in: Fitness, Health & Fitness, Podcast

• Last updated: September 16, 2023

Podcast #199: The Garage Gym Athlete

After weighing the pros and cons of belonging to a commercial gym versus creating a gym in the garage, a lot of guys, including myself, end up opting for the latter. But garage gyms aren’t without their dilemmas. For starters, there’s the issue of space. How do you cram a gym into your garage when you have to fit a car in there as well? The start-up costs for a garage gym are nothing to sniff at either. How can you save money on equipment without skimping on quality? Which equipment do you actually need? The other issue is ensuring that having a home gym doesn’t lull you into complacency. How do you motivate yourself to work out when it’s just you in your garage and it’s dark and 30 degrees outside?

My guest today has the answers. He’s a military veteran and dedicated garage gym guru who has spent years helping people transition to garage gyms, as well as make the most of the workouts done with them. His name is Jerred Moon, and he’s got a new book out called Garage Gym Athlete. Today on the podcast, we’re going to talk about everything garage gym: their pros and cons, the math and economics of starting one (and how it might be more affordable than a commercial gym membership), and how to motivate yourself to use your garage gym. If you’ve been thinking about switching over to a garage gym, this podcast might finally push you over the edge.

Show Highlights

  • How Jerred’s busy Air Force career led him to starting a garage gym
  • How much money you can save by going with a garage gym over a gym membership
  • The barebones set up you need for a proper garage gym
  • How to use IFTT to easily find cheap gym equipment on Craigslist
  • How to have a garage gym when space is limited (and how you don’t need a garage to have a garage gym)
  • How to motivate yourself to workout in your garage gym even when it’s dark and 20 degrees outside
  • The downsides of a garage gym
  • Jerred’s strength and conditioning programming for garage gym athletes
  • The legal and insurance implications of a buddy working out in your garage gym

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

The garage gym Athlete by Jerred noon, book cover.

If you’re thinking about making the switch to a garage gym, The Garage Gym Athlete has all the info you need to do so successfully. Jerred tells you exactly what equipment you’ll need (and even how to make some of it) so that you save yourself time and money. Even if you don’t have plans to start a gym in your garage, The Garage Gym Athlete is still worth checking out for its mindset and programming content.

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Read the Transcript

Brett: Brett McKay here, and welcome to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. Last year, I went and switched over to a garage gym in my house. It’s been fantastic, but it’s not without its problems. For starters, there’s the issue of space. How do you cram in a gym when you have to fit a car in your garage as well? Cutting down on costs so you don’t spend a lot of money furnishing your garage. Which equipment do you need? The other part is just motivating yourself when working out by yourself. There’s no other people around. It’s dark outside. It might be thirty degrees outside. That happened during the wintertime. How do you motivate yourself to get out down there and work?

My guest today, he has spent his career doing garage gyms and helping people transition to a garage gym. His name is Jerred Moon. He’s written a lot of content for our site, how to make DIY fitness equipment, like DIY crawler. He’s got a new book out though, called Garage Gym Athlete. Today on the podcast, we’re going to talk about how to become a garage gym athlete: the pros and cons of garage gyms, the math of garage gyms, the economics of garage gyms, why it might be more affordable than a regular gym, and how to motivate yourself when you’re working out by yourself. A really interesting podcast. If you want to listen to the show notes with links to the resources we mention in the show, you can go to AOM.IS/moon, and, as always, I appreciate if you would give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher if you enjoy the podcast.

Jerred Moon, welcome to the show.

Jerred: Hey, Brett. Thanks for having me, man. I’m really glad to be here.

Brett: You’ve written some content for us over the years about … The stuff that’s been really popular is your DIY gym material, how to make gym equipment for your garage, just with some wood, stuff like basketballs even, make some medicine balls, and you’ve written a lot of other great content over there at End of Three Fitness. You’ve got a book coming out called Garage Athlete. It’s all about starting a garage gym in your garage, and how to program when you’re working out by yourself in your garage. I’m curious if you can tell us your story of how you started a garage gym, and why you decided to go that route instead of going to a big giant globo gym?

Jerred: Yeah, man. I could definitely tell you the story of how I got there, because it wasn’t necessarily on purpose. I was in the Air Force in 2010. Had just gone active duty, and, at the same time, my wife and I were in a lot of debt. We were actually a hundred thousand dollars in debt, and we were really aggressively trying to pay that off, so we weren’t just sitting in debt and doing nothing about it, which all of our extra money was going in that direction, so it really limited how much money we had.

