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More and more people are looking to build a home gym these days.

Whether you want to save on membership fees, cut down on your commute time to the gym, or are currently dealing with a closed gym due to corona, building a home gym makes a lot of sense.

The prospect is exciting. You’ll never have to wait for equipment, smell that one StinkyGuy™, or withstand awful gym playlists again.

But once your eyes have begun to sparkle with the promise of an iron utopia, how do you actually realize the dream? What equipment should you buy and how should you set everything up?

The good news is thanks to high-demand for home gym equipment and the power of the unfettered free market, supply is ample and options are plentiful. So whether you want to set something up in your studio apartment or have a 3-car garage you can convert into a full-fledged gym, there’s probably a slew of products that will fit the bill.

In fact, the choices can be downright daunting.

That’s why I’ve tagged in a home gym equipment expert, Cooper Mitchell, to join me on this episode of the podcast. Cooper runs a website called, which features (as the name implies) product reviews and articles all about setting up a home gym. He’s tested over 300 barbells, 250 squat racks, 50 bumper plates, and more, so he has his finger on the pulse and ear to the rubber flooring on this sort of stuff. 

In this podcast, Cooper covers . . .

  • How much money and space you’ll need (and how to make the most of that space)
  • Equipment for an “essentials gym” as well as add-on bonus recommendations
  • Adjustable dumbbell options
  • Modular racks, leg press options, belt squats, and kettlebell considerations
  • And more . . .

So if you’re interested in decking out your garage and turning it into a bona fide home gym without breaking the bank, this episode is for you!


9:15 – Who should and shouldn’t create a home gym?

11:26 – How much money do I need for a home gym?

17:51 – How much space do I need for a home gym?

20:52 – Are there any downsides to using a PRX machine?

27:46 – What are some low budget equipment recommendations? What type of equipment would you recommend if money isn’t a problem?

33:17 – Any tips for buying used items?

34:48 – What are your thoughts on Bowflex adjustable dumbbells?

39:03 – Are there any add-ons worth considering?

43:06 – Have you tested any leg press machines?

49:07 – Any information on kettlebells?

51:57 – Is there anything else that you would like to mention?

56:05 – Where can people find you and your work? 

Mentioned on The Show:

Garage Gym Reviews Website

Garage Gym Reviews YouTube

Garage Gym Reviews Instagram

Home Gym Community

Books by Mike Matthews

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Mike: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Muscle For Life. I’m your host, Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today, and you’re gonna this episode. If you are looking to build a home gym or a garage gym like many people, or whether it’s because they wanna just save on. Gym fees, or maybe they want to commute less or maybe their gym is closed due to roa, or in my case, busier than ever.

My gym is so busy that I stopped going at my normal 12:00 PM ish slot, and now I’ve switched back to the early morning slot because they’re there often. Were no benches available. No squat racks available. Lots of people standing around waiting to use equipment, and so yeah, I’m back to 7 30, 7 45, which I thought was going to significantly hinder my performance because in the past I really did notice a difference between lifting first thing in the morning and later in the day after.

I’ve fully woken. Been gotten some calories in me, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve felt good in my workouts. I’ve been strong. I’ve been able to hit my weight and rep targets. Hey, these days the little things mean a little bit more, don’t they? Now as far as home gyms go, if I had the space in my house to get the equipment I would really want, I would probably do it because the prospect of having a kick ass home gym is exciting.

You don’t have to wait for equipment. You don’t have to smell the smelly people. You don’t have to endure awful gym playlists. But once you start to look into how to build your iron utopia, you run into a lot of questions. What equipment should you buy? What brands should you buy? How should you set everything up?

And the good news is thanks to the unprecedented levels of demand right now for home. Gym equipment and the power of the interwebs, you have quite a few options to choose from, and you don’t need that much space or that much money. So whether you have a studio, apartment and a pretty bare bones budget or maybe a.

Three or four 10 car garage that you can convert into a full-fledged gym and more or less unlimited capital. There is a solution for you and that’s why I have brought Cooper Mitchell onto the podcast. He is a bonafide home gym equipment. Expert. He is the founder of Garage Gym, where he features product reviews and articles, all about setting up a home gym.

He has tested a lot of stuff. For example, he has personally tested and in many creative ways that you can go check out on his YouTube channel. Cooper Mitchell Garage Gym reviews. He’s tested over 300 barbells. He’s tested over 250 squat racks, 50 different types of bumper plates and more. So he really does have his finger on the pulse and his ear to the rubber floor on this type of stuff, and in this interview, Cooper covers a lot.

He explains how much money and space you need and how to make the most of that space. So bare minimums, of course, you can go up from there. He talks about what equipment makes for a great essentials gym, and then what you can add on top of that to make your home workouts even more. Interesting. And in some cases more effective.

We go over adjustable dumbbells and Cooper shares a couple of pretty neat brands I hadn’t heard of, and one in particular was really slick looking like those would be the ones that I would want personally. And we talk modular racks, leg press options, belt squats, kettle bells, and more. Also, if. What I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world, and we’re on top because every ingredient and dose in every product is backed by peer reviewed scientific research.

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So while you don’t. Pills, powders, and potions to get into great shape. And frankly, most of them are virtually useless. There are natural ingredients that can help you lose fat, build muscle, and get healthy faster, and you will find the best of them in legions products to check out everything we have to offer, including protein powders and protein bars, pre-workout, post workout supplements, fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more head.

To, v y And just to show how much I appreciate my podcast peeps, use the coupon code M F L at checkout and you will save 20% on your entire first order. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you also. All natural evidence based supplements that work.

Please do consider supporting Legion so I can keep doing what I love, like producing more podcasts like this. Cooper, welcome to most of life, my 

Cooper: friend. I’m happy to be here. Happy to virtually meet you. 

Mike: Yeah, same. This was good timing because I was, I explained this before, obviously we got on the podcast, but I’ll say it again for everybody listening, so I have a long, pretty in depth home gym guide [email protected] and my team and I, my content team and I, we recently updated.

Last year 2020 Covid, 19 edition, and I was going to turn that into a monologue podcast and just share all the information in it. And it was right around then that you reached out to me and I checked out what you’re doing. And I was like, Oh, here’s someone who actually has done a lot more work on building home gyms and reviewing equipment and putting together guides than me.

This could make for a perfect podcast and save me a little bit of time. A little bit of oh adjective maybe because with the podcast I have a love and hate relationship. I really enjoy having conversations with people and sometimes I really do not enjoy rehashing something that I just spent a bunch of time writing and reading my articles, not word for word, but skimming through them.

Sometimes it’s, it is some of the most annoying. That I do, period, because I’ll misspeak sometimes or I’ll think of different ways to say things or I’ll wanna change the article. So this way I just get to have a nice conversation and let an expert just make me look good. . 

