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

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 antidote 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…

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...

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.

(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.

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???

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.

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?

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.

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.

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?

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.

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

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

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1 month ago

I’m about ten years older than you and get all of the body angst. This is a beautiful space and I am lucky to have a similar one in our basement for the first time, a real work out room. The Peloton was life-changing for me— I used to run a lot when I lived in Seattle but here in Maryland, I just can’t get used to the humidity, and there isn’t enough daylight in the winter for me to run with my current job. However, the Peloton was life-changing and Sam Yo was my first favorite teacher! I highly recommend getting into the power zone workouts. There are instructions on the blog. I love Matt Wilpers and Dennis Morton and the longer, more steady-state workouts (especially the endurance rides). We have the same weight rack from Amazon and an ancient bench that my husband used in high school, also an old ergometer from his crew coach days that neither of us use but we both feel sentimental about.

Anyway, you are beautiful and we all appreciate you. Enjoy your lovely little workout space!

Jill
1 month ago
Reply to  Colleen

Nice.

Karen
1 month ago

I’m surprised at how many things you were able to get in there. Enjoy the space!
It has to be mentally harder to age today than what our mothers experienced. The digital trail of photos show the history much easier than the physical albums of the 80’s/90’s (if you even bothered with the albums). So we all might not have a public history like Emily, we do have iPhoto assembling years of our faces to let us know how different (fine, it’s wrinkly!) we are. Fight the fight, ladies! Aging is a beautiful privilege

Grace
1 month ago
Reply to  Karen

“Aging is a beautiful privilege” indeed! Love this.

Kim
1 month ago

I’m always so thankful for your transparency and honesty. You are such a bright spot in my day and I know that comes at a cost to you. Thank you for sharing your life with us! I love the whole EHD team 🙂

1 month ago
Reply to  Kim

just wanted to reiterate what kim said…I’m so touched by you sharing who you are with such vulnerability and honesty, it’s a gift you give to the rest of us, and is a reminder of how being vulnerable connects us . I could have used so many of the same words to describe my feelings , tho I’m a lot older . Thank you for being you , and I love the whole team as well.

Emilie
1 month ago

Your opening words–particularly “shame on shame”–so captured my feelings lately, I’ve been having a kind of emotional overload this morning after reading this. (Tears even!) I definitely feel you on appearance and exercise. I also recently missed a period for the first time at age 45–it’s been 2.5 months and I am still waiting–and I am having a major freak-out about menopause and the loss of my youth and feeling so embarrassed about both the thing itself and an extra layer of embarrassment about my reaction to it. To the extent that I could barely get the words out to my husband and haven’t been able to bring it up with friends (although I did make a doctor’s appt). Hence me writing about it anonymously on the internet! Anyway, I appreciate the honesty and the opportunity to post.

J.O.
1 month ago
Reply to  Emilie

I hear you. I went through menopause at 43. I had had intermittent spotting for months but when I found out I was in menopause it rocked my world for a while but soon I relished in not having to live my life in a cycle of hormones – up and down, up and down. Now at 54, I can’t see or hear as well but I am stronger than I have every been. My hair may be starting to gray and I developed the neck waddle but I have finally figured out my skin (no more breakouts!) and hair (no more frizz!). Hang in there.

Allison
1 month ago
Reply to  J.O.

I’m 50 and things are getting weird period-wise, so I appreciate you both sharing.
This is trivial in comparison, but how do you manage frizz? My hair has changed a lot (much curlier and finer, but still oily), and I have not figured it out!

Kika
1 month ago
Reply to  J.O.

Came to ask how you manage the frizz too!

Beth
1 month ago

Morning! The space is beautiful – thanks for sharing, and for keeping it real.

Kate
1 month ago

Could you share a link to the ceiling fan? Thanks so much! It looks great and how wonderful that it was a good deal!

Kate
1 month ago
Reply to  Kate

I see that you now have the ceiling fan linked in the post–thank you!

Linda
1 month ago

Wow, very nice and inviting.
cold plunge – I am so interested: you go sweaty in the cold plunge and change water every time? Or like a hot tub only once in a while and shower first?
I am missing the pool tech. Is it outside behind this house/mirrow wall. Any pics how that looks like? You said it has to be under a roof. House roof extended?

