The Shack – A Workout Haven

My treadmill in the shackThe shack in my backyard is very important to my weight loss success. I want to take this time to show my appreciation, not only for the shack, but for what is means to me. The Shack is going to help me in my journey. It is like my secret weapon, except that it isn’t so secret.

It all started when I was a kid. A fat kid. I have always wanted to have my very own gym. I grew up in a low income household in the project buildings in New York City. Having your own room was hard to come by, so you can imagine that my dreams of having my own workout facility were slim to none. Around the time I was in high school I started working out with my cousin at home. We had a couple of dumbbells and did some push ups in my bed room. That was as close as I had ever come to having my own gym. I then joined the football team and opted to make that “my” gym. I would be the first guy in the weight room and the last guy out. It was my home away from home.

Then I moved to Florida and bought a house. Better said, started renting a house from the mortgage company for 30 years. One of the main reasons I got the house was because of the little shack in the back. It was perfect. It had plenty of room for a weight bench and a treadmill. And best of all, it was my very own personal home workout facility that I had always dreamed of.

This is my backyard and a look at The Shack. We had just gotten some pavers installed so the backyard was demolished. I am happy to say that it is back to normal now. I took all of these pictures when I first started the blog. I had meant to post about The Shack, but I guess it slipped my mind. Sorry for that Shack, sorry.

The workout shack in my back yard

This is a close up of the outside.

Close up of my workout shack


While The Shack is awesome and is helping me achieve my goals, it wasn’t complete until I got my equipment in there. The treadmill was purchased at Wal Mart for about $200. It is only supposed to sustain a weight of 275 lbs, but it manages to hold me up. The bench set is a Nautilus. It allows for various exercises. I can bench, squat, incline bench, decline bench, lat pull down, seated row, tricep extension, bicep curl, military press, and a couple more exercises that I can’t remember. My best bud Lukas gave it to me as a gift. He knew that it meant a lot to me. He even helped me put it together. It also serves as a weight rack for the extra plates I have. I purchased the olympic bar at The Sports Authority. It came with 300 lbs worth of weights.

Nautilus bench set

The Shack’s carpet was already installed when I got the house. The walls on the other hand were not there. I put the walls in with my uncle’s help and painted them with my sister’s help. I have been meaning to buy some large mirrors and some motivational posters but I haven’t gotten around to it. The space isn’t too large but it gets the job done. I have the Nautilus set in there, the treadmill, large speakers and a radio system, some loose dumbells and I still have room to move around.

One thing that I definitely want to add real soon is an air conditioner since it gets extremely humid and hot in there. There are times when I can hardly breathe. It feels as if I am suffocating. I used to workout with the door closed, but now I leave them wide open.

I wake up everyday with no reason to not workout, I have my own gym. This is something that I prefer since I really dislike going to public gyms like Bally’s Total Fitness. Ugh, just thinking about it annoys me. It is not my type of environment. I like dingy, dirty personal dungeon gyms. So those clean, prissy public gyms aren’t for me. I think that started back in high school. We used to call our team workout room the Torture Chamber. It used to get so crazy in there that the walls would sweat with water.

I have built an emotional attachment to The Shack. It has become part of my life and will always be a part of me. The Shack doesn’t need to be a physical entity. For me it was mostly in my head at first. It’s my personal place to think, reflect, and better myself. I would just treat wherever I worked out as my Shack. It didn’t get fully realized until I moved here a couple of years ago. Everyone should have their own “Shack.” Whether it’s a small room in your house, your living room, a local gym, the garage, the park or in your head. Everyone should have a shack to escape to.

About the Author

My name is Israel Lagares. I used to be the kind of guy that was always in shape, but over the last few years I've fallen off tremendously. This site is my final attempt to get back into shape. So far I've lost 70.4 lbs. Check out my weight loss chart, weight loss videos and progress pics. Follow my journey, those of others, and read our thoughts on various health topics. Share your thoughts, experience, and journey here on FMU.

Community Thoughts (12)

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  1. Man that reminds me of the gym in jr high and high school. In FL, No AC, Walls Sweating, fan providing the only relief (barely.)

    Ahh the good old days.

  2. IsraelNo Gravatar says:

    Ahh yes. The walls sweating and dripping, teammates grunting, music blasting…the good ole days.

  3. JanBNo Gravatar says:

    I love your shack. I have an office in our home and my treadmill is there. I have my weights there too. Congrats on making a place of your own. For me, I have had to carve out not so much a place, but a time of my own. The early AM is my shack, when the kids are still asleep and no one can distract me. That’s my time to work out. I love it.

    I look forward to reading more on your blog.

  4. IsraelNo Gravatar says:

    Hi JanB. Thanks for stopping by, you’re always welcome. That’s exactly what I was trying to say, finding a time and or place of your own, that’s a Shack. I am still trying to get up early in the am but it’s just too dark outside. lol.

  5. JohnNo Gravatar says:

    I love the graphic in your header. Keep up the weight loss journey.

  6. IsraelNo Gravatar says:

    thanks for stopping by.

  7. JessieNo Gravatar says:


    I’m diggin the color scheme you got goin in there!!!

  8. IsraelNo Gravatar says:

    thanks jessie. i like reds and greens and all colors in general.

  9. eric yNo Gravatar says:

    let us know how the $200 treadmill holds up. that’s a really good price but i’ve wondered if it would hold up to weight and sweat. don’t want to get started on one and then have it mess up. jay whitlow and sammie have been jogging but a treadmill might work better.

    • IsraelNo Gravatar says:

      It’s been a while and it’s holding up really well, especially considering I have been pounding away on it at over 300 lbs.

  10. MikeNo Gravatar says:

    I know what you mean about liking your gym like dungeon. Go in pounnd it out,sweat and go home. In your case you are already home.


  11. Jessica JohnNo Gravatar says:

    you were lucky that you got the alredy prepared shack in your new house and you only had to prepare it a little.

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