You’ve finally decided to do something about your excess weight – exercise regularly and eat clean. But where should you start?
Enrolling in a gym is out of the question. You’ve tried once, and it didn’t work out for you. Perhaps the nearest gym was too far from your home or office, and when you get there, it is already filled to the brim. Or maybe the idea of working out, sweating, and grunting in effort in front of a crowd does not appeal to you.
One option that you should strongly consider is setting up your gym.
Advantages of working out at home
One of the chief benefits of working out at home is that your personal gym is always open for you. You can schedule your workouts around your schedule – before or after work. Plus, you do not have to commute and go straight to your workout when you get home.
Another pro to owning a home gym is that you do not have to wait for other people to finish using particular gym equipment. That means that you do not lose the momentum you have built as you progress through your workout.
Because it is your gym, you make the rules. You can play whatever type of music you want or even invite friends to work out with you without the fees and paperwork involved in commercial gyms.
Although the initial investment may be steeper compared to enrolling in a commercial gym, over the long term, you can end up saving more.
You probably think that all you need is a cardio machine. You might have set your sights on buying a treadmill.
Treadmills and stationary bikes are common fixtures in many commercial gyms. And you might start building your home gym with either or both. However, if you genuinely want to lose weight and keep it off, you have to understand that doing cardio exercises is not enough.
In order to achieve your goal, you also need to build lean muscles. This is where resistance training comes in. Resistance or strength training (and building lean muscle mass) is crucial to burning more calories. If you perform too much cardio, you risk increasing the cortisol in your body, which leads to fat storage and improper processing of sugar in your body.
If you want to be efficient in your workouts, you have to combine both. In short, resistance training complements cardio exercises.
Home gym essentials
For resistance training, you can begin with bodyweight exercises. But as you progress and become stronger, you will need to challenge yourself by increasing intensity. You can do that by performing more reps and sets of bodyweight exercises or by using weights.
Here’s a brief list of possible options.
Barbells have been around for decades in many of the top gyms in the world. And rightly so. Used correctly, these can help sculpt your body. Plus, you can perform a diverse array of exercises with just a set of barbells and plates. As you get stronger, you can add more plates of differing weights.
Racks and stands
Squats are one of the most effective exercises around, with many experts making these a foundation of their programs. To conveniently perform squats using barbells, you will need a squat rack instead of cleaning a barbell off the floor.
Another essential exercise that you need to add to your program is the pull-up which many consider as one of if not the best pulling exercises.
To perform this exercise, you will need a pull-up bar. You can also use this equipment to perform other exercises.
If space is a significant constraint in your home, you might want to purchase kettlebells instead of a barbell set.
Kettlebells come in different weights, and you can perform exercises similar to the ones you do with barbells.
Alternatively, you can opt for dumbbells, medicine balls, or sandbags.
Although working out at home has several advantages, it does come with a few disadvantages. Chief of these is losing motivation.
It can be relatively easy to lose motivation to work out when you had a long day at work and home. Most probably, the last thing that you want to do is to haul heavy weight in your home gym.
Here are some helpful tips to motivate yourself.
Set a date with yourself
Don’t work out only when you feel like it. Set aside specific days of the week for working out and commit yourself to that.
You do not have to spend hours and hours working out. Initially, set aside 20 to 30 minutes each day for working out. That short amount of time is more than enough for you to make substantial progress if you exercise consistently.
Make yourself accountable
Tell your friends or loved ones about your fitness goals and plans. This will make it harder for you to miss out your workouts because you know there are people who are invested in your success.
Be your coach
With nobody around to check on you, you have to become your coach. That means ensuring that you have perfect form. It can also mean pushing yourself to work (reasonably) harder.
Losing weight is by no means an easy task. But if you do the work and maintain patience, you will surprise yourself with the progress you make.
George Azar is Co-Founder and CEO of HiCart.com. He has extensive work experience with blue chip multinational organizations on both regional and global levels. George is also the founder of companies in the fields of advertising and media buying, professional trainings and development.