Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Help Me Build A Gym!

I've been trying to figure out a way to make a "home exercise space" where I can put all my stuff... a personal space for lifting weights, doing videos, and riding my bike. I really just want a "fitness space" I can go to and enjoy. I can't quite get my head around the *how* to do this, logistically, and I'd really appreciate any input!

I have my recumbent bike in the basement, and it's in front of the TV. I like that, because I can zone out watching TV while I ride. But it's also the TV with all the video games hooked up to it, and with a pack of teens, sometimes I have to kick them off it to bike. That, I don't like.

That TV also doesn't have a DVD player. But I have several good exercise DVDs I would like to do. So what I'd like to do is buy a small TV/DVD player and have it in a room with the bike so I can use it for whatever I want when I want to exercise.

I have a bunch of hand weights in 3, 5, 8, 10, and 15 pounds, and I have a nice mat for floor exercises. That stuff is in my bedroom, and when I want to lift, I either do it in there or bring them out and do them in the living room. I'd like to consolidate and put the weights wherever I have the bike and TV. I'm kinda sick of tripping over 10 dumbbells every time I get out of bed.

The catch is, I have this really great home gym weight system, with stations for 2 people and all kinds of exercises on it with cables and adjustable weights. I used to use it all the time when I weighed 170-ish. But guess what? It's been sitting in my garage covered in dust for 10+ years. Sheesh. So I really want to get it out, set it back up and start using it. It's very cool and just like having a gym in your house! I really, really want to use it. It's a huge pain, takes up a big space and takes all day and a couple of very strong people to move it and set it up, though, so I have to be *sure* where I am putting it before I move it.

The issue I have is safety. I have read several stories in the news about little kids who got killed messing around with weights and weight machines, and I am *ultra* protective of my 3-year-old. I cannot have her around those weights. So I can't put them where she would get into them and smash her fingers, drop them on her toes, or worse. So where the heck can I put this thing??

I always wanted to finish the garage and set up a workout zone, but that would cost a lot more money than I have. So here are my ideas. I need your insights because I have tunnel brain on this, and would *love* suggestions on how to set this up!

A few facts: I have a 2-story house and we spend almost all our time upstairs. That's where the toddler is most of the time (upstairs = kitchen, living room, my bedroom, her bedroom, and small playroom). So I figure I can't put the weights up there because she might get hurt.

Downstairs we have a family room where my bike is, but if I put the weights in there, she might get into them. She comes in there sometimes on her way outside or to play in the computer room. I can't lock that room (has an entry/exit).

There's an office, but if I turned it into a workout room... I wouldn't have an office. Filing cabinets, desks, and storage... and I have no place to put any of it. I think we really need to keep the office.

There's 3 kids bedrooms. I could put the weights in one son's room, but not the bike or other stuff. I would just stick the weights in the corner of his room. Then I'd have to be kicking him out of his room or going in there with him when I want to work out. Maybe a 15 yr old needs his privacy...

There's no other place to put the weights unless I convert part of the garage to a room, but then we are talking about getting A/C and heat in there, creating space, making walls perhaps... might be too expensive for our budget.

Okay, so those are the facts! So if you were given this house, 5 kids, and the safety concerns I have, where would you put the exercise equipment?

All ideas welcome :)


Lacey said...

Maybe move the office things into your bedroom? Or make the playroom a gym? Or move your daughter's things into the playroom and make her bedroom a gym? Or... move the office stuff into the playroom and move the playroom stuff into your daughter's room and/ or the family room... then make the old office into a gym?

Any door that has (or can have) a lock might be sufficient, it's just finding a good way to "fit" everything. Good luck! :-)

Kathleen said...

Any chance you can create a partial space in your downstairs family room with a room divider or bookshelf partitian? The weights can be stored in a big trunk (with a lock if necessary) when you aren't using them.

Anonymous said...

Could you move your office into the room which is the entry/exit where you have your bike then make that old office room into the workout room and lock the door when you have completed your workout so that your toddler does not go into that room. Krista

moonduster said...

