August 01, 2008
It's no accident that the CrossFit Journal's inaugural issue in 2002 was titled "The Garage Gym" and was all about creating a more functional--and affordable--alternative to "big-box" gyms everywhere. That issue includes broad explanations of the concept and its ramifications as well as specific nuts-and-bolts advice on what to buy and why. Here I want to build on that tradition by providing an updated guide to outfitting a box, whether it's a personal garage or basement gym, a portable equipment cache for outdoor workouts, a 5,000-square-foot CrossFit affiliate, or anything in between. The training potential that comes with wider adoption of the garage-gym concept is enormous.
In June 2006, I wrote a article in the CrossFit Journal on "Strategic Shopping" that was more about circumnavigating costly purchases than about locating inexpensive gear. In this article, I'll revisit a few points from that article and talk about a bunch of new items. As always, I concentrate on value. (If money is no issue for you, then you can stop reading here. Go forth and purchase wantonly.)
What should I buy? How do I go about it? Why should I buy those particular items? How do various models and brands compare? When do I need to purchase my own stuff? These are more great questions that will have different answers according to your personal preference, timeline, experience, and budget. What you can afford: Visualizing the box The first step is to identify a realistic budget. And, if you will be outfitting an affiliate or training groups, you'll also need to visualize your anticipated class size six months from now. Don't just come up with a number, though; actually try to imagine yourself training groups and what that will look like. What do you need, how much, why, how will the space and workouts be organized, what can be shared, and at what point will you need more based on increased numbers?