A Gym For All Seasons

Home gym
A home gym can fit in an 8'X 8' section of a Florida room

I get a lot of questions from baby boomers asking about home gym equipment.  Many midlifers do not feel comfortable going to a commercial gym right away.  Beyond the time constraints, traffic, and costs of gym membership, there is also that horrible feeling of self-consciousness that can stifle us until we become adept at training our bodies again. 
This leads to the purchase of many questionable exercise machines and/or videos that can make midlifers end their fitness endeavors in injury and failure rather than create a new life-long habit.  Here are some common questions.

What is the best exercise machine for home use?

Where can I find home gym equipment ?

What is the least amount of space I need for a home gym?
Generally, I try to maintain that "anything will work if you use it" type of mentality, but a lot of the popular items out there for fitness can do some serious damage to those of us who aren't as nimble as we used to be.  Let's review some of what is available and what you should be looking for in a home gym.

Keeping Muscle as We Age

Visit Wall Street Journal

Laura Landro of the Wall Street Journal wrote a fantastic article this month on a crisis facing our baby boomer population.  In "A Push to Maintain Muscles"(offline title), she listed the scientific data that shows just how quickly our muscle mass decreases after our early 40's and the ramifications of losing all that lean mass.  She noted that Sarcopenia, the name for this horrifying affliction, is an inevitability and that there were no drugs on the market that could help (though the Pharmaceutical companies are working toward a pill solution).  So what is a health conscious midlifer to do?

Dr. Atkins: The Original Low Carb Diet?

Atkins Low Carb Diet
One of my favorite Dr. Atkins titles
After reading countless diets for "permanent" weight loss, it occurred to me that not everyone out there remembers that the late Dr. Atkins went through a tough time back when he first published his book in the 1970s.  I personally didn't get exposed to his work until 1992 and it seemed like medical professionals of the status quo were far from convinced.  
The good doctor built his work on his equally brilliant predecessors' work, but it sometimes amazes me how many people publish without acknowledging his contributions.  They will just bolt some comments onto his principles, come up with an eye-catching title, and publish without much clinical research if any.  I would state that if you had to follow any of the low carb diets in existence, you would be hard pressed to find a better one than his re-released best seller in 2002.

Piriformis Syndrome and Injury

Rehab of piriformis injury takes time.
In November, I had the pleasure of experiencing one of the most painful events I've had related to exercise and training.  I was training for the RAW United Record Breakers Meet and moving up a weight class to the 165s.  I was feeling good, making gains, and taking aim at some records set by younger athletes.  I wanted to celebrate my 45th birthday with a few trophies under my arm if nothing more than to give my ego a boost.  Everything was going so well that I even jumped at the chance to go indoor rock climbing with my wife at the end of a fairly intense week of training.  A day later, I awoke to the realization that I could barely walk much less train.