The home has become the gym of today. According to NPR, virtual workouts spiked significantly during lockdown, and have had enduring appeal. However, there are questions over the efficacy of these workouts and whether they can bring the same results as they do in the physical gym, with all the equipment it brings. Good news – those people working from home can enjoy the same gains as people who smash it out in the gym. The key comes in equipment, training, high quality exercise and dedication.
Building the right equipment
It is possible to build huge gains from home workouts using only callisthenics, but it can be difficult – especially for beginners. According to WebMD, it’s much easier to get started by building up some equipment. A sturdy surface, even as simple as a dining table chair, is essential for dips and stretches. A set of simple dumbbells can help to increase strength. Specialized tools such as workout bands and resistance clothes can help to ramp up the benefits of exercise.
As you start to build up more equipment, it’s essential that your home is equipped to handle it. That doesn’t mean you need to build a bespoke home gym (though that is the dream of every fitness enthusiast) – it means creatively using space. Deploying existing items as gym aids, such as dining chairs, is the obvious way around this, but there are also large ranges of gym equipment designed for easy storage. You can also consider multi-use items, for instance foam yoga bricks, that can help with yoga while also assisting with certain weightlifting routines.
It’s also about quality, rather than just the expensiveness of equipment. Personal training is hugely influential in developing good workout gains, according to one NIH study, which showed that health improvements were more pronounced when exercise was conducted with tailored training. Finding a proper trainer is crucial, then. This can be done digitally, of course – just as NPR have shown – so don’t feel constrained by the need for in-person tuition, as effective as it can be.
What trainers can also do is help you to defeat plateaus. Many people who start to get fit will find a natural point at which their body stops reacting to the stresses put on it with more gains. That’s true of weight loss, of bulk building, and even of more general pursuits such as building flexibility. Variety is the most important part of exercise when plateaus do occur, and personal trainers will ensure that diversity is built into the workouts from day one, ensuring you have plenty of tools in your kit.
Not every session will be managed with a PT, and you might need several sessions to start bedding in new techniques and exercises – even without the full supervision of an expert. This is to be expected, and most PTs will give you a lot of instruction on getting the exercise right before starting to elevate the weights taken on.
However, it remains a fact that many gym related injuries come from poor form and technique. According to the Mayo Clinic, even a short period of poor form can lead to serious long-term complications for your muscles, bones, and ligaments, including herniated discs. As such, it’s really important that you get form right even when your PT is not available to help out. Use their tips, use the internet for guidance, and if it doesn’t feel right – don’t lift the weight, or do the exercise. Wait until help is at hand.
Training with the crowd
There are a lot of benefits of working out with other people. One study analyzed by NBC found that 95% of people who started a weight-loss program with friends completed the program, clearly showing the benefits of having a motivational group around you. Indeed, this is why PTs can be so effective – they can help you to push past plateaus and go on to perform better in your own capacity.
Arranging this at home is best done as it would be with a PT. Many trainers also have group chats and video calls where they’ll virtually train a large number of people; that can help you to develop new friendships and continue learning, and growing, within your fitness activities. Pair this with a little dedication and you’ll be flying.
Building a mindset
One of the big advantages of home workouts is that you can start moving exercise more readily into your daily routine. Not needing to leave the home is a great benefit, and being able to prepare equipment easily, without needing to take it from A to B, is another great adaptation to your quality of life. What this also means is that you need to be dedicated. People often experience a ‘need’ to get the most of their gym membership, and exercise with a lot of focus when they’re there – you need to do so too at home. Don’t cut corners.
Having an organized home can help in this regard. With your equipment and fitness tools in place, just take an extra step to keep the home organized. Wash dirty clothes immediately, keep work-out areas clean and tidy, and rearrange the room as soon as you’re done. Don’t hold off on showering, and, crucially, ensure that you’re ready to eat – keep it regimented, disciplined, and determined, and you’ll make your home work for you.
Fine-tuning your nutrition
One huge advantage of a home workout is that you have ready access to nutrition – and with that, the potential for high quality nutrition. You can also fine tune when you take your nutrition hit, ensuring that it’s deployed exactly when you need it for your workout. No more traffic, meaning your carb loading is burning away in your stomach, or over-exerting walking or cycling burning away at energy reserves.
Indeed, according to Time, loading on the right nutrients is absolutely crucial to finding your way to better gains. Complex carbs are best taken around 2-3 hours before a workout, and simple carbs just 60 minutes. Having high-quality protein on hand is also a godsend; not all protein shakes are born the same, and nor do they always provide the best level of natural nutrition that a readily available meal of chicken can, for instance.
The home gym is the ground zero of a new exercise revolution. No longer do you have to feel constrained by the need to visit out-of-the-house gyms, to pay memberships and to build the dedication to get out – even during busy days. The material is there to make a home gym a huge success. Ensure you still have professionals and friends to help you learn – an essential part of succeeding in the gym is having those inspirational figures around you to help drive you to new heights. That being said, the environment you can create and maintain in your home will be as conducive to attaining new fitness goals, and to giving you the time and space to really commit to your own fitness while keeping all of that downtime to an absolute minimum. In today’s busy world, that’s something not to be taken for granted.