Cooper: Hopefully I can provide some fresh perspective.

I would say I probably used. More variety of barbells than probably anybody out there. And that’s somewhat of a boast, but somewhat of a, I just don’t have much else to do. So I review barbells , so hopefully I can provide some good perspective on things. Just 

Mike: looking at your website, which is garage gym

So you’ve gone through 303 barbells, you’ve gone through 257 squat racks, 58 different. Bumper plates, 27 different pull up bars, 310 different conditioning machines, 117 fitness tech things, 48 recovery tools, 53 shoes, 41 cuddle bells, and 33 dumbbells. I’m impressed. I like the attention to detail and I like the grind, like I understand the work that went into that, and there’s a reason why your website and your brand is doing as well as it is.

Cooper: Yeah. Yeah. It’s an industry that I’m passionate about and it’s something I love doing. So it’s definitely hard at times, when you’ve reviewed the same barbell from the same company like five times, but they keep coming out with a new one cuz they wanna refresh it even though there’s not really much change that about it.

But yeah, it’s definitely fun because I like, just like you lifting weights and training in my garage and I get to do it for a living. It’s fun. So 

Mike: let’s see, Let’s start this discussion. Let me just quickly give you an idea of who my average listener is. So this is gonna be somebody who takes their fitness seriously, but isn’t making a living from this.

And this isn’t the only thing they have going, They have, three to five hours a week. To train and they’re into weightlifting or minimally into resistance training, and they spend more time doing that than doing cardio. They care about their health. They care about the food that they eat, they care about the supplements they take.

They really want to know that what they’re doing in the kitchen, in the gym, Is conducive to not just a good body composition, but longevity and, health and wellness for the long term. And as far as a home gym goes, what I was thinking is where we start probably is who should and shouldn’t consider.

Creating a home gym? 

Cooper: Yeah, great question because a home gym, although I think is, I’ve said this before, I think home gyms are the future of fitness. I think that’s how a lot of people will begin to train more and more at home. I do wanna say that I don’t think technology is quite at the level yet as what I think it will be in about five, 10 years, where somebody who is lacking motivation, some, internal discipl.

And has to have the other people in the room say CrossFit gym or say you just go to a local gym and it, there’s something about having other people in the room that can push you to perform and compete, things like that if you are that type of 

Mike: person or just going to another place. Yeah. Like I know a lot of people, they tell me that they just, like even people who have home gyms or who could afford and who have the space and the money to do it and to do it quite well, they still.

The ritual of getting in their car and it helps them, everyone’s working from home these days, so it helps them just take their mind off of work, which now is inextricably associated with being at home, and they can just go to their gym and kind of focus on what they’re doing and then come back home.

Cooper: Yep. I totally agree. I think that. If you do have that discipline, and it’s something that I think a lot of people find, because I think some people who start or have to work out at home, say with the pandemic and people are shutting their homes and they have to work out at home, gyms are shut down, so they’re forced to find that discipline.

I think once it’s found, then a home gym, in my opinion, is the best way to train. I think it’s something that it can be available for a lot of people. It doesn’t have to cost as much as people think, but I think for, a large percentage of people, It can be one of the best ways to train. And I think there’s a lot of obstacles that people have in their minds about how can I get that home gym where I can start training that it’s not as hard to overcome, I think today as maybe they think it is.

Yeah, it 

Mike: could just seem overwhelming at first, especially if you’re new to all of this. Definitely. Because you don’t even really know, for example, what you should be doing in your training, let alone how you should set up a gym to do that. So what are the constraints here? So again, who would you say what’s gonna be required?

Cuz at least this is what I get asked about the most often in reference to home gyms. How much space do I need and how much money do I need? Those are like the first things that immediately qualify 

Cooper: or disqualify, right? Yeah. Yeah. Definitely having capital, it obviously requires. Although I don’t think it always requires a ton, and then also the space to put it, which is another thing that’s, it’s a variable depending on your type of training.

But I do think today there’s a lot of options that you can have. A large amount of versatility in a small amount of space, and that’s like the home gym game. That’s what everybody’s trying to do, is they’re trying to increase the amount of versatility that their equipment can provide for their workouts and the amount of output they can get out of that equipment for the amount of space they have, because, We’re all in finite spaces.

Either an upstairs bedroom, a basement, some random room or garage. Even people with three car garages like I have, I run out of space for certain things because, I end up filling it. Once you have a space for something, you end up filling it with stuff. So I think the price is obviously, gonna be a constraint.

And then also the space, Those two, like you said, are gonna be the biggest ones. And as far 

Mike: as price goes, let’s also say that we’re speaking to people who. To lift weights minimally, they wanna do resistance training, but they wouldn’t be excited to have some bands and a dip station and a pull up bar, like that’s not a home gym to them, it’s gonna be barbell.

It’s gonna be ideally, Some dumbbells. Maybe it’s a modular, maybe it’s a full set. Something that’s gonna allow you to do the big exercises and ideally be able to do a couple of accessories, at least to be able to replicate some of what you find in machines, replicate, maybe a lap, pull down a seated row, a triceps, press down, a cable curl, that type of.

Those are gonna be optionals for sure, like the bare bones. For people listening probably would be the barbell setup and the dumbbells with a couple of accessories maybe to facilitate that style of training. And then if they could add a few more things, that makes it even more attractive. So with that in mind, What is the starting budget?

And I know you’re gonna get into specifics, but I’m just curious, what would you say is a starting budget if used equipment is a viable option? I’m curious to hear your thoughts on that, but we can get to that. What’s a starting budget that you think indicates that somebody should consider doing it?

If you can spend this amount of money, then we can work with that. And then how much space is. 

Cooper: Yeah, I think the minimum viable amount of money that you need to have a gym where you can do a lot of movements feel safe about doing them and not a ton of space is gonna be around a thousand bucks.

Obviously that’s gonna go up as you want higher quality, and it can go down even if you want lower quality. For instance, we did a video on how to build a $500 Amazon home gym, and the products are all imported. They’re a little bit cheaper. But the thing is, I tweeted this the other. A thousand dollars barbell is not gonna get you stronger than a hundred dollars barbell.

It’s how you use it. So there’s different things about the product that you’re gonna like and enjoy using, but I really think that a lot of people can get by with a low amount of money, like a thousand bucks, which will provide you a squat rack, a nice squat rack that’s safe, that you can do just a crazy amount of exercises a.

Obviously lower body, but also you can bench out of it. You can overhead press, and then you can have a pullup bar on top where you can do all sorts of pullups and levers and all those sorts of things as well. Add some rings on top and then you can do some dips. But then in addition to that, we’ve got a mutual friend in Mark Ripe that loves the barbell, and I think we would both agree that the barbell is king.

And so a barbell for a home gym is the center point for a lot of people that are training resistance with resistance training. Barbells today are cheaper than any other time in history because there’s more people training with barbells at home than any other time in history.

