Iron and Asphalt: Strength Training and the RV Gym
The intersection where home gym and RV living meet, or collide.
When my husband and I decided to embrace the full-time RV lifestyle, it marked a significant paradigm shift in our lives. Leaving behind the conventional concept of a stationary home with a fixed gym setup, we embarked on a journey that redefined the boundaries of our living space and our fitness routines.
The Necessity of Health on the Road
One of the most compelling reasons for maintaining a fitness routine on the road was the need to set a healthy example for our children. As full-time RVers, our children were growing up in a unique environment. They were constantly exposed to the wonders of the open road, national parks, and diverse landscapes. However, we also recognized that their education should include a strong emphasis on health. Our fitness journey became a crucial component of their education, and we took the responsibility seriously. We wanted to show them that leading a healthy lifestyle is not contingent on one's location or circumstances but is a choice that can be made regardless of where one finds themselves.
Additionally, my husband's profession as a firefighter mandated that he maintain a high level of physical fitness. Whether it was battling a blaze, rescuing individuals from precarious situations, or providing life-saving medical care, his job required peak physical condition. This made our need for a mobile gym even more pressing, as it was essential for him to stay on top of his training routine. It wasn't merely about maintaining a healthy lifestyle; it was about ensuring that he was always prepared to carry out his life-saving duties, even while on the road.
In my case, living with scoliosis made exercise a daily necessity. I had a specific exercise routine tailored to my condition that needed to be followed consistently. This posed a unique challenge because it wasn't just about fitness; it was about managing a medical condition. I needed a fitness setup that could provide the right exercises to keep my spine healthy and my discomfort in check.
Our Journey to Finding a Mobile Gym
The concept of a mobile gym did not come to us overnight. It was the result of much research and a fair amount of trial and error. We found that while we had access to plenty of outdoor spaces for cardio workouts during our travels, strength training was another story. We faced a dilemma: how do you set up a gym on wheels in a limited space? Our traditional gym equipment, the kind you'd find in a commercial gym, was out of the question. It was bulky, and we needed a variety of pieces to cater to both my husband's strength training needs and my specific exercises to manage scoliosis. We couldn't afford to dedicate our precious RV space to multiple machines and weight sets. We had to find a compact and efficient solution, and the search for the perfect mobile gym became our mission.
Our quest for a mobile gym brought us to a pivotal decision in our RV lifestyle: the choice of a toy hauler RV. While there were multiple reasons behind this choice, the primary one was the prospect of having a mobile gym that could travel with us wherever we went. A toy hauler, with its dedicated cargo space at the rear, offered the perfect solution. This space was not only versatile but also customizable, allowing us to create an environment conducive to our workouts. We could bring in our equipment, set up our gym, and break a sweat, all while living on the road.
Challenges with Gym Memberships
The thought of joining gyms on the road did cross our minds, but several challenges stood in our way. It wasn't just about the inconvenience of having to visit a gym in various locations; there were logistical barriers too. With my husband's work schedule, which often kept him away from home for extended periods, childcare was a significant concern. While some gyms offered childcare services, they weren't always available, and this made it extremely challenging when he had to work and I had to look after our children. Furthermore, not all gyms in our ever-changing locations offered traveling memberships. We often found ourselves in places where a dedicated gym was either non-existent or not easily accessible.
Moreover, as full-time RVers, we often embraced off-grid living. Dry camping and boon-docking were our usual modes of existence. We loved the freedom and connection with nature that this lifestyle afforded us, but it also meant that we were often far from conventional gym facilities. In such situations, the need for a mobile gym shifted from a want to an absolute necessity.
Addressing My Hesitations
When my husband first proposed the idea of investing in more equipment than just our adjustable dumbbells, I couldn't help but laugh. The thought of fitting a comprehensive gym setup in our RV seemed unrealistic. Observing other RVers who had makeshift gyms, I noticed that they primarily used smaller adjustable weights, kettlebells, a compact foldable bench, and resistance bands. It appeared manageable but not entirely practical. My concern was also financial; I believed that setting up a mobile gym would be exorbitantly expensive. However, my husband was persistent, and he managed to convince me that our goal was achievable.
Versatile Equipment: The Cornerstone of RV Fitness
Our transition to RV living demanded that every item we owned serve multiple purposes, and our choice of fitness equipment was no exception. Ironmaster equipment emerged as our fitness partner, and the convenience it brought to our mobile gym was remarkable.
The game-changer in our setup was the ability to use Ironmaster plates across multiple pieces of equipment. This innovation transformed the limitations of space and mobility into assets. We could now perform various strength training exercises with a single set of weight plates, which was particularly advantageous in our compact RV environment.
A Closer Look at Our Mobile Gym Equipment
Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells: Our journey began with these dumbbells, and they proved to be incredibly durable. Their sturdiness was a paramount concern for us, given the rigorous travel schedule. They rode in the bed of our truck across the country, enduring the rough terrain of Mexico, and emerged unscathed. While I already had a set of adjustable weights, they didn't provide the necessary resistance for our workouts. To cater to both my husband and me, we needed heavier weights. What made these dumbbells ideal for RV living was their portability and compact size. Surprisingly, they could easily fit in a tote beneath our trailer or motorhome. For us, this meant the ability to keep our gym equipment tucked away when not in use, which was a precious commodity in our confined space. It was a testament to their design that these heavyweights could be stored so efficiently.
