Introducing Our Home Gym Reveal (+ My Workout Routines & Complicated Feelings About It All) – Emily Henderson

Welcome to the finished “mini gym”. Otherwise named: “You-Can’t-Pretend-You-Don’t-Have-The-Time/Space-To-Workout-Because-You-Are-Lucky-Enough-To-Have-A-Dedicated-Space-20-Yards-From-Your-Bedroom-So-Get-Your-Ass-Out-There-And-Spin-With-Cody”. It’s a real luxury of extreme convenience and squashes most of my excuses (I’m writing this post in my workout clothes, approaching 2 pm and I still haven’t done it, ha). About halfway through the building of this structure (once meant to be a greenhouse) we realized that during “the great long dark” (November – March in PNW), working out is our #1 anecdote to coping with those winter blues so maybe we should prioritize that over other things (like growing seedlings). So even if this doesn’t permanently stay as a gym (it’s such a pretty room that it could have a gorgeous tiled floor), for the foreseeable future it is where we go to make an icky day a little better, get some endorphins, adrenaline, dopamine, and move our bodies. Sometimes it’s just for 20 minutes, other days for an hour and a half (including a plunge). Keep reading and I’ll walk you through it all…

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Windows | Sconces | Paint Color

She’s a cute little building, with the prettiest windows from Sierra Pacific, a short funny door (not intentional), and of course, those awesome copper lights that match our house. Shooting this in winter is more challenging (thus the stuffed plants in the fully empty veggie garden on the left) so I’m excited to style it all out come spring. This building is pretty small, 12×15 so fits just the things we actually USE, not the extra fun stuff we MIGHT use. We made a video tour of this space that you can watch below, just wait for the quick ad to play...

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Wall Color | Windows | Skylights | Flooring | Cold Plunge | Blue Mat | Mirror | Weights | Weight Rack | Bench | Weighted Ball (similar) | Blue Weights (similar) | Water Bottle | Balance Trainer | Peloton | Mat Hooks | Yoga Mats | Wall Rack | Bands

Here’s what we have going on: I love to Peloton, practice yoga (mostly at studios), and lift weights or basic strength training. Brian boxes and lifts weights. We both cold plunge and have since 2020 – a full post coming at you soon. We knew that we could get a fancy workout/wall unit for that back wall, but both of us like to keep the workouts fairly low-tech (more on our routine below). So for now we have our machines, a simple bench, free weights/band/ball/bosu, and space enough to roll out a mat or two.

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(TW: body shaming + talking about intentional weight loss) I hung that huge mirror (just over $200) which looks good but I might take it down because found that I judge my body the whole time and say really terrible things to myself (turns out that gaining some weight publicly, in our patriarchy, under the eye of social media requires some deprogramming and y’all, I’m WAY BEHIND on my deprogramming sessions). It’s a myriad of disappointments with myself, both physical and mental. I didn’t predict how much I’d judge myself instead of just focusing on how wonderful it is to be able to move my body. The shame around the shame is almost worse than the initial body shame. I just learned these are called meta feelings – like when you KNOW you shouldn’t feel something about yourself but you do and then you are mad at yourself for feeling the secondary feeling. You KNOW that objectively your inner thoughts are fucked up and wrong but you can’t stop the rumination – a lot of that. It’s like my eyes don’t talk kindly to my brain and I KNOW it’s a patriarchal situation. Trying to remain the size I was when I came on the internet is likely an impossibility at my age, and yet my inner expectation is that I look just like I did 15 years ago. I also very much realize that I’m not uniquely struggling or overweight. I thought I had left a lot of my vanity and expectation to be a certain size/shape when we left LA, but turns out my patriarchal vanity is right inside of me, still very alive and well (and SO LOUD). I’m both a victim and a perpetrator of it and I’m disappointed that I’m not better, more evolved than this. So yeah, Imma take down that mirror and see if I can instead focus on how grateful I am to have a body that can move me around in this beautiful world and life…and P.S. The photos you’ll see here are me after weeks of exercise and dieting, I just want you to have the accurate context. I know that this is a very dicey subject and that just talking about weight can be perceived or received as contributing to diet culture. But I also know that I’m not alone in this gross situation and that it’s just stupidly hard to fit into this world as we are expected to, regardless of how “small” you are. We have been told AND have told ourselves all the negative body things for decades, and it’s just so hard to deprogram. I’d love to say that I’m just focused on being healthy and that is definitely also true, but I’d be lying to pretend that I don’t want to change things a little. The daily messages we receive from society at large are really hard to combat. See? SO MUCH DEPROGRAMMING NEEDS TO HAPPEN). I have so much compassion for all women, I know so few who don’t, on some level, struggle to want to be the thing that we are told is “the good thing to be” and the subsequent disappointment around not being able to do just that. Cue the Barbie monologue (and the universal weeping of all women who felt seen and heard, omg I’m sobbing right now…). I also, of course, know that all people struggle with unattainable societal standards but for today, I’m speaking from my personal experience and the majority of women in my life.

