Let’s get real here. Working out in the comfort of your own home is both a big ole blessing and a cursed curse. One one hand, you have the flexibility to choose your length, style and pace of workout within the familiarity and convenience of tu casa. No one cares if you have a the newest lycra wonder suit on, no need to arrange babysitters, race to class, summon the energy during your lunch hour, fight for parking, and it quite literally fits all budgets (because, oh yeah, it’s free)… Not to mention, the exponential benefits of increasing the frequency of weekly workout routines. The benefits are so mighty, most of us have tried our hands at lifting some weights in the living room, dusting off that Denise Austin DVD or at the very least counting crunches while watching The Bachelor. So with all the bangin’ benefits of a fun, lasting and fulfilling home fitness routine, its safe to say we can all name a few reasons why it is SO hard to make happen. Let me run down the basics from what I hear from clients (echem, and myself included) as the top deterrents for hitting your home “gym”.

  • I’m too busy
  • I hate my space
  • My floor/under couch/ rug/ corners of room are too dusty/dirty/crammed
  • I don’t have space for equipment or props
  • My kids are too distracting
  • I don’t have the time to clean every time I lay down my yoga mat
  • I don’t know where to start! I’m so out of shape, it’s hardly worth it.

I hear ya!

I know these excuses pretty well since I’ve used them on rotation this year being at home with baby Levi. In the year since I’ve closed my Pilates studio in Oakland, CA and moved to South Florida, I’ve been trying to work and rework by home workout routine. For someone quite determined to make it happen, it’s a true wonder why my routines have had such little sticking power. This month several things dawned on me as underlying causes of my “mat avoidance” to help me finesse my space and mind into creating a lasting, fun and pleasurable home Pilates practice! Ahhhhhh.


    Start with YOU. Your thoughts create feelings and feeling drive your actions or inactions. Listen to your inner monologue. If you’re feeling anxious towards working out each time you go to lay down your mat, pause as ask yourself what thoughts are you thinking first? Perhaps you believe it’s pointless to start now or there’s no way you’ll be strong enough to make it through a video so why even try? Start shifting your thoughts to

    – “Hell YES, I’m gonna start this madness with the easiest video I can find” OR

    – “I AM worth 15min of quite mediation.” OR simply

    – “I’m getting stronger everyday!”

    Mr. Joe Pilates started with just a tiny mat in an WWII INTERNMENT CAMP…. which should tell you, we too can tap our inner strength and tame our mental demons. I was blown away at the amount of complaining and self-doubt filling my thoughts and therefore fueling feelings of inadequacy, distaste of my home and of course, then yet another day of dishes over Downward Dog. Pilates absolutely begins in the mind, but hey, lets be honest, your entire WORLD will shift if you can gain some control over those winey negative thoughts running rampant in your mind.


    GAME CHANGER. As I began to shift my thoughts about myself and situation, I started to set my intention to pour LOVE and GRATITUDE into my home. Try changing thoughts like:

    • “Ugh there’s no room in my living room with this huge couch and all those crazy dust bunnies roaming beneath it,” think “THANK YOU grandma’s old couch, you have a fabulous vintage cover and you’re always there to support me! Let me love you by cleaning around you and letting you shine.” OR
    • “Grr all these annoying plastic toys are invading my soul and driving me mad, did Toys-R-Us just throw up all over my house? I cannot possible workout now.” Instead say, “THANK YOU dear home for housing so many treasures that inspire imagination, laughter and creative play. I will lovingly sort the ones we cherish and donate the rest we no longer adore.” OR
    • “Waaah, I don’t have the time to rearrange the living room AND vacuum AND get lost into the YOUTUBE black hole looking for a awesome Pilates tutorials online.” turns into “THANK YOU family for giving me quite time to workout. THANK YOU sweet living room for being the center of our joyful home, I will fill you with healthy living plants, beautiful objects and incredible photographs of my life. The rest will disappear to make room for my mind and movement practice.”

      Some of this may sound woo woo, but keep in mind if you love your space, it will be a relaxing treat to grab your foam roller and gaze at that gorgeous bookshelf you’ve styled, or stretch your Mermaid sidebends while looking out a window upon a tree you love. It’s a small but profound adjustment which will shift your paradigm of home fitness. LOVE your home, and it will love you back!


    Walk through your home, patio, basement, etc. and find a space that speaks to you and has enough space to Roll Like A Ball and wield your Leg Circles . It doesn’t have to be a big space necessarily but it should have some good energy, natural lighting if possible for daytime workouts, and good air circulation. Get creative here and experiment in rearranging a room, and adding or eliminating furniture.


    Ditch the guilt and anxiety and purge anything that is weighing down your home. Stuff will invade all corners of your life up to your eyeballs so don’t feel bad about getting tough. Broken, unused, or in-the-way things have no place in your workout space, or anywhere in your home for that matter. It doesn’t need to be a minimalist zen garden here, but aim to keep only the beautiful and useful. Now, get in there and deep clean like a mother. Dust, vacuum, polish, prance. Remember, housework definitely counts as ab work. Strive to keep this space clean and tidy so its not such a chore each time!


    Plants literally breathe life into a room. Add them. Style and beautify your space to a point where you love the feeling you have sitting in your Pilates nook. Think about adding a flower vase, candle, rock salt lamp, art, favorite framed photos (especially something that could inspire you, say, that beach in Sayulita, Mexico?)… anything that is intentional and beautiful. Less is more here people.

  6. DO IT NOW

    Why wait? Get crazy observant of your thoughts to start to see some of your hangups and get to loving your home. I always say, the hardest part is getting to your mat and starting your routine… for the most part 😉 While there are countless other excuses to keep you on your butt (or doing the dishes/ laundry/ carpool/ facebook), start with what feels good, and the rest will follow.

All my Pilates love and power,


I made my living room corner a beautiful, sunny and clutter free Pilates nook. Even with very little props, I have been rocking my Mat routine. PS> These are foam mats from Great Mats that I used in my studio = awesome! They’re comfortable, cleanable and great for kids too.