4 Must Haves for a Home Gym…Sort of

It’s no secret that having kids can put quite the pinch on your me-time. One of the first things that tend to get sacrificed when kids saturate every last ounce of your existence is working out. It is near impossible to schedule adequate time at the gym, especially when both spouses are working. The delirium caused by lack of sleep might make you feel exhausted and like you just worked out, but unfortunately the surviving-kids exhaustion somehow doesn’t burn as many calories as actual exercise. Who knew?

The gym is a tough place for parents regardless of time constraints. I fight traffic, pay exorbitant monthly membership fees, and physically torture myself all while being surrounded by guys I used to look like (well that’s how I remember it) and guys I probably could look like now (they’re either superdads or just never had kids). It’s really an exercise in futility more than anything. So what is the solution? The home gym, of course! Lucky for you I have created a nice starter template for anyone looking to get fit from the comfort of their own home.


The treadmill is the quintessential piece of home gym equipment. You can walk, jog, run, jog slowly, run somewhat fast, sprint, lollygag, crawl…the variations are practically endless. I use our treadmill a little differently though. First, our treadmill is most often used as a ground shelf for storage. I’ve found that I can usually fit 6-8 medium sized plastic storage totes on the belt all at once. Heck, I currently have our boxed-up Christmas tree on it now! Second, the treadmill often serves as a secondary option to hang laundry when we run out of hangers. Lastly, assuming the storage and laundry is clear, the treadmill is a great place to watch kids of all ages have horrifying accidents. Integral part of the home gym, it is.

Mismatched Dumbbells

Another great tool in my home gym arsenal is the bevy of assorted dumbbells I have accumulated through the years. I have two 2.5 pounders, two 5 pounders, one 12 pounder, four 25 pounders, one 35, and one 45. This broad range of dumbbells allows me to accomplish virtually nothing within my workout. The key, however, is not the work being performed but rather where the work is performed. Let’s be honest, you weren’t going to walk up to the intimidating dumbbell stands at the gym so of course there’s no need to use them at home. The key is that you’re home and all this time and energy is being saved.

AB Contraptions

I thought about devoting the entire article to this section, as it has been so critical to my home gym success (or lack thereof). I have a wheel, a board, a thing with handles, and a full recliner thingy. The AbBlaster, AbMaster, AbDisaster, AbRecliner, AbOmination…doesn’t matter what the name is, I can guarantee I ordered one off an infomercial at 1:40 am some night while pounding cookie dough ice cream and dreaming about my six-pack. These ABstrocities can be used for all sorts of exercises but I’d have to say my favorite is the one where I trip over it in the dark. I also have come to enjoy my toddler beating me over the head with the wheel one too.

Exercise Bike

It wouldn’t be a home gym without an exercise bike; I have yet to find a quality home gym yet that doesn’t feature an exercise bike. Come to think of it, I don’t know that I’ve passed a garage sale without one either, but that is neither here nor there. Anyway, my go-to stationary bike is one bought very cheaply with a seat that provides about 40% coverage for my backside with no padding. A broken odometer is a must as well. My favorite stationary bicycle workout is the one where I pull it out of storage for my wife to use, watch her use it once in 3 months, and then promptly return it back to storage because company is coming over. It’s quite the workout.

So there you have it, the four must-have items when starting a home gym. If you follow my advice and purchase these four items…then you haven’t been paying much attention at all.

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