When I was active duty serving in the Army, we worked out every morning, I didn’t have to think twice about exercising, let alone if I didn’t “feel like it”- that wasn’t an option I had. It was wake up, do PT, then go to work. While somedays I hated it, overall, I loved the organized physical training with my platoon. In 2012, when my time in service came to an end, when I moved to the states, had my first child, and became a stay at home mother, I began to lose my sense of self. Like many new mothers, I struggled to find a routine and balance in life. I struggled with postpartum depression without even realizing that was a real illness, and I loathed getting a glimpse of myself in the mirror because I did not recognize the person I saw in the mirror. That’s when my husband suggested that we get a gym membership at the nearby gym. Within a couple months, I discovered my love for lifting! Day by day I was regaining my happiness and confidence and learning to love my body again while also getting it back!
In a years’ time, my habit turned into a disciplined routine, and my love for fitness grew. What started out as 2-4 trips to the gym a week turned into 2 hours a day (the max time allowed for childcare), 6-7 days a week. I couldn’t get enough of seeing what my body was capable of. One day, one of my best friends reached out to me and asked me to try this home workout with her. Naturally, I thought working out at home wasn’t effective and it didn’t work. Honestly all I was thinking was “NO WAY!”. But after talking with her, I realized I could incorporate this HIIT routine into what I was already doing at the gym. I was maxing out my time allowed at the gym. I wasn’t working or in school, so I had all the time in the world and no one could tell me my time was up at home. Ultimately, I knew this added HIIT circuit could only help me enhance my stamina and strength, so I gave it a shot!
I broke my plateau I had been stuck in for months. My daughter, who was 2 at the time, was even joining me during the workouts. I was doing my HIIT workout at home in the morning and heading to the gym after. But over time, getting to the gym became more of a hassle. Sometimes it isn’t easy to get you and your kid dressed, pack the snack bag, make the commute, be there when it is already packed because childcare hours are open, and still be on a time limit. Then you must worry about your kid getting sick, throwing a temper tantrum or needing to be changed. All of which will get you kindly interrupted by a childcare worker. Remember, I absolutely loved working out for so much time every day, but in the back of my mind I knew working out for 3 hours a day split between my home and the gym was not a sustainable routine I could keep. That’s when I realized I needed to start my collection of equipment at home.
In the beginning of my home fitness journey, I didn’t have any equipment- my body was my equipment. But I knew I wanted some weights at home. My “home gym” started as a bench with three sets of dumbbells in my living room. I would carry it all in from my garage and take it back outside when I was done. Naturally, I got stronger and needed heavier weights. So my husband and I bought some adjustable dumbbells. Even with that increased dumbbell weight availability, I still missed squatting, deadlifting, doing pull ups, etc. All the things I couldn’t do with just 50lb dumbbells. I would randomly go to the gym to lift heavy for leg day, nothing consistent and nothing too effective. That is when my husband bought the PRx Performance Rack System for my birthday. BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT EVER!!! Now there was no reason to skip leg day or go to the gym anymore. I have everything I need in my house! I went from a 20 minute commute one way, to a 1 minute commute walking into my garage.
I never thought I would be someone who truly loved working out at home, because remember- I thought it didn’t work! Turns out, it works if you work! Just like working out at the gym, you have to do the work. You have to eat the right amounts of the right foods to fuel your body. You have to pick up the weight and do the work. You have to stay disciplined and motivated and keep your goals in mind. Walking through the front entrance of the gym won’t make you fit, staring at pictures on social media won’t make you fit. It comes down to you. How bad do you want to love your body? How bad do you want to feel good? How bad do you want to be able to run and play with your kids without getting winded before they’re done playing? You have to want it, and you have to be willing to work for it.
Working out at home is way more realistic for this chapter of my life. I now have two daughters: one in school and one toddler. I am a stay at home mom, with a part-time job where I work from home. I am a full-time college student, and to top it all off, I am a full-time mom with a husband who is serving overseas. To say life can get chaotic is a massive understatement. But having my home gym allows me to stick to my workout routine and the supportive community of my closest friends online help hold me accountable. I can now do any workout I did at the gym in my house. I have found workout routines that line up with my goals, my body, and my life. My home gym never closes, never has judgmental eyes, and never has a line for weights. My home gym is mine and it works for me. In between typing research papers, my oldest daughter’s field trips, and my youngest daughter’s nap times, I am able to slip away into my garage for a full workout.
If you are reading this and wondering if you can get fit and love your body too, I’m here to say you can! Whether you’re going to a gym or working out in the garage, there is no wrong place to try to better yourself! For me personally, I have found that investing in equipment for myself at home has turned out to be way more beneficial for my bank account and for my busy life. Now that I workout at home, I can be more present with my children! While I’m working out in my garage they’re drawing with chalk on the driveway and when I am done we play. I have more freedom of choosing what time of the day works best for me to exercise without having to worry about childcare hours and/or gym hours. It just made more sense to invest in home gym equipment more than it made sense to put my family’s hard-earned money in the pocket of a gym that I realistically won’t drive to every day. But like I said, there is no wrong place to get in shape! Find what works for you, surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable, push you, and believe in you. And go do the work! You are worth it!
I believe in you!
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