Whilst I was in recovery from my operation last year, I was told I had to lay off the strenuous exercise for the foreseeable future. No matter how many times I asked, how bad my Gym withdrawal got, I always received the same answer “everyone’s different, we can’t say”.
Although I moan about it, I actually enjoy going to the Gym and getting a workout and at the time I was so frustrated, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise?
I cancelled my Gym membership and started thinking about what I could do at home. I’ve always had a thought that home workouts aren’t quite as good as a Gym workout, going for a run or an hour of zumba but I don’t think I could be more wrong – I’ve had to put more thought into my workouts, I’ve had to find new ways of getting my cardio in and I can see progress much faster than I ever used to.
I started slow – doctor’s orders! – but now I enjoy the challenge of finding a new exercise I can do at home, or putting a combination of exercises together to make a circuit.
Obviously, you still have to put the effort in, and results depend on that. I’ve seen a huge leap in my fitness, my body fat % is coming down and I can see a difference in my muscle tone. To begin with, each session was just trying to complete more than last time, and that hasn’t changed. I’m now adding different exercise in, but the basics are still part of what I do.
Typically, I’ll put a 4-exercise cardio circuit together to start with, so my muscles are warm before I start doing any resistance work. I am lucky that I have equipment at home I can use, but you can pick this up cheaply or design a session that doesn’t require equipment at all.
I have kettlebells, resistance bands and a set of 3kg dumbbells I use, although most things are body-weight only which helps you really think about what exercise you’re performing and the muscles that are being used.
Working out at home does take a certain amount of discipline. I have to make sure I’m in the right mind-set when I get home, and I always write it as an appointment in my diary (usually with details of the circuit I’m going to do), so it’s less easy to scrap it. But it also means I can get jobs done at the same time – I cook dinner, catch up on TV that I’ve missed and sorted the laundry during my recovery periods.
Like everything, people have their advantages and disadvantages to working out at home but you just have to do what’s right for you. I can honestly say that I’m not in a hurry to re-join a Gym at the moment, but that might change once I stop seeing progress or hit a major plateau.
As a Personal Trainer, I find the challenge has really helped me to put myself in the shoes of clients who can’t get to a Gym, find it a bit too expensive or simply don’t enjoy being in the Gym environment. There’s so much that you can get out of a home workout, it might just take a little bit more planning.