So, you decided to make exercise a habit. Good for you! This is one decision your body will be eternally thankful for. And since the first step is always the hardest and the path between the decision and the actual action is sometimes… never walked, forget about all the difficulties (no gym membership, no money to afford one, no friends to join you for a walk, etc. etc.) and start now! Begin working out at home. A fitness habit that comes with many advantages as well as drawbacks. Let’s look into them.
First, the good things. There are many advantages to exercising at home.
You can exercise completely alone with no eyes staring at you and with no embarrassment due to size, inability to do some exercises, over-sweating, being out of breath or anything else that could make you feel bad – even though it shouldn’t but that’s another story.
- It’s free!
Yes, it is! When you hear the words “workout at home” you may picture something like this:
But the truth is that you only need something like this:
Just a somewhat open space and your body! It’s true that a pair of dumbbells, some resistance bands or even a stationary bike or a treadmill, if you can afford them, could add variety to your workouts and make them less boring. But the reality is that in order to exercise your body, especially if you’re a beginner, all you need is your muscles, your heart, your lungs and your good will. So, no expenses here!
- It’s all-weather and all-time!
Snow, rain, hurricane, heat, darkness? They can’t ruin your exercise plans! So, you get the benefit of no such excuses!
- Family motivation!
When you choose to exercise at home you get to inspire the people you live with. You can be the positive influence to your kids, your spouse, your siblings, your parents, your roommates. And they get to inspire you back after a while. And you can all help to keep each other accountable.
- Freedom of choice!
You don’t have to follow the gym’s pre-programmed classes and schedules. You can choose what you do according to your mood. Do you feel like strength training today? Or you’d rather try some kick-boxing to release tension? Or you simply want to just dance to your favorite music and have fun? (Yes, that’s exercise, too.) You decide!
Of course, as with every comfort, you miss out on a few things that a different place for exercise has to offer. There are disadvantages in a home fitness schedule but, fortunately, they can all be dealt with successfully.
- You’re on your own.
No coach, no expert advice. This is probably the worst aspect of exercising at home, the most dangerous and the one hardest to surpass. It can lead to injuries, over-exercising or ineffective exercise, which in turn can lead to frustration, disappointment and finally quitting.
*Dealing strategy*: Educate yourself!
Read articles, watch videos, learn how to become your own coach. If you’re using videos to guide you – which is the best way if you’re new to exercising – always pay close attention to your trainer. Watch the video the first time and follow the moves the second time. Coach Nicole does a great job here. She explains everything in simple language with not many unnecessary technical terms and most of her videos are quite easy to follow even for a person who has never exercised before. Follow the instructions carefully and, above all, ALWAYS listen to your body!
- You’re on your own.
Again. In a different meaning. No gym buddies. No people to keep you accountable and stay committed together. No company to make it fun and enjoyable.
*Dealing strategy*: Recruit support!
If you’re a person who likes to work out with friends and hates loneliness, this can be a tough one. Try to motivate a friend to join you or, even better, a family member or a roommate. If that’s not possible, you can still have a workout buddy by following the same workout plan with a friend – or a Sparkfriend, or many Sparkfriends! – even if each one is exercising at their own place. You can set goals together and keep each other accountable or even compete if you enjoy some friendly competition.
Doing the same things again and again in the same environment will soon become tiring. The initial enthusiasm will wear off and the tendency to skip one workout will become a desire to quit.
*Dealing strategy*: Add variety!
Sparkpeople has so many videos and workouts that you can choose from. And the internet is full of free resources on anything you would like to try. And if you’re willing to spend some money on fitness equipment or DVDs, your options are endless! Mix them up according to your mood and surprise your body every day. It will surprise you back with its hidden strength and its transforming abilities.
- Loss of motivation.
This is actually the result of the previous one but it can also happen for many other reasons besides boredom, like ineffectiveness, tiredness or very high expectations that don’t seem to be realized.
*Dealing strategy*: Keep yourself motivated by setting goals!
How many jumping jacks did you manage to do on your first day? 5? That’s great! How many would you like to be able to do in a month from now? 10? 20? Make your goal realistic and stick to it. It will give you a reason to work out for and every time you reach a goal, the reward of knowing that “you’re strong enough to do it” will be worth all the effort.
Coming up next: Working out at home, Part 2 - Do’s and Don’ts