Susan
1 month ago

A real and true shift happened to my body at age 36, maybe the same way a real and true shift happened to my body from childhood to puberty and the way a real and true shift happened to my body when I went from ME to motherhood. The acceptance of the change was very hard both times. But I think it’s too EASY to blame the patriarchy as the root of it all. For me it was just incredibly disorienting to have my body change in ways I had no control over. It’s an illusion to believe the body I had as a 10 year old would ever come back when I was 13 and suddenly had boobs and a period. Just as it was an illusion to believe that my permanently changed hips from birthing 3 kids would ever return to the shape it was before I became a mom. And my body changed again at 36 because it was getting me ready for my next stage of life. I’m 50 this year and it was disorienting yet again to watch all of my black brown hair turn grey. No amount of coloring will change the fact that… Read more »

Rachel S
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan

wow, thank you for writing this, Susan. i am pregnant at 34 and what an eloquent and accurate description of how i feel about my body changing in ways that i have no control over just when i thought i had it down pat. i struggled to voice what was so disorienting to me about pregnancy, but you nailed it. i appreciate your words!!

Susan
1 month ago
Reply to  Rachel S

I cried during my first pregnancy because didn’t know who I was. I knew the train to a new place had left the station and I had no idea what was going to change. Turns out, everything.

Nikki
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan

This puts it so beautifully. Having a body that you know well, and then it goes and changes, over and over – it’s disorienting and it’s not something that’s widely talked about. I’m about to turn 43 and my body doesn’t react to exercise the way it did 5 or 10 or 15 years ago. It’s forced me to develop a new (probably healthier) relationship with moving my body- one that isn’t linked to visible results.

Sarah
1 month ago

We have a smokehouse on our property (circa 1800s) and I use it as a gym. I’m 37 and finally made the mental switch from wanting to look a certain way or lose weight to the Attia informed – muscle is your best protection in old age so get to it mindset. It makes working out as much as possible a privilege not a punishment! Emily, I love your space and am sending you love in your journey of self acceptance and pride in your body!

Sina
1 month ago

Dear Emily, your personal posts are always my favourite, no matter the issue you’re addressing. I am so happy that the new comment policy keeps the trolls/naysayers/generally unhappy and envious people away and we get to enjoy so much more articles written by you. This one is no exception. Thank you so much for being vulnerable in front of such a large audience.

Lexa
1 month ago

First, this may have convinced me to do Hannah’s four week program…I need to get more strength/weight training in my life!

Second and more random comment is actually YouTube tv related: I’m curious if others have the same experience? I gave up my cable when I moved late last year and switched to YouTube tv just so I could occasionally watch live tv (it makes me feel less cut off for some reason, as an Elder Millennial who lives alone, and at $72 has more channels for cheaper than cable), and for me it’s really more or less like regular cable. Similar amount of commercials, the app doesn’t kick me out, not as many channels as cable but hits all the ones I surf through most frequently when I’m in the mood to watch tv. I’m watching it through the app on my Apple TV, not as an add on to Peloton, maybe the hitch is in how it connects through that?

Kara
1 month ago
Reply to  Lexa

Came here to say the same! I feel like you need to contact Peloton, something ain’t right! YouTube TV does not do this if you’re watching it on a TV, laptop, phone, etc.

Shannon
1 month ago
Reply to  Kara

I agree! We have YouTubeTV and really like it! So much better than Hulu. And I feel the same about feeling connected for some reason.

Jenny
1 month ago
Reply to  Kara

Same here! Have used it for years and haven’t had any issues like this; definitely sounds like a Peloton issue.

christine
1 month ago

I am a long-time reader and look forward to your posts every morning. I love all the beautiful spaces you show (of course!), and also love the personality and authentic voices that come through the writing. You have done a wonderful job with this very special room and I think it’s too bad that you feel you have to apologize for any part of it or for any part of yourself. You are talented, you are beautiful, and you are enough! While I understand the shame and the shame about the shame — sadly most of us do experience this — and I applaud you for including these feelings, I hope that most of your readers can enjoy everything you share without judgement.

