Tell us a little bit about yourself: I currently am a Director for a non-profit that works to end family homelessness, a Volunteer Firefighter and Emergency Medical Responder, a local Planning and Zoning Commissioner, and an avid outdoors woman!
How would you describe your training style (CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting, etc.)? My training style is all over the place, I like to mix it up. I like to road and mountain bike, do WODs, or Olympic Weight training sessions. The North Shore of Lake Superior is in my back yard so there's no shortage of adventure and workout possibilities. If all else fails I will work hard around the house- we're currently creating a huge veggie garden and orchard in our back yard!
How would you describe your fitness/strength level, currently? I am always looking to improve and push myself further. I hate running and love lifting heavy things. I'm exceptionally strong for a woman and can rival the average man, but I also could lose a few pounds and learn to like running a little more... I guess... maybe.
What are your fitness/strength goals? I don't care to compete in the Games, but I want to maintain a strength and fitness level that makes life easier and more fun. I would be happy to have a healthy and strong body when I retire so I can enjoy a long and active life.
Describe your garage gym. We are very fortunate that we bought a house recently with an insulated shop space in the pole barn. So we added a heater and went from there. We have a kip cage, gym rings, plyo box, lots of bands, kettlebells, dumbbells, 2 barbells, bumpers, med ball, slam ball, ab mat, a few speed ropes, a timer, some floor mats, yoga mats, and then we added a used treadmill and exercise bike for our long and cold winters. I also make some pvc training pipes, and built all the weight storage racks so things looked orderly. I recently picked up a huge industrial fan and an old Concept2 Model A rower, but they works great! We also use this space to store all of our outdoor gear (snowshoes, hammocks, backpacks, sleeping bags, bikes, etc.) so I feel like I am in gear heaven whenever I walk in the room. I put in a small tv and dvd player, bluetooth speaker, and radio so I have lots of options to listen to music, watch tv on long bike rides, or do some P90X or yoga videos when I want to mix it up.
Who works out in your garage gym? Mostly it's just me and the pooch, but sometimes my wife will do a WOD with me or run/ bike while I am completing a WOD or two. She's much more of a runner and prefers to run outside.
Why did you build a garage gym? We moved to a rural area, so driving to the gym would be a 30-minute or more drive one way. Often times the local gyms were packed, and the 2 boxes we have didn't have flexible enough class times for our work schedule. By having a garage gym we save drive time in the car and can fit a workout in even on the busiest of days.
What’s your favorite piece of equipment in your garage? 1st choice would be my barbell and bumpers, because you can do so much with not a lot of equipment. My second choice would be my Kip Cage, it's so versatile and it literally saved my life a few times. I like to constantly push hard and heavy weights and the Kip Cage lets me safely workout with heavy weights alone.
What piece of equipment was a waste? Nothing, I generally use most of the equipment throughout the week.
How did you build your garage gym? Most of it was all at once. We painted the room in grey and yellow, bought most of the equipment at once from Fringe Sports, and then I build a few racks, bought some floor mats, and we already had the bike, treadmill, and dumbells. I recently changed the ceiling light to some nice industrial-looking lights, picked up a Concept2 Model A rower, and added a second barbell. I like to plan things out, think of the space, and then complete projects enough to enjoy them and make them look good, but I always keep adjusting, added, and changing things.
Do you have any tips for anyone else looking to build a garage gym? We used to have some fitness equipment in the basement, and at one point had a "workout room" in one of the basement bedrooms. This approach didn't work very well for us and we found that we never sued the equipment or got a workout in. This time I think it's working much better because I made sure our space looked good and somewhat professional. It's naturally inviting, instead a damp, carpeted basement bedroom with some equipment in it. I also don't recommend people starting crossfit at home- they should spend the money going to a local box for awhile to learn good form and technique. We belonged to a local box for quite awhile and worked with a coach. Now that we have our own gym I will sometimes take a video of myself or we will coach each other so I know we know we are still in goof form.