Garage Gym of the Week: Shawn Donaldson

Get to Know Garage Gym-er Shawn Donaldson

This week's Garage Gym of the Week is Shawn Donaldson. He is 33 and a former college football player who's trying to increase his size and improve his powerlifting movements.

I am a former college football player where I played on the offensive line at Kent State University. Upon leaving the game of football, I really fell in love with weight lifting and training. I lost over 90 lbs in my transition away from the field.

Since then, I devote my early mornings (usually around 4:05am) as my opportunity to improve my body and my mind. I listen to leadership and motivation seminars by the likes of Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, TD Jakes, Myles Munroe, Joel Osteen, Les Brown, and more while I workout to get in the right mindset for the day. It's perfect because it allows me to have a feeling of accomplishment while framing the right attitude.

It's been this constant movement from lifting and leadership inspiration that gave me the courage to launch my Morning Lifter Blog.

You can follow her on Instagram @MorningLifter or

Shawn's Weightlifting Style

His training style is Olympic Weightlifting/Bodybuilding/Powerlifting movements. His main goals are to increase size and improve his three main powerlifting moves. "I need to continue to work on depth and form."

Shawn's Garage Gym

His gym is actually in his basement. It started when his son was born in 2016. I started out with a half rack, bench, and PowerBlock dumbbells. It then moved into his new home in 2017 and he had it built. He is serious about keeping his gym that he deliberately added extra height in the basement to accommodate the gym. He slowly acquires equipment every year, which usually comes at Christmas time. Since 2016 he has added:

  • Hoist Mi6 Fitness Cable Trainer
  • Hoist Mi Smith Machine
  • Titan Fitness X-3 Power Rack and Extension with lever arms
  • An extra FID bench
  • Hyperextension
  • Titan Fitness Lat Tower
  • Camber Bar
  • Fat Axle Bar
  • Titan Fitness Safety Squat Bar
  • Hex Bar
  • Fringe Sport Buffalo Barbell
  • Various Cable attachments

He's the only person that works out in his gym, since no one else wants to get up at 4am to workout :)

His favorite equipment is his new X-3 Power Rack, with the Cable Columns/Lat Pulldown in a close second. His favorite barbells are his Fat Axle Bar and the Buffalo Bar/Safety Squat Bar

Equipment in Shawn's Garage Gym

Wonder bar

Sold out
medicine ball

Sold out
medicine ball

Sold out
black bumper stack

Sold out

Why Shawn Built His Garage Gym

"The main reason I built my gym was to stay fit and train on a daily basis while still managing the duties and responsibilities of being a parent. It's been better than I ever could have imagined.
I've built it through many different avenues. I've purchased from retail when I first bought the gym, and order through distributors for the Hoist equipment, and ordered online for the rest (Titan and Fringe).

Shawn's Tips for Building His Garage Gym

"It won't happen overnight. Be smart with how you spend your money and try not to buy something over. Keep tabs on costs and look for sales when they happen."

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.