. So the economies of scale have allowed companies like Rogue Fitness Rep Fitness, Tighten Fitness, and some of these others to scale to a capacity that they can sell good barbells that, decades ago would’ve cost a thousand bucks. And you can now get them for 250 bucks. 200 bucks with lifetime warranties that are made in the.

Something that in reality, not that long ago would’ve seemed out of the realm of possibility. So I think getting a good barbell is your starting point. You get some iron on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace that you can throw on up to the weight that you want to lift eventually. You can always add more on if you want something that you’re gonna.

Be able to drop. You can go with something like bumper plates, but I think for most people, iron is really what they should look at. But then you have your squat rack. You have your bar that’s really nice. You have a squat rack that’s got some safeties on it. It can be in a half rack or a four post rack, like a power rack.

That’s what I prefer. I think it’s a little bit safer, and it also has a pull up bar. Then you have your plates on the end with some callers that are really cheap. And then I would suggest probably a bench, some sort of flat. We tested an Amazon Basics bench that was 50 bucks that had an 800 pound capacity.

And honestly like it was IPF height, so it was 17 and a half inches off the ground, which is what you want. There’s just a lot of really good things about it. And it was 50 bucks, shipped my door. So I think, you add up, let’s say 250 bucks for a barbell. Was it 

Mike: off the back of the truck and then to your door?

Like ? 

Cooper: Yeah. I was amazed. Sturdy. It was, there’s definitely a lot of refinement that could happen with it, with better foam and all this other stuff, and I like nicer things, so there’s a lot of things I would prefer over that. But for a bare bone setup, you just want to get training, like options like that are perfect.

It’s like the h and m of a bench. It’s just cheap. Made cheaply, but it’s something that can get you started. So you know, you’re looking at two 50 for a bar, 50 bucks for a bench. You’re looking at maybe 500 bucks or so for a rack. There are some okay racks that are imported that I would still say are safe, that are around 250 bucks, 300 bucks shipped on Amazon.

But I do think that a lot of people, what happens is they end up upgrading over time. So if you can get something that’s a little bit more expensive for the things that you use, you’re gonna have better resale value, and you’re also gonna feel safer, be able to add attachments and things like that. So I think a thousand bucks.

Is gonna get you all those things. And then if you want to add something like adjustable dumbbells from Power Block or Iron Master or some other company like that could be, one of those luxury items that you could get that would still come in under that thousand dollars mark and you’d be able to do, most of what most people do at the gym for.

Around a thousand bucks. And what about space? Yeah, definitely. That’s a hard one. Here’s what I say is minimum space. If you want a barbell, which you don’t have to train at the barbell, but I think if you want a barbell, the minimum amount of space is gonna be nine feet wide. The reason I say nine feet wide is because, The barbell’s seven feet, and you have a foot on each side at a minimum to put plates on and to prevent you running into your drywall and popping a hole in it.

So I’d say nine feet wide. Man. 

Mike: Imagine training in . It would discipline you for sure. It would keep you, You’re gonna be paying a really close attention to your form and you’re not gonna be throwing barbells around and you . That would be interesting, 

Cooper: actually. Definitely. I think you’d be amazed at the amount.

Fitness that can be had in such a small space and kind of what we’re seeing. Like we did a video on how to build a shed gym. So I bought a shed that was, I think nine by 12 or something like that, and I just put a whole setup in there. I put a squat, rack, conditioning, bike plates, everything you can think of, and.

You don’t need a ton of space. It’s nice to have more space. Obviously you won’t feel as claustrophobic, but there’s a lot of people out there that are getting it in a six by six room. So I think that nine feet wide, and then I would say a depth of minimum six feet, maybe nine feet, that would allow you to have some space in front of the power rack to deadlift.

But I got a guy who lives in San Francisco, Obviously you. Rent is super high. So he trains out of a closet gym. He lives in 

Mike: a dented porta-potty . 

Cooper: Yeah. And pays 2,500 a month for it. Exactly. Yeah. But he’s got a fold down rack that folds off the wall. It’s basically a closet, but he’s got eight feet overhead where he can overhead pressed if he’s like sitting on a bench.

And there’s a lot that could be done there. So I think something to that realm, nine feet wide and a minimum of six feet to nine. As a minimum, I think is what you’re looking for. Anything beyond that you can get really creative with. That’s great. 

Mike: I’m in a bedroom, My fancy recording studio is a bedroom in my basement, so I look at this bedroom and it’s probably 20 feet across

It’s like spacious. I could do even more with it if I. Knew which equipment to get and how to 

Cooper: set it up. Yeah. There’s a lot of companies that today are going, they’re making equipment specifically for that market. , the people who either they want to still park in the garage or they don’t like, have a full room to put things in.

So one company is called PRX Performance. They make these full down racks, and then everything they make. Bolts to the wall, so it all collapses up against the wall. The rack sits off like four inches off the wall when it’s up, and then when it folds down, it’s, you’re able to use it fine. You can park your car in the garage fine.

So this is a need. The lack of space is a need that a lot of people have. And so there’s a lot of companies that have. And that’s not even like considering any of the smart home gyms out there, like tonal or tempo that are using cables and like very small, they’re using magnetic resistance and all types of weird resistance.

 To have a compact gym that’s suited for apartments and things 

Mike: like that. Are there any downsides to I, I’ve seen the prx set up. I’ve just never trained with one. Are there any notable downsides to that versus a more traditional home gym? What you were just. . 

Cooper: Yeah. I think the biggest downsides are one stability of the rack, because the way that it’s bolted, once it comes down, they’re using like, I wanna say quarter inch, maybe five eight inch steel.

And it has some rigidity, but the side to side isn’t perfect. Two is safety. It’s not a four post rack, it’s a squat stand. So you can put safety spotters on there, and I would. Nobody bench without them. But at the same time, if you squat and let’s say you fall backwards or something, there’s nothing to catch you or anything like that.

So there is some, inherent less safety there with that type of product, which is just a half rack in general. And then the other one is like the lack of attachments that you can use on it with a four post rack. You don’t really even need to bolt it to the ground because it’s so heavy and rigid.

You can add a lot of attachments for different things, pull up bars and all that sort of stuff without having to worry about it. With a rack like that, if you start adding attachments, it doesn’t really work well cause it’s just not rigid enough. However, I will say this. We have a video where last summer we went up to their facility and I talked them into letting me drop 500 pounds from head height onto their spot arms because I told them people are worried about the racks falling out of the wall, and there was no issues.

500 pounds dropped on the spotter arms from head height, and there was no issues. That’s how strong studs are and that’s how strong the rack was. It’s funny that you, 

Mike: I mean that, that’s good marketing. That reminds me of does it blend or something that’s just sensational where you’re like, Oh, I’m actually curious now I don’t even people who aren’t even in the market, I’m not even thinking about buying one, but I wanna see what happens.

