Home workouts: Do you have what it takes?
Having workout equipment at home sounds like a time-saving, no-brainer way to get your exercise. But it only takes a stroll through a few neighborhood garage sales to see that what seemed like a good idea at the time winds up a bargain for the next person who thinks he or she has the discipline to stick with a home exercise program. Very, very few folks are able to make use of home exercise equipment over the long term. Like the mega-gym owners who sell the “bargain” lifetime gym memberships, the manufacturers of home fitness equipment bank on the fact that you won’t stick with it. So into the garage sale it goes. And then, the next time you see a new, must-have piece of home fitness gear, cha-ching, the manufacturer’s cash register is very happy. And the cycle continues.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fitness equipment at home. The ease of access provided by home workout equipment wipes out the number one excuse I hear for failing to exercise: a lack of time. Being able to go straight from a load of laundry to a set with the Thighmaster will free up the time it takes to get dressed and drive to the gym. I even recommend incorporating household chores into a workout–for example, during the rest break between sets you can take a minute and dust part of the living room. By the end of your 30-45 minute workout, you can knock out a handful of chores, in one-minute increments.
Home workouts can also be surprisingly effective and include enough variety to be interesting. A qualified trainer can, in a session or two, design a program for you that will insure that you have a wide variety of exercises to choose from. That will keep the monotony of your workouts low and the benefits high. Unless you have a lavish set-up with multiple exercise stations, I recommend learning as many exercises as you can with your home equipment, to prevent plateaus.
But here is the problem: you have to perform the workouts. Unless you are disciplined enough to maintain the motivation for exercising at home, you may well be wasting your money. Nearly my entire clientele has a gym membership, a home gym set-up, or both. But they need accountability to maintain motivation, and thus they come to me. At home, the distractions are always haunting you, always trying to talk you into quitting a little bit early, always chipping away at your willpower. And when the distractions succeed, you fail.
For those of you with the fortitude to exercise at home, more power to you, I give you a standing ovation. For the rest of us, I offer these words of wisdom. Before you make a big purchase, first take a few months and stick to a program that requires minimal investment like calisthenics (bodyweight), rubber bands, or walking/jogging. A visit or two to a qualified trainer will insure a proper program with plenty of variety. There is no need to drop a grand on a treadmill that will later be a clothes hanger or your neighbor’s “find” at your garage sale.
Once you have proven to yourself that you can stick to the program, the home equipment I recommend includes: free weights with adjustable bench, a Swiss ball, a variety of rubber bands, and a piece of cardio equipment that you enjoy, (unless you perform outdoor cardio activities). With these basic pieces of equipment, and a library of learned exercises to perform with them, you can have great workouts and the body that proves it.