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Ben Nadel at NCDevCon 2011 (Raleigh, NC) with: Jose Galdamez
Ben Nadel at NCDevCon 2011 (Raleigh, NC) with: Jose Galdamez ( @josegaldamez )

Project HUGE: Building A Home Gym - Proof Of Concept

Published in Comments (6)

Holy freaking cow! It's been almost five years since my last "Project HUGE" post. And, sadly enough, that also represents my general level of physical activity in the past five years. Unfortunately, as my work schedule and InVision App, Inc were ramping up (#StartupLife), my time at the gym took a back seat. This life imbalance has lasted way too long. And, with much inspirational thanks to the awesome people at work and our newly created #Wellness channel in Slack, I've decided to actually do something about it.

After two years of being on a waiting list, we finally got a parking garage in my apartment building. And so, I'm taking my first steps in fulfilling my life-long dream of having a home gym. But, the parking garage isn't exactly a beautiful work space. Not only is it small, dark, and [extremely] dirty, it also has numerous hot water pipes hanging down from the already-low ceiling. Hot water pipes which give the garage a nice, tropical feel.


 Building a home gym - empty garage.  

Rather than going whole-hog into this project, I've decided to do it in phases. This way, I can test the waters and see how it feels to even be down there in the garage (and also not necessarily spend a ton of money right away).

I already own a pair of Powerblock Elite 50 adjustable dumbbells. Which are great. But, while 50 lbs is heavy for some movements, it's light for others. So, I decided to order the 50-70 lb expansion pack. This will give me up to 70 lbs in each hand.

I also needed to get an adjustable weight bench. I don't know much about different benches so I just went with the Fitness Gear Pro Utility Bench from Dick's Sporting Goods. The bench was easy to put together (took maybe 20 minutes) and feels very sturdy. But, it's a very high bench. Even with my sneakers on, I feel like my hips are just slightly too extended when I lay down (I'm 5'10"ish for height reference).


 Building a home gym - fitness gear pro utility bench.  


 Building a home gym - Fitness gear pro utililty bench.  


 Building a home gym - fitness gear pro utility bench in garage.  

I also ordered four packs of the Shock Athletic Extreme Gym Flooring from Dick's Sporting Goods; but they haven't arrived yet (they should come in today, woot!). These are to make sure I don't damange the garage floor, reduce machine slippage, and to make any floor work a bit more comfortable.

For entertainment, I grabbed the Jawbone BIG JAMBOX Wireless Bluetooth Speaker I had lying around. I've had this thing for like 2 years and have never used it. I got it as a work present and had no idea what to actually do with it. Until now. In the gym, it's actually perfect. It pairs easily with my iPhone using bluetooth and, since it retains a charge, I can unplug it and keep it close to me without having to blast the volume (and disturb the neighbors above me).


 Building a home gym - jawbone big jambox wireless bluetooth speaker.  

And, of course, no gym is complete without a sweet set of chalk balls from Bison Designs. These things are great. It's basically a bag of chalk that you just roll around in your hand. It distributes chalk without making a huge mess (though there's still a good bit of chalk dust in the air).


 Building a home gym - chalk balls by bison designs.  

Chalk is a wonderful and magical material! It's like nature's glue. You put it on your hands and your hands feel like they are attached to whatever you grab. I happen to have sweaty palms when I workout, so these things are a godsend. I would recommend them a thousand times over.

As of now, here's the current home gym inventory:

Subtotal: $650.05
Running Total: $650.05

This wasn't exactly a "cheap" first step. But, my health is important to me so this was definitely worthwhile. I got in two workouts over the weekend and I have to say, I absolutely loved it. I feel invigorated and excited and thrilled to be working out again. I am going to consider phase one a smashing success which means, on to phase two - fleshing out some gym equipment! Yo, where my racks at?!?!

There once was a dream that was "Project HUGE". That dream is not forgotten.

Reader Comments


Good to see you getting back into the working out. I just started back up again and was aided by work giving out those resistance bands. Bought a few accessories for it and trying to devote about 15-20 minutes each night to doing something.



Awesome stuff. I have to say, it was quite a shock to see how long it has been since my last Project HUGE post. In my mind, I'm always like, "Oh, its been like 2 years since I worked out." But, apparently you have to add a year to that... for every year since you've started saying it :(

Here's to getting back into it!


Ben, I'm looking forward to seeing how you build out your home gym. Ever since I got into fitness I've thought about adding some equipment and getting beyond P90X3, body weight exercises, and simple dumbbells. I bet I learn a lot!



I'm really excited about it. I think my barbell should arrive in the mail today. Have some weights ready to go. Also ordered a half-rack and a dip-station. I'm totally stoked. I really hope this actually works out and isn't just some mid-life crisis :D


There is a huge amount of profitable knowledge about improved lifestyle and how to live a better healthy life cardio has guided me a lot through my fitness and gym life! Suggested to everyone!

I believe in love. I believe in compassion. I believe in human rights. I believe that we can afford to give more of these gifts to the world around us because it costs us nothing to be decent and kind and understanding. And, I want you to know that when you land on this site, you are accepted for who you are, no matter how you identify, what truths you live, or whatever kind of goofy shit makes you feel alive! Rock on with your bad self!
Ben Nadel