One of the biggest challenges when training in a garage gym is keeping it cool in the summer months. If you’ve been used to training in a commercial gym, you’ll be used to a constant, cool temperature at all times and that is because these gyms have invested thousands into both cooling and heating systems.
In a garage gym, most people don’t have this luxury! When converting a garage into a gym, you’ll find they are unbearably cold in the winter and overly hot and sweaty in the summer and this is simply because they are not designed (initially) to act as a gym. A garage is designed to park a car or store items.
Fortunately, that’s why we are here – in this article, we’ll reveal some useful tips for how to keep your garage cool in the summer. Some of these tips are easy to apply straight away whereas others might require a purchase or two but most will help you keep your garage cool in the summer whilst also improving the airflow while you train.
Why Do Garage Gyms Get Hot in the Summer
Garages are not designed initially to be a gym and one of the key things about a gym is that they are unique environments with varying temperatures.
Heat, sweat, and moisture are all present in a gym because of raised body temperatures and perspiration when training – especially when training hard. This means that the exterior of your training environment needs to be adapted and designed to cater to these specific conditions.
Most garages do not have insulation, an AC unit, extractor fans, or other structural additions that help to keep houses and buildings cool during the hot summer months. When you add the presence of someone training inside of a garage without these items, the added heat you create while working out means that some garage gyms can become unbearable to train in!
This will of course depend on your geographical location but a common issue with garage gym owners is how to minimize heat and keep them cool in the summer months.
How to Keep Your Garage Gym Cool in the Summer
With the above in mind (garages not being built to act as a gym specifically), you might be desperately trying to find solutions to keep your garage cool while you train.
I know for a fact that many people take the first step to buy a freestanding fan, find that it just ends up blowing hot air around and not really cooling you down so you turn to the internet to find a better solution. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to cool your garage gym down in the hot summer months.
To keep your garage gym cool in the summer, you should look to use the following tips:
- Schedule workouts in the morning or late evening
- Open the garage door and windows when training
- Use a dehumidifier
- Use an AC unit to improve airflow
- Strategically position fans to increase airflow
- Insulate the garage
- Repaint the walls – ideally white
- Shower before and after working out
Below, we’ll cover each of these tips in more detail and give specific recommendations where possible.
1. Schedule Your Workouts – Early Morning or Late Evening
The first and easiest thing that you can do to make your workouts appreciably cooler, is to schedule them for early morning or early evening. The hottest times to work out in your garage are going to be 12pm to 6pm, but you can get a significant temperature variance by working out very early or very late.
You may have to move things around a little on your schedule or break your workout in half for a half-hour in the morning and a half-hour in the evening, but changing the times that you workout can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to a comfortable, effective workout.
2. Let In Some Air – Open Your Garage Door
While some of us are a little shy about opening those doors, you really shouldn’t be.
For one thing, if you are timing your workouts for late evening or early morning, the likelihood of anyone seeing you and making you feel uncomfortable is almost nil – despite how it feels, people likely have to walk right up to the garage to see you which is an unlikely scenario given the time you should train.
If it’s not a matter of being uncomfortable letting people see you workout, then that’s even better. You should take advantage of the added air circulation and cooling breezes (if any) outside so that your garage gym will be cooler.
Even in the absence of a breeze, the key benefit of opening your garage door is to actually let the hot air out of your garage. People prioritize finding ways to add cool air into a garage while training but one of the biggest issues is that with poor airflow and circulation, the warm air is not able to escape.
Therefore, opening your garage door can let some cool in while you train but even on the most humid of days, the main benefit is letting the hot(ter) air out of your garage.
3. A Dehumidifier Makes Your Fans More Efficient
Adding a dehumidifier to your garage gym is a good idea. A dehumidifier will take the excess moisture out of the air in your garage gym, so when your workout is making you sweat then it’s going to be from your intensity – not because of the temperature of your garage.