I was in pilot training at the time, and I’d been injured, and I was on bed rest for a little bit, because I had to have surgery from that injury, and so I’m just sitting around and super passionate about fitness. I always have been. It’s not something I picked up when I started the garage gym. I started at a very young age in fitness, and I decided I wanted to make a garage gym, because my introduction to the Air Force was much like anyone else joining the workforce, extremely busy. You find out what real life is going to be like, how much time you’re not going to have, and so I decided I was going to start a garage gym to be a little bit more efficient, and save money, and just be able to workout at home and get it done.

That’s the quick back story. I just did it pretty much out of necessity.

Brett: You say save money, because I think a lot of people, we hear starting a garage gym, there’s a lot of startup cost to it. You have to buy a lot of equipment. Can you really save money on a garage gym compared to paying just twenty bucks or thirty bucks, or even ten bucks at a ten gym or something like that?

Jerred: Yeah. I mean it kind of depends on where you’re going, like a Planet Fitness that costs ten bucks month or something, obviously you could save a ton of money going somewhere like that, but it, also, depends on what kind of fitness that you’re interested in. I think that’s where the big split and shift happened for me, because I’m more strength and conditioning, is what I’ll call it. Kind of similar to cross fit, but not really. Kind of similar to strength training and power lifting, but not really. Just strength in conditioning in general.

Being able to do that stuff really at a Planet Fitness, they have the lunk alarm that shuts you down … They actually kick you out of the gym if you make any noise. You can save a ton of money if you look at it long term, and something I actually breakdown in the book is there have been a lot of corporate wellness studies done in corporations, where they look at their employees, and they say, “Okay, for every dollar we spend on the well being or health of our employees, we get X amount back.” That being them being more productive, missing work less, and all sorts of stuff, but what they found was for every dollar they spend, they were finding they’d get between three to five dollars back, and some extreme outliers, all the way up to thirteen dollars back for every dollar they spend.

If you look at it that way, if you’re not that consistent at actually going to the gym, and you feel like having a home gym is going to make you more consistent, other than actually saving you money in the long term, because a gym membership is forever. You have the sunk cost after you spend it, and then that equipment you have in a garage gym is going to last forever. After that, it’s all savings. It’s saving on health insurance by being healthier. It’s working out more, being more productive, missing less days of work, and all that stuff, so, yeah, I think that a garage gym versus a commercial gym or a globo gym can definitely save you a lot of money, especially if you’re more into the … I say the fancy ones, the globo gyms that actually do charge you closer to like two hundred bucks a month. You’re obviously going to save a ton of money by going garage gym route.

Brett: Right. I feel like, also, with globo gyms, and for those of you who don’t know what a globo gym is, it’s a derogatory term that people in the cross fit world use to talk about big gyms with weight machines, saunas and things like that. When you’re going to a gym, you’re often paying for services you don’t even use, right? You might go there, but you never use the weight machine. You just use a barbell and squat rack. You don’t use their towel service or their sauna, and so you’re paying for stuff, like you might be paying fifteen bucks a month for stuff you don’t even use, but with a garage gym, yeah, there’s going to be a lot of upfront costs, but you’re only going to have the equipment you actually use.

Jerred: Right. It’s a different way of looking at training. I mean you really go … My recommendation for most people go in bare bones, and so we really strip it down to just what you need, and then if you want to get crazier as you realize that a garage gym is awesome … My garage gym started bare bones, and now I basically have my own training facility built into my house, but where do you go from after you start it is up to you.

Brett: What are the bare bones, things that you would need for a garage gym or starting out?

Jerred: I actually don’t recommend a lot, just a barbell and some plates to get started. I have a ton of DIY projects I’ve done. If I had to go back, the very first one that I would do is squat and bench stands. It’s a super simple project. You just buy a couple of four by fours. Throw them in some of those big gallon buckets you can get a Home Depot. I think they might be like five gallon buckets, and then pour cement around them, and then you have uprights to set the bar on. Obviously there’s a little more detail to actually how to do that project, but that would be the first project, and now you have a barbell, you have weights, and you got somewhere that you can squat off of and bench off of, so you obviously need a bench if you’re going to do bench press, but you can do strict press and all sorts of stuff.