Jen A
1 month ago

Lovely workout space! All of that light is amazing. Yesterday you said the reason for constructing this building was to house the pool mechanics/equipment, so I am curious where that is? Also how do you fill/drain the plunge pool?

Jen
1 month ago
Reply to  Jen A

My questions exactly. This space is swoon-worthy. LOVE IT! But I thought it might be chopped up inside like the barn and was surprised that every inch gets to be workout vs pool equipment.

k
1 month ago

Can you please let me know the link to the ceiling fan? Thank you!!

PM
1 month ago

Lovely workout room. I have space to workout, but struggle with “finding the time”…ugh. I enjoy working out and how I feel after and being strong – but for some reason, that isn’t enough motivation for me sometimes – I need to change that. I’m struggling a bit with the term “patriarchal vanity”. If I’m understanding your usage correctly, I don’t think it’s fair. I think women are as much to blame for our vanity – look at all of the women’s magazines, models, size 000 clothes and Victoria’s Secret runway shows that we grew up with – all women putting it in our faces that this is how we should look. But guess what – I think most men like us a bit jiggly. I’m generalizing here, but I know my husband likes my feminine softness and doesn’t care about a bit of cellulite. So it hurts my feelings a bit for the men when you use the term “patriarchal vanity” because I think a good majority of men like us just the way we are (thanks Mark Darcy!). When I workout, it’s for me – my fitness, health and how good I feel physically. It’s not how I… Read more »

Grace
1 month ago
Reply to  PM

I think Emily’s use of the term patriarchy is not meant in any way to single out individual men or even men as a group. The patriarchy is a social value system that primarily accrues benefits to men, and as a consequence harms women. However, plenty of people regardless of gender are harmed and limited by the patriarchy. And as you point out, women can also be enablers/enforcers of patriarchal values. In fact this is one of the ways that women are permitted to access power under the patriarchy. Likewise just because many individual men may love ‘jiggly bits’ the patriarchal system itself is not kind or forgiving and has taught most women to internalize self-criticism and feelings of unworthiness. So unfortunately even if someone is lucky to have a loving partner who genuinely loves their body as is, this is just one data point against a lifetime of being shouted at by other individuals, media, culture, etc that we are not enough. Just offering another perspective 🙂

Kkwp
1 month ago
Reply to  Grace

Thank you for taking the time to explain this so well.

D
1 month ago
Reply to  PM

While I agree women are just as much to blame, I am eternally grateful for the opening up of smaller sizes like 00 and xxs because I am actually a short person, small boned from parents and ancestry who happen to all be that way. I eat normal. I know you aren’t specifically talking about me, but I wish the generalization would be mindful that there are actual people who are just really petite and short, who share the same feelings as you but need clothes that fit them that aren’t kids clothes. Part of not shaming yourself should be not shaming others.

Kasia
1 month ago
Reply to  D

This really hits home for me, thank you. I’m a petite woman in my mid 50s, and I’m called “tiny” to my face rather often. I don’t think anyone means it as an insult, and they probably even mean it as a compliment, but it does make me feel inadequate and somehow “less”, like I’m perceived as a little girl. I guess my point is that we all have our own internal struggles, whether they make sense to others or not.

D
1 month ago
Reply to  Kasia

Yes, it’s a lot more than people think, even later in life-I”m in my early 50’s!! One day at my daughter’s school we were all gathered watching a play that my daughter’s class was putting on and we were all standing up. The lady, whom I’ve known since our kids were 4, that was behind me all of the sudden said, “oh, hey, I thought you were a little boy from behind!” I assure you I do not look like a little boy, even though I am petite and small, but man have I carried that with me. It’s just so rude, obnoxious and to think she felt that was okay. And if I had made an equally yucky retort, I’d probably be branded the jerk! How is it still okay in this day and age to say remarks like this because the person is petite?

PM
1 month ago
Reply to  D

No shame intended. There should be clothes available for all sizes of people. But shame on the sizing. Going from a size 12 in high school to size 6 now, and if anything, my body is bigger…something shifted in sizing. And introducing 000 to the mix almost to say that you’re so small, you’re no size at all…I think it sends the wrong message.

