How Clarence Built a $2,600 Outdoor Gym in His Backyard. No Garage Space? No problem!
- Transform your backyard into a dream workout space as Clarence did for less than $7K
- Get tips from a CrossFit coach and former military officer on how to create a functional and affordable outdoor home gym
Clarence is a man of many passions, including fitness, cars, and the military.
As a technology consultant by day for a financial services firm, Clarence also channels his passion for fitness as a Level 2 CrossFit coach on the side, and he’s a former Army Reserve Officer and co-owner of a CrossFit affiliate gym in NJ.
Clarence knows a thing or two about building an effective home gym.
When the pandemic hit and he moved to Texas, Clarence started with the limited equipment he had on hand – a rower, sandbag, GoRuck gear, and the Rogue Bravo kit. But with his love for outdoor workouts and his El Camino SS, MX5 Miata, and C8 Corvette taking up all three garage spots, Clarence had to get creative. He tried setting up a small workout space in the garage but found having to move a car out to have room too annoying to working out.
The Solution: An Outdoor Gym in the Backyard
Clarence is no stranger to outdoor workouts. In Iraq he used sandbags, bricks, and whatever they found to put together a makeshift gym during his first deployment.
Clarence had a concrete pad built for his outdoor gym but it was a very barebones setup. You don’t need much to get a workout in there but it’s not comfortable to be lifting in the hot sun!
He recently had a lean-to built with galvanized steel to protect his equipment from the nature elements and himself from the sun/rain.
Clarence’s philosophy is to spend big on the things that matter and cut spending on things that will wear out over time.
His rig and barbell are high-quality items while everything else is affordable enough to replace in five years.
Outdoor Home Gym Challenges:
There are many challenges to having an outdoor gym. You need to make sure to have good storage of the equipment and to keep spending low.
He cobbled together a shelf and plans to expand it into a cabinet so all the equipment is covered.
He sprays the right down every few months with corrosion resistant solution and so far is working well.
He used some cheap $35 outdoor solar-powered lights and drilled them into the top beam. This is by far the most cost-effective measure compared to having to get a contractor to wire up an electrical box to your outdoor gym. When you are on a budget you gotta get creative.
Home Workouts Programming
Clarence’s fitness routine includes a 5km Ruck (3.1 Miles) with a 30lb plate around his neighborhood whenever he can.
He typically does three days of strength training, rotating between classical targeted weight training and Olympic movements, and adds CrossFit-style workouts at least three times a week.
Before building this, he exclusively did the programming provided by GoRuck’s tribe ‘n training membership. You don’t need very much equipment to do them and it’s an easy way to not think about having to program your own workouts.
Outdoor Home Gym Pro Tip
If you’re building an outdoor gym, make sure you have at least 10.5-11ft cleared so you can hit the RX target of a 10ft wall-ball. It’ll be hard to do CrossFit programming without it. Having a rig that will clear your toes for kipping and is sturdy enough not to wobble while doing bar muscle-ups really encourages you to do more. It is worth the money.
Clarence also recommends starting small with equipment like a sandbag and kettlebell, and not letting inconvenience stop you from working out. He definitely spends more time outside working out now that he has this amazing setup. But, don’t let that stop you from buying a cheap sandbag, and kettlebell to start your movement journey. There were moments when he didn’t find being outside convenient so he stopped working out. Don’t let his excuse be your excuse.
Clarence’s outdoor gym has made him more motivated to work out, and he recommends finding a workout space that’s visible and accessible. For Clarence, his gym is the first thing he sees when he enters his property. If you’re interested in Clarence’s programming and fitness journey, you can follow him on Instagram @clarencews.
There are many future upgrades Clarence hopes to do: Adding a wall ball target, closing up the left side of the pad where the right is so he can do HSPU’s (hand Stand Push Ups) and adding some way to get a cardio machine in there.
Backyard Home Gym Equipment
- Rack: Titan Fitness X-3 91” Flatfoot Rig with Weight Holders (cheapest tall 3×3 rig he could find)- $700
- Barbell and plates: Rogue Bravo Bar Bumper set (Came with Ohio Bar, rings, OSO collars and bumper plates) – $730
- Bench: CAP Flat Utility Bench $100
- Dumbbells: Pair of 50lb Adjustable dumbbells – $175
- GoRuck Sandbag 60lb – $150
- GoRuck Rucker 1.0 – $160
- Titan Fitness Ruck Plate 20lb – $30
- Titan Fitness Ruck Plate 30lb – $40
- Balance Form 3 Plyobox – $100
- Battle Rope 50′ – $75
- Flooring: Horse stall matts 5x – $200
- Accessories: Random odds and ends like Kettlebells, extra bumper plates, extra barbell, bands, jump rope etc. – All less than $35 per item (you need to be patient and wait for sales) $200
Total Home Gym Equipment = $2,600
Backyard Home Gym Structure Building
- 20 x 10 Concrete pad – $1,200
- Galvanized Steel Lean to – $1,800
Approx total – $6,500 Everything Included (He has been slowly acquiring new pieces through his company’s wellness program which gives $1,000 a year to spend on fitness)