The stands project is going to cost you thirty bucks, and then the barbell and plates, depending on where you get it, it could cost anywhere from three hundred to a thousand dollars. It really depends on the quality of your equipment, but in the grand scheme of things, not too expensive. That would be my recommendation for starting out. Very, very simple stuff right there.

Brett: Where do you suggest people go to get the best … Should they buy new? Where can they go to buy used? That’s one of the things you advocate as well as get used stuff off of Craigslist.

Jerred:  Yeah. One of my favorite things, and it’s still working right now. It’s actually how I bought a few items. Have you heard of IFTTT, the I-F-T-T-T?

Brett: Yeah.

Jerred: It’s If This, Then That, and you can go to the website to check them out. They have what are called recipes, and it’s trigger. If something happens, then it will do something for you, and they have all sorts of cool stuff that they do.

One of the things that you can do is you can set up a search in Craigslist, and the search in Craigslist could be say for a barbell, and then you can, also, select a price range and your location. Everything, your criteria, and then if that ever pops up in Craigslist, you’ll get an email. You can set it to where IFTTT will send you an email, and then right there you’ll get the first dibs, the first shot at it, because a lot of people aren’t doing this, and originally I saw this, but not for a garage gym use, and so I was like I’m going to try it before I write it about it on my website, and I did for an airdyne at the price I wanted, and within … I think it was just a few days, I set it up, airdyne showed up at the price I wanted. Contacted the guy, and he’s like, “Man, I got a ton of people contacting me, but you were the first, so I’m going to give it to you,” and I got it.

I think Craigslist and just setting that on autopilot is probably the best way. Just leave that stuff running, because you might even want more stuff later. I have stuff that I have set up that I just keep going, because I could always use more plates or another barbell if someone abandons the garage gym scene or whatever.


Brett: Got you. One thing I’ve noticed, too, is just putting the word out. Like just tell people I’m looking for this, and somehow magically it gets around, and stuff just starts showing up. It’s funny.

Jerred: There are ton of people who maybe thought the garage gym was a good idea, and they decided not to continue. Maybe they did miss some of the amenities or whatever, and so they will sell their equipment for very cheap, because it just becomes cumbersome to have all that stuff and move it around if you’re moving, and all that other stuff. Yeah, it’s good to just put the word out and ask around.

Brett: What do you do about space? I mean you only have a one car garage, and your wife wants to park her car in the garage, how do you accommodate for that, you have limited space for a garage gym?

Jerred: Hey, man, limited space, this is a common one. They are pretty common struggles with garage gym athletes. I’ve actually done surveys with thousands of people at End of Three Fitness, and space is one of the biggest things that people are like, “What do I do without space,” but over the years, I’ve seen some really creative stuff. There’s actually a girl here in Dallas, who emailed me a picture, and they had moved from I think somewhere in the mid-west, and they moved here to Dallas, and they got an apartment, but they’re on the bottom floor, and it was like straight concrete floors and stuff. Some of coolest stuff that she did, she actually made part of her garage gym equipment into the decoration of her house, like it would be a stack of bumper plates with a lamp in the middle. Her and her husband would remove this stuff, and work out at night, and then put it all back together, but her apartment looked amazing to me. Maybe I’m a little biased, but that was really cool.

That’s obviously an extreme situation, trying to turn your garage gym into the décor of your house, so you can just workout at any time, but I, also, know guys in California who are killing it in really small one car garages, but, really, just go outside. Unless you live in an extremely cold climate, and I’m talking about the guys who are getting below zero. Anything else, I think you should be able to put up with with some extra layers of clothes, but go outside. Like I said, this isn’t a ton of equipment. If you have a truck or a car … Before I had a truck, I was lugging around all my stuff in my wife’s Honda Accord. A barbell will actually fit through the trunk and all the way up throw the console, if you really want to, and you could take it just about anywhere and train anywhere.

Brett: Take it to the park or something.

Jerred: Yeah.

Brett: Also, you just said that this person put their gym inside their apartment. This doesn’t necessarily have to be in a garage to have a gym in your home.

Jerred: I think to think of the garage gym athlete, if you will, more as a mentality, as opposed to just having a garage. If you have an extra room in your house, if you have a concrete slab outside, if you have a basement, obviously a garage, a park near your house, any of that stuff, I kind of consider you a garage gym athlete, because it’s more of the mentality of look, “I don’t have a ton of stuff, but I’m going to get the work done no matter what.”