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But listen, moving your body is crucial to our mental health, it just is. If we take all the other shit about changing your body off the table, what remains is that it simply feels very good to move, get your heart rate up, make your muscles stronger, and flood your body and brain with endorphins. I need these endorphins in order to make good decisions for my business, they help me be in a good enough mood to bring positivity to my team and family. I won’t have a hard a conversation unless I’ve exercised that day and if I’m feeling anxiety it immediately reduces it. It takes a bad day and makes it ok, and it takes a good day and makes it GREAT. At least for me. It’s just not an option to not move my body.

So here is my workout routine (on a good week and without that pretty hair and makeup, LOL). 4-5 x a week.
1. Cardio: I Peloton for cardio because I don’t push myself on my own (I HATE running) – sometimes 20 minutes, but since January I’ve really been pushing myself to do 45 minutes. I love Cody and Sam Yo the best and legit enjoy hanging out with them and screaming Katy Perry.
2. Strength Training: Dude. All the research about how important it is to build and retain muscle especially for women has convinced me. Recently, I was influenced by ChrisLovesJulia who turned me on to the Playbook with trainer Hannah Pointer. I signed up for her 6-week program. I throw on a podcast or watch The Bachelor while doing it (it’s mostly weights/strength training) and the time FLIES. The next day I can rarely move the muscle that we have exercised – she really burns it out and I’m sore in such a satisfying way (It has only been 3 weeks, but I love how it’s scheduled and gives me a clear program)
3. Enjoyment: It is my firm belief that you have to enjoy whatever workout you do or you won’t prioritize it in your daily lifestyle long term – I like the above workouts a lot, but my two favorite ways to exercise will always be yoga and power walking in nature with a friend (or podcast/pups). I mean, if I could do anything for the rest of my life it would be yoga with Vinnie in Santa Monica (YogaWorks, IYKYK) and then weighted hill power walking with Dax and Monica (The best podcast ever: Armchair Expert). But it’s just so hard to get to a studio yoga class near me (is it too much to ask for a 6:30 am or 8 pm class nearby?) and I find most of the yoga apps too easy/boring to do the job.

Yoga Mats On The Wall FTW

Peloton | Mat Hooks | Yoga Mats | Wall Rack | Bands

Back to design…I was at Rejuvenation and found these large hooks and while I’m not sure what they are meant to be for, I thought they would be perfect for my yoga mats. And then I hung a Target hook rack underneath for Brian’s boxing gloves and my resistance bands. Y’all, it works so well and looks pretty darn cute if you ask me.

Wait, Are you Watching The Bachelor While You Workout???

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Why yes, yes I am. I was going to put a Samsung Frame in here so I could stream mindless shows that I never get to watch but then Peloton launched their partnership with YouTube TV. So I downloaded it and checked that box…UNTIL I REALIZED IT WAS THE WORST THING EVER. Y’all, 0/10 do NOT recommend (unless I’m doing something wrong). I hope someone from Peloton or YouTube is reading this and can help. YouTube TV costs, get this, $72/month. THAT’S FINE. I think that we need to pay for other people’s talent/work and I have a privileged budget to do so. It also seems worth it since I was thinking I’d be out here 4-5 times a week and otherwise have zero time to catch up with the Housewives or my Bachelors. But there are, NO EXAGGERATION, 8 minutes of commercials every 5 minutes of actual TV. Like after every scene is a break to commercial for 8 minutes. Then! Get this! The app kicks you out every 20 minutes making you have to resign in, find the show you were watching, and then guess what???? It starts with 8 minutes of more commercials with no way to skip forward. I know I’ve been spoiled with streaming, but it’s a big NO THANK YOU BITE (our kids have to at least take a “no thank you bite” when trying new foods and then they can stop if they don’t like it). But I’m so bummed because it’s such a good idea and if the ads were just less in quantity and less often it would be fine (and yes, I’ve updated my software and it still kicks me out). Someone please ping me when this gets better and I’ll give it another shot, but they just lost one of their target demographics here and at $72/month I can’t imagine there are that many of us willing to pay this in addition to everything else. My team was in here with me shooting and they couldn’t believe how bad it was, too.

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So instead of continuing my ridiculously priced terrible YouTube TV/commercial subscription, I’m going to bring my laptop in here to watch the most adorable Bachelor in years, Joey, marry the most endearing contestant, Daisy while I flutter my legs and do my wall sits.

Wait, Do you Box Now, Bruh?

