One of the biggest questions here is going to be, where do you feel comfortable exercising. For some the thought of going to the gym and being the one who sticks out like a sore thumb is their idea of hell. It all depends on your self-confidence and also where you are currently in your physical state. Whether you want to lose weight and you feel you are too fat to go to the gym or you are skinny and want to put on muscle but feel you’ll be laughed at, you have a decision to make about exercising at home vs the gym.
There are so many considerations to take in to account here so forgive me if I leave anything or anyone out.
Overweight and just want to slim down
How would you rate your self-confidence and self-image? For many who are overweight (just as I was) the gym can be a pretty scary place, you think that there are lots of fit people there who will judge you for the way you look. This is an illusion – however you may feel more comfortable working out at home. If this is not you then you have a choice of home or gym so keep reading and I will compare the benefits of both.
Exercising at the gym
Firstly there is the gym membership, it can be costly so you want to be certain that you are going to commit to losing weight or you will be paying out money every month for nothing. Secondly, I guarantee that you are going to end up buying an entire new wardrobe for the gym because you’ll want to fit in…we all do it!!! So take this in to account.
So you’re now a member of a gym and you look like a pro athlete in your new gym gear. But what does all this equipment do? Well you should receive a gym induction where a qualified member of staff will show you how to use all the equipment safely. Congratulations you now have a new playground jam packed with equipment to help you lose weight. The variety of equipment means you’ll never get bored because there’s always something to do differently. You should also have access to different types of classes if you’re still unsure of what to do and need a bit of motivation. Classes are a great way to meet people and also to get motivated in a group atmosphere. You may also have access to a swimming pool and sauna facilities, which is a lovely way to cool down after a hard workout. If you struggle with knowing what to do and classes etc are not for you, you should also have access to a personal trainer/coach (like me) who can motivate you, give you a diet to follow, help you change your lifestyle and of course, put you through your paces during your workout. If you have the money then I strongly advise you do this, as your results will happen much faster.
Gyms really are a lovely place full of like-minded people who are all there for the same purpose – to be better.
So there you go, if you have a bit of money to invest in yourself and don’t mind mingling with others, this is your one stop shop to Resultsville.
Exercising at home
It can be totally free. If you have an Internet connection then you have all you need to plan a workout at home. If you fear the gym or don’t have the money to join one then don’t worry, you aren’t missing out, you have everything you need…it’s called ‘a body’.
I once heard a quote “If you can’t master your own body weight then why would you start lifting weights?” This is very true; you really are your own gym. If anyone doubts this then try to do 5 handstand press ups now…in fact don’t, you’ll just fall on your head and try to sue me…but you get the point.
The main draw back to working out at home is that the sofa, your bed, the TV and the fridge are within 15 feet and can serve as a major distraction. That said if you commit to your goal of losing weight and can muster up some determination, you’re good to go.
Depending on your fitness level you may wish to start with simply sitting on a chair and standing up 10 times in a row, for some this will be difficult. You can then progress to searching online for a Zumba routine or buy a fun looking fitness DVD. The aim is to get moving and then progress from there. When Zumba or something fun like it becomes easier you can then progress on to something harder so search for a bodyweight workout. Your goal will be to work up to a Hiit workout (High Intensity Interval Training). Hiit training is the best way to lose weight, its also the best way to get injured if you’re not ready so build up to it. If you mix Hiit workouts with bodyweight workouts then you’ll not only lose weight but also gain lean muscle.
I’d suggest blocking out an hour 3 x per week (to start with) to do your home workouts. Some advice that one of my clients gives to her friends who want to lose 4 stone like she has, “Never let anything get in the way of your exercise time, it’s booked out for the most important event/meeting…You! You wouldn’t cancel an appointment with the doctor if you were ill so don’t cancel on yourself, you are more important”. I love this and it’s so true, so make that commitment to yourself and love your 3 hours per week YOU time. You’ll be glad you did.
Overweight and want to build muscle
Most guys just want to lift weights because we’re guys and we have testosterone, end of story! There has also been a huge increase in women who want to lift weights over the past few years which is awesome, it’s very empowering feeling strong. Lifting weights also helps you lose weight, it’s called the ‘Afterburn’ and after a big weights session you can expect your metabolism (the speed at which your body digests food and energy) to be burning fat at a higher rate than usual.
So how does this work with the ‘home vs gym’ question? You could buy some weights or a multi gym to put in your garage and maybe a punch bag and bingo, you have a home set up. Or, you could join a gym either is good.
Weights at home vs gym
There is a danger with using weights at home and that is that you may not know how to lift weights properly, especially free weights like dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells. This can lead to a serious risk of injury. Please don’t underestimate this! Either do your research online and make sure you are thorough or contact a local personal trainer who specialises in resistance training to show you proper technique when lifting.
You can probably kit out your garage as a home gym for £500 – £1000 for a basic one and maybe £100 for a personal trainer as opposed to the yearly gym membership of roughly £300 – £700, just remember that the gym will be a lot better equipped with trained staff to help you, and don’t forget the swimming pool, saunas and social life that the gym offers.
The other thing to consider is that on top of lifting weights, you are going to want to do your ‘cardio’ to help speed up the results. Those who lift weights usually do something called ‘steady state cardio’ – or slow walking haha. 40 minutes of walking burns about 250-300 calories and is shown to burn fat for energy while leaving your muscles in tact. So consider, do you want to do 40 minutes of walking 3 times per week out in the fresh air (mild, boiling or freezing) or on a treadmill in front of the TV or listening to your favourite music.
Underweight and want to gain muscle
Exactly the same as above but you are going to want to do less cardio and eat a lot more. I would strongly suggest investing in a personal trainer either at your home gym or at the gym to help you with lifting technique, a muscle-building program and diet to save you time and money in the long run.
Average weight and want to become leaner
I’m going to assume you have no problem with self-confidence and going to the gym is ok with you. But, how about looking foolish because you cant use the equipment properly? Well after a thorough induction you’ll have a basic knowledge of the equipment so don’t worry, we all have to start somewhere. It’s just going to be about personal preference and money for you guys. Like I said, to lose weight and get lean then work up toward Hiit workouts and remember all the ‘C’s’ CONSTANT, CONSISTANT COMMITMENT. You can do Hiit both at home and at the gym.
Average weight and want to gain muscle
For you girls and boys…just go to the gym, its so much easier. The amount of equipment you’d have to buy for a proper home gym is just ridiculous so go and join a gym, be sociable and meet new people…oh and Enjoy!
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