Brett: Got you. If you are going to have a gym inside, whether your garage or inside your home, and you’re going to be doing barbells and plates, are there any considerations that you could take into account in order to avoid undue wear and tear on your space?

Jerred: On the space itself?

Brett: Yeah.

Jerred: Yeah. The equipment is one thing, but the space itself, I highly recommend … I didn’t say this and that’s me lifting in a garage for many, many years before I started giving this recommendation officially. I just always dead lifted on concrete or whatever, and to save my equipment, I didn’t, but I ended up straining my neck on some heavy high rep dead lifts, and it’s just from pounding into the concrete, so I do recommend getting some rubber flooring. The best place to do that is going to be Tractor Supply Company. They have horse stall mats. It will be the cheapest, best bang for your buck, because you can just get one … I think it comes in a six by four or something like that. That will just almost fit the barbell. It will fit where the plates sit on the barbell at least, and that’s all you need, and you can go up from there. They’re not too expensive.

Brett: Got you. I started a garage gym, and it took me awhile to finally pull the trigger on it. I was thinking about it for almost a year, because I was just worried that I was going to buy this stuff, and I wasn’t going to use it, or I wasn’t going to like it. How do you avoid buyers remorse? How do you avoid being the guy who buys the garage gym, and he doesn’t like it, and he has to sell it on Craigslist for much less than what he paid for it?

Jerred: That’s really a mentality question, and it’s something I approach in the book. That’s the whole first part of the book, because I know that that’s a real possibility, that people are going … I don’t know. Maybe you see something, maybe hear this podcast or you see something on YouTube or whatever, and you get fired up for a garage gym, and you want to do it, and then, yeah, a few months later you’re like, “Yeah. Well, that wasn’t working out,” and, personally, for me, I’ll tell this story, and maybe it will help people relate to what they can do in their lives, but when I started, I told you my wife and I were in a ton of debt. Since then, we have gotten out of debt completely, but we were in a ton of debit, putting all of our money towards that. We did not have a lot of money, and I was going to buy the first big purchase, I like to call it, which is going to be your barbells and plates.

That was a big decision for me and my wife at that time. I was like, “Hey, are you cool with me buying this stuff?” She was. I have a great wife, and she supports me, and so we did. She knows how passionate I am about fitness. But making this huge decision to spend that money, I kind of had a mindset shift for me, because I realized I wasn’t working out or continuing to do what I was doing just because I wanted to lift in my garage. It was something much deeper than that. It was the fact that I did not want my wife to think that I was the type of guy, because we were newly married at this point, and so I didn’t want her to think I was the type of guy who is going to waste our family’s money, the guy who doesn’t stick to things that he starts. I didn’t my wife to think any of that, so, really, I got a very big why from the get go, and that why was what kind of man does my wife think that I am.

Having a huge why, this is something I realized after the fact. It’s not something I went in like, “Oh, yeah, I got to do this and that.” I was just analyzing myself after the fact. If you can tie anything that you’re doing to a huge, huge why, like I’m working out in my garage because I want to be healthy for my kids, or I want to be able to play with my kids when I’m older, and I say kids because I have two kids, but whatever your why is … I know a lot of people want to look good with a shirt off and all that stuff, and I totally get that, but it’s proven over and over again that those extrinsic motivators aren’t going to last when it comes to your motivation. You need something intrinsic to you that’s going to make you stick for a long time.

I think if you answer that question first, you’ll never be the guy who is selling your weights for pennies on the dollar on Craigslist.

Brett: Got you. I know you’re a big advocate of the garage gym, but what do you think are the downsides of it? If someone’s making this decision or weighing pros and cons, what are some things that they might miss if they don’t go to a big gym anymore?

Jerred: The two biggest things that are going to be a huge problem for most people, the first one’s going to be weather, because I know a lot of guys out there, they live in like Michigan or Minnesota. They’re still getting it done, by the way, but that takes a little different mental toughness than most people are willing to fork over, if you will, because that’s freezing cold weather, or maybe it’s the extreme heat. I’ve had that. I lived in Wichita Falls, and it was a hundred and fifteen degrees. You really have to adapt to that situation, and if you can’t, then maybe it’s not a good situation for you. That’s the first one, the elements.

