Quarantine Convinced Me That My Home Gym Dreams Are Valid

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Home gyms have always puzzled me. For one, the thought of exercise outside of gym class confused me as a child. (My family was more of the earn-your-sweat-hiking or silly-dancing-while-making-dinner type.) Secondly, the thought of having the space in your home to devote specifically to fitness seemed like such a luxury. But as I got older and fitness became a more central part of life — sports in high school, access to a college rec center, and an extensive running history as an adult — I began to long for the space for home exercise gear.

Of course, this dream never seemed possible living in a New York City apartment, as I was lucky to have a separate living room and bedroom, let alone any kind of space leftover for recreational gear. (I was offered a treadmill to review once, and sadly, I laughed upon receiving the generous offer because I knew if I accepted, I would have to give up my bed to make space for the equipment.)

Even earlier this year when I made the move to a slightly larger apartment, I had zero intention on devoting precious real estate to workout gear. (I actually gave away a lot of the bits and bobs I had acquired as an editor over the years.) Not to mention, I liked my routine workout classes and didn't want to give up the social aspect my favorite studios provided.

But when studios and gyms shut down across the board a few months back, I brought my beloved workouts into my home space. Much to my surprise, I liked this new indoor me. I liked the freedom to workout whenever I wanted without relying on a commute or keeping my fingers crossed for a slot in a certain class. I quite liked tossing on my UA Meridian Crop ($60) for a workout session and then feeling comfortable and cozy all day. What's more, I didn't mind letting my workout gear carve out its own space in my apartment.

I had a bit of an advantage as a fitness editor in that I already had a few workout mats, hand weights, and yoga blocks. But after a few weeks of working with what I had on hand, I found myself wanting to elevate my workouts. This lead to an inner dialogue of, "Am I willing to lose space for equipment? Is this a worthwhile investment or just a here-and-now want? A home gym is for someone else and not for me, right?" Now, it may all sound so trivial, but I was considering something in my life that I always assumed was far-fetched for me.

But I realized investing in a kettlebell, resistance bands, and even an indoor cycling bike was more than a space and monetary commitment. Working out had been my way to handle stress and anxiety for the last six months. Between a new job, a new apartment, family health problems, and my own bout of anxiety, devoting time each day to exercise of some form was my escape. No more did an investment in a home gym seem frivolous or something unattainable, but rather, it was a commitment to myself.

I may have devoted an entire wall in my living room where a normal person would have put a chair or coffee table to an indoor bike, and I may have a whole corner of my kitchen with weights, yoga mats, and fitness gadgets and gizmos stacked next to cutting boards and mixers, but I realize now that adding all these home-gym features into my life has been an investment in my physical and mental well-being.

And that is, and will always be, entirely worth it.