It’s funny that they didn’t come up with that idea. Cause I’m sure that. They were hearing from people asking that question like, Ha, how do I know this thing is safe? 

Cooper: Definitely. They were nervous. They didn’t want to do it. But you think they would try it themselves then? Exactly. They knew 

Mike: Oh no 

Cooper: this isn’t gonna go well.

We’ve already done it. 

Mike: Sorry, dude. Yeah, 

Cooper: that’s what I was saying. I was like, You guys should like, Do this internally, and then once it’s successful, then try it, so everybody can see. But I was, I talked ’em into it. I was like, Can we just do it first on video? And they’re like you made them a lot of money.

Yeah. Oh yeah. That video has over, I think a million views. So that video’s really popular and I’m sure it sold a lot of their, That’s the type 

Mike: of idea that produces, like a viral video or a viral ad. You could have gotten an agency fee or something for that. A creative license royalties or something.

Cooper: definitely definit. But yeah, I think those type of products can be really useful. And they’re not crazy expensive. They don’t take up a ton of space and that’s something we’re seeing a lot where people have garages. They want to have garage gym, but they’re like, My wife doesn’t want to, park in the street.

She likes her car warm, so she parks inside, which I made sure my wife knew ahead of time. She would never have a parking spot, even though we have a three car garage, . I planned. But if that’s the case, there’s a lot of companies out there that are meeting that you can just bribe her 

Mike: with other things, it’s just a 

Cooper: negotiation. Exactly. I said, You get the house, I get the garage. So you want special furniture, whatever. I’ll take care of it as long as I can get my barbells. So we’re good. 

Mike: Yep. You can’t park the car in there, but. You can get the car you want. How 

Cooper: about that? Yeah, there you go. Exactly.

Unfortunately, we have three kids and she drives a van now, so I guess it’s not absolutely ideal car, but that’s okay. 

Mike: One day she’s in a say. All right, it’s time for the 

Cooper: Range Rover. Yeah, the Tesla. Why? Definitely. Yeah. Yeah. Or that Actually, I just got a Tesla Y. Okay. How do you like it? I think it’s great.

Mike: Okay. I like it a lot. Sweet. I didn’t get the X because I don’t need, My wife has an SUV and we don’t need two SUVs. And actually my plan is to dump the Y in Florida. I split my time, my family and I, we split our time between Virginia and Florida, and we currently don’t have a car in Florida because we don’t really need it when we’re there.

Everything that we want is within walking distance, and my family there and her family’s there, we can grab someone’s car. I’m like, All right, let’s get our own car and just have it there. And so the idea is to put the why in Florida, and then I want to drive the cyber truck around for when I’m in Virginia and I’m excited for that.

But no, the why is great. I have no complaints. It’s, it feels, it actually reminds me I had a. Porsche, a couple of cars ago I had a nine 11 gts, and this why is faster than that was and has a similar feel in terms, it just feels like a super fast little go-cart that zips around and makes no noise and the seats are comfortable and the software is intuitive and I like a lawn musk, so I like that I’m supporting him and.

It doesn’t have much in the way of frills or little creature comforts. I came from a an S class Mercedes, and that’s what that’s all about, obviously. But I was driving so little, it was just ridiculous what the, It just made no sense. I drive to the gym and home and that’s costing me how much, like why?

Yep. You know what I mean? And so I like that the why is a lot less expensive and as far as what I need a car that just gets me around. Cause I also no longer care about trying to look cool. Yeah. If I’m just being blunt. And part of the reason why I got the Mercedes was, it wasn’t like to look cool, but there is a bit of.

There is a bit of that, Like that is a reason why somebody gets a Porsche or Definitely, unless they’re just so into cars that, they just love it for their own enjoyment. That’s not me. I don’t care about cars really. I don’t, Anyway, and now I just don’t care at all about trying to get attention or signal anything.

I don’t care. So I was like, this is great. This is perfect for me. Yeah, no 

Cooper: complaints. Cool. Yeah, the cyber truck is definitely my gray vehicle. I hope you get one when you come out. I drive an electric. But it’s a cheaper, it’s called a Nissan Leaf. I just did it cuz I don’t drive anywhere anyways. Same as you.

So I was like, what’s the cheapest electric car I can get? So I got one of those and after using an electric car, I’m sold. And now I want a Tesla. So once the cyber truck comes out, although they’re controversial, I love the way they look. Did you put your a hundred dollars done? Oh definitely. Oh definitely.

Yeah. Yeah. I like sporting Elon too. I love everything about that business. So yeah, Any way I can do that, I like to do it and I’d really like one. So Cool. Yeah. Yeah. It’s one of those 

Mike: things. At first when I saw it I was like, What am I even looking at? And then one day I looked at it, I was like, Oh wait a minute, I really like that and I want one.

I can’t really explain it 

Cooper: honestly. Yeah. That’s why I want it cuz it looks like nothing else on the road. I want some, it’s just different. I think that’s cool. And it’s bulletproof . Yeah, that too. Which 

Mike: actually may be relevant considering where we’re going in this 

Cooper: wonderful clown world.

Certainly. Certainly. No, I think so. 

Mike: Anyways, Let’s get back on topic here so we have a good now overview of, we could say it’s a bare bones, but it’s an essentials. It’s an essentials home gym that allows you to get your strength training done and maybe with some attachments and some dumbbells. You can do a bit of your body building stuff too if you are training that way, which is how I train and a lot of the people listening train where.

Core strength, but then some extra body building stuff for volume for other muscle groups. I think at this point it’d probably be helpful then to maybe you could just quickly go over some equipment recommendations for that essentials gym, and then we could talk maybe a little bit about if somebody has more money to spend and the space for it, what are some of the other recommendations that you would at least say that?

What should they consider adding to their essentials? Jim, again, assuming. They’re doing mostly barbell and dumbbell training, but they do like to use, I’ll use myself as an example. So some of the machines that I like to use in my gym are the lap pull down machine, the seated row, it’s the same machine, but you can, adjust it.

So lap pull down, seated row, it has a seal row station, which I like it. Not that’s essential, but it’s cool and I’ll use the cable. Set up for some arms, sometimes some shoulders there. And there also is another horizontal row machine that I like to use. And the leg press, of course, if they had a hack squat, I would use it.

So that’d be something. If I had the space and I was willing to spend the money, I would consider that. Now I’ll stop rambling. We can get there when we get there. But let’s start with some equipment recommendations and maybe you can share. Okay. If money is. So much of an object and you’re willing to spend, let’s say, a few thousand dollars on your essentials, get these things, and if you are on a budget, here are some things to 

Cooper: consider.

