Our simple home fitness setup

For almost 2 years now I've been doing regular strength training, 2 to 4 times per week (I'm talking Olympic lifts, kettlebell training, simple CrossFit WODs, and difficult bodyweight movements) and I love it so much. (Most recently before that husband and I together had been doing some kettlebell workout classes and a six-month CrossFit experiment. Then I decided, I can do this myself--I can pick a few simple strength training workouts to rotate and do them for 8 weeks or so. I can modify as needed and structure my workout sessions however and whenever I need. Not until I made this shift that I start to see serious improvement in my strength and more defined muscle than I've ever had! Also--it was a fantastic confidence boost!)

For a good part of the first year, I worked out at a small parks and recreation and community center gym that was on my way home from work. That worked out pretty well, but… I'm an introvert, and my favorite days were when there was no one else in the gym. Which was pretty rare at rush hour.

Taking the home gym plunge!


So a little over a year ago, husband and I bought ourselves the equipment we needed to set up a gym in our garage. It was kind of our Christmas present to ourselves. The key elements were the weights, which we bought on Craigslist (a whole set that included a bar and nice storage rack for the plates) and the affordable portable squat rack bars, which we did extensive research about and then found on Amazon, after deciding the most basic option was the best. We got a simple bench from my in-laws that Christmas, and found this super cool rubber flooring at the Habitat for Humanity Restore (donated from Nike, which is nearby). All in all we spent less than $400 or $500, so… Equivalent to only a couple months of CrossFit classes for the both of us.

It does collect leaves, need to sweep soon I guess. We also keep a tiny heater in there for winter evening workouts.

Everything is portable, so room to move things around and do burpees and Turkish get-ups!

Since then we've added a couple kettlebells, adjustable jump ropes, and resistance bands which I use for assisted pull-ups. Oh, we also have a pull-up bar mounted outside under our deck, just outside the garage (though unfortunately it's hard to use when it's cold outside, or when it's super hot and I'm working out in my underwear!). And I scored a whole box of small plates and screw-type dumbbells at an estate sale for $8!!!

Really, we've created what is probably the best possible home gym scenario for us in our townhouse! I don't have to see people, and can work out absolutely whenever I want but definitely a few days a week when I get home before husband and do my work out while listening to my favorite workout time podcast (Happier by Gretchen Rubin), wearing whatever funky outfit I have available, with my home shower and all my stuff right upstairs and even the option to start dinner before getting in the shower.

Home gym, living room, whatever...


I do my warm-up upstairs, because I have been incorporating handstands and the handstand wall is in the living room. We also keep foam rollers and lacrosse balls for rolling, more resistance bands, PVC pipes, and a yoga mat upstairs for easy access while watching TV!

I've gotten used to the fact that we are the kind of people who will sometimes keep our kettlebells in the living room.

My handstand wall! Won't ever put art there, it's the perfect spot. I've been incorporating handstands into my warm-ups and have improved so much.

The result is basic fitness equipment and easy locations in my home, my favorite place to be where there's no one to bother me and I can listen to and wear whatever I want! It really keeps me motivated and working out regularly. I do other activities outside of the house, like hiking when the weather's good and using the wider range of equipment at the university gym when my father-in-law works every once in a while, too, but for the usual routine--I love our home setup.

I know some people need the external motivation and stimulation of a gym or workout class, but I do pretty well with keeping internal expectations and I like to be home as much as possible!, so our home setup is so perfect! (About internal versus external expectations--have you read Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin? This is a great time of year to read it and listen to her podcast! You can also take the quiz to see what your tendency is for habit formation. Identifying qualities I have has helped me with strategies for keeping good habit! Which is why I'm writing this post, an ode to the gym I love and have built because it works for me!

If you're looking to set, change, or keep workout goals this year, I hope this post and Gretchen's work help you! (I should also mention my favorite resource for fitness information and inspiration: Girls Gone Strong. Check it out. :) For example, here's a great post and video on foam rolling for tight muscles.)

Best wishes in your goals this year, and here's to finding what works for you!




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