Jen
1 month ago
Reply to  PM

“Patriarchal vanity” stood out to me as well. It’s just *vanity*; putting “patriarchal” in front of it puts the blame on others. I’m not saying our patriarchal society doesn’t contribute to our vanity (I think that it does), but this phrasing feels like a clever way of absolving responsibility.

Marty
1 month ago
Reply to  PM

The patriarchy can and is influenced by women too, we are all socialized in a patriarchial system where for many years women’s value has been focused on how we look, which includes certain body sizes and shapes, youth, and beauty that is promoted and rewarded in the media and our social systems. The socialization begins at birth, so it’s prety impossible to escape, which is why Emily is referring to it as the voice in her head (it’s internalized). To observe how early the social messages are sent go to a department store and look at baby clothes/children’s clothing for both genders, and the messaging and colors for little girl’s was pink, ruffles, thinner fabrics, body hugging, even sexy clothing — messages like Daddy’s little girl, cutie, etc. Boys clothes are focused on function, and play, and messaging is about competition, winning, etc. These messages are embedded in us from a young age, and while there is more gender neutral clothing and shows than there ever were, we have a long way to go. It’s a system, we are socialized by systems, and understanding how the patriarchy hurts women and can be perpetuated by women is part of understanding what… Read more »

melbajo
1 month ago
Reply to  PM

Who do you think originated “women’s magazines” and Victoria’s Secret runway shows? Sure as shit wasn’t women.

Lisa
1 month ago
Reply to  melbajo

Yeah. Wasn’t women. And sure, women may perpetuate these attitudes, but the root cause is power. And, the core power is still with men., for the most part, or women who play agreed upon roles in the systems originally designed when women had babies and men had power.

Renee
1 month ago

Wow. Best use of faux-pax windows ever! I love this workout space. You did such a great job with it!

Renee
1 month ago
Reply to  Renee

*faux pas

Remington
1 month ago

Can you link the “cheap not ugly” ceiling fan please!

Sheila
1 month ago

Thanks for sharing the lovely space and everything that goes with it. It can’t have been easy to do. I thought I had a lot of body angst but you are dealing on another level entirely. You have my sincere sympathy. I do hope you can eventually work out in a space with a mirror as it’s such a good way to monitor your form and avoid injury!

Heather
1 month ago

Those windows are SO dreamy but I saw no shades and wondered, does the sun ever get to be too much? In your eyes? Too much glare on the TV? And I hear you about the necessity of that TV because I can NOT motivate myself without a show on. Also, thank you for the truth-telling about the ferns. I love them so but the mess – especially this time of year – is just the worst.

Alli Griffin
1 month ago

Where is your blue sweatshirt from?!

Vany
1 month ago
Reply to  Alli Griffin

Possibly the Sandwash Half Zip Pullover by All In Motion in Light Blue from Target?

Max
1 month ago

How do you drain/fill the cold plunge, and how often does this need to happen?

Emily
1 month ago
Reply to  Max

Yes, please answer this question! I thought you said yesterday that you didn’t run plumbing out here. Would be very helpful to know for others considering cold plunge. Amazing space! Thank you!

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago

Movement is medicine.
The human body was not meant to be still, sloth-like.
I simply do not have enpugh hpurs in the day to do all that ypu do – 2 hrs walking the pups; 45 mins sweating in the heatsac thingo; a bath each night; workout in the gym…..how?! Tgen you run a business?!?!?
But…I DO move my body every day – gardening (as in I mow, dig, hedge clip and do everything myself!), cleaning my house, powerwalk around the neighborhood just under jogging speed, walk to the shops for bits n bobs and I actually find it hard to sit still, so I’m a bit of an energizer-bunny.
Emily, you’re a hottie (Mr Ripped Henderson says so himself!). I want you to know that women naturally put a smidge of weight on naturally as they age and I don’t mean middle-aged spread. In fact, women in nursing homes that are thin, are frail. Women with a bit of extra weight, but not obese, are stronger…in general, of course.
We all need to move, whatever size, shape or mindset we’re in.
The endorphins are real. I salute you, Superwoman that fits 48 hours into 24!!!!🤣