Definitely. Yeah. So on the higher end, I’d start with the squat rack and I’ll actually, this’ll kind of tie into some of the things you’re wanting to use with the lap. Pull down some of those other things. There’s a lot of squat racks that are available today that are completely modular and you can add lap pull downs and all sorts of attachments to them so you can really.

A lot of the machines that you just talked about liking at the gym, and you can have that in a small amount of space in your power rack. So if that’s something you’re looking for, you’re like, I want something that’s modular. It’s a little bit more expensive, but I want to know. I can always add to it if there’s a lot of safety there.

Everything like that. Then I’d give two options. One would be the Made in America option that’s a little bit higher, and that’s Rogue Fitness. Their Monster and Monster Light series racks are probably the best. I wouldn’t say the overall best as there’s some out there that are maybe using seven gauge steel versus 11 gauge steel and some other things.

But rogue, by and large, if you’re looking for US, made equipment is the leader in the space. And so their monster and monster light racks are fully modular. These, what’s called a four-way hole post. So the upright has holes on all sides of it, meaning you can attach any side, bolt anything onto it.

It’s infinitely expandable. Anything that you plan to do with the rack, you can do with these racks. And the other good thing about them is they’re open source, meaning that the style of posts they’re using, which is a three by three upright, it’s 11 gauge steel and uses one inch holes. Is the same style upright that’s used by practically every other company out there.

So if you like, rep fitnesses attachment, you can add it to your rack even if you have a rogue rack. So that sort of thing is what I’d look at. So a rogue monster light or monster rack. Or a rep fitness PR 5,000 or 4,000. That’s a basically a maden. That’s an imported version of what rogue’s doing.

Very similar but a bit cheaper. And then on the other side, if you’re just looking for something that’s really budget friendly, then I would look at something. That’s on the cheaper end. But something I still think is somewhat safe would be a pro gear, like 1500 rack. They’re like 250, 300 bucks on Amazon.

They’re cheap. They’re not great. You’ll want to upgrade eventually, but you can feel safe inside of it and you can get very strong with it. So for a rack, I’d look at those. Next would be barbell, I would suggest. Rogue fitness is making the best value bar belts that’s out there. I’d go with a rogue Ohio power bar if you’re wanting to do a lot of squat, deadlift, and bench.

If you’re doing other stuff, you can get something without a center neural. But I would say for most people, a rogue Ohio Power bar, they’re around 2 75. 3 25 if you get different like finishes, but these barbells, 190 K tensile strength or 220 K tensile strength, which is just a really stiff bar.

Not gonna bend at all. Great Erling, bronze bushings, lifetime warranty made in the usa. Just tremendous. Value that’s available for the price. So I go with something like that. And then if you wanna go with cheaper option, again, I’d go to Amazon and I’d look for something that has at least 150,000 tensile strength.

That’s something that’s obviously talked about a lot. So Cat barbell, they make a barbell called the OB 86 B. That’s a good option. It’s really cheap, maybe 150 bucks, and it’d be, little bit more budget friendly, but you’ll still be able to get strong with it and still enjoy using. For a bench.

If you want an adjustable bench, which I prefer, you can get a lot more out of it. I would look at the rep AB 5,200 or AB 5 5100. Both of those benches are tremendous. They’re not crazy expensive either, but they’ve got a lot of attachments where you can do sit ups on them and things like that. And you can also use ’em for declined bench and things that a lot of people like doing in the commercial gym that you can’t do at a home gym, but now can with some of these bench options, weight plate.

If you want something that’s new, which I think most people can find and should find used, but if you want something that’s new, the best value right now for iron is the rogue deep dish plates. They’re making ’em in the us, but because they’re making so many of ’em, they’re able to get their price down and they’re a great plate.

They’re iron. They’re priced well. They’re really accurate. They work well. But I think a lot of people can get, just get by with standard barbell iron plates that they find on Craigslist or Walmart somewhere else. They’re gonna be good enough. That was 

Mike: gonna be my question is if you want to find used, do you wanna quickly comment?

Is there anything else that’s worth sharing on that, or is it pretty straightforward? Any tips for people who have never bought maybe anything from Craigslist or Walmart marketplace or elsewhere? Let. 

Cooper: Weightlifting equipment. Yeah, this would be you’d feel weird doing it. Anytime I buy a used item that weighs, that has a certain weight to it, I like to take a scale and weigh it.

The reason being, you can buy 45 pound plates that say 45 pounds on ’em, but they’ll be anywhere from 40 to 50 pounds. So you know, you can really tell the quality of plate by how close to the stated weight it actually is. So I think, if you’re gonna buy plate. Rusty’s fine. It’s really easy to restore that kind of stuff if you want to.

You can just throw it in a vinegar bath if you don’t want to. Just make sure you get a tetanus shot before you use it. But I think, you know it’s still gonna weigh 45 most of the time, but just make sure it’s somewhat accurate and if it is somewhat accurate, that usually. Tends to mean it’s a nicer plate.

So that’s what I would look for plates. And then if you want, some power blocks, which are adjustable, dumbbells, I would look for those. Those things last forever. You can get them for decently priced, at least when the pandemic wasn’t going on. Right now it’s a little bit difficult for all this stuff because everybody’s trying to build home gyms, but.

In normal times, an old style power block set that can go from 10 pounds to 90 pounds, you can get for 250 bucks, 300 bucks, and it’s gonna last you the rest of your life. So those are good options. Those are things I would look at, And there’s everything in between. There’s both cheaper and there’s higher end, but I think for most people, those are gonna be the bank for the book options.

That’s great. 

Mike: And what are your thoughts on the boflex. Adjustable dumbbells Cause that’s the other most popular one out there. Assuming that you can even get ’em, I don’t know the last time I actually have some, but the last time I looked for updating an article they were outta 

Cooper: stock. But yeah, definitely the both like select tech 5 52 s and then Select Tech 10 90 s or 10 80 s.

They’re both, I would say they are the best value adjustable dumbbell that’s out there. They’re not the best. There’s definitely some things about ’em that I don’t like. For, I think they’re 350 bucks. I find them awkward. 

Mike: Hey, they get the job done. I have the set that goes up to 90 pounds and it’s a very awkward 90 pounds.

And then also one of the little plates doesn’t always hold, so that’s obnoxious and I haven’t used them that much and I’ve taken good care of ’em. I don’t slam ’em down or, so It just broke a little bit, but it tends to hold. The main thing though is they’re awkward, and then I know people complain about the handles hurting.

I guess my hands are just used to it. I don’t, it 

Cooper: doesn’t bother me. But yeah. Yeah, that’s definitely an item where you get what you pay for. Anytime there’s some sort of complex movement, there’s like issues to be had there, so the way that they’re adding the weight with the dials and things like that can cause issue.