The second biggest one, and I don’t know if you get this as much in a globo gym, but it’s going to be accountability. If you do have some sort of workout partner that you meet at a gym, or if you go to a cross fit box, which is just a cross fit affiliate gym, then there are people there holding you accountable, people you can workout with. The accountability piece, if you have that and you start working out alone in your gym, that’s a huge factor as well. I’d say those two are the biggest.

Brett: I guess the first one, you can do something. If it’s hot, add a fan to your garage.

Jerred: Yeah. If it’s cold, get sweats.

Brett: Space heater maybe.


Jerred: Yeah, I’ve done all of that. I work out in the mornings, and, granted, it doesn’t get super cold here in Dallas, Texas, but if it’s going to be cold … We do have some winters where it will drop below freezing and everything. I’ll just turn on a space heater while I warm up and everything, and the garage will warm up a little bit by the time I’m ready to go.

Brett: Right. On that second factor, the motivation, because that’s what I’ve found is one of the hardest shift to make when I went to my garage gym, was that going to the gym, it put you in a mindset. I had to get my gym stuff on. I got in the car, and it was like this is gym time. It’s weird whenever you’re … I just have to go down to my garage, and I start working out. To be honest, it was hard at first to make that shift, that I can just work out anytime I want, and what’s weird is it’s sort of counter intuitive, is that because it was so easily accessible, there’s a tendency to be like, “Well, I can do it sometime later.” I’d have to schedule for it. I didn’t feel like I had to schedule for it, but I’ve learned that I had to just treat it just like I was going to the gym five minutes away from my house.

You get into the book about some mindset things that you can do to get yourself into that gym mindset, even when your gym is in your house and you’re training by yourself. Can you share some of those tips on developing that pro mindset you call in your book?

Jerred: Yeah, because that’s a big thing, man, and I completely agree with you. When I first started the garage gym, it is kind of difficult to make that transition. It’s almost like Pavlov’s dogs with the conditioning. You have to train your mind that when you step over the threshold, that doorway into your garage gym, that that is a different place. You are working out.

For instance, I work at home, so my computer is literally fifteen feet … If I just walked through the door to come back. There’s no checking email. All that stuff is gone, and you need to treat it as such once you’re in the garage gym, but some of the stuff that I get into about training like a pro is one thing that’s big is commitment and consistency. It’s a huge psychological principle that’s been researched. If you commit something to other people, that is one way that’s going to help you stick to your goals, and this isn’t necessarily the pro mindset, but it’s just a tip that people can do that I recommend, is if you are to get some business cards, blank business cards, like the templates from Walmart or whatever. Write down your goal as a statement. Say I will run a mile this fast. I will lose this much weight. I will lift this much weight, and give it to ten, fifteen, twenty of your closest friends, letting them know what you have dedicated yourself towards, and obviously put it in a time frame, “I will squat five hundred pounds in the next year,” whatever, and then give that to them, and let them … Now that they know about it, it just will hold you accountable.

A lot of other things. If you are training alone on a consistent basis, and I’ve been doing it for years, thousands of sessions in the garage gym alone, completely alone. I’ve gotten a few things that I’ve done over the years that have really helped me. Putting yourself in what I call a no quit situation. One of the workouts we commonly do at End of Three Fitness is called the Iron Mile. This one’s more of a mental toughness thing than it is strength training or whatever, but just put weight on your back, say it’s a hundred and eighty-five pounds, and I want you to walk eight hundred meters away from your garage, so a half mile, and then you have to come back.

The first half mile won’t be as bad, but you’re putting yourself in a no quit situation, because if you have a barbell on your back and you walk a half mile away, your only option is to come back. If you just can’t handle that, I guess you to call your spouse or whatever to come pick you up, but putting yourself in no quit situations like that is a huge one.

Then another one I have is putting your money where your fitness is. This is similar to telling your friends your goals. I had a mentor who did this. I thought it was really cool. Write a check. It could be to your friend, or to a charity, or whatever, and say if I don’t achieve that goal that I’ve told you about, I want you to send this money away to that charity or I want you to keep it, because money is a huge motivator for a lot of people, and I would make it an amount of money that’s going to hurt for your personal financial situation just a little bit, whether that’s a hundred bucks, or a thousand bucks, or whatever. Say your best friend is going to keep a thousand bucks if you don’t achieve your goal, that will motivate a lot of people.

Then, also, I just challenge people to have a mental toughness habit that they perform each and every single day. For me, that’s cold showers every single morning. Whatever it is for you, something that you don’t enjoy doing that you’re going to do every day that’s just going to cause you to push yourself a little bit more.

