18 Best Ways To Stay Warm In A Garage Gym In The Winter

A garage gym is awesome but in the winter it can get uncomfortably cold.  Here are 13 ways you can stay warm and make your home gym feel comfortable while working out.

To stay comfortable in your garage gym in the winter, insulating is the first step you should take. Blocking air gaps, insulating and using gym flooring will go a long way in making a garage gym warmer. Using space heaters, doing warm ups inside the house and eating warming foods also helps.

Let’s go into the details of the things mentioned above and more below. 

How To Stay Warm In Your Garage Gym

1. Block all holes

The best way to keep your garage gym comfortable is to keep the heat in. Garages are usually connected to the house so while they’re not usually heated, they’ll still get residual heat from the rest of the house. If you can keep that heat in better, the temperature will be higher without actually using more energy or active heating. 

Preserving that heat does two things;

  • Keep your garage gym warmer
  • Lower your heating expenses for the whole house

And the easiest and most effective way to preserve heat in a garage is by blocking all air gaps. Uninsulated garages usually have quite a few of them. If air can flow freely, it takes all the heat with it and all the insulation in the world isn’t going to help you.

You can plug air gaps in a few ways;

  • Use weather stripping around doors and windows. Garage doors can be leaky.
  • If you’ve got trickle vents, close them.
  • Block any visible holes. Between walls and roof is a common air leak.
  • Put shutters on ventilation fans

Doing those things will massively reduce the heat loss through gaps and should keep up the temperature. It also lowers your total heating bill because while you might not heat your garage though central heating, the heat loss to the garage will be less which keeps the temperature in the house higher as well. 

Also, plugging air gaps will reduce drafts which make you feel cold and likely will reduce the humidity in your garage which makes it more comfortable even when cold. 

This in-depth post will tell you more about how to properly ventilate your home gym.

2. Insulate Your Garage Gym

Just like clothes are used to preserve body heat, you can use insulation on your house to preserve the heat inside. After plugging all the air gaps, this is the next thing to do.

Insulate all the surfaces your gym loses heat through.

For a garage gym the biggest gains will be made by;

  • Insulating the garage door
  • Insulating the outside walls
  • Insulate any windows
  • Insulating the roof

Not all garages are made equal but for most garages these are your best options.

DON’T insulate the walls and doors that are shared with the house. Because that’s where you get most of the heat you’re trying to preserve from. If you would insulate the walls and openings that are shared with the heated parts of the house you risk actually making your home gym colder. Just insulate the walls, doors and windows that are facing outside.

3. Use gym flooring

Insulating a floor can be quite difficult. However, this being a gym, we have a great opportunity to get two birds with one stone.

Gym flooring is that stone. It’s always a great idea to have gym flooring in your home gym. Gym flooring protects your equipment and your floor. It also makes your gym a bit more comfortable and provides grip for when you’re lifting heavy weights.

At the same time, most gym flooring is actually a pretty good insulator. You can use both foam or rubber flooring. Both are much better than not using anything. Foam will insulate a little better but isn’t as long lived as rubber. 

To get the best of both worlds, you can use a foam underlay (Amazon link) under rubber gym flooring. You can get underlays that are specifically made to insulate. This way you get the heat insulation of foam plus the insulation and durability of rubber.

Check out which gym flooring I recommend for home gyms by clicking here.

By doing these first three points, you’ll make your garage gym a lot more comfortable without any active heating or any other extra actions. Insulating does cost some time and money though. So if you don’t feel like it or it’s not enough, keep reading. 

4. Keep Your Barbell Inside The House

Touching cold things is the worst. And touching cold metal can even be dangerous if it’s really cold. Just preventing the thing you touch most of the time from getting too cold is an easy fix. If your barbell is the piece of equipment you use the most, keeping it warmer will make a huge difference. 

Just keep the barbell in the house in a place where it’s warmer. When you start your workout, take it into the gym and it’ll be good to handle. Barbells are easy to move around so it’s not a difficult thing to do. 

Of course if it’s really cold the bar will just cool down again. However, if you handle it enough you will keep it warm enough.

Also, if you use a space heater, the air in your gym will warm up pretty quickly but, the metal equipment will take much longer to get up to temperature. So if you keep the barbell inside the house and then use a space heater you don’t have to wait for the metal parts to get up to temperature before you can use it. That means you can use your gym much quicker.

Other equipment is usually to big and bulky to keep inside the house so it won’t work for that. 

5.    Wear gloves

The worst thing is a really cold barbell or dumbbells. It’s uncomfortable, hurts your hands and can even cause frostbite if it’s really cold. You’ll also not perform your best with cold (painful) hands.

