Navigating a New Normal
In 2020, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, people worldwide had to instantaneously pivot from known daily routines and best practices to protect themselves and others. Exercise for the benefit of physical and mental health became more important than possibly any other time in history. It also became more difficult for many to maintain their fitness routines as gyms shut their doors with no timeline for re-opening.
Trainers and fitness enthusiasts across the world scampered to figure out, "what's next?" Many wondered, "how can we maintain our health without access to gyms and fitness centers?" Long before the onset of this pandemic, I started training clients locally in their homes and virtually.
I realized that expensive and massive gym equipment was unnecessary to achieve the goals of many people. I put my NASM-Certification to good use and started the practice of in-home training by loading up some dumbbells, bands, and weighted balls to visit clients - typically in their homes, but sometimes public parks as well. Twelve years later, I've helped thousands of people train at home successfully, and I want to help you do the same.
You can check out this free course on designing the best at-home workouts by following the link. It complements the content in this blog nicely!
Home Gym Recommendations
When you think of creating a space to workout at home, don't get overwhelmed by the term “home gym.” You don’t need to have a fully equipped gym atmosphere to get a great workout, not even close.
In fact, as many home gym design specialists will attest, you can go minimal and still get effective workouts.
A bodyweight workout can do wonders, but if you’re looking to replace a traditional gym workout with at-home training, there are a few pieces of equipment that can be very helpful in taking your physique goals to the next level.
Here are some pieces that I recommend to my clients and others getting started with home workouts:
● Dumbbells - one set is great, but three sets (light, medium, and heavy) are better. Lighter weights would be something you’d use for front raises, and a medium set would be akin to what you’d use for bicep curls and heavy for bent-over rows and squats. If space is an issue for you, adjustable weights are a great option! Adjustable weights are commonly available in the form of dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells. Adjustable weights allow you, the home exerciser, to have various options without requiring a lot of storage space.
● Stability Pieces - I also often recommend having a BOSU Ball or large swiss ball. Balance disks are great, as well as other weighted items such as slam balls or medicine balls.
● Other Items - You may also want to include resistance bands, loops, a jump rope, bench, aerobic step, fitness mats, and more. If you have other items like a treadmill, bike, or elliptical, of course, those things are great as well - but not necessary for a fantastic workout at home!
The possibilities are endless. Don’t let the idea and cost of creating a home gym overwhelm you. Many of my clients add equipment gradually for a variety of pieces to use. If you’re on a strict budget or simply not ready to buy-in with traditional equipment - I have options for you as well!
Read also: How to Build an Affordable Home Gym
Bringing Creativity to Your home Workout
While exercise is primarily scientific, exercising at home can call for creativity as well. You can get an incredible workout with household items that you already own (or are inexpensive to purchase). Did you know a gallon of water weighs nine pounds? One-gallon water bottles are a very affordable and resourceful way to get your lift on AND stay hydrated.
A case of 24 individual water bottles weighs roughly twenty-eight pounds. And a full laundry detergent bottle weighs seven pounds on average. To see some creative ways to use these items and more during a workout, watch this video! You won’t believe what I found to use as a 2lb dumbbells replacement. Tune in to find out!
Staying On-Track at Home
Outfitting your new home workout space is the easiest part of adopting a home training routine. Committing to home workouts means changing your way and mindset, but you can do it! Once you settle in and realize the benefits of at-home exercises, I think you'll love it just as much as my clients, and I do.
As you settle into a home workout routine, you may have to navigate a few unknowns. How will I stay motivated? How will I stay accountable? What if I don't like working out alone? Do I even have room at home to do this? These are all very valid questions that you can work through and modify to fit your life as time goes on. Let's take a look at some realistic solutions for your new fitness routine.
● Accountability: A workout buddy can be your spouse or partner, a neighbor down the road, or a dear friend 1,800 living miles away. In this virtual world, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re committed to checking in with each other and keeping an accountability plan. You may even exercise together via Zoom or Facetime. Virtual workouts give you some friend time and fitness time all in one. You may also choose to hire a certified personal trainer; he or she can train you virtually or build a program that reflects your goals while keeping you accountable at the same time.
● Staying on track: I always recommend pre-planning as much as possible (including workouts and meals). Where workouts are concerned, if you can plan yours ahead of time, you'll be better set for success. Treat your home gym time like an appointment. Put it on the calendar, keep that commitment to yourself, and DON'T break it! You wouldn't no show a friend or colleague, so don't "no-show" yourself! Being ultra prepared by setting out your activewear and any pre-workout supplements ahead of time truly helps keep the routine going as well.
● Home gym space: Most people don't have a spare room to create their home gym in. Please don't let space discourage you. People are working out in studio apartments or shared spaces that have incredible home fitness success stories to tell. Some of my clients store their fitness equipment in closets, under couches, and in the garage or mudroom. You can workout anywhere with basic equipment when you exercise at home. You may choose your bedroom, living room, basement, garage, or even the driveway. The most important thing is, you get it done!
To see me explain these tips and more to stay on track training at home, watch this video:
Understand the Benefits of Working out At Home
● Home workouts mean saving time: Depending on where you exercise, your gym commute could take ten minutes or over an hour of your day. Sustainable workouts are the ones that work with your life. When you are training at home, it's on your own time, and you're not at the mercy of traffic, waiting on other gym-goers to finish using equipment, or deciding how to reroute your routine because the equipment is out of service.
● Your germs only: Even though gyms have stringent sanitation practices, that doesn’t mean that other gym go-ers adhere to them at all times. So, with that in mind, you may want to sanitize each piece of equipment yourself, thus taking more time. At home, you are in charge of keeping the equipment clean and functional. And, you can keep track of who has used what and when.
● Saving money: While there can be some variable upfront investments in creating a fitness space at home, so many cost-saving benefits exist. Consider the fact that home gyms don’t require membership fees, service charges, or long-term commitments. You’ll also be saving gas money and the cost of wear and tear on your vehicle. If more than one person in your home exercises, the cost savings increase from there. Most importantly, as mentioned above, your time is money, and you’ll be saving a lot of that by migrating to home workouts.
Everyone has different fitness goals, space, and available equipment. The beauty of working out at home means you can find a routine, space, and equipment that meet your goals, not the other way around.
Check out my video demonstrating a timed at-home workout using just a few pieces of equipment and an interval timer on my phone. Exercising at home means you have options in all aspects of working out. No matter how much space you have, what's on your calendar, or in your budget, you CAN make-at-home workouts work for you.
Are you ready to get started?
Now that you know home workouts are possible and have many benefits over gym time, I hope you're motivated to start! While these changing times are difficult for all of us, it's encouraging to know that you can keep your physical endurance, mental wellbeing, and immune system up by balancing your nutrition and participating in regular exercise - from anywhere.
All you have to do now is get started, and remember, consistency is critical. I wish you the best of success on your at-home fitness journey!
You can find a lot of other great content in my piece on Online Personal Training by following the link.