What’s your name? Randy Jackvony
How old are you? 42
Do you have an IG handle or website you’d like linked? Not an Instagram user.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’m a married dad of two boys and an Information Technology professional. I love quality coffee and cocktails as well as my two dogs. I try to treat everyone with respect because we all have value and inherent dignity. I once got a hug from Don Rickles.
How would you describe your training style? CrossFit. Started 5 years ago at a local box but now I generally follow CompTrain/Built by Bergeron with some modifications based on equipment and ability.
How would you describe your fitness/strength level, currently? Above average for my age (and younger). I played sports growing up, but was never considered “athletic” – but now I still occasionally surprise myself with things I can do in the garage.
What are your fitness/strength goals? Overall my goal is to stay active and good shape. I don’t want to get fat and I want my kids to learn that fitness is a life-long pursuit.
Since building my garage gym I have spent time concentrating on toes to bar, squat snatches and double unders. My current goal is to be able to execute a strict muscle up from the ground as my ceiling doesn’t have enough clearance for any other type.
Describe your garage gym. My garage gym, unofficially named “WinstonFit” after our first family dog, is cozy but provides plenty of space to safely work out. I efficiently use space for exercise equipment and other things you’d typically find in a garage.
I live in New England, so we have hot and humid summers and cold winters. Some days can be a bit raw and uncomfortable, but I try to use that as inspiration.
Who works out in your garage gym? Mostly me. My kids do use certain pieces of equipment like the pull-up bar and rings. This summer my older son and his friend have been doing an off-ice exercise regimen in preparation for their first year of high school hockey. I’ve had some fun coaching them and showing them what the old man can do!
Why did you build a garage gym? I was a regular attendee of the 6am class at a local CrossFit box. About two years ago, I got a new job that altered my schedule and made mornings very rushed. The class also started to get very crowded at the box. One of my friends had built his own garage gym about 6 months earlier and encouraged me to do the same.
The garage gym provides many advantages. It saves time because I don’t have to commute to and from the gym in the morning. I can work out on my own schedule. I control my own workout; so if I want to spend 5 more minutes working on my form or a particular exercise, I don’t have a coach rushing me into a WOD to get us done before the next class. Plus it gets my kids in on the action.
What’s your favorite piece of equipment in your garage? I really love my OneFitWonder bumper plates; they take a beating and perform great. I like plate with low, but not non-existent bounce – so these are perfect. After I bought them, Fringe released the video of the plates being dropped off the roof and not bending. I loved that video and shared it with my friends.
A close second is a slam ball I use for warm ups. There is something oddly satisfying about picking that thing up and slamming it down.
What piece of equipment was a waste? Sandbag. I have used it twice in two years. It mostly sits on the back of my rack so I can tell myself it is keeping it stable – the rack doesn’t need it.
What’s the next piece of equipment you’re going to get? I have been eyeing the OneFitWonder color bumper plates. Trying to max out my deadlift so I have an excuse to pick up some.
Any dream piece of equipment? Does a hot tub for post-workouts and a person to maintain it count?
I’d love a sled, but not sure I’d have the storage space and worry what that it may annoy the neighbors when I’m pushing it around at 5:45am.
How did you build your garage gym? In 2013, my box moved to a new location that limited our use of climbing ropes. So I braided my own and put it in the backyard.
Then in 2014, I built the gym and got about 75% of what I had today. I really enjoyed it as it was a challenge to meet my goals of having an efficient use of space and get about a one year return on investment (versus the box membership fee – ended up being 14 months). Because of these goals I planned out the space and equipment before I bought anything, tried to use cost-effective ways to solve problems and visited some friends’ garage gyms.
Some examples: I made my own plyometric box (hollow on one side for extra storage), wall ball (Ingredients: rock salt and sand filled kickball, upholstery foam, and hand stitched jean cover) and sandbag. That took me a while and my wife thought I was crazy – but I had a blast doing it.
I built storage for equipment where needed including a PVC storage system for my bar. I also have a refurbished computer I picked up to stream music, time my workouts and record my progress. The rumor that I use the computer to watch cat videos during post-workout stretching is not true.
Do you have any tips for anyone else looking to build a garage gym? Tour other garage gyms and get advice. Example of great advice: A buddy of mine recommended horse stall mats for flooring and they are tougher than most gym mats and saved some serious cash.
Look around the house and see what you can reuse; for example I had some left over plastic paneling in the basement that makes a great wall protector for hand stands and also can be used as a white board.
Set a budget and invest dollars in high use items.
For the love of Glassman, don’t impulse buy! Know what you’ll use. If you really are missing something, you’ll eventually know it. If following some programming, use the internet to find suitable substitute exercises.
If you work out alone, use your brain and be safe. Challenge yourself, but know your limits. Just because you exercise in your garage doesn’t mean you can’t augment with some outside coaching to learn a more technical lift.
Oh and get OneFitWonder bumper plates.