Paul Walsworth: Home Gym Dad

Paul Walsworth is busier than you. With a college age daughter and a son in daycare, he could justifiably crash on the couch daily. Instead, he finds time each day to head to his basement gym to build a homegym dad body that’s seems to get better the closer he gets to his fortieth year!

Paul Walsworth flexing next to his gym banner from garagegymlife.netHome Gym Dad

Paul you’re the proud father of three daughters one of whom is in college and a son in daycare. Speaking from experience, I can verify that multiple kids in more than one location, sometimes makes for a hectic schedule! How does having your gym in your basement help you juggle your family responsibilities?

It’s all the difference in the world. I am able to tailor my workout schedule around a VERY busy family and work schedule. Along with daycare, school drop offs, numerous kids activities and a demanding work schedule; I am able to still put in the hours at the gym. I will also say that having a supportive wife and family has been a key factor in me being able to stay with it.

You’re a fan of Spotify. Do you have your basement wired with speakers or do you just run everything through Bluetooth speakers?

There is one section of the basement that you don’t really see that has a TV, and a sofa sitting area. I connect an iPod to the surround sounds speakers in that area for all my workout music.

Tell me about your basement gym set up, you have a power rack, preacher curl, spin bike, PowerTec leverage bench and a hot tub somewhere in there. What else do you have?

That is basically it. The only other key piece of equipment that I have is a set of Iron Master adjustable dumbbells that range from 10 lbs. to 120 lbs. Oh and the hot tub is in a three season room on the ground level.

So is the hot tub part of your post workout recovery? I used to use a small trough as an informal cold tub but had to get rid of it to make room for my tractor tire.

Paul Walsworth in his hot tub

in the three season room enjoying a cigar and a new Scotch

My hot tub use is not regimented. We mostly use it for enjoyment, but I do incorporate it when I am nursing an injury.

What made you decide on the PowerTec, as opposed to a cable crossover or multi station? You seem to have the space for it.

A couple reasons. I might have the space, but I don’t have the height because of the basement ceilings. But the bigger reason is that I really love plate loaded equipment. Even when working in a commercial gym, I’ve always tried to mix it up with machines like Hammer Strength.

Your gym is set up primarily for general fitness but you do have some sport specific toys like chain collars. What determines what types of equipment you buy? Do you buy things specifically for the training effect or as a way to keep things interesting over the long term?

It is a mix, but mostly I choose equipment that keeps me interested in the long run. I worked out in a gym that had the chain collars and fell in love with them. I really enjoy the variable resistance plus the sound of them hitting the floor is damn gratifying.

You’ve just turned thirty-nine as we write this and are in amazing shape! If you keep this up, you’ll be giving Charles Forbus a run for his money as that middle aged guy nobody wants to come to their pool parties because you’ll show them up!

Haha, I should be so lucky. That guy is in great shape! People like him and your brother Brian are a true inspiration to those of us who refuse to go quietly into old age. I honestly feel my best years are yet to come.

Paul Walsworth prepares for a set in his basement gymHow big are your arms compared to 2012?

I’ve never really measured them to track progress, but I like to think that I’ve gained a solid inch.

You made a lot of progress between 2012 and 2017. You credit the improvements to internal positive changes. Can you tell us what those changes were and what led you to make them?

So many positive things have happened to me over the past 5 years. I have really come into my own and figured out what being a good father, husband and overall good person means to me. I spend more time thinking about diet and health choices. As far as training goes, 2012 was the time that I really started focusing on strength vs. appearance, which is funny because that mindset change has led to a better physical physique.

Unpack this quote from your Instagram feed and tell me how you feel two years after you posted it. “I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but sometimes it is good to look back and see how much progress you have made over the years. All the hard work in gym, the stupid cardio, the beers and junk food I’ve passed up.”

That quote still rings true to this day. I often like to look back and reflect on progress but at the same time still feel like I have a lot of room to grow in my physical fitness. As far as cutting out junk food and delicious beer that will always be a tradeoff and struggle because I love them both so much. It is all about balance.

You added a YMCA membership to take advantage of swim classes for your little one as well as other amenities for the family.  Y memberships let you train at any of their facilities worldwide. Does that help out when you travel to in case the hotel gym isn’t up to par?

