Fitness Friday: Home Gym / by Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah

What is keeping you from optimal health and being fit?

This is the question I ask myself often. This year has been full of starts and stops. Each time I stop, I ask myself this question. And my answers (ok, excuses) run the gamut, but mostly they fall into one of three categories: lack of time, lack of energy, or need for perfection.

I'm busy. I hold down the house. I work. I shuttle the girls around. I have ministry obligations. We try to have quality family time. I'm trying to have some sort of writing life and social life. Blah. Blah. Blah. This all may be true, but I'm not unique. Most people are busy, and most women--even those who are not wives and mothers--have schedules that are just as, if not more, full as mine. Time is what you make it. And while my schedule may be full, there are still windows of time when I could be getting in a workout. 

But I haven't. Why? First, I'm tired (see below). However, if I am honest, that is not the main reason. The main reason is that I am a recovering perfectionist who can be controlling and rigid. Ok, so how does this affect your fitness? Well, if my workouts cannot fit into the ideal in my head--duration, frequency, intensity with immediate visible results--I'd rather take residence on my couch binge watching Netflix and eating my kids' snacks. 

For real y'all, I've had enough of the excuses from myself and I'm certainly tired of being tired all the time. "I'm tired" is my constant refrain. These days tired is my default with occasional bouts of utter exhaustion. My husband jokes that I'm never not tired.

But it's not funny. I went for my annual wellness check in late July. I was convinced that my blood work was going to reveal the damage my sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits have done. But it didn't. I'm healthy, which I thank God for, but I know I'm dancing with the devil if I keep going in this way.

That's cool. But what does all of this have to do with a home gym?

In 2016, when it was clear that our garage was no longer being used to park cars--I turned it into a home gym. We moved the treadmill from our bedroom, elliptical machine from our laundry room, and weights and various and sundry workout equipment from around the house into the garage. We put down rubber tiles, I made a huge workout inspiration board with the bib from my first half marathon right in the center, I hung a mirror next to a poster with body weight exercises and voila! The left side of the garage had been transformed into a home gym. It was my space. It was functional and inspirational. I could wake up early in the morning or sneak down late at night for a workout without waking my family. It was perfect and I used it for about 9 months. 

image from (one day I'll have a home gym that is this vibrant!)

image from (one day I'll have a home gym that is this vibrant!)

And then it happened. We started piling stuff into he garage and the home gym turned into a repository for a pink motorized barbie car, bicycles, broken down cribs and other baby gear. We started hanging stuff on the treadmill. Soon, I could walk in and out of the garage without even noticing that there was a gym there. 

Until last week. 

Three weeks ago, at hubby's request, I called the trash company to schedule a large item pick-up. The first week, hubby set out some of the big items. I didn't notice much of a difference. Last week, he needed my help figuring out what should stay and what should go. I went to the garage to help him and something clicked. As I handed him some of the big items, this energy rose from within. I started throwing out things we didn't need, I moved the bikes around to their proper places, and swept like a mad woman and in 30 minutes time the space was transformed again. It was a home gym and I was determined to use it. I made a plan and I planned to work it.

On Sunday I set my alarm for 6:00am. I was going to get a good workout in before getting everyone dressed for church. The alarm went off and I couldn't peel myself out of bed. I went back to sleep until 7:15. The perfectionist in me would have called it a loss and scheduled to work out the next day. But instead I got up, slipped on my socks and sneakers and put in 15 minutes on the elliptical. It wasn't what I planned, but it was better than nothing. Since then I've used the home gym 3 times. I'll still go to the the YMCA to workout and out to the pavement for runs when able. But now, I have a space where I can work towards my fitness goals when my schedule is full and my energy is low. 

Baby Girl working out on the elliptical. 

Baby Girl working out on the elliptical. 

Dear readers, what obstacles so you face in meeting your fitness goals? How do you work around them? Leave a comment so we can chat.