Sorry I can't be much help. I hope you find a solution. I have seven kids and we live in a 3-bedroom, so finding space for things is a real issue here as well.

Kek said...

....unless I convert part of the garage to a room, but then we are talking about getting A/C and heat in there, creating space, making walls perhaps..Maybe you can lower your expectations a little? Just clear a space in the garage, get set up and get started. It would be nice to have the perfect spot, but many people manage with less.

Heating and air con and walls to separate "your" space would be great, but they're not essential.

I'm lucky enough to have a purpose built room now, but in our old (tiny) house, I had a bench and some weights on the deck out the back. Cold in winter, hot in summer, and everything got dirty and dusty, but at least it was something.

You obviously have the desire to really make a change, now you just have to find a way around the obstacles. We're good at finding those obstacles, but some of them are smaller than you think, and others are just mirages. ;o)

I hope you find a solution.

Miz said...

I have shoved everything in my office for now---that said I have one kid and theres a small chance shes afraid of me :)
Ive told her repeatedly that its all DANGER (which it is for her little fingers) and she kinda gets it and REALLY GETS that she doesnt hang out in my office solo.


Vickie said...

office or garage - both involved the least amount of conflict with other people - no guilt - no waiting for them - neutral ground.

if the office belonged to a friend that had the same needs that you do - would you be able to figure out how to clean it out for her - shred the stuff that really wasn't needed - or put the cabinets in the garage and move the desk/computer to another room? I think that you could figure out how to do this for a friend - because it is doable - then you could put a lock on the door - like a padlock to protect daughter.

I don't know if you have ever said what state you are in - but unless you are out in Arizona/Florida in real heat - you can probably get used to the outside air - open the garage door in the summer and several floor fans - usually if the air is MOVING - I can deal with it all but the highest humidity days. And the cold might actually feel good to you - I absolutely can't have any heat on to exercise in winter. If I was working out in the house - I would have to open windows or be somewhere with NO heat anyway.

Having to have the PERFECT exercise room is probably listening to the devil/addict on your shoulder. Just figuring out the best solution that is not going to be perfect - is dealing. And it is hard for all of us to deal (I think so anyway).

Anonymous said...

You should try to get away from the hubby and kids and go to the gym. Get some YOU time! You deserve it.

Greg at Live Fit said...

How about going for a body weight routine instead of weights? Squats, lunges, pushups, etc. You could throw in a pilates ball and make it extremely challenging with no other equipment at all.

Just a thought.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Some great ideas here!

It really is nice to have a space set up to work out at home... hope you can figure out way to keep your daughter safe.

Maybe hang a bunch of scary things in the doorway, like rubber spiders and snakes and cans of spinach and broccoli stalks? That would have kept me away as a 3 year old. That and a big scary vacuum cleaner.

(Sorry, no serious suggestions, but good luck!)

Fatty Cake Heather said...

I have a 16 month old. I have an elliptical IN her playroom. It can't be moved and it can't go anywhere else. So, what I did is went and bought one of those octoagon shaped gates, the kind that you can reshape and manipulate. I wrapped the gate around my elliptical so that she can't get to it when I'm on it, or when I'm not. I also put her play kitchen in front of the back portion, just in case. Then, I put my free weights (3,5,8) in the gated area, under my elliptical (where they wouldn't get hit). It's a pain, but it also means I can work out with her near me, and she won't get hurt. When I need to work out, I just step over the gate and jump on. I hope that gives you something more to work with.

Lidian said...

I have no space for any equipment (seriously, none) so I keep a couple of weights on the floor under my desk (and lift when I can in between working), I run outside or run in place in my office, run up and down stairs, and do situps etc on the tiny piece of floor space I have.

Anonymous said...

I liked the ideas of either using the small playroom and a gate and/ or small lock on the door. I know she kind of hangs out with you while you exercise anyways, then it could be both of your playroom :) Also, you could always put a lock (even one of those metal loops and latches) on the family room door and put everything in there. That's probably what I'd do. Good luck

VeeGettingHealthy said...

