Winter is Coming.
Once the leaves start falling, getting your garage gym ready for the winter should be something every garage gym owner should begin prepping for. No sense in sugar-coating it. Lifting in an ice cold room with an ice cold barbell sucks. Sure you can embrace the uncomfortableness and tell yourself how it’s making you ‘tougher’, but let’s be real – it’s just miserable.
So, how can you prep your garage gym for the winter?
What you have to figure out is how you can get heat into your garage and then be able to keep it there. There are a few different options for generating heat. Space heaters are the easiest and have the cheapest up front cost. Then you want to look into some possible insulation solutions. I recommend targeting your windows (if you have any) and your garage door.
This article is going to look at some of these heating options and help you decide what is the best fit for your garage.
Table of Contents
Options to Heat your Garage Gym
Lift in the afternoon. I’m fully aware that this is more than likely the least helpful info in this article. When most of us lift is generally predicated on our work and life schedule. So saying, ‘hey, just lift in the afternoon’, is not going to be helpful for many of you.
However, if you do have the option to move your lifting around, you should consider lifting in the afternoons during the winter. This is for the obvious reason of it being warmer in the afternoon as opposed to the morning or late in the evening.
For the majority of us, the temperature in our garage is relatively close to what it is outside. It stands to reason then if it’s 15 degrees warmer outside in the afternoon, then it’s going to be 15 degrees (ish) warmer in your garage.
If you don’t have the option of lifting in the afternoon, but you do have a choice between before or after work, then take into consideration when the sun hits your garage. If the sun hits your garage in the morning, that may be the best time to try to get your swole on (or vice versa if the sun hits your garage in the evening)
Electric Space Heater
This is the easiest and cheapest (other than free) way to heat up your garage gym. You can pick up a quality space heater from any home improvement or big box store for around $20.
After that, there is just the cost of actually running the space heater which is surprisingly super cheap. I won’t bore you with all the details, but running a 1,500 watt space heater for an hour will cost you about 15 cents. You could make a strong argument that those are the best 15 cents you’ll spend all year.
When looking for a space heater, the first thing you should do is measure your garage. Space heaters are designed for specific square footage. Knowing how much space you need to heat up will help you make a better decision on which heater to pick up. Having said that, keep in my mind that you really only need to warm up the area you’ll be working out.
My squat racks sits in the corner of a two car garage. The difference in temperature between where I’m squatting and the opposite corner of the garage is around 7 or 8 degrees.
My last pro tip is to make turning on your space heater the first part of your process for prepping for a lift.
We all have a process.
Changing clothes, pre-workout, picking out a playlist, putting on sleeves and shoes – point is whatever it is that you do, make turning on your space heater the first thing on the list. This will give it a chance to start doing its job 5 to 10 minutes before you start your warmup. The goal for me is to have my rack and platform warmed up once I finish my own warmup.
As far as recommendations go, I have a $20 Black and Decker Electric Space Heater that I bought about 10 years ago and it still works great.
If for whatever reason a space heater is not an option for you and you want other options for heating your garage, check out these ways to heat your garage gym.
How to Keep the Heat in your Garage Gym
Check Your Insulation
Now that we have a cheap solution for creating heat in the garage, let’s move on to how we’re going to keep as much of that heat as we can. It’s time to do an inspection of our garage insulation.
First check any windows you have in your garage. Windows can be a thorn in the side when it comes to losing heat. First, make sure you don’t have any gaps in the window and any caulking is still in good shape. Next, consider purchasing a window insulation kit. 3M, Duck and Frost King are all popular makers of window insulation kits and they can be found online or at any big box store.
They are super cheap (under $10 a window) and will help your window from being a black hole of heat loss.
Next is checking your garage door and walls to see if they are losing you any heat. First, check for any obvious air coming in through any gaps or cracks in your garage door. If you do, address those before you do anything else.
Second, use a thermal detector to check for heat loss through your garage door and/or walls. This can be done with FLIR camera attachment on your smart phone or with a heat sensor that can be picked up at Lowe’s. The FLIR attachment is really cool but it’s rather expensive. On the other hand, something like this Digital Thermometer from Southwire can do the trick for about $35.
If you’re losing heat through the walls, then that’s an issue that you don’t want to be taking advice from me on. If you want to improve the insulation in your walls you’re going to have to find a resource more qualified than me.
The reason I bring up the walls first though is that if you’re losing heat through your garage walls then you may want to strongly consider whether it’s worth addressing your door even if you’re losing heat there as well.
If you find yourself in that situation, will adding insulation on the door still help? Yes, but maybe not enough to be worth the time, money and effort if that heat still being lost through the walls.
Let’s assume though though that your wall insulation is good, but you’re losing heat through the garage door. Now here is something I can help with. Let’s talk about garage door insulation kits.
Garage Door Insulation Kit
I’m not exactly the handiest when it comes to home improvement projects.
Sure, usually I can eventually figure things out, but many times it’s a long and arduous process. That’s why I’m not going to pretend like I’m an expert at wall insulation. I like to look for projects that are simple, easy and effective. (If it’s low cost that’s always a good bonus) That’s why I love a garage door insulation kit.
A garage door insulation kit can be picked up at most home improvement stores or online. A pack of 8 panels is going to cost you about $60.
So, depending on how much garage door you need to cover your cost will vary. Most garage doors will require either 8 or 16 panels to cover. That means that even if you have a large two door garage, insulating your doors shouldn’t cost you more than a couple of hundred dollars.
While a couple of hundred dollars can sound pretty expensive, it’s really a long-term investment. Once you install the kit, your cost is done. From that moment on, it will begin to save you money. It’s not just clutch in the winter either. They’ll also keep the heat out of your garage gym on those unbearably hot summer days.
Best of all, these kits are crazy easy to install. The panels more or less just snap into place over the panels of your garage door. The whole project shouldn’t take you more than a couple hours.
By combining both the space heater and the insulation you can change the entire dynamic of your garage gym. Sure it may cost you a few bucks, but you’re saving a ton of money by having your gym in your garage in the first place. (Garage Gym vs Gym Membership) So go ahead and feel good about spending the money to upgrade your gym.
There is no need to ‘suffer’ through a couple months of winter lifts when there are easily implementable solutions.