Gloves serve two purposes that make your workout more comfortable;

  • Keep your hands warm
  • Have a layer between the cold metal and your skin

Gloves are a very easy way to keep your hands more comfortable in the cold. I wouldn’t use full on ski gloves that are meant to be used outside. A pair of workout gloves is a better idea. Workout gloves provide more feel and grip which is very useful for working out. With other gloves holding onto a heavy barbell might be difficult.

Workout gloves are available in full or fingerless variety. The full gloves keep your hands warmer but the fingerless ones give you most of the benefits while also having the better feel of your bare fingers.

While keeping your barbell in the house will make just that warm, wearing gloves makes all the equipment more comfortable to hold. 

These full gloves (amazon link) are great for lifting but also keep your hands warm.

6. Use an Electric Blanket

If there is one piece of equipment you really want to warm up before using it, an electric blanket can be a solution. Throw it over or wrap it around what you want to be warmer, turn it on and wait. 

Not all equipment is suitable to be warmed up this way but barbells, benches, e few pairs of dumbbells, etc will work.

However, in most cases if it’s that cold, using a space heater is a better option. 

7. Use a Space Heater (On a Timer)

Finally, it’s time to combat the problem straight on. Everything before this has been focused on preserving heat. But at some point, that’s just not enough. Or you want a simple, single solution to the problem.

That’s where a space heater comes in. A space heater is a very easy way to create heat in a space, hence the name. Yes, they do use quite a bit of energy and without insulation you will lose that heat quite quickly but it doesn’t get any easier than this. Just buy one, plug it in and turn it on.

There are many different types of space heaters and it’s worth doing some research into which one is best.

If you get a heater that’s directional, it’s a good idea to aim it at the equipment you’re going to touch. This way that equipment warms up first and you can use it faster.

Check out the best space heaters for home gyms here. That post will give you recommendations for heaters but also explain which one is best for your situation.

You want your home gym to be comfortable when you come in, not 15 minutes after you’ve started. The cold problem is the biggest when you’re starting out anyways. So that’s why ideally you’d want your heater to turn on 10 or 15 minutes before you have to go there.

If your workout schedule is very constant, you can set the timer to come on 15 minutes before you start and everything will be nice and toasty once you get in there.

Of course if your workouts happen at different times, setting a timer isn’t very useful. You can just go into your gym, turn on the heater, do your warm-up in a warmer spot and your gym will be comfortable once you’re ready.

Alternatively, you can get a power outlet with some kind of remote control. They are available with simple remote controls or with smartphone app.

When setting a space heater on a timer, it’s a good idea to use a type of heater that is safe. Some heaters can be a fire hazard so it’s not a good idea to let them turn on unsupervised.

8. Hook up your home gym to the central heating

Of course if you want to do things the best way you can hook up your central heating to the space your gym is in.

This will cost a lot of time and money but it’s the most convenient and will work great. If you do this, you have to combine it with proper insulation for your gym space otherwise it’s a big waste of energy.

For most people this is not worthwhile and a space heater is a better option.

9. Train at the right time of day

In most places, the temperature is higher during the day than at night. You can take advantage of this by training at the warmest time of day.

Maybe it’s a small difference in temperature inside but it could just the edge you need to make working out possible. Of course this isn’t possible for everyone because of work and other schedules.

You get a smart thermometer and track the temperature for a few days so you can see which time of day is the best. You can combine this with using a space heater. If there is a 5 or even 10 degree difference between the highest and lowest temperature, those are 5 to 10 degrees your space heater doesn’t have to heat anymore. This save quite a bit of energy.

10.    Warm up inside the house

Doing a warm up can help you a lot to feel warmer in your home gym without doing anything else. Often you’ll notice that a gym feels cold when you walk in but after a couple of exercises you feel fine.

With movements you burn energy. Burning energy creates heat as a side effect. So getting that process started will warm you up and keep you warm. There are plenty of exercises that warm you up without having to touch any equipment. Jumping jacks are a great option. 

Doing a longer warm-up will get you warmer but it’s just to get your body ready for the ‘real’ workout. If it’s colder, it’ll take a bit longer before your body is ready for a higher intensity so that’s why a longer warm-up is a good idea.

Is starting your workout in the gym too cold? Start warming up in a warmer part of the house. Even if your home gym is freezing, I’m sure most of your house is a bit warmer than that.

So start with some light exercises and stretches that get the blood flowing and you start getting some warmth going. Once you’ve warmed up a little, the cold won’t feel as bad in the garage or basement and you can start your workout.

You can also turn on the space heater while you warm up somewhere else so your gym will be warmer once you’re ready.

