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8 Steps to Heat Up Your Cold Garage Gym this Winter

October 14, 2020

Feeling the frustration of a cold garage gym?

We hear you.

 

When it comes to heating your happy place, aka your garage gym, it is important that it is done right. For many of us, the cold season lasts a long time, which may mean fighting the dreaded cold for longer than we would like.


If done right, your garage gym lifting can be transitioned from simply surviving to thriving, so that you can continue to make those gains that you have set your sight on.


The following are 8 excellent ways to keep your garage gym feeling warm and toasty this fall and winter season.

 

1. Space Heater

 

There are all sorts of space heaters out there. You’ll find fuel burning, radiant, convective, filler space, and radiating space heaters with a quick search through google.

 

 

 

As each of these have a specific purpose, we will briefly go through some of these so that you can decide what will work best for you.


Radiant heaters use infrared to heat objects in its direct line of sight. This means that it heats objects and not the air. This is a quicker approach to heating than most others and is a good option for poorly insulated garage gyms. The price of a radiant heater generally does run rather high than other types of space heaters. 


Convective heaters are often what you see in various stores and businesses. People often place these in their homes when their home heating is not cutting it alone. These heat the air which eventually heats the objects surrounded by the air. 


A convective heater usually contains a fan which blows the heat into the air and disperses it across the room. 


If your garage gym is well-insulated, this may be a good option as it will be able to hold the heat inside of the garage and keep the room warm for a long period of time. These tend to take a long time to heat an entire room, but once they do, it makes a great difference.


Filler space heaters tend to have an oil that heats up (can take a long time to do so), and then uses the heat generated to fill the room. This type of heater is great for those with a small gym room or garage, because once it is hot, it continues to heat the room for a long time.


A few words of caution:


Combustive heaters such as a kerosense heater which uses the burning of fuel to create heat can be dangerous as it produces soot and carbon monoxide, both of which can be harmful when breathed in. Also, make sure to purchase a space heater that can plug directly into the wall outlet and has a tip-over safety switch to prevent any potential fire hazards.


Your garage gym is only useful and enjoyable if it is still standing!

  

2. Warm up inside your home

 

You don’t have to perform your entire workout in your garage. Both your warm up and cold down can take place inside the comfort of your home where hopefully it doesn’t feel like a frozen tundra.


It is hard enough to workout when you are feeling cold and having a difficult time moving around as it is. So if possible, grab that PVC pipe of yours and begin practicing your initial movements inside.


By beginning with a light warmup where it is even mildly warm, you may find that it is much easier to get the barbell moving once inside that cold garage gym of yours.

 

3. Proper clothing

 

You’ve heard it before. We need to “layer up” before going out into the cold. 

 

 

Well, it still stands true here. If you’ve ever gone hiking or on a run in the cold, you know that after several minutes your jacket needs to come off, then your gloves, etc. The same applies whether you are running or lifting weights in the cold. 

 

Those extremely breathable workout clothes you bought over the summer were really nice until it wasn’t 80 degrees outside anymore. Now, you are probably wishing you bought something a little heavier and thicker.


The breathable clothes are what you ought to wear as your first layer known as your base layer.


Over your base layer, you’ll want something that you can still move freely while wearing, but it should be an item of clothing that is still going to trap the heat that your body is producing. This may be sweats, a hoodie, etc. 


In some regions, several layers may be needed. Your outermost layer should be the thickest and most restrictive layer as this will be the first to be shed as soon as you begin to warm up. This will allow you to move more freely as you progress throughout your workout.


Once your body begins to heat up,  this layer can be removed and you can begin working out in your more comfortable and breathable clothes. The key here is that your body remains warm.


If you are olympic weightlifting or powerlifting in the cold, then you may need to put your hoodie and sweats back on in between sets while you rest. Just make sure, these are not covered in freezing sweat before putting them back on.


If you are performing CrossFit workouts, you may shed clothes as you go, like Mat Fraser does during competition (only you may not have a crowd cheering for you as you strip down in that cold garage gym of yours).

 

4. Window Insulator Kits

 

If you have never heard of a window insulator kit before, you are in for a treat.


If you don’t have windows in your garage, go ahead and skip to #5.

 

 


For the rest of us, you’ll be surprised to feel the difference these make in your home or garage gym. 


Once you buy these, you will most likely find yourself buying these every winter as they do a surprisingly good job at keeping the cold out.


These are fairly cheap and very effective. They come with double sided tape that runs along the perimeter of your window. The transparent plastic is then placed on the double sided tape.


