Our first Fit Couple Real Story features Brooke and Joe Dysard, a husband/wife duo who have been fit from home for quite some time. We wanted to dive into how they stay so driven having their gym at home, how they structure their workouts around their personal lives, and which one is responsible for not racking their weights at the end of a workout. :)
This is how Brooke & Joe Dysard fit fitness into life:
Joe and I have been active people our entire lives - playing sports, enjoying outdoor activities - but we had never been particularly concerned with “fitness” or healthy eating or working out. We grew up together in a small town where there isn’t a lot to do with your free time. Joe was my first “boyfriend” starting all the way back in first grade (insert awwwwww here) and we have been together ever since.
We finally ended up married at the ripe old ages of 19 and 20 and we settled into small town married life. Working and paying the bills became more important than getting out and being active. We were both fortunate enough to find good jobs but in both of our cases, that also meant much less physically demanding jobs than we were used to. The weight slowly started to creep up on us and neither of us were happy with where we had gotten to.
This is where we started to go different directions. Joe began to accumulate random pieces of fitness equipment for a basement gym and began his journey toward a healthier life. I, on the other hand, began to accumulate health problems which in turn landed me in a state of depression. First came the thyroid problems, which lead to heart issues, followed by my gallbladder and celiac disease. I shot up to the highest weight of my life, 172 lbs, and the lowest mental state of my life struggling with anxiety and depression. The mental and physical issues constantly fed off each other until I finally reached my breaking point. It was time to stop using these “excuses” and start taking back control of my life.
We did our first obstacle course race (OCR), which could more accurately be referred to as 12 miles of torture, in 2014 and we were hooked. We found this crazy new physical challenge, something we both fell in love with, and the best part was we loved doing it together. It was a turning point for me, wanting not just to do better at each race for myself but to make Joe proud of me. I wanted to be a healthier, stronger person for myself and to be the kind of wife Joe deserved and could be proud of.
I began working out in our make-shift basement gym because I struggle with the confidence to go work out in a public gym. I can say with 100% certainty that if we had not pieced together this little home gym I would still be almost as out of shape as I was the day we struggled through our first OCR. As we both continued to progress in our strength and fitness, it quickly became apparent that we needed more space and better equipment. In came the PRx folding squat rack and the start of our real garage gym. One piece at a time we’re building a fitness oasis and working hard every day to reach our goals.
Joe and I do everything together...except our workouts! I’m a 4 am coffee then straight to my workout kinda girl while Joe is more of a get up, have some breakfast, take your time to wake up before getting at it kind of guy. I need my gym space to be neat and orderly at all times while Joe ends up surrounded by every weight, plate, bench, bar, etc we own! We have our own styles but having a partner with the same goals keeps us both going strong. There’s always a little competition between us, trying to beat each other at a workout or be the last to give in to a cheat meal, but at the same time we are eachothers strongest supporters.
I have a long way to go to reach all of my fitness goals but I never imagined I would get to the place I am today. I’m stronger mentally and physically than I’ve ever been. I just signed up for my first marathon which I never in a million years thought I would be capable of doing. I eat healthy (most of the time!), workout nearly every day, and most importantly I am learning self-confidence – something I’ve never had. Joe and I have a stronger marriage than ever and we are our happiest, healthiest selves all because we made the choice to live a fitter life.
My fitness journey began when I went from having a physically demanding job to a job where I sat around most of the day. Within the first year of this new job I had put on about 35 lbs. I knew I was heading down a road I didn’t want to go down. I had to make a change but I wasn’t confident or committed enough to join a gym. Instead I decided to buy a popular dvd workout program that only required a couple dumbbells and a pullup bar. This is where it all started. I began getting back into shape but I was getting bored so I began researching other programs online. It became clear that I needed to invest in an olympic set if I wanted to expand my options.
I pieced together some used stuff and put it in our basement. Working out was going well for a while but I started to feel like I wanted to somehow test my fitness. I began to look into obstacle course racing and thought about trying out a race, so we got some friends together and went for it. The first race we ever did was 12 miles and it whooped us but I was eager to become better and I wanted to redeem myself. I believe Brooke and I ended up doing 5 or 6 races that year and we were hooked. I finally found a reason for all of this fitness!! My competitive spirit was back in full force so we decided to structure our training around OCR and Crossfit style workouts. There are no crossfit gyms in our area so that meant investing in quality equipment and moving the gym from our basement to the garage where we had more ceiling height. Over time we have upgraded everything into the gym we have now!
We use this gym nearly every day. It may have been a little pricey but it has paid for itself many times over. Brooke and I usually work out at different times. She wakes up at 4am through the week to workout before she heads off to work for the day (she is a little crazy). Although we don’t usually work out together, we do post our finish times and scores from workouts in the gym so we can try to beat each other. Having a spouse that also works out helps keep me motivated and accountable because we don’t want to let each other down. It is definitely a team effort around here. We prep all of our meals together and she will be sure to let me know if I’m getting off of my game. We often have to remind each other that this is about being fit for the long haul.
I would say if you have been thinking about committing and investing in a home gym or garage gym and you have the space, GO FOR IT! It has helped us eliminate any excuses for not getting our training in. You are more likely to get a workout in when you’re short on time. You may just skip that workout if you have to drive to the gym. You can set your space up to flow how you want, and in my opinion the most important thing...you always get to pick the music and blast it as loud as you want!