I think for a lot of people they can overlook some of those things because they’re trying to save money, and that’s one of the reasons they’re building a home gym. So it will be fine. However, if you want a nicer experience that’s gonna last longer. Then there’s a company called New Abel that we’ve reviewed that has a pretty cool like locking system.

They’re really nice. And then iron Masters and power blocks as well. Really great popular dumbbells that I’ve reviewed in depth all of those, and I’ve tested them by dropping them from hip height and all sorts of weird stuff just to see how long they would last. And all three of those I would give my, thumbs up to that.

They’ll last pretty well. Nice. 

Mike: And that nebel, it’s spelled strangely, right? For anybody who wants to try to find it? 

Cooper: Definitely, yeah. It’s in. You with, I’m Midwestern, I’m not Nordic. So the two dots on top of the you. An la la Thank you . La yeah, so just 

Mike: put the you with the la in.

This is what’s called a marketing fail. By the way, never name your company something that nobody can 

Cooper: spell. But anyways, go ahead. Definitely. N U O. In U, the U is out O B E L Newbell. Yeah. And if you search, if you type any of this kind of stuff with the word review at Yeah. The U 

Mike: without the L gets it Actually I didn’t realize that there was an o, at least there’s an O in there.

I thought it was just with the. I suppose the O is worse actually, now that I think about it. It’d probably be better if it was just the U, because then at least you could put it in the U. But if you miss the O, do you get it? But anyway, I’m 

Cooper: just sometimes they actually, they do it as New Bell and then other places they sell it as New Bell.

So I don’t know if they’re competing products or what. But the one I tested and used and I would suggest is the n u o b e L one. Okay. Yeah. And I 

Mike: actually saw that on your website again, Garage gym, and I believe, yes. So it’s, right now it’s on the homepage and it looks really clean.

It looks nice. Yeah. 

Cooper: No, it’s a beautiful design. I think it’s one of the prettiest looking dumbbells that’s out there. The form matters to your purchase. You can decide, but it’s definitely, it feels the most traditional of a dumbbell. Like a normal dumbbell. And you’re talking about 

Mike: now when you use it as well?

Cooper: Yeah. Oh yeah. I mean it, 

Mike: that’s what it looks like cuz, it just looks like a solid hunk of metal. Obviously you can see that there are like layers that you are using to get your weight, but they look really flush with each 

Cooper: other. Yeah. It’s it’s basically like a pro style dumbbell where they’re using iron plates, but.

Thin and their cast iron plates, and then they’re using what’s similar to a barbell handle with Erling, which is really nice and not something you often find with adjustable dumbbells. So yeah, they’re nice. That’s great.

Mike: If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my Sports Nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the. I think that’s good for an overview on the essentials. Are there any other, like maybe add-ons that are worth considering?

You had mentioned some of these extra accessories that you can get. You mentioned from Reps Fitness. Is there anything else you wanted to add there? Maybe some pull up bars, accessories that you can add to your rack versus, and then this is me just asking versus the ones that go into a doorway or maybe the ones that you can attach to the wall.

Kettle bells are probably worth mentioning. I don’t know how popular they are among my listeners, but there’s something I do get asked about fairly often. Yeah, definitely. 

Cooper: So any of those racks that I mentioned, they all have the option to have a lap pull down added to them, which has a low row functionality too.

So any of those, if you get any of those racks, they do have. Addons that you can add the lap pull down in low road to. However, if you want something standalone, there’s a lot of plate loaded, lap pull down options. That’s gonna be your more budget friendly option. The reason is they’re not selling a weight stack.

They’re not having to ship a weight stack. It’s a lot easier to ship things like that. So if you can get weight, Plate loaded equipment, you’re gonna be able to use the plates you’re already using for your bar if you get an Olympic barbell and then you know it’s gonna be a lot cheaper to ship and buy those sorts of things.

So I’d look at something like a lap pull down. There’s a company called Titan Fitness. They’re making a pretty good lap. Pull down that plate. Loaded. Elite fts is another company that makes a, It’s made in the usa. It’s a higher end, but it’s still somewhat affordable. It’s a plate loaded lap pole down in low row.

It works really well. Those sorts of things. I feel. Are popular among people that want to commercial gym feel without pain a lot. That’s a good option once you start getting into the functional trainer type 

Mike: stuff. Would you say the experience is better on those versus an attachment to your rack for your money?

Cooper: Not really, I don’t think so. Not really, because a lot of that plate loaded stuff. It’s not as high quality because they’re trying to be more budget friendly. So I think they’re making some higher end that’s still affordable because they’re not having to build the structure. They’re using the squat racks as a structure, but they still have good pulleys and cables and things like that make a smooth pull, that add to the squat rack.

I think that’s a better option and works really well for most people. That’s why I say, if you’re gonna. Get a good rack from the beginning that has some modularity to it because you’re gonna wanna add stuff to it. I see it time and time again where somebody buys something that’s cheaper and then they’re like, Man, I want to buy a lap.

Pull down. And then they look at the price of a lap pull down versus an attachment. Like I should have just got a more expensive rack. So that’s what I would look to. 

Mike: Yep. Yep, that makes sense. And so let’s see that. With that you can obviously do your dips, you can do your pullups. There’s, for me personally, there’s probably no reason to get something that goes into a doorway or goes up on your wall, if you can just do it right on your 

Cooper: rack. Definitely. Yeah. I think doorway, pull up bars can be really nice. I’ve got a doorway pull up bar in my bathroom and I just use it every time I go in as like a reminder. I don’t know, I heard about it from Pawel to Sulin years ago where it was like greasing the groove and every time you go to the bathroom you gotta do three to five pullups.

And I’ve done that ever since I was high school. So I just still do it. And it’s just a cheap Amazon pull up bar that’s had thousand of reps and it still works just fine. So those can last, but I, a better experience is definitely a textured powder. Pull a bar that’s at the top of your power rack that you can then, attach things to.

That’s another option for people that want cable stuff, but don’t wanna spend a lot of money. We’ve got a DIY version that we did for 25 bucks that used a cheap pulley. It worked really well. Or there’s companies selling them that, like Sping for instance, they spell sell a $50 one. It’s just got a cable pulley and then it’s got a cable attached to it.

You add a handle and then it’s got a weight peg on it. You add the plates to it and you’re able to do lap pull downs, different low rows. Type of cable stuff in a more, economical way. So that’s another option that I forgot to mention. That’s great. And people can 

Mike: find the DIY stuff over at 


Cooper: website, I’m assuming?

Yeah. They can find it on the website or on YouTube. Or YouTube. Yeah, so they can type any of that stuff on YouTube. People like watching stuff today so they can go see it 

Mike: there. Cool. Cool. What about leg press? Have you tested leg 

Cooper: press machines? Yeah. Yeah, so there’s a few unique options that work for home gyms.

