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The Oxygen Room


All month we’ve been talking about how to create a home environment that supports weight loss and healthy living. There was the “Pantry Purge” and “The Proactive Pantry,” the “Refrigerator Rehab” and “Refrigerator Reset,” the “Franken-Freezer” and “Frozen is Fabulous.”

But what about the rest of your house? Is it set up to support a healthy lifestyle? You may have a home theater system that you put a great deal of time and money into, but consider how beneficial it is to have space in your home that is dedicated to fitness as well.

It may strike you as strange, but I call my home gym my “Oxygen Room.” A couple of reasons:

1)    I am inspired by a fitness magazine and website ( called Oxygen. It is filled with healthy recipes, workouts and advice, and is geared toward women who cultivate a very active lifestyle. Fundamentally it is a women’s weight lifting magazine, but it has appeal and information far beyond that limited scope.

2)    It is where I found my breath.

Does that sound strange? Let me explain.

My home gym is a place of peace and comfort for me. I found time for myself, a passion for fitness and tremendous inner-strength in that room. Don’t get me wrong; I sweat, swear, moan and groan (occasionally cry) in there almost daily. But it is a price I pay willingly for the healthy lifestyle that all that hard work earns me.

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I am truly fortunate to have a dedicated space in my house for a home gym. It’s also where our family computers and storage are, but primarily it is our workout room. Over the years we have collected an array of equipment:

  • Some expensive equipment – a treadmill, an elliptical machine, a weight bench.
  • Some moderately-priced equipment – a TRX trainer, a BOSU, free weights (dumbbells), weighted medicine balls, kettlebells, DVDs (P90X versions 1, 2 and 3).
  • Lots of inexpensive equipment – resistance bands, a stability ball, a jump rope, a yoga block, foam rollers, floor mats.

Having the gear in my home, just a few steps away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house, means that I can fit in a workout almost any time. It is a luxury in terms of both space and money that I recognize many people cannot afford. Still, you may find that carving out some personal space for fitness is a long-term investment in your health and well-being.

When building our gym, my husband and I first invested in a treadmill. Clearly, it takes a space big enough to accommodate it – and at roughly $1000 it wasn’t cheap – but it is a decision we have never regretted. We’ve owned the same one for well over ten years, so its amortized cost has been reasonable.

The moderate and low-priced equipment listed above, for the most part, does not take up much space and could easily tuck in a closet or be stored under a bed. My favorites are the stability ball for its nearly-endless versatility (though I don’t recommend trying to store it under your bed!), free weights and resistance bands. There are countless ways to utilize these tools, but consider my blog “Your Strength Training Workout” a great starting point. Many of the moves in that workout require no equipment at all!

My home gym, my Oxygen Room, is a retreat of sorts for me. It’s my way to touch base with my physical body every day and make sure that my health goals stay on track.

Stuff gets real in there, ya know? But that’s okay with me. Permanent weight loss, just like fitness, isn’t something you do once and then forget about it. It’s a daily commitment that I feel privileged to make.

Losing weight is hard. But when everything in your home supports your healthy living goals it’s so much easier. And you’re so damn worth it!

Let’s go get it!

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