Working out from home has quickly become the choice for many seeking to improve their physiques. From numerous conveniences to the cost-effectiveness of homebound workouts, it’s hard to argue the case against a short commute to your very own gym.
From nonexistent gym dues to the absence of the five-o’clock crowd, working out from home has all the inner workings of a perfect plan to build muscle, lose fat, or simply get into better shape and feel better. But, as with everything in life, there are speed bumps, challenges, and obstacles to overcome.
Motivation can be your biggest challenge. With convenience comes more responsibility and self-initiation. You’ll need a healthy dose of accountability and discipline to stay consistent. Let’s look at a few variables of at-home workouts including what to expect, what’s required, and how to stay the course.
Why train from home?
There are several variables at play to make the case for at-home training, but first you need to define your why.
As mentioned earlier, one of the primary advantages of training from home is the cost. After the initial purchase of some basic equipment you’ll incur no initiation fees, gym dues, or price hikes. The only cost will be to upgrade anything at your desire. In the end you’re saving money.
It can’t get any easier or more convenient than to walk out to your garage, back porch, or any other area you designate as your training space. No rushing to get to the gym, no lengthy drives through traffic, and no fighting for a locker to change. Your gym is only a few steps away.
Another great advantage is the fact that your very own home gym is always open for business, so to speak. It’s never closed for renovation, power outages, or because of limited hours on the weekends. You’ll always have access no matter if it’s 10 o’clock on a Sunday night or Christmas Day.
Because of its exclusivity, you’ll never have to wait for another station ever again. No more waiting for “Gym Swole” to get off his phone and finish his set. You’ll never have to fight through another crowd. You’ll have complete control over your training area.
Feel free to blare your choice of music. No need for headphones or pre-decided forms of entertainment. Maybe you like to train in silence, focus on the workout at hand, and sink deep into focus. Go ahead, it’s possible. Whatever you decide, it’s your choice, not some staff member’s.
Do you like to train with no shirt or shoes? Maybe you need to say a mantra before a big lift? Or you possibly may need to take in a big breath of fresh air outside between sets. It’s made possible with home workouts. Anything goes when it’s your space.
Finally, feel free to invite friends over for a training session. Maybe you’ll want to do a group circuit or simply squat with a training buddy for the entire session. Most gyms frown upon groups congregating in one area and monopolizing equipment. Home workouts allow you to have as many friends over as you’d like without any heartburn from the staff. It’s also great to boost motivation.
Challenges of training from home
Of course nothing comes without its limitations and drawbacks. As training from home has plenty to cheer about it can also be challenging in many respects. Let’s look at a few and see how we can right some wrongs.
Let’s face it, you don’t have a few million to spend on the latest equipment. A commercial-grade piece of gym equipment can cost up to $5000. Equipping your own home gym can get expensive if your goal is to mimic your local fitness center.
It’s best to go bare bones. Go with space-saving, cost-effective pieces that will allow you to get the most bang for your buck. A standard olympic bar, a few bumper plates, a simple bench, bands, a kettlebell or two, and possibly a rack will do the trick.
Space is yet another challenge. If you live in an apartment things can get rather tight. Also, you’ll need to be concerned whether or not barbell moves are appropriate for the type of flooring you have.
Your best bet is a garage or backyard area if you can cut it. Be meticulous about storing your equipment, keeping it clean, and out of the way when not in use. If you go by the recommendations of a more minimalistic setup, space won’t be a significant problem.
It goes without saying that training from home invites all sorts of distractions. From family obligations to your to-do list around the house, distractions seem to be at every corner.
Have a dedicated time to train, shut the door, and tell the family that to only disturb you in an emergency. Let them know this is your time and you’ll be at their beck and call once more when you're done. Reduce distractions as much as possible.
This one is most-likely your biggest challenge: getting the right amount of motivation to get out to your garage or dedicated area to put in the work when there are so many other things you could be doing. It’s too easy for some of us to fall into this trap because every distraction, home project, and family member has complete access to us. We inevitably feel guilt if we shut everything and everyone out and spend time on ourselves. But here is where I want to dive a little deeper.
How to stay motivated to workout at home
Motivation is a fickle beast. Some days we are filled with the stuff while others are just, well, running on empty. How do we get motivated to workout at home? How can we turn those one or two days of energy and focus into weeks and months?
The first step is to stop over analyzing. Your goal should focus more on habits and consistency versus over-the-top motivation where you kill your workout every single time. Taking action with smart habits is better than having the perfect plan of inaction. Have a plan in place and trust your plan. You’ll never know how something will work without putting it into action.
Second, stay consistent. Having several shorter workouts per week is much better than one all-out brutally intense session. Staying consistent will build on those habits you've established and will start to cement your motivation into place. Start small and start showing up on a weekly basis even if it’s twenty minutes per workout.
Third, have a plan. This may sound like a no-brainer, but not having a plan written down and detailed will make it way too easy to skip training. Keep a logbook handy and write down all of your sets, reps, and weights lifted. If you want, write down how you’re feeling that day, how your diet is going, and anything else that may affect your training for that day or week.
Fourth, review each day. Before training, review what you’ll be doing that day. Look over your program with a fine-toothed comb for anything that needs changing or modifying. This will only solidify your focus and boost motivation. Additionally, reviewing will help you shift your focus from work or family matters to the training at hand. Plus, it’ll keep your head in the game.
Fifth, plan for breakdowns. Yes, you can have the greatest motivation in the world, but life will get in the way sooner or later. Despite your best intentions you’ll inevitably have to take a day or two to take care of life’s challenges outside of your workouts. When (not if) this happens, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Simply pick up where you left off the very next day. Not everything needs an overhaul.
Staying motivated to workout at home is a challenging endeavor, but one that can be accomplished with a little preplaning. Don’t overanalyze things, stay consistent, have a plan, and review that plan regularly. Lastly, don’t get discouraged over setbacks.
Working out from home has too many advantages not to pursue. If successful, you’ll have a new appreciation for the conveniences of at-home training.
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