emily jane
1 month ago

Em, have you heard of Neuroplasticity? “Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to adapt to changes in the environment and experiences12. It involves creating new neurons and connections, as well as modifying or deleting existing ones1. Neuroplasticity allows the brain to grow, learn, and recover from injuries or diseases2” It’s hard to change what might be an unhealthy but familiar (and therefore comforting) pattern of thought but it is possible (it might even mean you’re not as attached to those patriarchal ideas as much as stuck in the trenches of a particular neural pathway!). I am not a scientist or a therapist just someone who spent a long while in therapy learning to rewire a whole bunch of ‘unhelpful’ patterns of thought and in doing so completely transformed my relationship with myself (for a starting point reference: when my therapist asked me to say 3 nice things about myself, all I could see was an emptiness as infinite as space…). In an era when women’s rights are so endangered I wish we could all withhold judgement and instead learn to bravely LOVE ourselves as we are with compassion and grace. In the meantime, you are lovely and brave and talented and very much appreciated… Read more »

Alex
1 month ago

I actually really love the fan! Would you mind tagging it with a link too please?

Nora
1 month ago

Yeah, the mirror’s gotta go. But I love this beautiful space. I might need some hooks to get my yoga mat off the floor!

Angela
1 month ago
Reply to  Nora

Don’t think of it as losing a mirror; you are gaining a spot for a large piece of art. If the mirror bothers you, switch it and don’t look back : )

Molly Phillips
1 month ago

Lovely! I’m glad you’re inspired (says she who doesn’t follow through with workouts even after reading and vowing to do more). Curious whether the windows open or not? I would think the fresh air would be so wonderful in PNW, especially with all of the sun pouring in.

And just to let you know that you’re not alone – at 5’9 and 135, I STILL beat myself up when looking in the mirror. I turned 50 last year and keep hoping the f!*$-it phase everyone tells me eventually comes does.

Julia
1 month ago

Lovely! Do you have a link for the fan?

Reanna
1 month ago

That room is GORGEOUS! Wow, wow, wow. Can’t wait to hear more about the cold plunge.

Lynsy
1 month ago

How do you fill/drain the plunge tub?

LK
1 month ago

Emily, hello! I read every day but never comment. Just wanted to chime in and say that I appreciate the way you share here. My life and budget look very different from yours (new mom, teacher salary) but I find it helpful to hear how other thoughtful people approach their health, energy and finances. I’m sure it is hard to post so vulnerably but I appreciate it. Keep it up! And I’m rooting for you as you work on using your resources well and caring for your body. We’re all in this together!

Kirsten
1 month ago

I love this space so much! I too am a Pelo-mom and sometimes nothing sets a better tone than a Cody ride at 5am. We currently have our workout space in a corner of our garage, but at least it’s something dedicated and organized (but super envious of your natural light). I haven’t tried You Tube TV with Peloton, but we use it as our primary TV service (mainly for news and sports) and I don’t think the commercials are too terrible? But I can see being annoyed when you are trying to get the content to align with when you are working out, it would be nice if you could pay an extra $5 or $10 to get add free content like you can on Spotify. As always love the content you provide 🙂

Pamela T
1 month ago

What a beautiful space for workouts. I love how you have views of the outdoors through those lovely windows. It is a pleasure to read how real life takes place in beautiful homes, which is what is so appealing when reading your posts on your home. I really love what the mirror adds and I also understand why you need to remove it. Intellectually, we know health, movement and well being are most important. Still it can be a immense struggle to arrive at acceptance.

Grace
1 month ago

Thank you for your vulnerability, Emily! What a beautiful space! Deprogramming is such hard work. But for me, it happened overnight when I was diagnosed with cancer 8 weeks after my son was born. The past two and a half years I’ve been fighting it, and finally had clear scans for the first time back in December. One upside to facing cancer while being a first-time mom was that my priorities were crystal clear. Suddenly, I could not have cared less about how my body looked or any fine lines on my face. All I cared about was being alive to see my son grow up. Now, I’m not advocating that everyone get cancer in order to shed the patriarchal body pressures we all have, but what’s crazy is that since my clear scans in December, guess what I’ve started caring about again? Anti-aging. It’s actually bonkers how as soon as I felt a little safer, those thoughts came creeping back. When you’re actively facing a terminal illness, all you care about is sticking around. But once you have an ounce of confidence you’ll be around for a while… your brain starts wanting to look good while you’re here. CRAZY!… Read more »

Pamela T
1 month ago
Reply to  Grace

Wonderful news to hear you’ve had clear scans. It must also feel wonderful to have the space to consider something other than cancer. Best wishes to you, your precious son and family.

