Have you ever walked into a gym only to feel so intimidated that you wanted to walk right out and never come back?
Yup – I’ve been there! Us ladies are particularly intimidated by the gym. And we have good reason to be! Everyone looks like they know what they are doing (or at least are very good at pretending), and everyone’s already fit so it makes you wonder why they’re even there! Then there’s grunting, sweat, people inappropriately dressed, and let’s not talk about the change rooms!
So much for helping newbies feel comfortable 🙁
Here’s a confession:
I didn’t step foot inside a gym until I was 2yrs into my fitness journey. Yup, it took a while! Nowadays I’m comfortable with the gym in my building, but I still get anxious if I have to walk into one of those large open space gyms with machines and equipment everywhere. And I’m a personal trainer!!! So if you’re feeling anxious about the gym, it’s totally normal.
But there is one way around it – and that’s not going to the gym at all!
I actually spent my first 2 years working out at home and I still do the majority of my workouts at home! So, if you’re anxious about hitting the gym, in this article I’ll tell you more about why working out at home can be an awesome alternative to the dreaded gym, and also some things you might want to watch out for.
Working out at home – why it’s so awesome!
You have privacy from creepy onlookers
Do you ever feel watched when you’re at the gym? I have some news for you – someone is indeed probably looking at you. And if you have no idea what you’re doing, that’s even more intimidating! But at home, no one is there to see you stumble and fumble. No one is there to judge. And when you’re mid-way through your workout and you’re sweaty and gross, giving your last few bursts of energy and knowing you probably look like crap – no one is there to see that either! How cool is that?
You don’t get to sit on someone else’s sweat!
If you’ve ever been at the gym and sat down on a piece of equipment only to notice the previous person hasn’t wiped it down, you’ll know exactly the kinds of feelings and thoughts I’m trying to convey. Yes, the gym is pretty gross because that’s what people do there – sweat. And then touch things. And then forget to wipe them. And even when they do, it’s not foolproof. The nature of the gym is that you have to share equipment – and in doing so you’re likely going to interact with someone else’s body fluids. But at home you don’t have to share your equipment with anyone! Grossness avoided!
You don’t get to hear other people’s grunts, or other fun noises
Inevitably at the gym someone will feel the need to act like they own the place – you know that crowd. These people need to mark their territory through grunts, hogging the weights and constantly flexing their muscles to show their dominance over the rest of us minions. How exciting. Oh, and has anyone experienced the mini heart attack that comes with having someone drop heavy weights onto the gym floor? When these people work out EVERYONE has to know – kind of like hipsters and vegans! Compare that to being at home – the sounds can be what you want them to be – you can play music, watch an episode of your favorite TV show, put on a podcast. No grunts and no mini heart attacks!
You don’t have to be exposed to THE CHANGE ROOM!
The first time I stepped foot in a gym change room I was 18 and let me tell you I was in shock. Somehow all privacy rules seem to vanish in this environment and everyone just walks around naked. WTF?? Also for some reason the showers didn’t have curtains. Again, WTF??? Who designs these locker rooms?? Look, I get it – you’re proud of your body, kudos to you! But I really feel like the unwritten rules of our society (which prevent people from publicly displaying their private parts) should apply to the locker room too because that’s still kind of a PUBLIC PLACE!
Or at least be sort of decent about it. Like standing in front of a mirror completely butt naked to dry up your hair – is that really necessary? Could you not use a towel? But anyway, I digress! You get the idea – yet another reason why gyms are amazing! At home though? Private shower and no private parts around apart from your own! Zen!
You save time
Unless you have a gym in your building, getting to the gym can be a drag on its own. You have to get in the car, drive there, do your workout, then come back. Even if your gym is within walking distance, your 1hr workout is still bound to turn into 2hrs. Urgh. If you’re like me, 2hrs is a LOT OF TIME. Multiply that by 3 or 4 times a week and what you get is basically something that’s not gonna happen. Time is one of the most precious commodities we have and simply by not going anywhere, you’ve just saved yourself ~1hr. Think of all the things you could do with 1hr – again, multiply by 3 or 4 (the average number of times someone hits the gym per week) and you have yourself 4hrs. In a month that’s 20hrs. That’s almost A DAY!
