In the fitness world its easy to get sick and tired of the same gym routine day in and day out. Whether its the ambiance, the crowd, or just the slog of going back and forth all the time, the gym can get old.
Fortunately, getting a great workout does not require a gym. You can get excellent strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility training at home. All it takes is a little planning and a couple of pieces of home gym equipment. Getting fit at home could be easier than you think.
Read on to learn about 11 realistic benefits of working out at home, a few reasons it might not be for you, and how to get the best possible exercise in the comfort and convenience of your living room.
How To Have Epic Sweat Sessions At Home
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat. You do not need a gym membership to be a sexy, healthy fitness buff. There. We said it. Not taking it back.
It today’s fitspo saturated, Instagram bikini selfie avalanche of a world, it can be so easy to get caught up and think you can’t get fitness results without a gym membership and a cabinet full of crazy supplements. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Whether you’ve got a full home gym set up or just a couple key pieces of equipment, you can get amazing results and fitness in the comfort of your own home.
All the Perks of Working Out At Home
There are so many “pros” of learning to work out at home. What are they? So glad you asked! We happen to have 11 benefits right here.
1. Working out at home saves you money.
According to the personal finance blog Money Crashers, on average it costs around $700 a year for a gym membership. Just imagine what you could do with an extra $700 in your pocket. You can easily set up a home gym basics for under $100. In fact, you might have a lot of what you need already.
In addition to the cost of a gym membership, it costs money (and time) to drive to and from the gym every time you want to work out. If you have kids, then childcare costs are another expense of gym time.
Cut out all of those expenses and the cost savings of working out at home are undeniable.
2. Working out at home takes less time.
Let’s do some mental math. How long does it take for you to…
- Pack your gym bag
- Drive to the gym
- Find a parking space
- Wait in line to use equipment
- Drive home
Those minutes add up! Instead of spending your time going to the gym, you could be spending your time working out (or sleeping an extra 30 minutes and then working out).
Whether you’re doing cardio or strength training you should be able to get in a good workout within 40-60 minutes. If you got stuck in traffic and have to go meet up with friends later and your babysitter has to go home…whatever the excuse it’s easy to cut into that 40-60 minutes at the gym. Working out at home is more convenient and takes some pressure off of your schedule.
3. Working out at home makes it easier to stay accountable.
The list of excuses for not working out has been studied and analyzed by doctors and fitness gurus. “I don’t have time” is usually a top contender. See #2 above to bust that excuse right this minute.
OK, now that that’s done, working out at home removes so many barriers of time and convenience that it keeps you accountable to your fitness. It’s 4:30 a.m. and the gym is closed? You don’t have any clean underwear? It’s too cold to go outside? No problem! When your home is your gym you can work out naked at midnight with the heat cranked up to 80. It takes the limits off your sweat sessions so you can just get to it.
Working out at home can also become part of your routine. Figure out whether you like to work out in the mornings or later in the day. Then, build that time into your daily flow. It will become second nature.
4. You can make your workouts into family time.
For all of you multi-tasking moms and dads out there, going to the gym can feel like you’re taking time away from your family. So, why not work out at home and make it a family affair?
Studies show that working out with your kids can help keep everybody active and set healthy habits for them later in life. Here are some cool and unexpected fitness ideas that will get your whole fam huffing and puffing:
- Go for a walk or a bike ride together
- Play tag for 30 minutes
- Play frisbee
- Skip and play hopscotch
- Climb around on the jungle gym at the park
- Do yoga together
- Have a running calisthenics competition to see who can do the most push-ups and sit-ups in 1 minute
What grown-ups call “working out” kids usually call “playing”. We should all take a hint and go have some fun!
5. At home, you can sweat and grunt in privacy.
Going all beast mode in front of an audience at the gym can feel…awkward. If you prefer to growl out your last rep in solitude, then you’ll love working out at home. You can look as disheveled as you darn well please and make all the funny noises you want and nobody will be the wiser.
6. All your home gym equipment is spic and span.
Gyms can get as busy as Grand Central Station. All those people touching all those pieces of equipment means that there is a laundry list of real funky germs lurking in your neighborhood gym. Some unfortunate scientists went and swabbed the gym to tell us all how gross it can be. As it turns out, nasty stuff like staph, fungus, cold and flu viruses and bacteria, ringworm, and even – no joke – something called “hot tub rash” are all commonplace.
At home, your workout gear can remain blissfully foreign funk free. Score one for the germaphobes.
7. Home is the real judgment-free zone.
Anybody who has gotten their caboose to a workout deserves a little pat on the back. Unfortunately, the gym can feel more like you’re under a microscope. Even though most gym-goers are focused on their own form, it can be an intimidating environment. This is especially true if you’re a beginner trying to figure out how the heck this machine works!?