One is the vertical leg press. It takes more vertical space, but it doesn’t take as much like horizontal, which is really what home gym people are trying to avoid as that horizontal space being taken up on the floor. Vertical leg presses can be great and they can be, pretty cheap. So tight Fitness has one that we’ve reviewed.

It’s a vertical leg press and it’s. 250 bucks. 300 bucks, super cheap. It’s not the most like comfortable, The guide rods aren’t like lubed, they’re just, It’s not as good of experience as what you’re gonna find at the gym. But it’s also not gonna a dungeon gym feel. . Yeah, exactly. Yeah. But it’s not gonna cost, five grand whereas, Most leg presses you will use at a commercial gym are gonna be like, I carry in Atlantis.

Preco, Nautilus, some of these really higher end stuff, and they’re gonna be very expensive. There isn’t a ton of in between there. It’s either, you got the budget friendly version and then you got the higher end commercial version. There’s not a lot of innovation there yet with companies.

I think there will be, It’s just not that product category. People have added to their gyms yet. Yeah, I 

Mike: can’t say that I’ve tried a vertical leg press coming back all the years. I think I’ve done some kind of janky version on the Smith machine back before I knew what I was doing. But I’ve never tried a vertical leg press.

I really don’t like horizontal leg press as I really prefer the angled, the 45 degree. I’m sure there’s a term for it, but I think everybody knows what I’m referring to. Vertical though would be interesting, I haven’t done it in so long. I’d 

Cooper: have to, I’d have to try it. Yeah, it’s definitely more uncomfortable and definitely feels more supporting as far as some of the pain points that people have with leg presses is it hurting your lower back and things like that.

I don’t think it does any more damage to your lower back than a regular 45. Leg press, which I would say 

Mike: does no damage so long as you’re doing it right. The key thing being right, so you gotta keep, a lot of people know this, but I’ll just say it in case you don’t. The key is you want to use a proper range of motion, but you don’t wanna bring your knees towards you so far that your lower back starts to come off, starts to curl under and come off of the pad.

You need to have that neutral spine so that will depend on your anatomy and your flexibility. Some people are gonna be, More range of motion on the leg press again without bringing the lower back up and off of the pad. So you just have to 

Cooper: work it around your body. Definitely. No, I totally agree.

Another option that I see a lot of people add to their home gym that is a replacement to the leg press and the hack squat is a belt squat. Yep. I like belt squat. It’s just expensive though, right? Is the downside. Yeah, they can be pricey. However, they’re getting cheaper and cheap. And they can do a lot of things.

So I have a rack I built out of just a bunch of random parts that doubles as a belt squat, but also uses the belt squat functionality to turn into a lap pull down. So it takes up like, Way less space. It’s not as expensive, but it has all this functionality where you can add cable attachments to the belt squat.

Something like that, I think has become really popular amongst people that have garage gyms. Cause it takes up way less space from a leg press, but can be used for way more things than a leg press can. So you can squat on it, but you can also use it for curls and presses and all hip thrusts, all sorts of things because there’s just a cable running through the floor.

That’s another option that I think people could look at. Although, it’s definitely more pricey than a lot of this other stuff. Like a cheap flat bench. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Although, I’m looking at your website here. Titan Fitness has a belt squad plate loaded, it looks like, for 500 

Cooper: bucks. Yep. Yep.

They can get cheaper. The problem with some of those cheaper ones is because they’re not using cables or they’re using like lever arms. Yeah. Then you don’t get the extra. Exactly. Yeah. And there’s also, some of those lever arms, there can be some shearing forces on the knees because it’s pulling you forward at the bottom of the squat, which I don’t love.

I prefer something that’s, directly to the ground. So there’s a company called Squat Max MD that makes a plate loaded. Belt squat, but the plates, it’s all gravity fed, so it’s right beneath your legs. It’s basically just a tabletop with a hole in the middle. That one is amazing for squatting, but my favorite because of the versatility is either the west side bar belt.

Oh yeah. I’m 

Mike: looking, That’s clever. So people can, So you just have people, you have your belt and you just clip right into this. Again, it’s like a tabletop right. Beneath you And you’re able to squat. 

Cooper: Definitely. Yeah. And there’s a guide rod in between there that makes sure that you don’t hit the side or anything.

That’s what the original belt squat was. Louis Simmons Yeah. Was probably the, I believe he was the guy who came up, at least he claims to be the guy that came up with the original belt squad, and that’s what it was. There’s basically, you’re standing on blocks with weight in between your legs. This is just a commercial option to do that, and it’s the best feeling belt squat that I’ve used.

Definitely, yeah it’s 

Mike: very much a free weight version of it. Again, like versus what you were saying, a machine that kind of forces you maybe into an unnatural range of motion, which I’ve used the pit shark and I didn’t have that, but that’s obviously a more expensive, I like the pit shark, but I don’t know the price, but I know it’s probably at least a couple 


Cooper: bucks.

Yeah, the pit shark’s really expensive. It’s using a lever arm, but it’s a really long lever arm, so it’s not as much of an issue. The problem with the pitch A is you have to use so much weight to get an actual. Good feeling from it. It’s just like for most that’s true. Home gyms, it’s like you gotta have so much extra weight where a lot of these, like the Squat Max md, you don’t need a ton of extra weight because it’s literally just gravity.

It’s very hard. The Rogue Fitness Rhino, that’s another one that uses cables instead. You don’t need a ton of weight on it. And that one. In my opinion, a cable based belt squat is the most versatile. It’s not the best feeling for a squat cuz you really have to be directly over the top of the pulley.

However you can use it for a lot of different things that you can’t for these others. And again, that’s what a lot of people are looking for in a home gym. It just, how much versatility can I get in this thing? Totally. 

Mike: Totally. Yeah, that’s great. Again, I don’t know how many people are caring about kettle bells and there’s probably not that much to be.

But I mentioned that we would touch on it. So maybe just quickly you can talk about kettle bells and if it’s just, Hey, find whatever you can find and make sure that the weight is accurate, then that works for me. But if there’s something more that people should consider, 

Cooper: I’m curious. Yeah. I really like kettle bells.

I think they’re. Underutilized for what they can do for conditioning. The type of conditioning I like doing is not like this super long stuff. Low steady state. Although I’ll do walks and things like that, I don’t like doing runs. And this is just personal. You may recommend this kind of stuff, but I personally prefer more hit type stuff where I’m going hard and taking some, That’s what I enjoy.

So I like kettlebells for that purpose. And kettlebells can also be really versatile. You can use ’em for presses, you can use them. Turkish get ups, you can use ’em for swings and carries and all sorts of stuff. I like ’em for lunges 

Mike: as well. I find them more comfortable than 

Cooper: dumbbells. You can either hold ’em to the side or you can put ’em up on your, like your front rack or even overhead and they do, like you said, they feel more comfortable definitely than a dumbbell.

