Exercising at home is becoming more and more popular as the price of good quality
home exercise equipment comes down,
we all lead busier and busier lives which means we don't have time to
go to the gym and the availability of personal trainers who’ll
come to our home to train us increases.
For those trying to lose weight,
working out at home may be the perfect way to balance weight loss aspirations
with other lifestyle considerations, including time and money.
If you are
thinking about exercising at home, this article
is for you. You’ll find some useful information on the benefits and
drawbacks of exercising at home and some exercise equipment options and considerations
that will be useful regardless of your budget.
Benefits of home exercise
Exercising at home is a good idea if:
- You don’t have time to travel to and from a gym.
- You don’t have a gym close to your home.
- You would rather invest gym membership costs in your own equipment.
- You don’t like training outside (in the dark, cold weather or rain).
- You feel too embarrassed to go to a gym.
- You don’t want to have to wait for equipment or share equipment
- You would like to be able to exercise anytime you want.
- You just don’t like gyms.
Drawbacks of home exercise
While there are many benefits to exercising at home, there are also some drawbacks to consider. Here are a couple of the most common:
- You need to be able to motivate yourself.
- It can be tempting to continually put off your workouts until “tomorrow”.
- The variety of exercise equipment you have will not match that of a gym.
- Most homes don’t have qualified instructors to teach you how to
- It’s easy to get distracted from starting or finishing your workouts.
- It’s often difficult to find enough "spare" space to
exercise in at home.
- You won’t meet new friends or workout buddies exercising at home.
The importance of planning
While some of these drawbacks are disadvantageous compared to other exercise options, with a little bit of planning none of them need be a “deal breaker”.
Let’s address each of the drawbacks above and show you have to overcome them with a little bit of planning and creative thinking:
You need to be able to motivate yourself
This can be a tough one for some of us. The key factors for motivation include how desperately you want to change your life, how much planning you do and how rigorously you apply your plan.
If you have trouble keeping yourself motivated try some of these suggestions:
- Focus on habits and the goals achieve themselves. Instead of setting a goal to lose 20kgs, try making your goal to walk every day or to lift weights 3 times a week.
- Keep a journal. Writing about how much fun exercising is or about
how proud you are of yourself for overcoming obstacles can be very motivating.
- Read educational and inspirational articles in magazines or on the internet
(just like the one you’re reading now).
- Sign up for a race or event. Now you have a tangible reason to put your runners on - you're in training. Choose an event that's happening about 8 to 10 weeks from now. That should give you enough time to get back in the exercise groove.
- Find a workout partner. Research has proven that people who exercise with a spouse or friend are more likely to stick with it.
- Mix it up. Boredom is a big cause of waning motivation. Plan to change your workouts regularly and look for new exercise ideas.
- Get started. Don’t know where or how to start? Get help from a
professional like a personal fitness trainer.
It can be tempting to continually put off your workouts until “tomorrow”
This is such an easy thing to do if you don’t get into a regular routine that becomes habit.
Here are some suggestions to help you avoid this problem:
- Workout at the same time each day (early mornings are perfect).
- Workout with someone. If your training partner or personal trainer has gone to the trouble of meeting with you, you will be much more likely to workout when planned.
- Plan your days so that you don’t have any conflicting activities.
If other things compete for your workout time, remind yourself of your
- Set a short term goal so that there aren’t too many “tomorrows” to
The quality of your exercise equipment is likely to be inferior to that of a gym
There is no doubt that good quality exercise equipment makes a difference. As well as being safe and effective to use, having good equipment at your disposal will actually help motivate you.
Unless you have quite a large budget at your disposal, chances are that your equipment is not going to be as good as your local gym’s, but that OK, it doesn’t need to be.
Here are some tips to making sure this isn’t that big a deal:
- Instead of buying 3 pieces of dubious quality equipment, invest in 1
good piece; chances are it will last a lifetime and you’ll actually
- Build your home gym over a number of years and add a new piece as and when you can afford it.
- Don’t buy exercise equipment on impulse after seeing an infomercial,
chances are it will soon become a clothes rack or dust collector in your
- Buy the best equipment you can afford.
- Plan ahead. Plan your equipment purchases around your goals and priorities.
