T Nation

Garage/ Basement Warriors


I've only been reading T-Nation for about a month now and the articles and information here is so informative any one with half a brain and a little dedication can transform themselves into an awewsome physical specimen.

I have a question for the other people here on the board who are married , have kids, and are forced to work out in the garage or the base ment.

Where the hell do you find the time?

Here's a run down of my day, Wake up at 4:30AM, eat 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 8 oz of orange juice and a piece of wheat toast. Drive an hour and a half to work. Sit in my pathetic cubicle, check e-mail, read T-Nation, eat some tuna, check some more mail answer the phone a few times, make a couple of copies, eat some more, read T-Nation articles for tips and knowledge. Eat some lunch, read more T-Nation.

This is a run down of my job, At 5:00 I make the hour and a half drive back home. Get home at 7:30 or so sit down with the wife eat some dinner, smack my boy around for a while. Give him a bath , and hopefully have him asleep by 8:30, if he doesn't have to go potty a hundred times before he falls asleep.

Now it's finally 9:00, and I'm just about whooped for the day so me and the misses watch the news and she heads off to bed at 9:30, she says she has to be up early apparently it's a lot of work to potty train the dog and keep my little boy from eating the mail man, or did she say potty train the boy and keep the dog from eating the mailman?
So now it's 9:45 and I finally get a chance to settle into my garage dungeon and pound out some sets. I'm usaully in there about 45 minutes to an hour. get done take a shower and settle into bed about 11:00. I get up at 4 AM and do this routine everday except for Saturday and sundays when I sleep in till 8 while my kid jumps up and down on my head wanting me to wake up.
Now I've thought about this rationally, and I could quit my job and have more time to work out but, then I'd have no way to pay the bills. I also thought sbout getting a divorce, but I'd have to work 2 jobs to pay for child support and that defeats the purpose of trying to gain extra time. I also thought about working out during lunch but that just isn't feasable.
My question is, do any of the other garage/ basement warriors that are married and have a pack of curtain climbers running around have any ideas to make more time in the day or are they on the same schedule as me?



While I don't get up at 430a, I get up at 530a.

While I don't have an hour and a half commute each way, I've got a 30 minute commute each way.

I get in to the office at 630a, and leave between 330 and 4p.

I've got the power rack and weights and dumbbells and bench and chin and dip stand in the basement.

On my workout days I enter the house, empty my cooler, and immediately get changed in to shorts and a t-shirt and descend the stairs to my gym for an hour.

After that, my evening is free for me to be with my family.

I've been working out in the home gym since 1999, when my daughter was seven years old. So she's thoroughly indoctrinated in to the routine. Both my wife and kid leave me alone, because they know that that's my time, that they'd rather not get barked at, and that Dad's a generally happier and calmer person after his hour in the gym.

We have a gym here at the office, but it's a selectorized stack machine that's a guaranteed joint wrecker, dumbbells up to 50 pounds, and a few bikes and treadmills and climbers. No barbells, no plates. So I don't work out in the gym here at the office. Also, some thing about sharing the room with a half dozen people yapping and mewing on the exercise machines, while the dumbbells lay dormant makes my stomach queasy.

But I do a couple of sets of deep knee bends and pushups in my office at various times during the day, which keeps me warm, stretched, and adds a teensy bit of volume.

That's just my solution. I've always been able, for the thirteen years of my daughter's life, to get a workout in a couple of times a week. Whether that meant picking her up at day care after the gym (and wasn't that interesting to pick her up, with her car seat, and diaper bag after a heavy deadlift day).

To me, reducing your commute, to a job you obviously don't enjoy (I know, it's why they call it "work"), is the solution. You've got three hours in your day when you're doing "nothing".

I live in Atlanta. I'm familiar with people who commute three hours total a day, every day. And how it creates issues in their lives. I know, I know, people in New York and L.A., etc. have commutes that are far worse than most of what Atlanta whines about.

Cut your commute, get a job you enjoy. Your wife and kid will benefit, as will you.

My wife has worked erratic and sporadic hours since after our daughter was born. Currently she owns her own business and works primarily out of the house. Recently she made the committment to join me in the gym when I work out of an evening. It's tight, the space is small, but at least she's doing some thing. So even with funky hours and busy schedule, it can be done.

You do deserve kudos for doing what you're doing however, no matter how frustrating. You don't need me to tell you that abbreviated workouts, that late in the day, are what you need.

Another suggestion (I believe this is from Tsatsuline's "Greasing the Groove" article)? Don't do your workout all in one push. Your wife sends you down to the basement for a can of tomatoes from the storage pantry? You have to walk past your power rack? Get a set of chins in; one on the way down, the other on the way back. Keep the bar loaded for squats or deads. Do a set of pushups or dips.


I feel for ya. I have a 10 minute walk to work or 2 minute drive. I work 8:30 to 4:30. BUT...I have 3 small kids. That's about 27 times worse than 1 since kids work like exponents. However I've got the workout thing beat. I get up at 6AM, workout 45minutes, shower and still have time to make meals etc. Then at night it's all kids and food. I'm pretty lucky I guess. Only bad part is during winter months it's dark out at 6am and usually about -10 to -20 degrees celsius in my garage.

If I was you, I'd really look at the lunch time thing.


I don't have the same work restrictions that you guys do. I live next door to the office, and less than a mile from the kid's school. I DO have 3 kids.

I try hard to lift at a time when the kids are off to school, ie, LUNCH time. That way, I can spend time with the kids doing other things when we are all home together.

Another alternative that I have used in the past is to get the family involved. If you can hack it, stick the boy in the corner and let him talk to you between sets. You will be his hero when he sees you pounding reps with a thousand pounds (in his eyes at least). Sometimes have him over to do his own reps with little weights. Let him be a part of your life with weights.

The same goes for your wife. My wife started out years ago just coming downstairs to "be with me". Then she started lifting light. Now she is my lifting partner. She does the same program I do, and lifts hard - and loves it!

I understand your boy may be too young now, but he won't be forever! Don't let the temporal weigh you down. Work through it.


It's really not an issue about loving my job or working closer to home. I had an oppurtunity to work for a multi million dollar drilling company and I've been doing this work since I graduated high school. It would be different it it was easier for me to change carrers, but I'm clearing good coin and working my way to the top. My wife and kids are number one I'm just looking for ideas to make more time. I do cheat asnd sneak inthere to get in couple sets before dinner and in the morning before leaving the house as well.



When I went and bought my bench I purchased a 1 pound dumbell for my boy, when I get the chance to get in there and he's awake he lifts his 1 pound dumbell, he's only two so it's a shot, and it gets him out of moms hair for a while.


It is your commute that is killing you.

Find a way to train over your lunch break if you can.


I have a 60-75 minute commute from the suburbs into NYC every day, have a wife, house, 2 daughters and 2 dogs. Oh and my wife works full time too. I get in by 8am so I can leave around 5-5:30. I'm usually home between 6-6:30. Eat, spend times with the girls until 8-8:30 and then hit the basement gym for around 45 minutes. I try to have a longer, more advanced workout on Sat or Sunday.

Its not easy, and many nights the couch and a bowl of ice cream look pretty darn good but you just have to make the sacrifice and train. One night I didn't start squatting till almost 10:15pm but it was either squat late or miss a night - and I knew the next few days were going to be bad.

You need a shorter commute, a more enjoyable job and then get the kids involved in the basement. My 7 yr old comes down all the time and either watches or tries to imitate me with the 3 lb d-bells I bought specifically for her