Carl has 21 years of training experience under his belt. He’s worked out from home for his entire life. Starting off in his bedroom, Carl dreamt of one day having his own home gym. As soon as he bought his first house, he used money he’d saved by working out from home, to invest in some quality equipment. He now has a seriously kitted-out home gym.
How did you start your fitness journey?
My fitness journey began just over 20 years ago from training in my bedroom, back yard, and parents’ garage. I was teased in school by a girl who humiliated me in front of everyone about my appearance. That same day I went home and vowed that it would never ever happen to me again. I built my own dumbbells in my bedroom from wood and some old concrete weights, bought a pull up bar, and didn't sleep until I had done 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups every night. I fell in love with it and haven’t looked back since!
What were/are your goals?
My goals changed as I fell in love with it. It started out as an “I’ll show you” kind of thing, and then as time went on, it became more about me finding my passion. My targets then became get bigger, get stronger, and get better!
Why do you train at home?
The best thing for me is that the gym is mine! I can do what I want in it, whenever I want. If I have an idea for an exercise or a hack then I can just walk in and try it, even at 11pm at night. I also love how it’s right there, it’s just so convenient. I don’t need a membership or to drive 25mins to a different location. Plus, this way I have no excuse to not train!
Home Gym Set Up
How long did it take to finish building your home gym?
I guess we’re referring to my current gym, well I believe that a home gym is never fully finished. Most home gym owners will always add bits here and there and make changes. Trust me, it’s addictive! But I’d say it was roughly a month or so to get it built structurally. Then I moved in all the equipment from my parents’ garage which I already had over the years. But for the past 3 years, I’ve been updating it with a customised MuscleSquad Phase 4 Cable Squat Rack. I've made good use of its modular nature by adding a side storage bay that not only houses my additional cable attachments but also the included accessories that come with the rack. I also have the P4 belt squat, leg roller and pulley converter.
Roughly how much did your home gym cost?
This one is a tricky one. I’ve spent a lot in investing in my home gym over the years, and I’m sure I still spend about £40 a month on it even now with the little ideas and upgrades I have.
I’ve upgraded a lot of my equipment over the past 18 months too, so I’d definitely say it’s worth at least a good £6k (excluding the build). We’ve got over 300kgs worth of weight, sets of dumbbells in various weights up to 50kgs, a couple of bars, folding rack, bench, kettlebells and bands all from MuscleSquad. It’s also got two sectorised weight stack single cable machines up to 50kg each either side of the doors, a sound system, led lighting, backlit led sign, and two folding bikes with extras. So yeah, I guess me and the Mrs have a lot to play with.
“When it’s been a dream all of your life you don’t see it as money spent, it’s more like money invested!”
Is there anything you’d change?
If I had the money and the planning permission etc when I was building at the very start, I would probably have built the structure slightly differently and bigger to give me even more room. Who wouldn’t want a huge gym attached to their house?
What is your favourite exercise or body part to train?
Love training arms and chest! I love a good bicep curl as its one of the exercises I started out with in my bedroom with my homemade dumbbells, but I also love a single arm incline dumbbell press.
What is your favourite piece of equipment in your gym?
I loooove dumbbells, but I'm also a huge fan of cables. My favourite piece right now would have to be my P4 cable rack with side storage as I designed it myself. No one else has it as it's unique to me and my space, and I can literally do absolutely everything on it! It has 100kg weight stacks with both a 2:1 and 1:1 ratio so it covers all bases!
What advice would you give to someone looking to start working out from home?
The advice I would give is JUST DO IT! Start, even if it's something small, build up the habit and that will become a routine... Until like me it then becomes a lifestyle. You've got nothing to lose by investing in yourself!
Check out Carl's Instagram: @CJSessionz