You save $$
Gym memberships aren’t super expensive these days, but if your gym membership is say, $20, in one year that’s still $240, not to mention again the cost of gas to get you there. Plus, gyms LOVE to up-sell you on things like protein shakes, clothing, equipment, personal training services and classes, because trust me, they don’t make money from that $20 membership you just bought. They purposely keep that low so they can sell you other stuff. So, by not going, you aren’t exposed to any of that!
Working out at home – why it’s NOT so awesome!
So by now you’re probably thinking oh man, this working out at home is so amazing! Why isn’t everyone doing this?
Well, just like anything, there’s good and bad.
When it comes to the bad, here are some of the things to watch out for:
Home is where you come from a long day of work and want to chill and pretty much do nothing and zone out. Amiright? Recognize these guys?
They are the main culprits behind laziness. Once you’re in that chill zone, it becomes pretty hard to get your butt moving, but still, there are a couple of ways to overcome this.
- Set a time for your workout, then schedule it in your calendar. For myself, I know that 9pm is the best time to work out. My kid is in bed, I’ve had a bit of chill time, and I can’t really justify not doing something by that point. So what’s your time? I recommend setting up a fixed time each day if possible so you get into a routine.
- Do your workout BEFORE you get into chill zone. This goes hand in hand with the above, except you schedule a time just after you get back home from work. Basically your day is not yet over until your workout is done! Only after your workout is complete, can you enter chill zone.
Lack of equipment
A lot of people feel they can’t work out at home because they don’t have enough equipment – and that can be partly true. Without some equipment, you will not get the same strength gains as someone who can train in a gym. But realistically, most people don’t have dreams of becoming competitive athletes. We just want to move, and you can still get a really good workout with just minimal equipment. When it comes to home gym equipment, here are my recommendations of stuff you should invest in:
- Yoga mat ($15 from Winners)
- Resistance bands: light, medium + heavy ($20 each at WalMart)
- Optional (for more advanced folks): foam roller ($15 at Winners) + tennis ball (no need to buy this, just look in your closet); both of these help with myofascial release
- Optional: 5lb,10lb and 15lb dumbbells (typically $1/lb, I got mine from Fitness Town)
The same routine can become boring in the gym, let alone at home where all of the distractions above are constantly beckoning you to skip your workout. Here are some ideas to keep things interesting
- Alternate between indoor and outdoor routines. Outdoor stuff can include going for a run, a bike ride or a walk. If you’re in New West, did you know that there is an outdoor gym circuit in Queens Park? Check out my Instagram page for exercises you can do using that fitness circuit!
- Do stuff with kids or with a partner
- Change it up – do your routine backwards, go on a different running route, walk in a different direction
Not knowing what to do
When people think about working out at home, they get scared because they aren’t sure what to do. Remember though: the same thing happens to gym goers – most people LOOK like they know what they’re doing, but really they have no clue. Here are some things you can do:
- Start with simple exercises that you know – squats, lunges, push-ups, etc. Don’t make it complicated
- If you’re seeing a physio, RMT or chiro, ask them what exercises they would recommend you should do at home, and add them to your routine
- Stretch and foam roll – working on flexibility and on removing those knots in your muscles is still an awesome thing to be working on
- Get a few sessions with a mobile personal trainer – we come to your house and give you an exercise program that you can do using equipment you already have in your home!
The bottom line
If the thought of going to the gym is enough to give you nightmares, working out at home can be an awesome way to go – and a lot more private too! And, while it’s easier to slack off at home, there are still things you can do to keep yourself on track. Finally, remember that being active is not just about the 1hr you spend working out – it’s about making the right choices throughout the day. Now go out there and stay active!
After being skinny unfit for the majority of my life, I discovered fitness by accident once I became a mom and started working out with my husband. A couple of years later, I started Tone Every Zone out of an overwhelming desire to help other busy individuals and couples juggle a hectic lifestyle while staying active.
My mission is to teach people about fitness and work with them as a team to make long lasting lifestyle changes. My personal values include being professional, honest and transparent in all of my doings but also being funny and silly because that’s what makes life (and your training sessions) fun!
Every day I hear from tons of couples who are dying to get more active but they just need that extra push! Getting people started on a fitness program is what I love to do. Check out my personal training packages and share your story with me so I can help you reach your fitness goals!