There’s a lot more that I get into about all of that stuff, training like a pro. You need to benchmark yourself regularly, stick to a program for at least twelve weeks. These are just some of the highlights, and holding yourself accountable in how much you’re lifting and how far or how fast you’re running, like actually pacing that stuff out. If you’re going to go for a mile run, don’t just jog it out. You need to know your paces. You need to know your splits, and then try to get faster each time. Be knowledgeable about your training. Don’t just be off the cuff training. That’s not going to help anyone. In all honestly, you’re not going to progress very much, and you probably will quit the garage gym scene, because you don’t know what you’re doing. You just really need to benchmark yourself, and keep up with getting better.

Brett: Don’t exercise praying.

Jerred: Exactly.


Brett: Yeah. Most people exercise when they go to the gym. They go there, “I’m going to do some curls today, maybe some shoulder presses.”

Jerred: Yeah. That just confuses me. I would probably just rather skip the workout if I totally had to do.

Brett: Just do that. Have a plan. Have a problem.

Jerred: Yeah, for sure.

Brett: This is some great ideas about motivating yourself when you’re training alone. The whole paying someone, I’ve done that before. Not for fitness, but for writing. There’s a website out there called Sticak, S-T-I-C-A-K, I believe. That’s what you do. You make a bet. You put money on the line, and if you don’t completely something, then your money can go to your friend. It could go to a charity, or it could go to what they call an anti-charity. It’s a charity or organization that you don’t believe in.

Jerred: Right. That’s the best one.

Brett: If you’re a Republican, you can have it go to the Democratic Party, or if you’re a Democrat, have it go to the Republican Party. The idea, your money is going to go to some group that you completely disagree with. It’s a huge motivating factor.

I, also, think even just making that commitment in buying the equipment. For you, that was a great motivation. You had money invested into it, and you’re like I got to use this or else my wife will think I’m a huge flake.

Jerred: Right. I call step one the big purchase, because there’s really no way around it. I’m not going to suggest that anyone … And I’ve looked into this stuff. I’ve looked into every single DIY option out there, but as far as making casts for your own plates and pouring cement and building your own barbell, I don’t recommend any of that stuff. It’s going to break. It’s not going to last, so you have to, if you’re going to do this. The things that you have to buy and you have to buy quality are going to be the barbell and plates. The plates are not as important on the quality as the barbells, but you’re going to have to spend the money. That will, at least, hopefully, get you motivated to stick with it for enough time to make it a habit.

Brett: Right. If you’re looking for other places to buy equipment or just like that barbell and plates, I know Rogue is the big company out there that are supplying cross fit gyms as well as garage gyms, but one of the things I’ve found with them is they can be pretty pricey. One company that I like, and this is what I’ve used to outfit my garage gym, is Fringe Sport, based out of Austin, Texas. They’ve got some great stuff at affordable prices. If any of you are interested in looking into that, go check them out. They’ve got some great equipment down there.

Jerred: I second that notion, both of those, and completely agree, Rogue is great, really high quality stuff. Can be pricey, and then Fringe, yeah. I know Peter Keller as well down in Austin with Fringe Sport. Awesome company. Awesome equipment as well. Great places to buy from.

Brett: Right. As far as the plates go, do you recommend iron, bumper plates, or a mixture of the two?

Jerred: Official recommendation, if you want to save money is going to be a mixture of the two, because the bumper plates, it really depends on your fitness, but the bumper plates are going to dampen the noise, and if you’re doing Olympic lifting, you can drop them and whatever. But if you don’t drop weights, like you’re a power lifter, and you’re doing squats and bench press … The dead lifting, you might drop, but you can do all iron. How I would actually do it is buy a small set, the smallest set of bumper plates I think you can get a hundred and sixty pound pack for pretty cheap, and then I actually say go to Dick’s Sporting Goods, not for their barbell, but you’re going to get a barbell in the process. This is the best deal, and they always have it. It’s three hundred bucks for three hundred pounds of plates, which comes out to about a dollar a pound, and I think that’s not including the barbell. You really get a three hundred and forty-five pounds of stuff for less than a dollar a pound, which the industry average I think is closer to a dollar fifty, if not two dollars a pound, depending on where you’re buying from.

Get that. That’s what I did. Get the iron plates, and then I have the bumper plates as well. I have about, I don’t know, like six or seven hundred pounds worth of plates in my garage, but you never want to be stronger than the amount of plates you have. That’s one of my rules, so buy them however you have to.