So I really like bells. As far as where to look for kettle bells, there’s a ton of different options. But I think just like you said, look for accurate. And look for price per pound. The type of kettlebell can range in the cast iron they’re using. If you want something that’s practically unbreakable, go with something like a ductal iron cast, iron kettlebell.

You can throw ’em off buildings, and I’ve done it. I’ve thrown ’em off parking garages and they don’t break. They just last forever, But, I would look for one, that’s what’s called gravity cast. That means they’re casting the handle and the bell at the same time. They’re not like welding it separately with some of the cheaper ones.

That’s what happens and they end up breaking. So something that’s Gravity cast would be your first and foremost thing to look for, and a couple companies that do that. Kettlebell Kings, they make tremendous kettlebells great prices. And then also Rogue Fitness. They’re making great kettlebells in the US and they’re, because they’re so big, they’re able to offer prices that a lot of other companies can’t.

So either of those would be good options. Awesome. Awesome. 

Mike: Love it. You’ve reviewed so many things. We could probably keep going for another hour talking about shoes and conditioning equipment, and you. Belts and balls and all kinds of stuff on your website. A lot of body weight stuff as well. But I think at this point you have given people a great overview of what a very versatile and effective home gym can look like without having to build a.

A shed or something on your property and spending thousands of dollars on it. And again, I’ll just repeat your website because there’s just so much stuff on here. Garage gym And then you said you’re on YouTube as well. Is there anything else that you have just floating around in your head relevant to everything we’ve discussed that you wanna 

Cooper: mention?

Here’s what I’d say. The equipment is extremely important, but what’s more important than that is having a game plan when you’re going out to work. If you think that you’re just gonna go out to the garage, or go out to your home gym and just piddle around, and I’ll use this, I’ll use that.

You gotta have some idea of what you’re gonna do I love programming. I like having a plan of what, how I’m gonna train. Very helpful. And I would say having some sort of accountability to use your gym is also important. So making sure you have a training partner or you have a coach or something like that can keep you accountable to your training so that you know you’re just at home training.

Nobody sees if you’re actually putting the work in or not. Having somebody that’s accountable will allow you to actually maximize the amount of time you get from your equipment. So it’s nice to have nice equipment, but it only matters if you use it. So make sure that you get some plan in place so that you often use it and enjoy using it.


Mike: Shameless plugs for legions. Coaching, but that is one of the reasons why many of our clients stick with us longer than they really need to. Like we make education and self-sufficiency a big part of our program in that we actually want, Part of the pitch is after three months or so, we want you to be able to fire us.

We want you to know enough. To be able to just continue on your own if you want to, but one of the reasons why many people choose to continue is this point of accountability. Then they also, we work with a lot of busy people who don’t mind the added expense when they know that somebody else is taking care of all the details.

If they want any changes in their meal plan, they can just send an email if they want any changes in their training plan or if they have any questions or if they are. Plateauing and wanna figure out what’s going on. It’s nice to be able to just outsource that to an expert. But that point of accountability I know is one of the major reasons that people sign up with us in the first place and enjoy the program and then continue, is they develop a good relationship and their coach becomes a friend, and then it just helps them.

Like you said, it’s just one of those little things that nudges you in the right direction, right? That nudges you to get into your gym and do your workout 

Cooper: and work. Definitely. Yeah, I think that’s a part of the process that’s very underrated because when you buy it, there’s nothing that you’re holding.

Whereas like a squat rack, it’s I can see, I can touch this, But having somebody who’s there who can, see your lifts, advise you on your lifts, tell you how to train, that sort of thing is really important for anybody that’s training, I’ve been training for a long time and I still have somebody who advises me on all my stuff, cuz I like the accountability.

So I don’t think we ever graduate from getting coaching or help from other people. So yeah, I haven’t used Legion specifically, but if there’s somebody there who’s accountable, who’s giving good advice, they can be super helpful. Totally agree. 

Mike: I find it helpful too, just having somebody to train with who can motivate me, or especially if it’s somebody who’s similar to me in terms of strength and just where they’re at and what they’re trying to do.

And then take videos, which I post on social media, but which are also useful for me to audit my form, certain aspects of exercises that I just wouldn’t really notice. Like I’ve noticed recently on my. When I get deeper into a set, if the weight is heavy and I’m coming up, my knees tend to come in a little bit.

It’s not very noticeable. It’s just a little bit, and you can see it only from really the right angle. But I wouldn’t discover that otherwise. And it’s not a huge issue. It’s not so much that I’m increasing my risk of injury, but I actually probably am losing a little bit of force. That’s a little bit of a leak that if I were to. Correct, and I just noticed it actually last week, so I’ll have to like train it in to really keep my knees out and engage those hip muscles. But little things like that, it’s helpful when you have somebody to video and if you don’t have somebody you can just get a little tripod and use your phone, which is what I would do actually if I didn’t have somebody just to keep that in.

 I need it for social media, but it also is helpful in my 

Cooper: training. Yep. I totally. Totally agree. Awesome, man. 

Mike: Hey, this was a great discussion, super informative. I really appreciate you taking the time. Again, the website, garage gym, you’re on YouTube. I’m assuming your channel is Garage Gym 

Cooper: Reviews.

Yep, Garage and reviews on YouTube and pretty much all the same reviews we do on the website, we do in a video format on YouTube as well as show different people’s home gyms, different inspiration, stuff like that. So yeah, it’s a lot of fun and we do a lot of content, so we’d love to have you guys check us out.

Love it. Love it. And you’re also on Instagram 

Mike: too? 

Cooper: Pretty active there as well? Yeah. Yeah, we’re on Instagram and Instagram is the behind the scenes of everything else, so yeah. But we’re showing off a lot of home gyms and talking about equip. And then one other thing I’d like to plug, if possible, would be our Facebook group.

If you’re looking for people to get advice from and stay on the home gym journey of your training, check out the home gym community on Facebook. We’re currently right around 50,000 members and would love to have more just cuz there’s more cool DIY stuff that’s done on there and all sorts of stuff.

So if you’ve got anything you’d like to input or you’d like to get out of it, we’d love to have you guys on the Facebook. 

Mike: Awesome. Thanks again, Cooper. I really appreciate it. And I’ll have to brainstorm on D. Maybe both of us can brainstorm on how we could do a follow up episode because I think this one’s gonna be well received people, this is something I get asked about fairly often and I was gonna do my own, but you did it better than I would’ve.


Cooper: thank you, Mike. Yeah, I appreciate you having me on, brother. Absolutely. 

Mike: All right. That’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or. Wherever you’re listening to me from, in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility, and thus, it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well.

And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for Just muscle o r and share your thoughts on how I can do this better.

I read everything myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback, even if it is c. I’m open to it and of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email. That is the best way to get ahold of me, Mike, at most for

And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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