Rebecca is a New Orleans native (Metairie, to be precise) drawn back to her birthplace after 15 years in other excellent places that never quite felt like home. As a writer, she focuses on the people, places, dishes, and designs that populate this weirdly wonderful city. Rebecca graduated from Metairie Park Country Day School, earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University, and enjoyed a delicious culinary education stint in Florence, Italy before embarking on a communications career that led from McKinsey & Company in New York to freelance writing in New Orleans. Today, Rebecca lives Uptown with her husband and two children and enjoys baking, traveling, and walking in Audubon Park. She is also an active volunteer with local organizations including the New Orleans JCC and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
When COVID-19 made gym visits problematic, many people turned to home fitness areas for virtual yoga sessions, Peleton rides and more. As summer sets in, those indoor spaces might be ready for a refresh. We reached out to New Orleans-based fitness maven Erin Romney, founder of Romney Studios and MVMT by ROMNEY, for tips on designing a space that motivates movement. In Romney’s experience, people will look for any excuse to skip exercise, especially at home. “If it’s dirty, I’m focusing on the clutter in the corner versus my workout,” says Romney. “If you have a space dedicated and clutter-free, it reduces distraction … It’s all about minimizing excuses.”
Graduate your weights
A pyramid stand offers neat, accessible storage for dumbbells of different sizes. Romney likes having access to both heavy and light weights to allow for progress: “The goal is not to do the same thing over and over … I like that because you can increase the challenge when your body is ready.”
Stimulate the senses
For Romney, environment matters. She seeks out windows and sunlight and believes scent plays an important role in the energy of a workout or yoga practice. Romney’s studios feature only unscented beeswax candles (helpful in clearing out the smell of a room) or a pure essential oil blend. “No fake scents,” says Romney, who prefers oils from Young Living or doTERRA in spearmint or peppermint for energizing and lavender or eucalyptus for relaxing.
The sound of music is also a must for Romney, who relies on tunes for momentum: “Even if it’s dancing around or doing jumping jacks or jump rope, some good energizing music will hold you more accountable.” Add a Bluetooth speaker to your workout space or play your smartphone on speaker (place your phone in a cup to amplify the sound).
The right rack
Wall racks offer another option for cylindrical items like yoga mats, foam rollers, and bolsters. This model from Wood River Iron Works features small shelves to hold additional items like foam blocks and water bottles.
Stretch and strengthen
Romney is a big fan of resistance bands (her favorites are TheraBand products) and straps for building strength and flexibility. Items like bands, TRX straps and yoga straps can be stashed in baskets or hung from wall hooks and pack well for travel workouts.
A tisket, a tasket
“I love a good basket,” says Romney, who uses them for items like yoga mats and foam rollers, or to collect weights, jump ropes and kettlebells. “Tuck it all in so when you walk in, you’re not already stressed from visual clutter. It’s about saying, ‘I’ve invested in this equipment and committed to this space,’ which helps support your goals.”