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Building a home gym has plenty of benefits. Heres how to do it. – Houston Chronicle

Building a home gym has plenty of benefits. Heres how to do it. – Houston Chronicle


Brittany Wilson stopped weighing herself long before the pandemic started.

At 5 feet, 3 inches tall, Wilson, 32, was well over 200 pounds, but couldnt bear to know exactly how much. She packed on the weight after the birth of her third child in 2012.

Now, Wilson remarks how far shes come in a year losing 50 pounds by working out in her home-garage gym.

She started with a set of dumbbells, then added weighted jump ropes, kettlebells, medicine balls, a workout bench and a pull-up bar. She changed her diet to keto, then a low-carb diet with intermittent fasting and now works out at least five days a week.

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I knew if I tried to go to a gym, I would fail, Wilson said. I dont know which equipment to use and I would end up just watching other people. But if I got the things I needed at home, things I like to do, I would succeed.

In 2020, sales of exercise equipment skyrocketed when gyms and fitness studios closed due to the pandemic. Health and fitness equipment sales more than doubled to $2.3 billion from March to October, according to NPD, a trend forecasting firm. Treadmill sales increased 135 percent and stationary bikes, like Peloton at about $2,300, nearly tripled.

If you're looking to set up a home gym or workout area, here are some options for equipment:

Resistance bands, $10.

A set of dumbbells or kettlebells; prices vary depending on weight.

Weighted jump rope, $12-$25

Exercise stability ball, $15-$32

Medicine balls, $20-$40

Reebok Professional Deck Workout Bench, $150. Can be used for incline, decline exercises and storage.

Lebert EQualizerTotal Body Strenghtener, $110 per pair, lebertfitness.com. It can support up to 400 pounds and allows users to do a variety of total-body exercises, including pushups, pullups, dips, burpees, etc.

Editor's note:

This is the first installment of an eight-week series geared toward helping Renew readers prepare their bodies and minds to return to normal life this summer, as the pandemic wanes.

Other workouts, like boxing, also saw rise in interest for home workouts. Liteboxer, for example, at about $1,500 offers a computerized machine workout with sensors, LED lights and a tracking system to measure each punch. The app can be downloaded for custom workouts.

Even on Amazon, weights and other small gym equipment were sold out indefinitely during most of 2020.

Home gyms became the new way to help fight the pandemic stress and weight gain.

Melanie Rushe, a former ballerina and wellness director for alliantgroup, and boyfriend Etienne Brown, an oil and gas consultant, transformed their one-car detached garage into a home gym last June. They insulated and sealed the space, added cabinets, floor mats from a feed store, bought a Peloton bike and added a row machine, yoga chair and a squat rack for Etiennes Olympic-style weightlifting. Most of their equipment is previously owned.

Rushe also brought in color by painting a mural on a wall.

Were really committed to staying healthy. We started in the house in our office, then when the pandemic continued we decided to move into the garage. It was more efficient, she said.

In addition to keeping them fit, Rushe said having a home gym makes working out together even more enjoyable.

This is our special time. I can do my favorite thing working out with my favorite person, she said. They still maintain a membership to a fitness studio for variety.

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Having a workout partner can help with meeting fitness goals, whether it is weight loss or stress management.

Wilson, a case manager with the State of Texas, teamed up with a colleague, who was also struggling with her weight, to support each other. They both wanted to drop pounds before getting their mommy makeover, which is a plastic surgery to help reduce belly fat and loose skin from childbirth and contour the body.

We were in sedentary jobs, sitting eight to 10 hours a day. I was snacking all day, not meal prepping, eating Popeyes chicken sandwiches twice a week. It was a horrible combination for weight and health, Wilson said.

Wilsons husband, Horace Wilson Harris, also joined the effort and has lost 70 pounds since they started working out at home. The couple, who married in 2016, has a blended family with six children ages 17, 10, 8, 7 and 3.

Its hard to take care of ourselves, our mental health and well-being when youre a mom but its so important. A happy and healthy mother makes happy and healthy children, Wilson said.

She even sat her children down to explain to them that she needed an hour a day for mommy time.

I told them when I go into the garage, its my time, and this is for me, she said.

Still, Wilson did get her mommy makeover with liposuction and a tummy tuck in April.

Im finding comfort in my new skin and body, and it really feels good, she said.

joy.sewing@chron.com

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Building a home gym has plenty of benefits. Heres how to do it. - Houston Chronicle

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