Local women create their dream home gym spaces

Heidi Parr of Dover Township shows seated alternating shoulder presses in her home gym (Photos by Kate Penn)

Heidi Parr of Dover Township shows seated alternating shoulder presses in her home gym


Heidi Parr works out six times a week, sometimes rolling into the gym in the morning in her pajamas and slippers.

Fortunately, it is just a short walk to her home gym.

A well-equipped gym right at home and a passion for fitness keep Parr motivated. A 41-year-old mother of three, Parr teaches fitness classes, gives nutrition seminars and offers personal training at the Bob Hoffman branch of the YMCA of York County in Dover.

Her devotion to fitness developed in her youth when she played all kinds of sports. As a young gymnast, she built strength by lifting weights.

She has also always enjoyed running and has completed two marathons and more than 40 half marathons.

A growing collection

Heidi Parr shows a cable crossover chest fly (Photos by Kate Penn)

Heidi Parr shows a cable crossover chest fly
(Photos by Kate Penn)

“Looking back, my first piece of equipment was a treadmill,” she said. She added an exercise bike, then a bench press with a bar and weights, an elliptical, dumbbells — and quickly outgrew a corner in the basement.

When she and her husband built their new home in Dover Township in 2011, Parr took the opportunity to designate a room specifically for her home gym.

The space, which is 20 by 30 feet, has the natural light she wanted, a rolled rubber gym floor and room for all her equipment.

She focuses on cardio and strength resistance training, and calls the table crossover machine her favorite piece of equipment. This consists of two towers, about eight feet high, with cables and handles for curls, test flies and more.

“You can work every major body part on it,” she said. “If you have a lot of space, I would recommend that piece.”

Another important feature of Parr’s gym is the motivational quote in large letters across a wall of mirrors: “Don’t give up, don’t give in.”

Focusing on goals

Heidi Parr runs on a treadmill in her home gym.

Heidi Parr runs on a treadmill in her home gym.

“You have to find some kind of drive within yourself,” she said.

That drive motivated her to set a goal to earn a Pro Card to the International Federation of Physique Athletes, a bodybuilding organization that requires its competitors to be free of drugs and banned substances.

She participates in the Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders figure competition, which emphasizes good leanness and conditioning.

“The key to fitness is keeping things new and exciting — not to get bored,” Parr said.

Kate Wenrich would agree.

“Every day I can do something different,” she said of her home gym, which she shares with her husband, Ron Kaiser. Both are competitive kayakers.

“I come from a running background. I’m always about the cardio,” Wenrich said. So much in fact, she wore out one treadmill and had to purchase another.

Equipment upgrades

Wenrich and Kaiser recently renovated their basement and gave their home gym an upgrade with a new paint job and a flat screen TV. The gym — occupying approximately a 25-by-15-foot space — is “like two separate units,” Wenrich said.

She occupies the “front row” — closest to the TV — with her treadmill, spin bike, home gym unit with weights and Fluidity bar, which resembles a ballet bar. Her husband’s area has a Nordic Track, the Total Gym trainer, a specially designed rowing machine for kayakers and canoers and free weights.

For added inspiration, the couple store their high-end kayaks suspended from the ceiling.

Wenrich works as a respiratory therapist and previously taught fitness classes for
17 years at The Greater Susquehanna Valley YMCA in Sunbury. She has always been active, earning her first aerobics certification in 1984, and enjoys sharing her passion for fitness with family and friends.

“It’s about movement every day. You don’t get better if you don’t challenge,” she said.

Wenrich also competes in triathlons and is well on her way to a goal of completing half marathons in 25 different states before she turns 60.

“I’m 50-something and I’m still running,” she said.

DIY home gyms

Here is what home fitness gurus Heidi Parr and Kate Wenrich had to say about creating a workout space in your basement, garage or spare bedroom:

    Dumbbells: Parr suggests dumbbells as your first investment and advises purchasing an adjustable set with weights ranging from 5 to 50 pounds for around $200 to $250. “You’re getting a lot and you can do so much with it,” she said.
    Treadmill: A treadmill will be a larger investment, with sale models running from several hundred dollars to deluxe machines costing several thousand. A treadmill can be versatile, Parr said, if you mix up workouts with speed, incline, sprints and lunges.
    DVDs: An economical addition to your gym are workout DVDs or videos. Wenrich picks them up for less than $10 at discountworkout.com, and they are easily found at discount stores and thrift shops. The videos teach good form, Wenrich said, come in varying lengths and offer different exercises from aerobics to Zumba.
    Online: Parr recommends sparkpeople.com and bodybuilding.com for nutrition, wellness and workout advice.

On Facebook

More fitness tips

Check out workout videos with Heidi Parr on No Sweat.

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2 Responses

  1. Caryl Anne says:

    It’s very exciting to develop and create a personalized gym in the comfort of your own home. One thing to keep in mind when creating an at home gym is to make sure the proper flooring is in place to ensure that the fitness lover/doer is getting the most out of their workouts. With the wrong flooring in place, it could lead to more stress and shock on the body. Also, it can create damages to the foundation of the home if not properly protected.

  2. good says:

    Hello, all the time i used to check blog posts here early in the dawn, as i like to gain knowledge of more
    and more.

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