Homes That Help Owners Stay Fit

By Contributors – April 2, 2012

We asked readers to submit their “Fit Homes” and got an interesting array of responses. Here are six standouts—homes that incorporate their owners’ fit lifestyles in a variety of ways. Take a look and perhaps you will find inspiration toward finding fitness in your own home.

1. The Allen Residence 

The Allens, former competitive bodybuilders, sought to expose their children to their love for training. Four years ago, they constructed a 1,300 square foot gym in their back yard and equipped it with free weights, cardio, and a variety of machines (Icarian, Cybex, and Hammer Strength, for example). Father and son have developed a morning ritual of working out together and, often, various friends and family members (mother, daughter, and mother-in-law, to name a few) will stop in to join them. Many evenings, the entire family trains together. “Our kids are learning early on that, in the gym as in life, hard work pays off,” said Andy Allen. “Workouts can not only be fun, but they can provide you a real advantage, both mentally and physically.”

2. The Westerfeld Home

The Westerfeld home successfully combines a fitness business with home living. Ten years ago, Jenni Westerfeld transformed her home; out went the TV and the sofa, and in came a squat rack, free weights and stability balls. The den became the gym. A set of doors leads to the family pool, which serves double-duty as the location for deep-water buoyancy sessions. The deck became a site for plyometric exercises, and the yard (surrounded by large, mature oaks) creates a diverse setting for activities ranging from medicine ball toss to lunges. “Clients enjoy the privacy and organic nature of the environment,” said Westerfeld, “and our three children have benefitted from seeing so many people committed to taking care of their health through exercise and positive lifestyle decisions.”

3. The George/O’Connor Home

This house takes fitness to a holistic level, combining environmentally friendly aspects such as a solar system, rainwater collection, and low-water usage with a walk-friendly location; destinations such as the South Congress area and downtown are within walking distance. There is also an herb garden to encourage producing fresh food and an outdoor kitchen for entertaining, as well as a large, kid-friendly yard for play and family fun. A lap pool puts a swim workout just steps away, while the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail is merely a tenth of a mile from the front porch for a daily run or walk.

4. The Barrett Home

This home gym takes the award for hard-core cycling gadgetry. In another setting, the room would have been used as an extra bedroom or perhaps a nursery, but in the Barretts’ home it’s known as “the pain cave” and “The CompuTrainer Room.” The CompuTrainer system allows the Barretts to train indoors on their own bikes while watching actual courses on a television or computer. Course conditions are mimicked and feedback is provided for the rider, making the system a great training tool for cycling enthusiasts. “It’s raining in Austin and you want to ride your bike. No problem,” said Barrett. “You’re doing Ironman Arizona and you want to ride the actual course. Easy. You’re beginning a training program and want to test your fitness levels. Perfect.” In addition to utilizing the CompuTrainer for her own training, Barrett has incorporated her home “pain cave” into her multisport training business, thus merging business and pleasure in one room.

5. Plum Creek Master-Planned Community

Rather than singling out one residence, this master-planned community just south of Austin stands out for its overall dedication to fitness, making it a great location for those who want to live a healthy, active lifestyle. Home sites are laid out in neighborhoods located among a system of hike and bike trails and pedestrian-friendly streets. There are many fitness-related activities, such as golf on the community course, neighborhood kickball games, and events for residents and other Austin-area fitness fans, including the Plum Creek Kids and Family Triathlon and the Front Porch 10K.

6. The Rose Home

What is Austin without its trailers? That’s why we just had to include this mobile home. The Roses bought an RV in late 2007 and, after much research, detailed planning, and “some serious improvisation,” turned their Carriage C-Force Toy Hauler into both their home and a mobile fitness studio. “We added rubber flooring, a couple of fold-flat benches, a set of weight adjustable dumbbells, a dual weight stack/functional trainer, and mounted an aluminum rail/resistance band system to the rear ‘garage’ door,” explained Clifton Rose. “The result is a fully mobile residence, complete with a compact but fully functional fitness facility.”



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