It’s estimated that more than 50% of all new gym-goers will quit within the first 6 months – this is estimated by me (I PT at a few gyms). So the idea of a home or garage gym is quite alluring because you don’t need to schlep all the way to a crowded gym, which can be off-putting.
Garage Gains claims to have some of the best at-home workouts… but are they really that good? Let’s find out.
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About the Creator – Lee Boyce
Hailing from the cold North, Lee Boyce is a Canadian fitness and strength expert that focuses on helping people reach their goals. His slogan “Real Training. No nonsense” summarizes his approach to fitness – which is cold, hard, and effective.
Lee’s the creator of the Boyce Training Systems, and – through his site Lee Boyce Training – he’s helped numerous individuals become stronger, fitter, healthier, and happier.
As a fitness professional, it’s also common to write articles/workouts for other sites, and Lee has been all over, including the following:
- ABC News Radio
- Muscle Memory Magazine
- Men’s Health
- The Wall Street Journal
This man is really someone who believes in fitness and lives his whole life in accordance with the idea of being better. Lee’s also quite a direct person when it comes to fitness, and he doesn’t like the idea of thinking of something for months before doing it.
He’s a hands-on person and will design plans that get you the answer/results quickly, even if the plan is kinda hard. There are a million ways to get there, and Lee seems to be quite fond of the most direct way possible.
Garage Gains: Dynamite Dumbbell Workouts Overview
With a name like Garage Gains: Dynamite Dumbbell Workouts, you might expect some high-intensity aerobic type of training. You know, the stuff we all did when we went into lockdown. Might let your banana bread rise while you do several burpees?
Well, think again.
- Fitness level: Intermediate
- Duration: 6 weeks
- Workouts per week: 5 workouts per week
- Average workout duration: 30 – 45 minutes
- Equipment needed: Minimal equipment
- Goal: Build muscle
While normal home-based workouts are usually filled with burpees and CrossFit-type movements, this bad boy is focused on bodybuilding and strength-type movements. Of course, this means you have a regular weekly schedule as well.
Another brilliant part of this program is the fact that you only need a couple of dumbbells to do the exercises.
Dynamite Dumbbell Details
While training at home is all fun and games, you’re somewhat limited. This is why Lee split the plan into different phases with certain intensifiers and training techniques to get the most out of your training.
Training in Phases
Training will be split into two distinct phases, each with specific lifting patterns and goals:
- Phase 1 – Strength and Power: You’ll only be hitting muscles once per week with some heavy compound movements. Be prepared to focus on big numbers and big PB.
- Phase 2 – Volume Training: As the name suggests, volume training will be high volume. You’ll focus on the main movement and then add other smaller movements to train the relative muscles.
This is somewhat similar to that of a powerlifter. However, it’s just missing the peak and hypertrophy phases. You will – of course – be using some intensifiers to make training harder.
Some of the more interesting ones include:
- Mechanical drop set: After reaching failure on an exercise, you’ll immediately switch to an easier version of the same exercise – for instance, going from a dumbbell squat to a bodyweight squat.
- EMOM: Every minute on the minute, which also appears in programs like Triple Threat. You’ll perform a set each minute, but when you finish a set, the remainder of that specific minute is your rest.
As the overarching goal of this program is to build muscle and strength, rest days are not given as cardio days. That said, you could benefit from going for a walk or a bike ride to aid recovery. Or take an ice bath.
Now, is this the best workout plan?
You’re limited with load and exercise selection because, well, you’re training at home with a few dumbbells. This does raise the risk of the whole training program becoming very boring.
You might want to invest in more equipment ASAP, as this will allow you to overload muscle easier, more effectively, and won’t be as boring.
Eating While in a Garage?
Again, training at home with only dumbbells is far from the perfect workout routine. So, you better make sure you’re winning back some points in the kitchen to make this plan as effective as possible.
It’s stated that you might stand to lose a few pounds of fat on this plan. However, this will most likely only be for newer gym-goers. The more experienced you are, the more singular your goal needs to be (i.e., gaining muscle or losing fat).
That said, there are literally a few rules that Lee wants you to follow while on this program:
- Rule number 1: Prioritize healthier, whole food options and try to limit junk food as well as sugar.
- Rule number 2: Make a large piece of protein the centerpiece of all your meals and/or snacks.
- Rule number 3: You’re encouraged to have plenty of water and as many veggies as you’d like with every single meal.
- Rule number 4: Try to spread your food evenly throughout the day. Nope, there’s no room for intermittent fasting here!
