Create a Great Home Gym

Does this sound familiar? Your kiddos have moved out (they’re happy and successful! Yea!) and you finally have time to pause and look at your life. Getting dressed in the morning has become a bit more challenging because your clothes don’t fit as well as they used to. They are a bit more snug.

You don’t like it and you realize you haven’t taken care of yourself for years. You were caught up in taking care of your family and fitness and healthy eating fell to the side (or just fell off the table with your metabolism!).

With more free time now you have no excuse to not take care of yourself and begin making healthier decisions, but you’re not motivated to do so because you’re embarrassed that you’re out of shape and you feel old and tired (you’re not old).

The reality is that you’re young and just getting started with this new, exciting empty nest stage of life. You’re not about to let extra weight stop you, are you? I didn’t think so!

Fit is not a destination it is a way of life

If going to a gym every day doesn’t appeal to you because of time, money or a bit of shame about how you feel, there’s a solution — a home gym!

Take a look around your home to find space to set up a gym — a kid’s bedroom or space in the basement that the kids used to use are both possibilities for your home gym.

Depending on what you enjoy doing for your workouts, that will determine how much space you need to set up your gym. I suggest having space for a cardio activity and weight training. When the weather is nice in your area, many cardio activities (running, walking, hiking or biking) can take place outside, but it’s nice to have a space inside for rainy, snowy or very hot or cold days. You can fit a lot into an 11’x11’ space! 

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Equipment & items to consider including in your home gym: 

  • Stationary bike

  • Rowing machine

  • Treadmill (that folds up to create more floor space)

  • Elliptical machine

  • TV to stream cardio classes (and/or with DVD player to play workout videos)

  • Cushioned gym mat for floor work such as abs, push ups, calisthenics or yoga

  • Free weights for arm workouts (with or without stand to hold them)

  • Weight bench for leg and arm weight lifting

  • TRX band 

  • A complete home gym type machine to work out many areas of your body

  • Peleton bike

(*Note, I am not a physical trainer or doctor and am not suggesting that any or all of these activities are right for you and your current state of health. Please consult a physician before starting any workout routine).

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Once you decide what room you will create your gym in and what equipment will work well for you, you’ll need to prep the room. Give it a fresh coat of paint with a color that’s soothing to you and not distracting. 

Consider adding a shelf for a water bottle, tissues, a music source (a wireless speaker or phone), weight lifting gloves. This is also a great place to put a tablet or laptop for viewing workouts — there are so many great options online! If you’ll be doing a lot of weigh lifting you may want some large mirrors on one wall in the room so you can check your form.

Getting the gym set up is the easy part! Committing to using your new gym — that’s the harder part, but I know you can do it! I don’t have any simple solutions for this part, it will have to come from within. Decide what motivates you to improve and consider setting a goal and rewarding yourself when you meet the goal. 

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One thing about setting a workout goal. Be realistic. If you haven’t been working out at all don’t try to work out 5 days a week for an hour a day. This may lead to failure. Instead I suggest easing into a schedule that you can keep and succeed with, then add to. Maybe working out 3 days a week for 30 minutes a day is a good firs step. Heck, it could be walking for 20 minutes 2 times a week. Find something you can realistically take on to start and you’ll feel better about meeting your goal!

Crossing workout days off on a paper calendar that hangs where you will see it often may be a good motivator. I often set a fitness challenge/goal for the year to motivate my workouts. Join a workout group on Facebook for ideas and accountability.

The idea is that if you build it (in your home.) you are more likely to use it! Your home can be the foundation for many changes in your life and what better change can you make than to improve your health and how you feel? This Empty Nest stage is ready and waiting for you to be your best self! A home gym may be your best first step toward that.

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