After months—dare I say, years—of wanting a place where we can exercise in the comfort of our own home, we have finally made a space in our basement that we can officially call our home gym.
We bought a Total Gym® exercise system before any of our kids were born, back when we actually had a room on our top floor in the house. Back then, we had our master bedroom, a guest room, and a home office, which had extra room in which to set up this rolling platform and pulley system. My wife and I would use the apparatus a couple of times each week, plotting our routines on personal charts.
With the Total Gym and a weekly spin class, we weren't fitness gurus but we did keep the fat at bay.
When our first daughter was born, we converted our office into a nursery and moved the desk from our office into the guest room. The Total Gym, which could fold into a size that stored easily, was moved under our bed, and would come out when we wanted to work out. Only, as our busy lives were happily consumed with our new bundle of joy, the Total Gym came out from under the bed less often, and then not at all.
Spin classes continued, less frequently, though we were able to drop the kids off with the grandparents when we needed to get in our cardio workouts. I also bought a bike, which I would use a couple of times to get to work. It was a hybrid, and after a couple of years I eventually graduated to the road bike that I have today.
More than a year ago, as our visits to spin classes began to wane, my wife convinced me to invest in a spin bike for the home. It wasn't a high-end bike, but it worked. The only trouble was that with two growing kids, we really didn't have the space for it. And so, we set it up in our family room, the intention being that one of us would use it while we watched TV.
Only, the noise that it makes while everyone is trying to watch television is distracting. It's fine to be alone in the room—you just crank the volume on the TV while you crank the pedals—but because the family room is a central gathering point, it's hard to be alone in that room.
One of the cranks also broke in the first half of the warranty period, and we were without the use of the bike while we waited to replace the part and fix it.
Early this summer, my wife found a sale, at Sears, for a NordicTrack® treadmill. The device was half-price.
"But where will we put it?" I asked. "We don't even have room for the spin bike that we don't use. Or the Total Gym."
"We'll make space for all of them in the basement," was the response.
The basement: better known as the black hole of our home. The basement was where we put things that we had no intention of using ever again. The basement was where we stored things that we wanted to sell on Kijiji but never did. The only items of value in the basement were our deep freezer, the pantry, and the cool, dark corner where I stored our wine and my beer.
For years, we have talked about finishing the basement. For years, we've come across items that were now deemed junk, and actually did throw them out, only to replace those items with more junk. We once carried a sofa to the basement, thinking we would make a space where we would relax. That sofa soon became stacked with other items, became a resting space for the cat and the odd mouse. When we first deposited that sofa in the basement, I said the only way that it would come back upstairs would be in several pieces.
This summer, we hacked that sofa to pieces, and carried them to our curb for garbage collection.
Over the summer, we have made a concerted effort to dispose of items in the basement, to sell them off on Kijiji or toss them away. We cleared a corner where our youngest daughter could set up a drum set and practice without feeling surrounded by junk. We rolled out carpets to mark territories. We moved a TV stand to a useful spot and hooked up an old television and VCR. Our daughters moved their gaming systems to the basement and set up some chairs.
My wife and I cleared out enough junk so that we could set up the treadmill. It's so heavy that I told her, the only way it's coming back up is in pieces. I'm hoping that I'm gone before it is. Perhaps, if we ever move, we'll leave it for the next residents.
As soon as the treadmill was set up, I carried the Total Gym down and set it up beside the NordicTrack.
And finally, this week, we carried the spin bike down to join the other pieces of equipment. As soon as it was set up, I rode on it for an hour, followed by a 10-minute workout on the Total Gym, while my wife tried out the treadmill.
Near us, our kids played Super Mario Kart.
We've been in our house for more than 15 years. With the changes to the basement—simply clearing space—I feel as though we're in a new home.