Agree with Kek. The garage isn't out of the question and wouldn't be expensive if you just do the minimum. Carve out a space from the, er, stuff, grab some leftover carpet from a yard sale or .99 store set up everything there, including a small TV with DVD player and a fan for the summer months. I too like having the TV on because it helps me "zone out" and not actually think about exercising. Vee at www.veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

Jessica said...

I would start by going through all the office stuff to really it par it down and organize it. Then I would move it into the computer room (or did I misunderstand - are the computer room and office the same?) and perhaps put some of the files under my bed. That would free up some room for the weight machine and bike. The rest you may have to move in and out of the room as you use it...hope you can work it out!

Anonymous said...

I'm another one saying the garage might not be totally out of the question. You don't need true walls - you could either make do without or use a big piece of board. As for A/C and heat, you could probably manage without those as well in a pinch (or maybe try a fan heater and a regular fan).

Anonymous said...

I created a space in my garage...and I don't have AC. I just leave the doors open and let the kids play outside while I'm working out.

I even found a small tv and a tv bracket at a garage sale, so I bolted that up on the garage wall. Now I have a spot where I can even watch my exercise DVDs, all while watching the kids play (4 and 2).

If you really dont' want to move into the garage, then I say, move your office to your family room and make the office your workout room.

Lyn said...

Great comments everyone and lots of good thoughts! I have my brain ticking away on this one.

We do have extreme weather where I live... with average temps in the 90's in the summer and lots of days in the 98-102 range. We also get cold in winter and night (30s) but a space heater would fix that. It's the A/C that is the holdup for me. 2 car garage, well over 100 degrees all summer...

Cris said...

At the risk of sounding a little unsympathetic, it sounds like you're using your little one as an excuse. Yes, kids get hurt from playing around with weights. Kids get hurt from playing with kitchen things too. Kids get hurt roller blading and riding their bikes and getting out of the tub. That doesn't mean you give away the bikes, or remove your bathroom, or quit cooking.

Set your weight room up where you will USE it, where it will be comfortable and useful. And then teach your child to be safe around them. Give your child some small weights of her own so she doesn't feel the need to use Mommy's weights.

Protective is good - ultra protective to the point of being paranoid is not. A "few news stories" does not make an epidemic (reference the recent Swine Flu panic). Be reasonable. Don't be paranoid.

Unfiltered Meghan said...

I agree with some of the other comments. I'd either pare down your office stuff (you'd be surprised at how little you actually need to have at hand on a regular basis) and make it a dual purpose office/workout room or move your office into the family room area where your bike is and devote the entire office to being a workout room. I just have a small desk and a file cabinet and I do just fine. If you get your office organized well and have the things you use regularly close at hand, you can store some of the rest and really cut down on the space required.

Good luck! Trust me, I know what it's like to have too much stuff and not enough house!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I have no idea how to build a home gym because I'm having the same problems. But I do have to comment on your blog....

I think it's amazing that you are absolutely amazing! I do WW online because I'm nervous about counting my own calories. The points thing is easier for me. However, I'd LOVE to learn to count calories on my own. I think, while I'm using WW, I'll also try sparkpeople as you suggested. You are such an inspiration to those of us just starting out. Thank you so much for sharing your story and progress. I'm sure it hasn't been easy.

♥ Dee ♥ said...

Clear a spot for toys in the living room upstairs, and allow it to become a play area. Make the playroom into your gym, and gate it with strictly enforced rules about entry. Put a little tv and dvd player in there.


Olivia said...

I had a membership at a really fancy gym, but bc of the economy(read, lack of steady job), no more hi-tech cardio machines, sauna and steam room. But I found that no gym at all doesn't really matter! There is really no need for all the expensive, "dangerous" equipment. You already have all the weights (more actually, 15lbs is HEAVY!) you need to begin simple, effective weight training. Sell the home gym, buy a portable music player, pocket the rest and you're set!

Also key... a simple resistance tube can help start a great routine because it is versatile, portable, the resistance is adjustable, and there are lots of great exercises to work every major muscle group. Youtube has GREAT little videos on how to use the tubes.