Moving forward, these rules should be fairly easy to follow. They certainly aren’t unreasonable, and with the combined macro guides below, you certainly stand a great chance of adhering to the diet:
- 40 percent of calories from carbohydrates
- 30 percent of calories from protein
- 30 percent of calories from fat
This split isn’t perfect, as calculating your protein intake from your lean body mass could yield better results. That said, it’s still pretty effective.
Lee also provides you with a list of foods he would prefer you to have. And then, lastly, he mentions food timing…
- First meal of the day: Lee wants your first meal to be large and robust. You have just been sleeping for a long time, and you are in dire need of food. Thus, make sure you get plenty of carbs and protein, and never ever train without eating first.
- Pre-workout meal: He would advocate you eat about 1 – 2 hours prior to a workout and that you focus on eating a high protein and high carb meal with little to no fats. Why? Well, fats are known for slowing down digestion, so you could end up feeling a bit lethargic in training.
- Post-workout meal: For optimal gains, Lee advocates you eat this meal within 60 minutes of finishing your workout. He also maintains that this meal should also be high in carbs and protein, but it can contain more fat than the pre-workout meal.
The Garage Gains Supplement Guide
The Garage Gains supplement guide is also cold and straight, just like the training plan. Warning: You’re not going to find testosterone boosters that don’t work on this list!
However, you’ll also find the following:
This is a pretty solid list, and most of these have plenty of research backing up their efficiency. The nutrition plan overall can certainly be improved with more in-depth information on macros and micros.
4 Dynamite Dumbbell Workouts Pros
- It’s at home! This workout plan has been specifically designed to be done in the comfort of your own home. This could not only save you a ton of money over the period of a year but can also save you a lot of time. You can also have friends over to train with you without them having to pay for a day pass.
- Efficiency: Due to the fact that you only need a few dumbbells, it is a really efficient plan overall. Lee also mentions that you would benefit from having additional equipment, like a pull-up bar and a few medicine balls. However, the dumbbell-only approach makes it super efficient.
- It’s quite scientific: While there’s unfortunately not a lot of talk about progressive overload, there are two distinct phases. When you’re limited for a load like you would be in a home gym, you’ll need to play with set and volume manipulation to make stuff harder.
- Sustainable: The plan is certainly something most people will be able to adhere to. It’s not too hard or too intense that people will fall off, but it just hits the right spot of, “Wow, that was hard!”
4 Garage Gains Cons
- You’re limited with load: We all (should) know by now that the main driver of hypertrophy is simply mechanical tension. By only using dumbbells (and presumably, they don’t go up to 200lbs), you’ll be limited with the amount of muscle you can build while following Garage Gains.
- You’re limited with movements: As you’ll be training at home, you’ll also be limited to certain moves and exercises. Sure, most movements can be done with a dumbbell or two. However, there are some that would benefit from other equipment, like training the lats in a vertical pulling plane. Or doing a heavy deadlift, for example.
- The nutrition isn’t perfect: Sure, the nutrition plan is pretty solid. It gives you the basics of what’s needed for muscle growth. The problem is you’re already limited by training load and style. Why not give the best nutrition guide possible? With so many limiting factors, why add another? It doesn’t make sense to me why this was done.
- It’s a simple solution: OK, I’m being pretty anal here, but the plan suffers on its own self. The plan was created to solve a problem, but in doing so, it created other problems. This is not the most perfect at-home plan, and it can definitely aid from being adjusted. Also, at-home programs are inferior to gym-based ones, as there are more limitations.
Dynamite Dumbbell Workout Program – Final Thoughts
The Dynamite Dumbbell Workout Program is certainly good for those who are looking for something fun yet challenging at home. Home workouts are growing in popularity, and perhaps while you’re still building up your gym, you might benefit from a plan like this.
The top reasons are:
- You only need a dumbbell to do it.
- It doesn’t rely on 1,895 burpees every day.
- It’s focused on building muscle and strength.
This makes it massively different from other home workouts that are only focused on revving your heart rate up to make you think you had a good workout.
That said, this plan certainly isn’t perfect for a few reasons:
- You’re limited with the load and exercise selection.
- You aren’t given all the nutritional information.
Don’t get me wrong; if you’re looking for some gains and a good time, this plan will work brilliantly. But, let’s be honest, unless you have a home gym to make other folks salivate (i.e., having a ton of equipment), you aren’t going to be making as many gains as the folk in a normal gym.
You might want to ensure you get higher-grade exercise equipment ASAP to have the best results possible in the comfort of your own home.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5