NSL
1 month ago
Reply to  Grace

I just wanted to say that this comment made me a little misty-eyed — wishing you many, many years of good health ahead <3

Emily
1 month ago
Reply to  Grace

This resonates, I appreciate my body so much more now as I make it stronger 3 years out. I try to keep in balance the changed perspective on life, but I think you’re right that once a feeling of safety returns it’s easy to fall back in to some of the less healthy aspects of exercise/aesthetics. Thank goodness for therapy and self work 🙂

Grace
1 month ago
Reply to  Grace

Hello from another Grace 🙂 So happy to hear your scans are clear. I had a similar shift during a series of scary health crises. For me this illustrates just how powerful our programming is – that it may take something of this magnitude to shift our thinking. And as you pointed out, even then, it creeps back. I take this as a reminder that we all have a lot of work to do AND we need to extend ourselves a lot of compassion on the journey. Wishing you continued good health and luck in retaining your crystal clear priorities!

Samantha
1 month ago

Yes! These are the posts I live for.

When my 6yo was diagnosed with a rare immune deficiency I started going back to the gym every day. It was a lightbulb moment for me that I would need all the endorphins I could get; and working out, which had always helped me stave off depression in the PNW, became a crucial component of this new phase of life.

Have you looked into classes at the SW Community Center? Not sure if you’re in-district, but looks like they have a 6:30 yoga class twice a week. I go to 9:30 classes at the Garden Home Rec center (across from TJ’s) with David and Fern and love them so much.

As always, thank you for your voice and your honesty! I’ve been a reader for years (decades?) and it’s something I look forward to every morning.

A.B.
1 month ago

Thanks for posting about body shame. Even though perimenopause and menopause are so much more publicly discussed, I am STILL in shock over the changes my body will suddenly, dramatically experience. And with no warning. Like the pants that fit me days ago suddenly have a muffin top over the edge? I actually thought I was 3 months pregnant when I looked down at my stomach the other day (elasticity: gone). I keep telling myself there must be an overarching biological reason for this drastic change in our female internal system. Like hibernation for bears? Trying to frame the changes so that I can approach them with their eventual good purpose in mind, since this is also a decades long process. Ah, being a person with a uterus and ovaries. Wouldn’t change it, but dang if it isn’t tough sometimes.

Ginger
1 month ago

An idea to fill the awkward space above the door: You mentioned in yesterday’s post about climbing vines or something that would arch over it – perhaps a mini wall-mounted pergola (white or sealed cedar) would help provide dimension and support for that? Also, for the climbing plants, pick something that smells amazing, like jasmine, clematis, honeysuckle, or chocolate vine! It’ll imprint a nice feeling in your brain about working out in the space, and you’ll associate that scent with how good you feel afterward!

wall-pergola
Zoe
1 month ago
Reply to  Ginger

Such a good idea, Ginger!!

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Ginger

I thought similarly….a little awning so you’re out of the rain as you opem the door and the inside rubber stays dry.
It would visually fill the space and show we readers how to pivot without cutting a higher door space out and buying new doors…more waste. It could look realky sweet, too!

Sara
1 month ago

Em, you’re beautiful and strong, your home is beautiful as is this wellness room. Unbrainwashing is so damn hard but is worthy of fighting the good fight. When I get tired or bogged down, I look at my beautiful daughter who’s 6, and think of the world I want to leave for her. I think of it for my boys too, but it’s just different for girls. It’s really helping me see myself including my body differently. And the fact of neuroplastucity is sooooo encouraging. I also do EMDR with my therapist that literally rewires your brain (like I could *feel* it happening — not painful don’t worry!). It’s wild and amazing. Working out is the best thing I do for my brain, aside from sleep, that so obviously affects every aspect of my day. It’s key to mental health for me. Thanks for sharing so openly about your struggles and the real real. We need more of that.

also: more info please on the plunge pool (I looooove cold plunging) and could Brian do his influencer bit on here re FightCamp??? It looks like my ideal workout!!

