1. Evaluate if a home gym is right for you.
::: It might be your thing to go to a public gym. There can be a lot of positive energy there and I get that. It’s fun working out with a group of people in classes and seeing others work hard can be inspiring. It might be the thing that gets you going and out of the house. If you say yes to all of these, a public gym might be a good fit for you.
:::But if you’re looking for something conveniently closer to home, you’re self motivated, and you are looking at long term price/hours spent, then a home gym could work for you too. Know that you aren’t going to have group classes, pool perks, or potential childcare. You will have flexibility, a constant visual reminder, and a literal incorporation of fitness in your daily lives.
2. Determine where your home gym will be located.
::: This can be done in multiple ways: a dedicated room, a garage, a space separate from your house, an outdoor space, a basket, or a chest.
3. Decide what your fitness goals are, giving these room to change and grow.
::: I love to run and love to build muscle. I think the muscle makes me a stronger runner so I do both. I also use my space for yoga. Decide what you love and work from there.
4. Pick equipment for your home gym that meets your fitness goals.
::: Be okay that this is going to take time. Don’t rush getting everything you “think” you need. Let yourself ease into the space so you can learn what you want, need, and will really use.
::: Maybe you’ll start with something you love. If you love to run and you live somewhere that gets frigid outside, maybe a treadmill is a good first option. If you want to build some muscle, start with a set of weights and maybe a medicine ball. A jump rope can be a great thing to get your heart rate going too. It could be a pull up bar, a battle rope, or you could simply start with an exercise mat.
5. Do it. Make your home gym part of your routine.
::: You won’t meet your fitness goals and have a successful home gym unless you’re in it. Set goals and make them visible to remind you that the effort to work out is worth it. Set aside time to work out, be willing to be flexible, and maybe even invite a friend over to work out with you.
My Home Gym Story
I thought about joining a gym. That was last year.
As I looked into pricing and tried to figure out when I’d go, what kids I’d take, what classes were offered, and what I really wanted out of my workouts, I decided to focus on a home gym. A year membership at a public gym could get us a good start on a home gym.
I liked the idea of going to a gym. I like the atmosphere and communal “trying to be fit,” it’s inspiring. I’m totally comfortable there. However, I really worried how often I’d be able to go. I’m a runner and I know that running outside is my favorite. If I got a gym membership, would I use it (given the inconvenience of having to go somewhere else to workout)? Also, having kids is unpredictable. If they get sick, they can’t be dropped off at the gym childcare center, I didn’t want to pay the price to take all of my kids when there was no school, and if I didn’t get there at my window of opportunity, my chance would be gone for the day. All these things made me look homeward.
I decided that I would use gym equipment more if it was in reach and constantly in front of me as a reminder. It’s really flexible. The kids can be playing, even have other play mates over, and I can work out. I’ve had friends come over and workout with me. It feels good to have a space that allows others to be invited in. Sometimes I go in our home garage gym after the kids have gone to bed, sometimes before they wake up. I like that I have lots of different workout options easily available.
It’s like eating healthy…if you have healthy foods visible, that’s what you’re going to eat. If you have chocolate chips sitting on the counter…yup, they’re gone. With the equipment as part of our home, I use it all the time. The kids love playing with it (aka learning that it’s an everyday part of life) and when he doesn’t get to his work gym, my husband uses it. There’s no time restrictions and no right or wrong way to do this.
Since we kicked the cars out of the garage, we haven’t looked back. The garage really is another room in our house and we increased our usable square footage by doing this. Plus it’s a great space for the kids to play, which they are often doing around our workouts. Allowing them to use the exercise equipment as play is giving them confidence in using it and I believe will one day transform into a love of fitness. It we make this type of stuff what our every-days are made of, then it’s part of who we are and what we’re about.
Sometimes I’m in my workout clothes for an hour or two, sometimes half the day, and sometimes all day as I squeeze in my reps between answering emails, doing dishes, cleaning toilets, helping with homework, and running to soccer practice. You make what you can work. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you have to be flexible. Actually let’s be honest, we all have to be flexible. If I can get up before the kids and work out, get dressed in real clothes for the day, then that’s huge…but it’s so much harder recently to do that now that it’s darker in the morning. Ummm…no excuses, right!? Right.
Regardless if you’re a stay-at-home parent or a working parent or even a parent at all…the accessibility and routine of a home gym can make you balanced, feeling strong, and dedicated to working hard.
Make the space you have work for you!
(check out my equipment list below…)
Our list of Home Gym equipment (in order of acquisition)
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I have used all of the products listed below (used similar jogging strollers) and recommend them because they are helpful and are companies that I trust.
1. Hand weights – 2, 8, 10, 15 lbs (like these)
2. Jump rope
3. Foam roller (I have the 18″ long one)
4. Jogging stroller OR this Jogging stroller (These 2 are as close as I could find to mine. Mine is no longer available, but the bigger the wheels, the smoother the push. Mine are 20″ diameter.)
5. Balance Ball
6. Medicine ball – 10 lbs (similar)
7. Pull up bar
8. Workout bench
9. Treadmill (We got ours from costco online. They don’t have the same model # there now, but amazon does here.)
10. Slam ball – 30 lbs
11. Floor mats – 12 tile pack
12. Adult yoga mats and kid yoga mat (we have the sun one) – I like 1/4″ thick ones
13. Kettle bells – 8, 12, 24 KG (we got ours locally from PR Lifting), similar kettle bells here
14. Battle rope (we got ours locally from PR Lifting), similar battle rope here
15. Gym Rings (we got ours locally from PR Lifting), similar rings from here
16. Bosu ball
17. Old tires – from a summer tire change
18. White board or calendar white board– to write out workouts/times
19. Plyo Box
20. Exercise hula hoop
21. Yoga blocks
22. Yoga strap
23. Exercise bands (like these or these)