Two years later: Home gym life.

Misconception in the fitness world is a big grouping. For example: women who lift heavy weights will look like men. Or, this one: if you don’t do any cardio, you’ll never lose weight.

Another one that circles around the drain is: you cannot get a “real” workout in from home.

Really? What is a “real” workout anyway? Any intentional movement is considered a workout. Going for a walk? Dancing? Maybe you plan every day at work, at 10 a.m. to walk up and down the stairs in your office 20 times. It’s all intentional movement. It’s a workout.

When I left the commercial gym scene six weeks before having my son, I had, what felt like, everybody in existence, telling me that I would regret it. I’d be back. I wouldn’t be able to do at home what I wanted to accomplish with my workouts.

I won’t lie, at first, I was worried. I knew I didn’t have much to worry about those last few weeks and the first few weeks that I got back into things when I was ready. But, what about the “after”, when I really started digging in… Shoot, had I made the right choice?

After my first full year, I knew I had. And this year has been another strong indication that everyone is wrong. I did make the right choice, and I’m still getting in better workouts at home than I was in the gym.

And I’m not saying that because it’s been two years since being in a gym, so I just don’t remember. I did one full week at a local Y when they offered a free week for the New Year, and I’ve popped into a friend’s gym with her a few times over this past year. So, I know exactly what I’m not missing.

A spattering of some of what I keep upstairs for my workouts.

There has been some adapting needed. I’ve had to figure out different ways to do certain things without machines, like leg presses (use a yoga ball against the wall, prop your legs out, hold weights at sides…), cable exercises swapped out for band exercises, etc.

So, here is what I’m saying: every single exercise is adaptable to a home exercise if you don’t have the machine (this also works if your gym doesn’t have certain equipment and you want to do a specific exercise). That’s right, you don’t need that flashy gym. Or even that hometown gym like I once had. With a bit of money (what you’d spend for one year’s worth of access to a gym is what you need – or less – to get that home gym started), the right gear, and a little motivation, you can do it and say so long to trying to fit time into your schedule to go to the gym and come back (which for most, it takes about 45-minutes of to and from commute, so that’s almost an hour more you can add back into your day). No more feeling like crap if you can’t make it. And for those without access to a 24-hour gym? No more trying to get there during their open hours (that’s right, put the babies to sleep and hit the weights!).

I know what you’re thinking… Home gym? That means buying one of those Total Fitness or Bowflex machines that takes up so much space! Or you’re thinking expensive! Not really. To get things started, you don’t need to invest half your monthly pay at all.

The starter home pack:

Dumbbells and kettlebells. Depending on your current level of fitness, start off with three different weight amounts in each. You’ll obviously need to add to your “collection” as you get stronger (if that’s your intent), but this is a good, affordable, starting point.1-600x600

Resistance band set. A set with at least four different resistance options, an ankle strap, handles and an over-the-door anchor like this Black Mountain Products set for under $30.

Resistance loop bands. Phantom Fitness has a great set of four different resistance levels for under $10. These are awesome for quad/hammy, booty and calf exercises. Especially as an add-on for resistance alongside weights.11

Suspension trainer. If you’re thinking “Hot damn, those TRX trainers are like $200 though!”, stop right there. Head over to and look up WOSS suspension trainers. I have the WOSS AttacK Trainer, paid a staggering $39.99 for it. I have put it through the ringer, and it’s still in pristine shape.

A yoga/swiss ball, two different weight sizes in medicine balls, and a yoga mat.

untitledTo go a step farther, you can invest in some plates, a rack and bar. Dicks has a pretty reasonable offering in their less-than-$200 Fitness Gear 300-pound set. And Amazon has a plethora of rack offerings. My flooring in my basement came from a surplus resale store and cost me $15 to cover probably 30 square feet.

Moral here? You don’t need to be rich to do the home gym thing. You don’t need everything all at once. Add-on as you need it (because your goals could very well change once you get going!). And most importantly: it can be done.

Flex on my friends, flex on.


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Mother. Photographer. Writer. Founder of Fit Fridays for Mental Health. Former powerlifter turned weightlifter. Coach & Nutritionist. Spondy/PCOS/Endo. Bully breed advocate.

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