- Do research and then shop around. Know exactly what you want and then try to get it for the best price you can possibly find.
- Be creative and remember that you don’t necessarily need a lot
of equipment to exercise effectively. Start with the basics like a fitness
ball and a few sets of dumbbells if your budget is really limited.
The variety of exercise equipment you have will not match that of a gym
Again, research, creativity and planning are the keys to neutralizing this problem.
- You can perform an amazing variety of exercises with the help of a simple set of barbells and dumbbells, or fitness ball.
- Adding things like a skipping rope to your arsenal will give you options to vary your aerobics workouts.
- Almost all pieces of commercial gym equipment have a free-weight or body-weight equivalent. For example do push-ups instead of machine chest presses, or dumbbell calf raises on the front step of your house instead of using a standing calf raise machine.
- You can find an endless array of exercises in books and magazines (and on the internet!).
- A good personal trainer will be able to show you more exercises than
you’ll ever need for the price of a couple of appointments.
Most homes don’t have qualified instructors to teach you how
This is true for most of us but doesn’t need to be a problem because:
- Hiring a personal trainer doesn’t need to be a lifetime commitment,
most will be happy to write you a program and teach you the right technique
over a few weeks of appointments and then leave you to your own devices.
- You can always join the gym for a month or two to learn proper exercise technique and then begin working out at home.
- You can visit your local gym on a casual basis (paying for individual workouts) and while there ask the instructors on duty any questions you have.
- Most personal trainers offer discounts for exercise group sessions that you can participate in. Learn the right techniques during these classes; ask the trainer questions before and after the class, and save money!
It’s easy to get distracted from starting or finishing your workouts
Here are some useful tips to avoid household distractions from affecting your workouts:
- If you live with others, exercise when they’re not home or in bed.
- Take the phone off the hook while working out.
- Set “house rules” for when you’re exercising. For example, ‘I’m not to be disturbed when I’m working out unless the house is on fire or something equally serious’.
- Keep in mind that most things can wait, not every potential distraction
needs to be handled “right now”.
- Don’t look for distractions to help you procrastinate. They’re
far too easy to find.
- Remember when potential distractions arise that to successfully lose weight you are going to need to be single minded and focused.
It’s difficult to find enough “spare” space to exercise
in at home
As well as having a sufficient budget, having enough spare room in your house to workout is another key factor determining how successful a home exerciser you are.
If room is a problem consider:
- Investing in a multi-gym. These pieces of equipment have multiple exercise stations that utilize a single or dual set of weight stacks and are designed specifically to provide the maximum number of exercise options while taking up the minimum amount of floor space.
- It’s not ideal, but an exercise bike can easily fit in your bedroom
or rumpus room if you have no other options.
- If you allocate a room for exercise, don’t allow it to be used
as a storage room or spare bedroom full of things that will impede your
- Setting up a room for exercise in your home might be a great excuse to
de-clutter and have a garage sale where you can sell off the things you
don’t use or need anymore.
- Using a garage for working out. Bear in mind that this is not as good
as a dedicated room in your home because the garage is often “out of sight, out of mind”, is easy to avoid if it’s cold or you have to go outside to get to the garage, or isn’t
set up right for exercise.
You won’t meet new friends or workout buddies exercising at home
Ok, you might not meet new friends or workout buddies exercising at home but you can:
- Enhance or rekindle relationships with your existing friends by working out together.
- Have different workout buddies for different kinds of workouts.
- Add a new dimension to the relationship with your partner or family by exercising together.
- Find a trusted friend in a personal fitness trainer.
If you are trying to lose weight, working out at home may be the perfect way to incorporate regular daily exercise into your life.
But as well as having a great number of advantages, exercising at home does have some potential pitfalls to keep in mind before you go and clear out your spare bedroom and begin investing in some home exercise equipment.
At the end of the day, the most important thing about exercise is that you do some regularly. What type of exercise you do and where you do it is only important from a personal preference point of view.
If your preference is to exercise at home, keep the pitfalls above in mind and follow the suggestions to make sure they don’t impede your efforts to become a happier, healthier you.
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This article was written by Scott Haywood.
Scott Haywood is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.
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