Brett: Right. Speaking of another downside. You mentioned the bumper plates reducing the sound. Another downside you might want to take into consideration, I found this in the very beginning, was my garage … I have kind of weird house, where my garage is underneath my house, and it’s right underneath my two year old daughter’s bedroom. I work out at five thirty in the morning, and when I first started doing it and I was doing dead lifts, I had bumper plates, and I don’t drop the weight, but I’d lower it in a controlled fashion. I kind of dropped it, but I still hold onto the bar when I do it, so it’s a little more controlled. It makes a lot of racket, and the first few weeks, I was waking her up.

Jerred: Yeah.

Brett: And I had to quiet her down.


Jerred: That’s something I don’t think about as much now. I do have young kids. I have an almost four year old and almost two year old, but our new house we moved into last year, my garage is almost behind my house, and then I have this huge cement slab in the backyard, so I’m almost on my own now, but I was in the military and moved around quite a bit when I was having my first garage gym, and had the exact same problem. I lived in a really small house, and a newborn. I couldn’t get far enough away. I tried to workout almost on the sidewalk and street if I was doing life. My wife would still be like, “You can still hear it. I could still hear you, and William is waking up,” because he was a really bad sleeper early on. Definitely a huge consideration, and there’s not a ton that you could do. You could try getting a lot of rubber and bumpers, but it’s still going to be a little bit …


Brett: Right. My daughter is the same way. She’s a terrible sleeper, so you’re always walking on eggshells around her at the very beginning, first few years. Yeah. But she’s used to it now. She doesn’t wake up, so that’s great.

Jerred: That’s awesome.

Brett: Let’s talk a little bit about your programming, because you talked about what your approach to programming is. It’s not really cross fit, but it is a combination of strength and conditioning. Can you walk us through a little bit of the programming you do and recommend at End of Three Fitness and for garage gym athletes?

Jerred:  Yes, and there’s two things about my programming. The reason I say it differs a little bit from cross fit, there’s still metabolic conditioning, which are the … That’s the typical cross fit workout you see where you’re doing a ton of pull ups and a ton of thrusts or whatever. We do stuff like that, but I want to toe the line more of balancing as much strength with as much fitness as possible.

I put myself as a human guinea pig in everything I do and program. I’ve been able to get the triple body dead lift, which was five hundred and forty pounds for me at the time, and still maintain a sub six minute mile. That’s kind of the fitness that I’m looking at, and the aesthetics as far as how you look, if you achieve things like that, you’re going to look how you want to. I can almost guarantee it. You’re not going to have a pot belly and run a sub six minute mile. That’s just not going to happen, but you can have a pot belly and lift eight hundred pounds. That’s actually way more common.

Yeah. I really like to toe the line of strength and conditioning, so how much can you balance it, but, at the same time, I like to keep it realistic for the garage gym athlete. The garage gym athlete is not the Rich Fronings of the world. If you don’t know who Rich Froning is, he’s the guy who won the cross fit games multiple times. He trains like six or seven times a day.

I try to break down the training to realistic blocks for people to do. That’s the big thing about the programming inside garage gym athlete is what I’ve coined as block programming. Block programming is each block is ten minutes, and there’s five blocks inside of that window. It’s going to equal an hour. I know the math comes out to fifty minutes, so if you add in transition and getting lazy here and lazy there, it will be sixty minutes every time. Every athlete that I train knows for a fact they’ll never be training more than an hour. It’s physically impossible, because if you don’t complete something, you have to stop and move on to the next thing.

Within those five areas, we work strength and conditioning stuff. You’ll always be doing some sort of strength work in your first block, your first ten minute block, and sometimes that can be two blocks. That’s going to get you stronger, but it’s, also, some accessory work to prevent you from getting injured, so whatever accessory work, that could be for your shoulders, your back, or whatever, just to avoid injury.

Then we are, also, going to work on what we call the daily, which are abdominal stuff, lower back stuff, all the little muscles, the hamstrings, to make sure that you’re ready to go. Then we have metabolic conditioning, which I kind of mentioned, and then we have Z stability, which is basically zercher lifts. If you’re not familiar with zercher lift, it is holding it in the crock of your arms, so if your arms are bent, you’re holding it in between your elbows, and lifting it there, and then, also, general fitness.