Also, when that extra humidity is removed, then your fans or portable AC have an easier job in front of them. What happens is that the dehumidifier sucks in that warm, humid air and circulates it out as dry, slightly cooler air. This makes an enormous difference if you’ve got a portable AC but it’s also good with helping lighten the workload for your fans.
4. Consider Investing in AC
While incorporating your central air into the garage is cost-prohibitive, you might be surprised just how much difference a portable ‘window unit’ can make. This will require a little DIY or hiring a professional to create a ventilation point so that the AC can function properly, but this is well worth the cost.
You spend a lot of time in your gym and by adding a little climate control, you are making a long-term investment in your health that will pay big dividends in that it will motivate you to work harder to reach your goals – without sweating you mercilessly like a sauna day that you didn’t ask for!
An AC unit is quite straightforward, it actively cools the air and drops the temperature in the room that it’s operating. As mentioned in the previous section, using things like a dehumidifier will help the AC unit function optimally but as a very noticeable addition, an AC unit will have an immediate and noticeable impact when it comes to cooling a garage gym.
5. Strategically Place Fans Within the Garage Gym
If you don’t want any ventilation holes marring your garage or if AC is not a financially viable option just yet, then strategically placing your fans can still improve the comfort conditions in your garage gym. One or more powerful floor fans, for instance, with one close to the door and another designed to circulate that air, can lower the temperature quite noticeably.
If you add in a ceiling fan for even better circulation and to cool you from above, then the difference is like night and day. Best of all, fans are cheap and you can save even more buying them used, so if the AC option is not on the table then get some fans and strategize.
The only option to note with this tip is that the fans do need to be strategically placed to see the most benefit. One issue in particular with using a mechanical fan is that it can just blow hot air around if not placed optimally so this option may need to be used in conjunction with open doors and windows to see the most benefit.
6. Insulate the Garage
Adding an insulation layer by means of fiberglass, Styrofoam, or other commercial options will help to reduce the impact of the warm, outside air and make cooling the inside of your garage gym much easier for your fans or for your AC.
An easy way to do it is to get some spray foam and make a weekend of it, sealing up your gym a little tighter against the elements. Like an ice chest cools your drinks and keeps them cool longer, an insulated garage makes it easier to maintain temperatures conducive to longer and better workouts.
It’s well worth the materials and the time involved.
I know it’s counterintuitive as most people think insulation is used to hold the heat in – like how insulating an attic is used to keep your house warm during winter months – but it is also used to maintain temperatures and can keep your garage cool.
7. Consider Repainting – Colors Make a Difference
Colors make a difference when it comes to overall temperatures. The reason for this is that the color that you see looks the way it does because of the wavelengths of light that it absorbs. The absorbed light is turned into thermal energy, which we refer to simply as ‘heat’.
The easiest solution – paint the inside of the garage white. If you don’t like white, then choose another light color and repaint the inside of your garage gym. Just don’t use any dark colors or you’ll end up making it hotter inside!
White paint alone will reflect 80% to 90% of sunlight instead of absorbing it and heating your gym, so consider this option carefully… There’s some good science behind it.
8. Shower First and Shower After
One of the easiest ways to make your garage gym feel cooler is to simply shower before you work out. A cool or cold shower greatly lowers your body temperature, so when you get into your gym the fans or the open door are going to feel absolutely invigorating.
You can also easily renew this effect for the duration of your workout by keeping an ice chest nearby with washcloths soaking inside it. Between changing weights or exercises, place the washcloth on the back of your neck and the blood vessels there will ensure that your body cools back down to the same temperature as it was when you stepped out of the shower.
Keeping your garage gym cool in the scorching summer months is something many of us have had to combat when building our garage gym. Most garages are not designed to cater to workouts and therefore a common downfall is that they get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter.
Making a garage gym weatherproof is an important factor to ensure you can train both comfortably, and optimally, year-round. Hopefully, some of the tips outlined in this article have given you a good idea of how to keep your garage gym cool in the winter.
If anyone has read this and has some additional thoughts, personal experiences, or even expert tips, feel free to send me an email and I’ll update this article to help all readers.