Home workouts can provide similar results to what you can achieve in a gym. Why? Because it's about the energy you bring to your workouts - not where you do them.
Home Workouts are Great, But...
I'm a big fan of working out at home and I've been doing it for years with great results. The rest of this blog post will go on to talk about the benefits of working out from home and how to create a home workout routine, but I first, let's consider the benefits of working out at a gym:
- If you're a social exerciser, there's no argument that a gym is a better environment for you (unless you can invite friends over to your home gym)
- If you're training for a bodybuilding competition, or any athletic event that requires special equipment, you might be better off at a gym as well.
- If you have a gym that you really enjoy going to then stick with it. This article is for people who don't have the time, access or resources to head to a gym at least 3 days a week.
My Job vs My Health - Why I started working out at home
Years ago, there was a point where I was really struggling with my weight and my health. I was working a crazy-busy job and commuting an hour each way to the office. My life was overly consumed with work, and while it was clear that a job change was necessary for the long term, I also knew I had to make some more immediate changes regarding my fitness levels.
Given how much I was working and driving, I was constantly sitting down. I was starting to get leg pains, I wasn't sleeping well and my anxiety was at an all-time high. My clothes were all getting tight and my misery was preventing me from enjoying life, even when I had time to myself.
Something had to give.
Finding my Fitness in the Margins of Life
One of the best decisions I made to change the trajectory of my health at that time was a commitment to working out. But given my time constraints, I opted to invest in a small home gym because I just didn't have the patience or time to head to a gym after a long day at work.
I was worried that I wouldn't have the motivation to workout once I got home, but surprisingly, it wasn't that hard to talk myself into getting my sweat on, as long as the workouts were short and fun. Check, check and double check.
It turns out, it's hard to make excuses not to work out for 10 or 20 minutes (BTW - if you need a great 20 minute workout, try Transform 20).
A Simple Home Gym Set Up
Now, don't think for one minute that I had an elaborate setup. I didn't convert a room or buy a bunch of big, complicated equipment. Quite the opposite. I was able to build my ideal space with very little investment. I didn't need tons of space. My equipment is minimal and I just need a small space to move around in.
Here are some ideas on what to acquire to get yourself set up.
- 3 sets of weights - a light, medium and heavy set. This will depend on your current strength, but I recommend a 5 lb, 10 lb and 15 lb set to start with.
- Some Resistance Bands - this can make for all kinds of great moves that target both upper and lower body and they're easy to store and travel with.
- A bosu ball - this is a great alternative to a workout bench and it’s just plain fun to jump on. Get the pink one at walmart.com. It’s way cheaper than Amazon.
- A Yoga Mat - I have been doing yoga for YEARS. I even went to India to study the art and science of it at an ashram. But you know what? I very rarely do yoga in a studio. A 90-minute class seems way too long for my short attention span and at $25 a class, it just doesn’t seem like a good value.
All these things can be acquired for under $200 and you’ll have them for life (well, maybe not the bosu and mat, but your dumbells will outlive you). You can also try finding equipment at garage sales and craigslist, although I would never suggest going to buy these things solo (too dangerous).
And what to do with your gym once you have it?
Once you have a few simple pieces of equipment, you will want to find a program to follow that's at least 4 - 6 weeks long. Ideally, this program will be designed to get progressively more challenging as you do it, so you can see progress!
The best programs I've found that will help you achieve your goals and see results, are on Beachbody on Demand. They have programs designed for beginners to advanced exercisers with every different style - from cardio and weight lifting to barre and dance. I love this platform and use it daily.
My Favorite Home Workouts
Well, if you have some experience with working out, you can start with a few simple programs. Here’s a quick upper body program to get you started. But this is pretty generic and you need to have a sense of what you’re doing.
If you’re new to workout out, or have always felt like you’re not sure what you’re doing, I highly recommend working with a program that you can follow along at home (like Beachbody on Demand).
My favorite Home Workouts
21 Day Fix for beginners and 21 Day Fix Extreme for seasoned fitness geeks. I have a litany of ideas for home workout programs, but those are my top two favorites.
But keep in mind that you don’t have to invest in a workout program if you want to keep this endeavor low cost. There are tons of books and magazines, websites and youtube channels out there. They don’t come with a coach (like the programs I recommended), but if you’re good at self-motivation, then it will definitely help.
Anyway, my point here is that if you’re struggling to get to the gym, perhaps it’s not an issue of time, motivation or skill. It might just be that the environment is not optimized for your life and needs. This is where a simple home gym can really be a game-changer.
Have a great week everyone!
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