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FightCamp Boxing | iPad | Water Bottle

I mean, I have boxed. But I strangely get tennis elbow when I box frequently (???) so this is what Brian is absolutely addicted to and has been since 2020 (I am good at leaning, as demonstrated). This is FightCamp, a boxing app that has personal training, with trackers in the gloves and he absolutely can’t get enough of it. Seriously, FightCamp Should reach out to get quotes from him, no one has sold more FightCamps to his friends than my fitness influencer husband, Brian RIPPED Henderson. He’s dripping sweat after 24 minutes and seems to really like me so much more afterward:) Also, the benefit of this isn’t just the app with the trainers, it’s also that you don’t have to hang it from a beam and it’s much more stable. So it could be in a guest room, in a small closet, etc. Just needs less support and less space. It’s pretty genius.

The iPad is on a little ledge on the right (by the water bottle) and he watches the app while he punches and kicks the hell out of the bag (which can be full of sand or water – you choose). Anyway, it’s very specific, isn’t cheap, and takes up space, but Brian can’t stop telling his friends about it because he legit enjoys the punching of things workout so much.

What Is That Flooring? Is It Rubber?

Yes. It sure is. We got this flooring because FightCamp comes with a huge rubber mat to help it from sliding around when my man punches it with all his might. But the mat was super thick (with a big rim) which was fine when it was on its own but in here it was really chopping up the space and taking away precious yoga floor real estate. So we decided to put a rubber gym floor throughout the whole space (including under the plunge). It’s fine, but it shows every speck of dirt and is waterproof but not porous so we have to mop up every time after we come out of the plunge. I suppose no matter what we would’ve needed to. We did it ourselves and bought it from rubberflooringinc.com. I think next time I would do one with the flecks in it so it looks cleaner longer.

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Oh, she loves to laugh…We have basic weights for now but I just bought these since they turn dumbells into barbells without buying more equipment (and they are awesome, reel coming soon).

Free Weights | Dumbbell Converter | Weight Rack | Bench

And Hot Tip – ferns are super messy. These look good in the shots but we had to remove them because they were causing a big old mess every time anyone bumped them. But the big pretty fiddle leaf fig stays The weights, rack, and bench are all from Amazon BTW, had good reviews and so far so working great.

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Robe | Towel | Standing Light | Plant Stand Planter (similar) | Slippers | Cold Plunge | Bath Mat | Black Stool (similar) | Fiddle Leaf Planter (similar) | Stacked Planter (similar)

Yes, we have a fancy cold plunge. I love it very, very much (the whole family does, besides Charlie – NOT A FAN). I had a lot of embarrassment around this plunge, but if I were say a male influencer I would own the fact that I have what is universally considered a great biohacking and mood-boosting health device, ala Andrew Huberman. But people judge women for spending $$$ on what seems like WOO WOO stuff. So I’m going to go full Huberman and own it. I love this plunge so much and do it 4-5 times a week. I’m writing a whole post about it so more to come. This is from Plunge and while there are cheaper ones on the market (I had a cheap one at first and it didn’t work out), this one is excellent (and the newer models are even better). It’s expensive, but around the same price as a hot tub so it’s really just about your value system (and of course, they have payment plans). If you are wondering if it’s for you, I would just take cold showers and baths for a while and make sure you are someone who loves the feeling of cold plunging – it’s not for everyone (but the feeling afterward is incredible and lasts for hours). I am absolutely addicted to it, as is Brian, so this was something we really really wanted. Again, more to come later.

How Do You Light This Room?

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We put in the world’s cheapest/not ugly overhead ceiling fan ($100! and not bad) which has a light and it actually looks great. But the light is too bright for me in the mornings so I bought this lamp from IKEA in the back there (the tall Japanese-style fabric lamp) which creates a really lovely overall glow – especially in the pitch dark mornings. And I’m a huge fan of that black and white check robe (I’m giving it as a main gift this year) and I bought two Business & Pleasure striped towels on sale for $29 which are so cute. Shout out to my Nike slides and Target bathmat.

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Thanks for reading y’all. And I sincerely hope that this post, this gym, my words, or my body didn’t trigger anyone. That is never my intent. But I do want to have vulnerable conversations even if it seems like I’m not the right person to have them. We all live in this hard world and suffer varying degrees of patriarchy. I hope that my thoughts about my patriarchal hang-ups can help anyone not to feel alone. We shouldn’t let any mirror dictate our self-esteem unless it’s the one we hold up for ourselves or others to remind us of how beautiful and strong we are, just the way we are. Now, actually believing that is the real work.

Anyway, not a day goes by where I don’t recognize how lucky/privileged I am to be able to workout here. I’m extremely thankful and grateful, every single day. And thankful to you all for being here. xx

Emily Henderson At Home Gym Reveal Ideas Before and After 1
Emily Henderson At Home Gym Reveal Ideas Before and After 2
Emily Henderson At Home Gym Reveal Ideas Before and After 3

*Design by Annie Usher and Emily Henderson
**Styled by Emily Henderson (me!)
***Photos by Kaitlin Green

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