Excess plastic is cut away and a blow dryer is used to remove wrinkles, and tighten the plastic so that it is no longer visible. 


It’s hardly noticeable and quite effective.


Think of it as a second layer for your windows.



You can find an example of a kit here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B015PY2BTS/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_q97HFb39NHX6F

 

5. Seal your Doors

 

 

 

Doors, even brand new ones, can be a hassle when it comes to keeping warm. Everyone’s doors are going to be a little different. A good way to see where the cold air may be getting through is by placing a bright light (at night preferably) outside of the door. 

 

As you walk into your garage, close the door behind you. Wherever you see light coming through, you’ve got a small passageway for that pesky cold breeze to get to your weights and your gym.

 

 

The ultimate goal is to prevent any cold air from getting through. There are two very simple and easy options that may help you based on your needs. First is a self-adhesive weatherstrip along your door. This is great for the sides and top of the door.


If the bottom of your door is an issue, which it often is in the case of garage gyms, you may consider trying a door draft stopper. This provides good insulation and prevents most cold air from getting in allowing your gym equipment to stay much warmer.

  

6. Apply Insulation as Necessary

 

Garages are notorious for being on-going projects that don’t get as much attention and care as other parts of our home. 


With that being said, our garages often do not get insulated very well, or sometimes at all. 

 

Sometimes we get stuck with a garage door that is simply a piece of tin with nothing on the inside to insulate our gym from the outside cold. This is where garage door insulation comes in.

 

 

Made with a rigid, foamed plastic with closed cells, these insulated blocks can make a drastic difference in the warmth of your lifting haven. The nice thing about these is they are typically a one time purchase. To cover an entire garage door, you may spend a bit more than you would have in our previous suggestions, but it is will worth it.


Now for the elephant in the room. If you can still see bare 2x4’s running up the walls of your garage, it may be time to have a come-to-Jesus talk.

 

 

Just like with a garage door, no insulation in between those 2x4’s of yours allows a constant attack on your precious barbell all winter long.

 

Your barbell does not deserve that, and neither do you. It may be time to purchase a little bit of insulation, drywall, and a box screws. Getting this taken care of this winter can be a quick project with huge benefits; so let’s get it done.

  

7. Proper flooring

 

One of our last suggestions for keeping your barbell warm during the winter is to make an investment in proper flooring. 


At $40-50 per 4’ x 6’ mat, horse stall mats can make a significant difference in the warmth of your gym. Not only do they provide some mild sound protection, but they also prevent the cold from getting to your weights. 

 

 

It is an additional ¾-1” of rubber between you and the frozen cement beneath you.


Using a wood platform can help in a similar way. The idea is that you are not allowing the cold floor to absorb any of the heat that is produced in your garage gym. 


In many areas, you will be okay with just a couple of the tips suggested. Other areas like Canada, Chicago, Michigan, North Dakota, Wisconsin, or any other treacherously cold place, you may very well need to implement many of these above approaches in order to make the most of your garage gym this winter.


And finally...

 

8. The Barbell Warmer

 

Yes, we said it. And yes, this is our very own. 


We believe in our products and love seeing people enjoy them as much as we do.

 


We know that when it comes to keeping your hands and barbell from freezing, a barbell warmer is going to be your best bet. 


If you have not heard of one before or want to learn more, you are in the right place.


If you already have purchased yours, kudos to you. If you have not, learn more about the Barbell Warmer here.


Many people have tried various ways to keep from touching the frigid cold winter barbell. We have heard it all.


Wrapping their jacket sleeves around their hands, warming up wet towels in the microwave and placing them around the bar (not recommended due to potential rust), using a space heater, etc.


None of these do the job nearly as well as the barbell warmer, and they can be a hassle. You’ve certainly got better things to do with your time.


If you want a sure and effective way to heat your gym. You’ve found it.


With our time settings, you can get your full 8 hours of sleep, wake up, grab your cup of joe, and start lifting because a warm barbell is there waiting for you.


If you end up not working out as planned, no need to worry about wasting energy, the timer automatically shuts off the barbell warmer for you at either 24,12, or 6 hours so that you don’t have to worry about it.

 

Conclusion  

 

Thermabell believes in providing people with the best tools to provide a warm lifting season all year round so that your exercise and performance are not hindered by the climate around you.


We would love to hear what successes you have had with these and any other ideas that you would suggest.


Please leave a comment below and as always, stay warm and happy lifting.



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