Also, some people just look great even when they’re working out. We still haven’t figured that one out, but it does seem to make our insecurities worse, too. When you work out you should be focused on you and getting the best workout you can to achieve the healthiest body you can. If you’re not able to get into that headspace at a gym, then make your home your workout haven.
8. At home, you have the freedom to try new things.
With the ever-growing list of home gym equipment and streaming services, your pad might just be the best place to try new fitness trends. So what if your local gym doesn’t offer Kundalini Trip Hop Circuit Training? We guarantee there is someone out there on YouTube who does, and they’re streaming on demand in your living room right now.
Also, going back to #1, when your fitness routine is mainly at home you can use some of that money you saved to go try an adventurous fitness trend. You don’t have to sweat spending $40 on an aerial yoga class when you’ve got a cool $660 in gym membership savings still in the bank!
9. You can jam out to your own sweet tunes.
Call us picky, but gym music is terrible. Nobody ever got inspired to push out 2 more reps listening to “Hey Soul Sister,” and angry rock is just not suitable background music for spinning. Even when you’ve got your headphones the weird gym soundtracks still seem to seep into your ears. Oh, wait, that’s sweat getting trapped in your ears because you have to wear headphones to drown out the terrible gym music. Doh!
At home, you can crank up your favorite tunage and let it rip. Better yet, at home, you can burn extra calories by jumping and dancing around when the spirit moves you. Dance like nobody’s watching…because you’re working out at home and nobody is watching.
10. Your fitness depends on NO gym!
When we get too dependent on the gym it can start to feel like if you don’t have a gym to go to then you can’t work out. Teaching yourself how to work out at home – even if you do keep your gym membership – will make your fitness habit that much stronger.
Thinking you need a gym in order to work out is self-limiting. Free yourself by learning how to get a great workout anywhere, any time. Then the gym becomes a choice instead of a burden.
This healthy habit becomes especially noticeable during times like holidays or vacations when most people’s fitness habits take a nosedive. When you know how to get your workout in with minimal equipment and space your excuses go out the window and your healthy routines are limitless.
11. Home is open 24/7/365.
Even if you have the weirdest schedule in the world, home is open even when the gym is not. Any day, any time, you can get your workout in. Overstuffed after Thanksgiving dinner? The home gym is open. Need to work out at 2 AM because that’s the only time in your day? The home gym is open! It is the ultimate convenience and the ultimate excuse buster.
But, wait, does working out at home really work?
Yaasss! You can get a spectacular workout with zero equipment and just your body weight. The gym makes working out sort of dummy-proof because all the equipment guides your movement. All it takes to get an at-home workout that’s as good or better than the gym is a little information and a plan. Let’s look at the categories of workouts.
At the gym, strength training is usually done with weight machines or free weights like kettlebells and dumbbells. You can buy free weights or resistance bands to have at home and do many of the same exercises you would at the gym.
Did you know that bodyweight training can be as effective as weight lifting? Bodyweight training or “calisthenics” is a great way to strength train and, because you usually do higher reps, are a good cardio workout as well. Some great basic bodyweight training staples are:
- Sit-ups or crunches
- Lunges of all kinds
- Squats and split squats
- Triceps dips
- Wall sits
- Glute bridges
Doing 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps of each of these exercises will give you a head to toe workout with or without a gym. As you increase your fitness you can buy heavier gauge resistance bands or heavier free weights and kettlebells to make the moves more challenging.
Can you dance around your living room to your favorite songs for 30 minutes? Can you put on sneakers and walk outside? Can you punch and kick in your living room with a video instructor? Then you can get all the cardio your heart desires in the comfort of your own home.
There are so many things that “count” as cardio. Some amazing and intense options to try at home are:
- Kickboxing videos
- Jumping rope
- Jogging or walking
- Aerobics videos
- HIIT training videos
- Walking up and downstairs
- Running sprints in the yard
See how easy that was? I mean we’re breathing really hard after all those workouts, but we found like 8 ways for you to do cardio at home.
This is one that’s a little trickier because of the social component, but it can be done at home.
If you don’t care about the camaraderie of group fitness but just like the variety, then may we introduce you to the internet. There are SO MANY streaming fitness options out there. You can find free and paid videos online for just about every type of fitness activity you can imagine. Just queue up the video du jour on your phone or tablet and get to it. Helpful hint: keep your favorite online fitness videos bookmarked in your browser so you can find them quickly.
If you love working out with friends, then invite them over! Host “group fitness” at each of your homes on a rotating basis. Go on a bike ride together or do a yoga video together. Working out together at home is just as fun as group fitness at the gym. Plus you’ll be in closer proximity to post-workout margaritas, so there’s that.
I need to look like Dwayne Johnson. Can I build muscle at home?
OK, so, full disclosure: you’re going to need some heavy-duty weight lifting equipment to look like The Rock, but you can absolutely build muscle at home.