11. Dress For The Occassion

Of course when you’re cold, take your mother’s advice and just wear a sweater. Layering up is of course the first thing you can do when things get cold. 

It really depends how cold your garage gets. However, in most cases after you are properly warmed up, it’s just the cold equipment that’s a little uncomfortable but otherwise it’s not too bad. 

A sweater keeps the heat in where it matters the most. Your body want to keep your vital organs at the perfect temperature. Most of those organs are in your torso which a sweater keeps warm.

Of course a sweater works best if you combine it with other layers. Three layers is usually considered the best way to stay warm.

  • Base: A good base layer keeps warmth in while wicking away moisture. It should fit your body closely so no air gets in between this layer and your skin because that will greatly reduce its efficacy.  Wool is generally considered the best material since it keeps a lot of warmth but also takes care of sweat very well. Cotton retains too much moisture which will cool you down. Some polyesters work well while others are terrible, it really depends on the specific fiber that’s used. Merino wool t-shirts (amazon link) are generally considered to be the best for this purpose.
  • Insulation: On top of the base layer, you have another layer that traps more heat. This layer can be a bit bulkier and looser so it traps more air. This is where the sweater comes in.
  • Weather protection: The outer layer should mostly be to protect you against the elements and not as much for insulation although it will still do that as well.

Inside, the outer weather protection layer isn’t the most practical since it’s usually quite bulky and gets in the way. If you’re wearing

Other things you can wear include:

  • Thermal underwear
  • A beanie
  • Thick socks
  • Sneakers with thick soles

12.    Eat/drink something that raises your body temperature

Of course wearing all the clothes you own isn’t going to help if there is no heat to keep in. Luckily everyone that’s alive produces their own body heat. If not, you have bigger problems than a cold home gym.

So while clothes are focused on preserving the body heat you’ve got, you can give yourself a small temperature boost. Some foods and drinks can help you to raise your body temperature a little. It’s going to be a small change but every little bit helps.

Here are some of the foods that can naturally increase your body heat slightly;

  • Fresh Ginger
  • Green tea
  • Garlic
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Coconut oil
  • Spicy chili
  • High protein foods

And those are just a few examples. Most foods that raise your metabolism will also slightly increase body temperature, just because your body is burning more energy. However, you don’t always want to eat a big meal before a workout.

But there are some things you could easily combine with a workout though. For example;

  • Take a protein shake before your workout
  • Drink Coffee and coconut oil
  • Drink green tea with ginger

13. Have warm water/other drink in a thermos

Eating or drinking things that affect your bodies is one way to go. Of course you can also take a more direct approach. Take a thermos into your gym and fill it with a warm drink. The warmth of the drink can help you stay warm.

Of course you can combine this with the previous point about warming foods for a double effect. The green tea with ginger would be a great example. Not only does it taste better warm, but green tea and ginger both boost fat burning which is a great added benefit.

It might be tempting to put some booze in there but while that might feel warm, it’s not a great idea. Mixing alcohol and workouts is a terrible idea in the first place but alcohol actually has the opposite result of what you want. It opens up your pores which makes you lose extra body heat.

How Cold Is Too Cold For a Garage Gym?

The exact temperature that’s ‘too cold to work out’ is different for everyone. The tips above will allow you to train in a home gym while the temperature is much lower than without these tips. There is something to keep in mind;

There are two types of ‘too cold’;

  • Uncomfortably cold
  • Dangerously cold

Cold can be uncomfortable but not dangerous. Usually this type of cold is just a bit uncomfortable in the beginning but once you warm up, it’s OK. This type of cold you can easily manage with the tips named above. Just a longer warm-up, some gloves and a sweater should make this bearable.

The second type is a bit more problematic. If it’s dangerously cold, there are two big problems;

  • Hypothermia
  • Frostbite

Hypothermia is pretty easy to avoid while working out. Just wear the right clothes and warm up properly. However, at some point ‘the right clothes’ just become a bit too bulky to work out in so that’s only possible up until a certain temperature. Active heating is the best option in that case. 

Weights and barbells are made from metal. Everyone knows that grabbing a piece of exposed metal in freezing conditions is a bad idea. Your skin can get stuck to the metal which would be a very bad day. This can lead to frostbite. Wearing gloves can help a lot with this problem but then getting your gloves stuck to the barbell is still not great.

Your hands are the most likely part this is going to happen to although other parts of your body might be exposed to the metal as well. Either way, it’s freezing in your home gym, you have to raise the temperature to safely use it. So again, using a space heater and/or insulating your home gym will be necessary.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to HomeGymResource.com. After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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