Garage Gym of the Week: Michelle Swarts

1. What’s your name? Michelle Swarts

2. How old are you? 28

3. Do you have an IG handle or website? @Shell_lorraine and @stephensb275

4. Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am originally from Las Vegas, although I just finished 8 years of active duty in the Army and moved to Vancouver, WA with my boyfriend (also a vet). We are currently enjoying the benefits of the GI Bill and pursuing a degree in Sports and Health Sciences. I have the most beautiful 5-year-old girl who keeps me on my toes 24/7 and a 4-month- old German Shepherd.

5. How would you describe your training style? Powerlifting, powerlifting, and….powerlifting. We life heavy, eat what we want, and lift heavier.

6. How would you describe your fitness/strength level, currently? I would say our level of fitness is somewhat advanced. With years of experience, knowledge, and lots of research, we have achieved numbers that I am quite proud of. Unfortunately, the hunger is real and knowledge is power.

7. What are your fitness/strength goals? For me, I want to compete and break records. I want to bench 205lbs, squat 315, and deadlift 405 within the next year or two.

8. Describe your garage gym.

9. Who works out in your garage gym? Our gym is fairly new so just us two, and my daughter! ….She has a set of pink dumbbells and pvc pipe to mold her into a future powerlifter

10. Why did you build a garage gym? We are addicts, to be quite honest. Initially, Washington was hit by a crazy snow storm a couple months ago. The gym closed for two days and we were going insane. During those two days, we conducted endless research on all sorts of equipment from every website you could imagine. Our first idea of a cheap gym consisting of only the basics QUICKLY went out the window. Another reason for the garage gym is the obvious; convenience. Who doesn’t like convenience? Especially with a 5 year old!

11. What’s your favorite piece of equipment in your garage? The power rack is my favorite. Without that, powerlifting would be obsolete.

12. What piece of equipment was a waste? Nothing at all. When you build your own gym with your own money, you tend to buy only things that you are guaranteed to use. Nobody wants to throw away their hard-earned paycheck.

13. What’s the next piece of equipment you’re going to get? That’s a tough one. I want a rower (too expensive) or an air bike and a trap bar. My boyfriend wants a pulley system and a barbell specifically for deadlifts with no center knurl.

14. Any dream piece of equipment? Oh yes!! I would love the obvious, a rower, and a powerlifting platform. My boyfriend dreams of a monolift squat rack.

15. How did you build your garage gym? Our gym was built within a month. Our motto was all or nothing. Go big or go home!

16. Do you have any tips for anyone else looking to build a garage gym? If you are serious about lifting or fitness in general, a home gym is a must! You have no excuses and no reason to distract you from your goals. We definitely chose good quality items because this is something we take pride in and have a passion for.

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