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Working out as a parent can be tough! Trying to fit it in between feedings and naps or shuffling kids around to various activities. Whether you are a stay at home mom or a working outside the home mom, we all have different challenges on our time and energy. In order to stay healthy and be able to show up well for our families we need to take care of ourselves physically too. Check out this tour of my home gym!
Home Gym Set Up and Tour
I’ve been through several stages of trying to find time to work out and reach my fitness goals, whether that was on business trips, at home, at the gym, having a personal trainer, etc. When the world shut down due to COVID I shifted to working out at home pretty well. I was doing personal training via FaceTime, signed up for the Peloton App on my phone and spruced up our home workout space.
When we moved into our house we turned what was called a flex room (translation – small space) into a workout/crafting room. My husband ripped up the carpet and put down wood grain look foam floor tiles, he found an elliptical for sale from someone nearby and put a yoga mat on the floor, that was about it initially.
This is how we started our home gym set up, however, be sure to think about the type of workouts you like to do, what family members will be using it and keep your price point in mind. You don’t need to have a ton of space to use for home workouts. For the budget aspect, be sure to look on facebook marketplace or other local sales sites for people selling high quality fitness equipment they are no longer using or need to get rid for any number of reasons, you can find some great deals.
After a while and when COVID kept us all at home, we added a few things to the room we use as a home gym. Some dumbbells for strength training (I would get this set of dumbbells that is adjustable if I had it to do again!), resistance bands, yoga props and most importantly to me a spin bike. Now, I already had the Peloton app and was using it for outdoor runs, yoga, strength, stretching and I was super excited when they added Barre classes.
The only thing I really couldn’t use in the app was the cycling. I wasn’t ready to splurge for a Peloton bike since I wasn’t sure how long we would be home and if I would really use it that much or not. I thought I was more into running but wanted a great option for indoors.
I decided on a Sunny bike that was delivered in time for Christmas. My husband obliged and assembled it for me. I insisted on a heavy duty mat for under the bike even though we had the foam floor, the bike leaves pretty good marks from where the feet are so that was a good choice and the single surface is easy to clean from sweat and water, etc.
An indoor bike is a great form of exercise. It is low impact on your knees and you can choose your intensity with the resistance knob, you can get a great cardio workout without having to put in a ton of time.
The other thing that I added to this set up is a rechargeable/adjustable fan. This little thing is awesome! We had something similar for my son when he was in a stroller but it had a big clip on it, this one has three arms that twist around and grip onto whatever you need. Turns out we have both used it a lot. My husband gets on it regularly as well.
I am no yogi but when I do practice yoga it is nice to have a few props to help do the postures correctly or not be running around the house looking for things that might work! I got some yoga blocks and found a woven blanket I had gotten in Mexico that works perfectly as a yoga blanket.
Inexpensive Workout Equipment
A few other good adds to the gym set up are resistance loop bands, you can basically work any part of your body with these and this set has three different levels of resistance. Sliders are great for core work, planks, bridges, rock climbers, etc. I found mine in the dollar spot at target (you never know what you might find there!), but here are some from Amazon.
A workout ball is a must, so many things you can use these big balls for, even as a chair for a kids desk – great for fidgety kiddos. But I use it for stretching my back, laying on it like a bench for arm presses, planks, bridges, you name it! Then there is the small ball, this one is great for holding between knees or ankles while doing leg lifts or behind the knee for barre work. Balance board for squats or arm work while balancing for added core emphasis.
Oh and not pictured here, we have a pull-up bar that my son has decided belongs in his room now – oh to be a growing boy! While I’m at it I guess I should give credit to our daughter who also decided that the jump rope we had in the gym was hers and it now lives in the garage where she uses it regularly.
This back stretcher was a steal on Amazon and I use it all the time. My husband prefers to have our kids walk on his back to crack it but I’ll stick with this adjustable back stretcher to be safe! I also use a foam roller, for my back and shoulders and also my IT band – which i always tight. The Peloton app even has specific stretching classes focused on foam rolling.
Fitness At Home
As you can see it is possible to set yourself up for success for just a few pieces of equipment and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Set up your workout space/home gym and decorate it in a nice and organized way that makes you want to go there and spend some time on YOU.
While it may not be much space, it has proven to be enough to do a hiit workout, and enough room for the type of exercise my husband an I prefer. We didn’t have to invest a ton of money in exercise equipment and we are still able to get a great workout. In the future I would add a full-length mirror, a set of adjustable dumbbells, kettlebells and maybe some motivational wall decor.
I hope if you can find a spare bedroom or dedicated space wherever you are living that you can create your own home gym setup. It helps if the space has good lighting or even better, natural light and maybe a ceiling fan. It is nice to be able to work out in the comfort of your own home and save money by not paying for a commercial gym membership. There is nothing wrong with paying for a gym membership though, some people need that motivation to say ‘I’m paying for it, I need to go use it!’
I’ve just found that trying to juggle work and activity schedules, resulted in me not getting to the gym as much as I would like and this set up has been a lifesaver! Maybe the most important thing is that being in your house is the best option so you don’t need to get a babysitter or find a gym with childcare, and naptime just might become your favorite time of day to get a full-body workout in!