I honestly haven’t taken advantage of going to any other YMCA locations when I travel. I actually research the hotel gym when booking my trips and will get a guest pass at a nearby gym if I can’t find a hotel with a gym that meets my needs. But right now the Y is a great bridge until I can add some new cardio equipment.

Did you put your home gym in your basement because that’s where the available space was or to get away from New England winters?

I’m originally from Louisiana and there is no way that I am tough enough to workout in my garage during the cold New England months. I am definitely impressed with the people who are able to brave the elements in those conditions. Especially the ones in our [home gym]community in North Europe who work out like true Vikings! Not to mention I need the garage space to keep the snow off of our vehicles!

Your basement being a finished space gives you some advantages that other gyms don’t have. For example, soundproofing tiles. I know you and your wife are really into music; did you install speakers to give you that surround sound experience during your workouts?

It just worked out that I had the surround sound set up already in the sitting area of the basement. But had I not, I definitely would have wired speakers to listen to music while I work out. I have always been a huge AV guy, and I really draw a lot of motivation from listening to music tailored to my workouts. I will actually plan out my playlist as I prepare for an upcoming lifting session.

You had hernia surgery earlier this year and said that the experience of having to come back from it helped you to understand that you hadn’t been training as hard as youPaul Walsworth after hernia surgery could. Talk about how you realized that you needed to push yourself harder and what changes you made.

That quote came from a place of me really missing being able to work out. That time gave me a chance to reflect on how much I enjoyed it and that I didn’t want to take for granted future opportunities when I was back to full strength and healthy. I had several unforeseen interruptions to my routine this year, but I feel like I have really lived up to that commitment to myself.

You started to grow your beard around the same time that you began your fitness transformation. Building a quality physique and growing a full, healthy beard take some of the same character traits— patience and discipline especially. It’s tempting in the early days to quit both endeavors. What made you stay the course?

For most of my adult life I’ve always had facial hair, but never grew my beard out. That probably took more patience then staying the course with working out. I work in a very conservative professional environment and am lucky that beards have become more socially acceptable. As far as quitting my fitness journey, I can’t imagine not having it a part of my normal routine. I have made a lot of positive changes over the years, but I have been at it regularly for almost 20 years.

Are there any lessons you’ve learned from either experience that have made you better in business and as a husband and father?

I would definitely say that just about every aspect of my life outside of the gym is improved by the work that I do in the gym. I enjoy the routine and stability I get from regularly working out. It also serves as a huge stress release for everything that I encounter on a day to day basis. I consider myself mild mannered, considerate, polite, etc. in my day to day life, but when I step into the gym I can flip a switch and lift like an angry animal. Having that release is so therapeutic

You and your wife love to travel. What’s the coolest place you’ve visited? Did you get to train there? How was the experience?

The coolest place we have ever traveled was definitely London. We went there as our last vacation before our son was born. I specifically picked out a hotel affiliated with a very cool gym called Gym Box in a part in London called Covent Garden. It didn’t disappoint. It was several floors of gym packed with great equipment, an active boxing ring, and even an on-site DJ. The only difficult part for me was that all of the weights were only in kilograms. Between the pre-workout and different time zone, it was pretty hard for me to do the conversions on the fly. There were a couple of times that I ended up loading too much weight. I left England in better shape than when I got there and attributed it to my “metric gains” In general; vacation lifts are some of my favorites. As much as I love my home gym, I look at walking into a new gym as an away game and really step it up a notch.

homegym dad Paul Walsworth and JuniorDo you ever see equipment on the road, either in a hotel gym or elsewhere that you’ve gone home and bought for your basement gym?

Not really since I put together my home gym. But I will say that every piece of equipment that I put in the gym was based off of equipment that I have loved at various gyms over the years. I will say that a lot of the equipment and set ups that I’ve seen on Instagram have created a huge wish list for future purchases for my gym.

How can people get in touch with you if they want to ask a question or just follow your training?

Instagram is definitely the best way to follow my training. I welcome anyone to reach out to me directly for questions/input. As is, I am already receiving questions from followers on my equipment choices and routines. I love being able to people in OUR community.

About the author

John Greaves III is a writer based in North Georgia with nearly two decades of experience in training at home. A former amateur kickboxing champion, John now competes recreationally in powerlifting. He takes a physical culture approach to training; believing that strength and health need not be mutually exclusive. In addition to his nonfiction work, John has written two fiction books, A Different Kind of Giant and A Little Lesson in Manners that are available on