Alix
1 month ago

I love my Peloton too. I’ve always been been pretty motivated to exercise, but have kicked it up a notch with the Peloton. (Sam Yo, Hannah Frankson and Jess King are my favourites). I looked at Hannah Pointer when CLJ recommended and just thought hell no, but if she gets other people going, then sure. We have a similar sized property to yours and have been thinking about building a workout studio (equipment is currently in our second living room) and having seen this, I think I want to do it. Cold plunging provided by the icy waters of Southern Tasmania at our local beach.

SARAH
1 month ago

Yoga with Adrienne really gives me gratitude for my body and even like my tummy. Also meditating and connecting to your “higher power” can be a nice way to be reminded that I am deeply loved. This helps me but I also still am overly aware of how men view and value me. Sigh. Damn that!

Jennifer
1 month ago

I would consider keeping the mirror so you can make sure your form is correct, especially when lifting weights. Maybe consider a full length one? Like you, I love my Peloton and I do alot of the bike bootcamp workouts and find the mirror is valuable when it comes to good form. I know it’s complicated, but you are moving! Good on you!

Jill
1 month ago

Your door does not look short.
It’ OK to exercise for fun and/or health and/or to look better or have clothing fit better.
Take the mirror down if it’s not good for your mental health.
The cold plunge reminds me of Finnish friends who sauna then jump in snow.
I appreciate that you appreciate your privilege.

Kelly
1 month ago

I love this beautiful space! I’m a pilates instructor and am at the beginning stages of converting my detached garage into a home studio. It’s not much bigger than your workout room, and I’m just wondering how you’re heating and cooling it? Is that a mini split? (Also, $25k is a GREAT price. I live in New England and the bids I got were all much higher than that. For a conversion, not even a new build!)

Courtney
1 month ago

I love this space! Not financially attainable for everyone, but very practical for your needs. We have a (much jankier) similar setup in our basement with spin bike/rubber mats/weights and bench/etc. and my husband and I use it every day. I am way too lazy to drive to a gym (who has the time?!) so the fact that it’s all right there is so helpful–and, as you said, hard to make excuses.
I totally agree that you have to find the workout(s) you love to stick to them–I also hate running! My cardio is free Team Boy Project videos on YouTube. I wonder if you’ve ever tried barre classes? They seem like something you might enjoy–it’s a balance of cardio/weights/mindfulness with a lot of yoga and pilates moves. At 44 I’m way stronger and more mobile/flexible than I’ve ever been thanks to those classes, which I do 3x/week. (I watch the videos on their website but they also have an app.) Even when I’m not feeling the best about my physical appearance, I know I’m in great shape physically and it’s really empowering.

Ashley
1 month ago

Link for the robe? 🙂

Sybi
1 month ago
Reply to  Ashley

Link under one of the pics. It’s the Vintage Checkered Unisex Bathrobe – Black from SMPLOBJECTS.

Zerka NZ
1 month ago

Dear Emily, One of the most useful things I learned from years of therapy and many thousands of dollars was the concept of befriending myself. Of being a real, in the moment, supportive companion to myself when feeling existentially alone or when the harsh critically voice came into my head. We think so much about our relationships with other people but we are not taught about the very real relationship we have with ourselves . I am sure you are a wonderfully supportive and caring friend to other people so you have the role within you. You now need to learn to treat yourself with the same loving kindness and compassion you would show to a dear friend who confided these thought to you. When you catch yourself being harsh and critical to yourself , think instead: “what would I say to someone I loved in this situation”, and then say it to yourself. Sometimes it helps to think of someone who loves you and is wise, supportive and encouraging. Think what they would say to you in this moment, and then actually hear that voice in you head saying it to you. Over time, with regular (but hard) practice… Read more »

Lia
1 month ago

Given all you’ve shared, I wonder if that Hannah Pointer is a bad choice for you? I had the same reaction as another commenter. Hell no.
I would suggest someone who is more fitness and function oriented rather than appearance oriented. Take a look at Jen Health https://jen.health/ OR if you need something to bridge that gap between Hannah and Jen a bit more maybe Evo Fitness would be a good next step ? https://evlofitness.com/
Love your studio.

