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Home Gym Healing: An Online Expert’s Story

“I’m not a gym rat, fitness addict, or CrossFit junky. I’m just a 50-year-old guy who doesn’t want to get old. Well, at the very least, I don’t want to feel like I’m getting old.” – Tim Steward, Gym Crafter

It might be over-the-top to call Tim a home gym evangelist, but there are definitely parallels. He is getting the good word out because fitness did save him – a couple of times.


The Early Years: Tim Dabbles in Strength Training

Tim's exercise journey started when his parents bought him some department store weights. (You know, the kind with concrete-encased in plastic.) As Tim stood over six feet tall, bullies rarely bothered him. Not driven by a need to get “jacked,” he soon developed an off-again/on-again workout schedule.

That lasted into his adulthood when all exercise came to a screeching (with chronic pain) halt.


Pain War 1: The Back

Bulged discs in his spine made it difficult to get up, let alone exercise. His suddenly sedentary lifestyle lead to weight gain, which put even more strain on his back. Physical therapy provided some help but Tim knew he had to start moving. After trifling with some fitness fads, he found two real-deal experts – Jay Ferrugia and Dr. John Rusin.

Saved by Strength Training

The latter lived in Madison, Wisconsin, not far from Tim’s home in Chicago. Tim was able to meet with Rusin, who showed him pain-free lifting methods that would help him get back to strength training. When Rusin began offering one-on-one FHT (functional hypertrophy training) sessions, Tim signed up immediately, deeming it “worth every penny.” He’s still following the program, but there was another medical obstacle to hurdle.


Pain War 2: The Head

Constant, unyielding headache pain knocked Tim back onto the couch - out of action, and gaining weight again. A series of arduous medical tests rendered two conclusions:

1) He had a condition called new daily persistent headache.

2) He’d have to learn to live with it. Tim decided not to take it literally lying down.

Reasoning that he could do something about his back if his head was going to hurt anyway, he went to a gym and tried some bench presses. It was a humbling public demonstration of how weak he’d become, but to Tim’s surprise, the physical activity provided a full hour of headache relief.

Saved by Strength Training - Again

He did more resistance training, which didn’t completely alleviate his headaches, but it made the day more pleasant. When he told his acute pain specialist, the doctor nodded and said yes, there was plenty of research indicating resistance training relieves headaches. Why hadn’t he told Tim this before all those excruciating treatments?

It was information Tim definitely could have used sooner, but he didn't let it faze him. He went straight back to training.


Pain War 3: The Battle of the Budget

Tim resolved to commit to fitness full-on – and to filling his two-car garage with all the equipment he thought would help. That’s where he ran into another kind of pain – overspending on equipment he wasn’t excited about using. He limited his focus to the resistance training that had pulled him through before. Suddenly, working out became much more enjoyable and productive (not to mention less expensive).

Following the Dr. Rusin program, he was able to lose weight and could effectively manage his pain. Naturally, he was thrilled with the change exercise had made in his life, But he worried about the scores of people destined to make the same mistakes he had. He wanted to steer them clear of the disillusionment that could make them abandon their goals.


Spreading the Word

That was the inspiration for Gym Crafter, Tim’s home gym website and YouTube channel.

He knew every visitor and viewer would be different. So would everyone's budget and available space, but anything would be a start. Tim’s home gym building experience started with less than $100 spent on a single kettlebell. He found the space to use it by moving a coffee table.

Setting His Own Information Standard

He hopes to encourage his audience to discover what works best for them before they sink a fortune into it. So Tim won’t indulge in the flashy “10 best” lists that too often prompt responsible home gym planners to act like little kids at Christmastime. Nor will he venture opinions on products tested for short periods. He reviews only the equipment he owns and has used for months on a daily basis.


Not Your Usual Home Gym Website

For the time being, Tim will stick with his two platforms (although he’s had some strong Instagram ideas). He recognizes the value of fitness goals, but he deems developing your technique more important. It’s part of discovering what works for you so you’ll keep going. That’s how you form a clear-minded vision of what you want to spend your money on.

Nothing is a 90-Day fix. Fitness is a lifetime commitment, and you need to want to show up for it every day. That’s the gospel Tim preaches today.

“Hopefully I can do a little bit of good in the world by helping one person alleviate their back pain or just work out more because they have a gym that they love,” Tim says. “To me, that's mission accomplished.”


Discover Some Local Home Gym Expertise at Flaman Fitness.

If you’d like to get some dependable gym planning advice a little closer to home, visit your nearest Flaman Fitness location. Our expert sales staff are steeped in successful training methods and know every machine and accessory inside and out. Just talk to them about your available space, budget and goals. They can show you – and let you try – some options that could change the rest of your life for the better.

Meet more leading online home gym experts here - or discover other great sources of home gym advice.

Want to learn more? Check out our profiles of three top home gym experts and discover more sources of inspiration for your personal workout area.