I know I just covered a lot. We have five areas. In those five blocks, you’re going to hit all throughout the entire week, and it’s just really well rounded, because you’re getting in accessory work. You’re getting in strength work. You’re getting in some general fitness stuff, which could be like just running or rowing, and then you’re, also, getting in the high intensity metabolic conditioning stuff a few times a week.

Brett: What kind of metabolic training sessions are you guys doing?


Jerred: It really varies. What breaks it up differently than typical cross fit training, because metabolic conditioning is the closest that we get. Sometimes we’ll just do really intense intervals. Some of my favorites are six rounds of thirty seconds on, followed by thirty seconds off, and running or rowing, but you have to have a meter goal for those thirty seconds, and that keeps people really honest, and it gets really hard really fast. Then, also, doing stuff like … Say you sprint for a full minute, and then you would lift weights, squat, do ten back squats at fifty percent of your one rep max, and then rest for a minute.

The rest of is kind of built in. I say that’s where we differ is because if you’re doing three rounds of something, and I tell you just go as hard as you can until you’re done. I like that to a point, but I don’t think it’s realistic for everyone all the time. Maybe do that once a week or once every other week. I like to tell you, “Okay, this is three rounds. You’re going to go as hard as you can in two different exercises for two minutes. You’re going to rest for two minutes, and then we’re going to do that three times.” When you know the rest is built in there, you’re going to go so much harder at the beginning part of that metabolic conditioning that you’re going to get more benefit than if you were to do the first two rounds, burn out, and then just do it half at it the rest of the way.

Brett: Got you. Here’s another question that came to my mind. Let’s say you don’t want to train by yourself, and you’ve got a bud who is like, “Yeah, I want to do the same program as you.” Are there are considerations you should take whenever you start inviting people into your garage gym? I’m talking like legal or insurance considerations.

Jerred: Obviously, there’s going to be something there. Do you need a neighbor waiver? Maybe. It depends on how serious you’re getting, but, hopefully, if they’re your buddies and they hurt themselves, that’s kind of …

Brett: They’re not going to sue you for it.

Jerred: Yeah. I would hope, and it all depends on how you’re doing, because I’m a coach. I’ve coached a lot of athletes. If someone does come to train at my house, I know their fitness level. I’ll ask them a ton of questions and everything. I’m going to instruct them first. But if you are just having a bro sesh, and you invite someone over, and you guys are just going to work out, and the guy hurts himself because there’s no instruction there or whatever, then, yeah, that can get a little dicey. Just to be safe … I know that there are different homeowner’s insurance out there that covers a certain amount for that kind of stuff, but if you want to put together some sort of … I’m obviously not a lawyer, but if you want to put together some waiver, that would be great, just to cover your own butt.

Brett: Or maybe get umbrella insurance.

Jerred: Yeah.

Brett: Hey, Jerred, where can people learn more about your work?

Jerred:  Yeah. You can go to That’s all spelled out,

Brett: What does that mean, by the way?

Jerred: I came up with it a long time ago. I actually thought it would be a cool name for a band. You know how the drummer is like one, two, three, and then they go? When I decided I was going to start a fitness website, I had told my wife about that a long time ago, and she’s like, “That’s the perfect name for it,” because that’s where the fitness happens, at the end of three, at the end of that countdown, and so that’s what End of Three fitness means.

Brett: Awesome. I was curious about that.

Jerred:  Then at as well. It’s not a different website. It’s just with the book coming out, you could just type that in. It may be easier to remember, but will take you to the book, because we’re giving away free copies when we first launch it.

Brett: Awesome. Hey, Jerred Moon, thank you so much for your time. It’s been a pleasure.

Jerred: Yeah, man. So glad to be on. Thanks so much.

Brett: My guest today was Jerred Moon. He’s the author of the book, Garage Gym Athlete, and you can find more information about his book at, and you can find it on Amazon. Also, check out his other site, for more DIY fitness equipment tips and plans. Also, make sure to check out the show notes for this show at AOM.IOS/Moon.

Well, that wraps up another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. For more manly tips and advice, make sure to check out the Art of Manliness website at, and if you enjoyed this show and have gotten something out of it, I’d really appreciate it if you give us a review on iTunes or Stitcher, as that helps spread the word about the show, and, also, just tell your friends about us.

As always, I appreciate your continued support, and, until next time, this is Brett McKay, telling you to stay manly.

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