To simplify the science of building muscle – it’s all about taxing the muscle fibers regularly and with intensity, then allowing them to grow back bigger and stronger. You can build muscle by lifting a kettlebell or lifting a kid. Your muscles don’t care where you work out or what you lift, just that you do.
To build muscle you need to know about something called progressive resistance. It’s a well-documented concept in kinesiology and physiology that is important when it comes to effective muscle building. The basic concept of progressive resistance is that when a certain exercise becomes easy, then you add more resistance to make it difficult again. You keep doing this until you’ve reached your fitness goal and then maintain that. An easy way to track this at home is to keep a log of how many reps you can do until you lose proper form. To employ progressive resistance, either add more weight (in the form of a free weight or resistance band) or add more reps the next day you do that exercise. Also, make sure you rest 1-2 days in between to give your muscles time to rebuild.
You can do progressive resistance at home with things like dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells and resistance bands. Equipment like adjustable weight dumbells and resistance bands in varying thickness are great options that will help keep you challenged at home.
Also, remember that muscle is built in the kitchen as much as it is in the (home) gym. Fortunately, your kitchen is also at home so that’s an easy transition. Getting the right amount of protein and carbs to support muscle growth is key, too. So is getting good sleep. Hey, those things happen at home too! Seems like this “home” place is a great spot for building muscle after all.
I don’t like weights. Can I build muscle without them?
Why, yes you can. They won’t be as big, but they’ll be fierce.
Anything you do to get your body in motion – with or without weights – will strengthen your muscles over time. That’s why runners have muscular legs and yogis have well-defined shoulders. You don’t necessarily need weights to build muscle.
A helpful tool to build muscle whatever you to is to focus on your “mind-muscle connection.” When you do a fitness activity, really focus on the body part that is working. For example, if you’re doing glute bridges, then focus on squeezing your glutes as you go through the movement and really feeling that muscle contraction. This is true of strength movements and other exercises. Focusing on tightening your core during yoga and Pilates builds core strength and tones your abdominals. The mind-muscle connection is a type of mindfulness that is key to building muscle during any activity. It’s also a great way to pay attention to your form and prevent injury.
Okay, we get it. Home workouts are good. But what are some of the disadvantages of working out at home?
Alas, nothing is perfect. That includes working out at home. There are a few drawbacks to not working out at a gym…
You have access to less equipment.
If you are really dedicated to fitness and/or trying to achieve an advanced goal, then your routines may be limited by home equipment. You can only fit so much into your garage.
Gyms have a wide range of general and specialized weight and cardio machines. People who lift heavy or those who are doing lots of isolation movements and specialized fitness plans may truly need access to a gym in order to reach their goals and gains.
You’re on your own.
Sometimes those chirpy little gym sprites that recognize you and greet you by name are just the motivation you need. Maybe you have a real sense of community at your gym and working out at home takes you away from that. Maybe you need the structure of a gym to get you through the right exercises with the right form. If you feel like the do-it-yourself approach is too isolated or daunting, then don’t. The most important thing is that you do what makes you feel the most motivated and healthy, both mentally and physically. That will be the secret ingredient that keeps you coming back to your workouts over the long term.
You can get distracted.
Procrastinate much? If you actually hate working out and decide to do it at home, then you’re almost guaranteed to find ten other things that you “just had to do.” You’ll just work out tomorrow, right? Wrong! If you can’t take the time to spend on yourself or structure with your family to be active at home, then it’s not going to work out for you (pun intended). A home workout should not be your excuse not to go to the gym.
You can get stuck in a rut.
When you shape up a home workout routine, it’s pretty easy to get stuck in it. Most people have limited equipment and if you’ve found a workout that you like to do you will just keep doing it over and over again. That’s not necessarily bad, but the problem is that the body adapts to exercises that you repeat over time. If you don’t mix things up you’re likely to hit a plateau. Not to mention that if you literally do the same motions day after day you can get overuse injuries like tendonitis.
Now, plenty of people get stuck in a fitness rut at the gym, too, but it’s less likely if you have easy access to lots of variety. To avoid this mistake at home, explore the plethora of information online about fitness and home workouts. Make sure that you’re doing a variety of activities to ensure that you stay stimulated in body and mind.
Final Thoughts About Working Out At Home
Remember that working out – whether at the gym or at home – should be challenging and fun! If you decide that working out at home is right for you, enjoy the process of learning how to build your own fitness routines and how to keep pushing yourself toward new goals.
Go to your local library to find books on strength training, calisthenics, yoga, and cardiovascular training. Search online and try different workout videos to see which ones you like. Get the basic equipment you need and just start. Your workout doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to happen.
Your fitness routine doesn’t have to be complicated. Just do what works for your goals and your body. Now, get out there and sweat!