hands or anything else it glopped onto.

Below is an overview of my costs for turning my garage into a gym:

  • Paint cans, rollers, brushes and googles – $85
  • Shelves – $158
  • Renting van to donate headboard + gas – $28
  • Paint disposal – $35


But Wait, There’s More To Come

The board resting against the wall and the paper bag underneath it is going to be a resistance band board.

The pricing for gym floor mats was more than I was willing to spend for this project, so I decided that I would see how much use I was getting out of the space before investing additional dollars.

I’d also love to put some weights and a bench down there. As you can see, I’ve got the room to spare.

I also realize that the more stuff I add the more cluttered the space will get.

I may end up donating the bike stand and using hooks on the wall to open up the space even more. Alas, I’ll have to be okay with my freshly painted walls getting dinged up if I do that.

Turn Your Garage Into A Gym

As you know, I enjoy doing gentle workouts in my living room while watching YouTube on my television. But if you’re craving a little more space, I highly recommend redesigning your garage.

If you get cold easily like I do, I found that plugging a space heater and closing the garage door is a simple trick to staying warm pre-workout. No need to stretch in the cold!

Thinking about turning your garage into a gym? Got questions? Hit me up my contact form.