Evolution of a Garage Gym

By Dave 0

Well, that was a crazy month. Being evicted, facing no more gym, then finding a premises, trying to kit it out, waiting on equipment to arrive, general panic – all the growing pains associated with starting a business! Now I’m facing a week in the States for two certs when the last thing I want is to be away …

Where do I start? I guess a thank you to everyone for the support would be a good place to begin, so thanks!

Quite a few people have been on to me lately saying ‘Wow, you must be happy with everything that’s happened’, etc. but to be honest I haven’t had time to enjoy it (yet). It’s been hectic to say the least. Everyone at the gym, friends and family have been great and really made the transition easy. We didn’t miss a training session, I managed to squeeze in 2 sessions the morning of the move and after my last rep of the last set I realised I then had to move all the equipment (big thanks to Ross E and Homer there for the help on that one), I think I’m still recovering.

Homer taking charge of the move

I’m always slightly wary of celebrating any victories, that’s in my nature and probably frustrates those close to me but anyone that knows me knows that gloating isn’t my style (trash talking is different) but this ‘healthy’ pessimism is mainly down to the occasional time that I do get cocky, or celebrate a victory, I normally get a massive kick in the arse from Mr. Karma.

A classic example for instance was when the Irish times and the Independent (and RTE radio) were coming down to the Combat Workshop. We didn’t make any contact, they came to us. Everything seemed rosey (easy almost) then within days the council came along and were trying to get us closed down. 1 – 0 Karma.

Then while we were celebrating 6 months in business (while all the above hassle was going on), more forceful threats from the council convinced us it was time to pack our bags.

Trying to find our new home was a nightmare and it was looking like outdoor training would be in our future. *For the record, every time people say its a buyers market out there, I want to punch them. In the face. We literally got the current spot at the 11th hour but FINGERS CROSSED, it seems great so far.

The Combat Workshop was great but it was always set up to be a smaller part of a bigger system. I had a great time training the guys out at Team Ryano and learnt a lot working with combat athletes and it was a great opportunity for me to work with MMA fighters fighting at the top level, but with the move, logistically that became more difficult. The garage gym was great but when I looked around we didn’t have any Martial Artists or Combat athletes present (apart from the Rugby players!). We were getting people in from various sporting backgrounds and some people that weren’t playing any sports. Obviously the Combat Workshop wasn’t really a Combat Workshop … clearly I was limiting myself and not reaching out to as many people as I could have been.

As the gym has grown, the community aspect that I have always wanted to create – and experienced first hand in places like Crossfit Brisbane, has been building. There is a great vibe about the place and friendly banter, absolutely no egos or assholes and that’s the way it will always be.

Here are a few pics of the progress…

From this …

The eary days of Combat Workshop Dublin

One of the first sessions at 'the hurt locker

…to this…

moving house

The final moments of the Garage

…to this…

Progress all round


Al thinking, ' Just shut up and let me lift heavy stuff already'


As I have always stated, the gym – and me, as a coach, are a constant work in progress , always looking to improve. The growth of the gym in the last 8 months has been great, and I am truly in debt to all those that have helped make it a great place to train. It’s been a roller coaster but I can’t wait for the next 8 months (if I manage to keep my hair, that will be a bonus).

Thanks again to everyone for the support!

author: Dave