Keep it simple. After sitting on my butt for the winter, I've been on my own little mini-mission to get fit. Between my morning runs(which is never really too far or too fast honestly) 5lb weights and resistance bands, I've been seeing a major difference in tone, especially in my arms and legs! 4 lbs down in 3 weeks. I'm not exactly ready for a bathing suit YET, but hopefully I wil be in the next few months!

antgirl said...

I would rearrange the office so that it works. Or move the office. Or, take over the garage.

45 and Aspiring said...

Maybe you can take over the family room. . . get the TV you want for it and move the game one to either one of the boy's rooms, the computer room, or the living room. If you've made your LR more formal or the place where you watch TV, keep a comfy place to sit in your workout room. I agree with the guy who said work with your toddler so she "gets" it and don't leave her unsupervised and consider some dividers (or drapes or sheets?) to keep the stuff out of her vision.

It's GREAT to let your kids see you exercising and modelling that behavior! The chance of THAT rubbing off seems more likely that a terrible accident.

I used to workout in the same gym as Vonetta Flowers (the olympic bob sledder) and she had her toddler twin boys in the weight room; I'd be sucking in my breath as they tried to pick up weights, but she was very nonchalent about it. . . guess she wanted them to get used to the environment. . .

Cortney said...

To recap, your family has a living room and a family room, and your daughter has a playroom and her own bedroom.

That seems like a lot of doubled up space. I would say take over her playroom *or* her bedroom, whichever accommodates *you* better- she's 3, she doesn't need much space to play in, as long as her things are there she'll be a happy camper :)

Further, you said that the living room was upstairs, where everyone spends most of their time, so I would actually go for taking over the downstairs family room for your exercise space. Regarding that I'm also a little confused about your concern that sometimes she walks through that room to go outside, or to use the computer room- perhaps it just comes across that way in type, but your concern that she might get hurt by the weights while she's doing the above two things seems to imply that you're not with her when she's on her way outside? Or going to the computer room? If that's not true, then you'll be with her, and you can keep her out of the weights, or put up baby gates and then she can't go outside or go to the computer room unless you're with her.

Lastly, for what it's worth I think that if I were 15 and my 3 year old little sister had a playroom *and* a bedroom *and* we had two living areas I'd be super, super annoyed if any of my space was taken up, you know? My first choice is baby gate and take over family room, second is take over one of your toddler's rooms. And good luck! I wouldn't want to work out in a hot garage either : / so I feel you on avoiding that!

VenusEnvy23 said...

I don't know if you have written about this and it's completely nondoable, but if at possible I like what one commenter said about you getting out. And I'm not talking about joining an expensive gym. If you have the ymca near you, they have great family plans, lowered rates for lower income families and the one by my house, at least, has free child care for 2 hours I think. There are lots and lots of machines, classes, etc to choose from, and getting in the pool on the days where your knees arent feeling so great might actually be beneficial. I know the one by my house a family plan for up to 5, is $50 a month and that's without income assitance. Just a thought. Oh and it would be a pain, but considering how big your ofice is, I would consider moving at elast part of it into the living room or family room. If the desk is the biggest item, move that and leave the filing caninets. You can do this!

~TMcGee~ said...

With your daughter's health issues, I can understand not wanting to join a gym and put her in a community nursery (usually germ city there). I would look at a couple of options.
Easiest would be to leave it in the garage. Those things are massive and hard to put back together, not to mention getting the wo(man) power together to move it.
I would say you don't need to build a room in the garage. Just clean the space, put down a large square of connecting mats. You can get a portable A/C unit that rolls on the ground. Or you can exercise early in the morning with the garage door open and before it hits 90 degrees (have a good fan out there).
If you must bring it in doors, I'd either combine the office and playroom into one and take the left over room. Or take the playroom and set up half of her room as her "playroom".

Rosemary said...

I like the divider idea A LOT! I have seen so many cool ideas using those.

Google search "Divider screen room decor" and all kinds of neat-o ideas come up.

Good luck, I wish I had your problem! haha