I’ve been going to gyms for years, mostly because I liked having a nice, well equipped place where I could do my workout. Also, paying a membership fee acted as a kind of motivator – if this place is costing me a chunk of cash each month then I feel like I have to show up and get my money’s worth.
That was fine back when I didn’t really work out properly. I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t have a routine. Some days I’d use one of the cardio machines, some days I’d try out the fixed weight machines, and if I couldn’t get onto the fitness equipment that I wanted to use – no problem – I’d just do something else.
The problems started when I got serious about fitness, and started following a program that used free weights, so whenever I went to the gym I needed to use specific equipment like the bench press or squat rack. Most commercial gyms don’t have a lot of this kind of equipment, they prefer fixed weights and cardio machines, so there’s often a wait to use the gear that I need. Sometimes it’s even hard to just get hold of a bar to work with, never mind a rack or bench.
When you’ve got limited time (I liked to work out in my lunchbreak at a gym near my office) that becomes really annoying. It’s tough to stick to a fitness program if you can’t get onto the equipment you need at the time you want.
That’s when I started thinking about how much easier life would be if I had all the gym equipment I needed at home. I wouldn’t have to wait for my turn on the solitary squat rack, I wouldn’t have to rush my sets on the bench press because somebody wanted to train in with me, I could just do what I needed when I wanted.
But other people have their own reasons for preferring to work out at home. If they’re just getting started on their fitness journey they might feel intimidated by gyms. Or perhaps they’re just a little self conscious about their bodies and would rather not work out in public. It’s easy to understand the attraction of working out at home instead.
For some people it might just come down to a simple financial issue – commercial gyms can be expensive and they often want to lock you into 12 month contracts, which doesn’t suit everybody. Or maybe there just isn’t a good gym near them.
Some commercial gyms can be great, I’ve certainly used one or two which have been great for my needs. But they’re hard to find and usually they’re expensive, so for a lot of people working out at home is a much better alternative.
People at the start of their fitness journey often feel like they need to join a gym because that’s all part of the process of getting into shape. But, really, you can start with exercise that requires no specialist fitness equipment at all, so long as you can motivate yourself to keep at it.
Want to improve your cardiovascular health? Start jogging, cycling, or even just brisk walking – it costs nothing to get moving, and you can do it anywhere. Want to start building muscle? There are plenty of body-weight exercises you can do with very little fitness equipment, or even none at all.
Once you start to get in shape you might feel ready to move things up to the next level, and that’s when you’re ready to start buying the gear you need to build a home gym that’s perfect for your needs. But if you’re an absolute beginner, there’s nothing stopping you from getting started today.