Angela
1 month ago
Reply to  Lia

Yeah, I clicked on that link to see a course called “Fall Back in Love with Yourself: Lean and Tone.”
Yiiiikes! And also…just really sad.

Jen
1 month ago
Reply to  Lia

Love all the love being shared in the comments.
Adding to the possible online work-out options, I felt the pull to add (she doesn’t know me, but I call her a friend) Lindsey from nourishmovelove – YouTube . Positive vibes, “do your best, forget the rest”, sweaty and challenging workouts to a 15 minutes of low impact; something for everyone or for however you might be feeling or have time for!

Kaia
1 month ago
Reply to  Lia

I checked Hannah Pointer’s Instagram based on this post and that was an immediate no for me. Her eating looks extremely restricted and she’s a 5’10” size 0. I really don’t want content like this recommended to me, please.

Nicole
1 month ago
Reply to  Kaia

Her workouts also require “a full gym.” Yikes.

Michelle
1 month ago
Reply to  Lia

Agreed- and I was horrified by her “what I eat in a day” posts; there was very little real food! I recommend Jennifer Kirsch (jenniferkirschfitness on insta)who is a certified personal trainer and very reasonable about healthy eating, building muscle, and playing the long game.

Jen
1 month ago
Reply to  Lia

Heather Robertson on YouTube offers great content that is focused on strength and mobility. No mention of diet and instead highlights functional fitness for aging. She’s really fantastic and the workouts are great!

Ano
1 month ago

I haven’t posted for a while but have many thoughts …

Emily – please know you are beautiful. I also have body image issues -as I think most women do, and your vulnerability about it is very brave.

im starting to get more grays, but I kind of LOVE gray… like… I worked hard for this!! lol #natualhighlights

regarding yoga online, have you tried glo.com? I love it and Jason Crandell is my Cody.

Very excited to learn more about your cold plunge routine… i cold plunged earlier today but can only last for a few minutes. 😊. I did get the higher dose sauna bag you have and find it somewhat claustrophobic (!).

Ashley
1 month ago

From a workout standpoint – keep the mirror! It’s so important to have good form, especially when lifting weights. I did a weight-lifting series on the Peloton app and LOVED it.

Leigh H
1 month ago

Thank you for sharing your outer and inner life with us. The space is gorgeous. I definitely was buoyed up yesterday after reading your post and felt so much less alone in my own body / appearance shame. The “second arrow” is what I think your “shame on shame” description is referred to in Buddhist philosophy, I know this “second arrow” quite well as you describe perfectly. Anyway just wanted to say thank you so much for your vulnerability in sharing all this, it’s complicated on so many levels and talking about it can be so fraught. I too am a Peloton enthusiast and I am trying to incorporate more strength training. I struggle with with joint issues so wanted to share I started the EVLO fitness workouts a few months ago and they have changed my life, they are physical therapists who make serious strength training accessible in a way that protects the joints, if other readers are struggling with similar issues.

Nicolle
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh H

The second arrow idea came straight to my mind too! My therapist reminds me of it, and now it sticks with me—we don’t need to pile on ourselves when culture does more than enough of that work for us.

Kate
1 month ago

Thank you for this post! I cannot agree more how invaluable exercise is just for the mental/emotional benefits alone. I have similar feelings about my body size and weight (seriously, it sucks to have to do SO MUCH deprogramming constantly and feel like there is no end to it), but I know for a fact that working out and sweating like crazy makes my brain function so much better. My thoughts are more positive, I’m clear-headed, I make better decisions—literally everything you said is true, and it is so awesome to hear someone else say it. I love running, so that’s my thing, and I feel amazing after I do it.
I loved seeing everything you used in your gym. I need to get some storage and hooks for mine, so this is super helpful.
The boxing thing is so cool! (OMG, remember Tae Bo?!) I’m going to show my husband…Brian might have another convert…