EZ Curl Bar: This quickly became a favorite due to its compatibility with the same plates used for our dumbbells. The ease of transitioning between exercises made it a valuable addition to our mobile gym.
Super Bench PRO V2: Our previous bench was far less versatile than this one. The adjustability and the included attachments were novel to me. The most significant piece of equipment, apart from the bench, was the chin up bar attachment. In the confined spaces of an RV, installing pull-up bars in doorways wasn't a feasible option, and the risk of wall damage was not something we were willing to entertain. However, the chin-up bar attachment allowed us to perform this crucial exercise while avoiding any structural damage. Similarly, the bar dip handle enhanced our workout, opening up exercise possibilities that were previously unattainable in our RV gym. Its compact size made it an essential addition, as it fit seamlessly into our limited space.
Quick-Lock Adjustable Kettlebells: Prior to embracing the RV lifestyle, I owned a collection of kettlebells. They took up space and were often an organizational headache. The Ironmaster kettlebells, combined with their plate kits, eliminated this issue. The plates allowed us to adjust the weight to our preference, and their durability was unquestionable. To put their strength to the test, we even subjected them to the ultimate challenge, running them over with our Bronco. Astonishingly, they emerged from the ordeal intact and still in excellent working condition. These kettlebells became a personal favorite for both my husband and me. They became a regular part of our workouts, and their adaptability allowed us to add variety to our exercise routines.
The Durability of Ironmaster Equipment
One of the most crucial considerations in our mobile gym setup was the durability of the equipment. RVs are continually in motion, traveling across various terrains and enduring vibrations and shocks. The equipment we invested in had to be robust enough to withstand this ongoing challenge.
Our test of Ironmaster equipment's durability extended beyond the rigorous RV journey. We transported the kettlebells on a flatbed trailer for a significant distance, and they remained unharmed. Curious to see if they could endure more, we even decided to run them over with our Bronco. To our amazement, the equipment emerged from this experience without a scratch. Their all-metal construction was a testament to their durability. The confidence we had in their quality was unwavering. We also subjected our dumbbells and additional weights to the same rough treatment, with similarly impressive results.
A Fitness Solution for RVers
In conclusion, the equipment we selected was not just compact; it was ideally suited for our limited living space. It became the badge of "Full-time RVer approval." With everything neatly fitting into our RV, we managed to retain the precious space for other activities. Our children had room to play, and even spontaneous dance parties found a place in our tiny space.
The ability to modify our equipment and adapt it to the constraints of our small garage space significantly boosted our strength training regimen. Our quest for a mobile gym was about more than just convenience; it was about ensuring that health and fitness remained integral to our RV lifestyle.
The Road to Wellness and Fitness
As our RV rumbles down the asphalt, Ironmaster stands as our constant companion in our journey to health and wellness. The challenges of space and mobility inherent in the RV lifestyle were met head-on, and our pursuit of fitness has never been more fulfilling. The road is our home, and thanks to our mobile gym, it's a road where strength and health thrive. Whether you're a full-time RVer like us or someone seeking to stay active while on the go, a mobile gym can be the key to unlocking a strong and healthy life, regardless of your location. It's the realization that wellness is not confined to a fixed place; it's a way of life that can adapt and flourish on the open road.
About the Author
We are a full-time RV family of 4 plus our dog traveling the country in our 46’ fifth wheel. Jana (the wife) is a content creator on the road and Taylor (husband) is a firefighter paramedic. We love sharing our lifestyle and with that comes tips and tricks on how to stay healthy and happy on the road not only to perform well at work but also to keep up with our kids!
RV living blog & website
Bronco VS Kettlebells IG Reel
Full RV Gym tour on YouTube
Ironmaster has been specializing in producing the best home gym, and RV gym, equipment since 1978.
Check out Ironmaster.com to learn more about our full line of personal strength training equipment. Weight benches, like our legendary Super Bench Adjustable Weight Bench are the foundation of any home gym. The unrivaled Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells and it's system of interchangeable weight plates save you both space and money with their modular, multipurpose design. Another customer favorite, the IM2000 Self Spotting Machine (Smith Machine style half rack!) is so versatile you can build your ultimate gym in most typical spare rooms, garage, or basement. Learn how to build a custom package to take advantage of our everyday discount program, where the more you bundle on qualified items, the more you save!
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What an interesting Article
Loved this story. As I have gotten older I have come to agree with you. While I have a full Squat rack, with multiple barbells and over 700lbs of weight all I really "need" to get a good workout is a place to do pushups, pull-ups and dips. That with running sprints and stairs can build a strong physique. The Superbench Pro really can be a full mobile gym as my wife and I get closer to retirement my Superbench Pro may have to travel with us!