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Friday, October 24, 2014

No More Excuses: Setting Up an Intelligently Designed At-Home Gym

Is at-home training a good idea?
“I’m trying to find a nice way to break up with you,” my client playfully said while texting her babysitter. Becoming pregnant three times over four years and then returning to work part-time left her little opportunity to fit in an hour workout, which as she frequently reminded me, became two hours once she drove to my gym and found a parking space.
More often than not, she blamed her babysitter for being late, arriving sleep-deprived, cranky, and chugging a venti blonde roast. If past clients provided any indication, eventually she would full-out blow off her workouts. Besides, she had a wealthy husband, so no loss if she skipped out.
Despite her insane schedule, a not-so-secret rumor floated around our gym that
her husband expected her to remain the lean, sexy trophy wife. More importantly, I knew fitness remained important to her. That’s why I wanted to brainstorm gym alternatives that catered to her hectic lifestyle but also gave her a solid workout.
So when she took the initiative that morning to acknowledge our twice-weekly workouts weren’t working, I had just the solution.
Ditching the Gym Might be Your Best Option
If you’ve followed my blog or know me at all, you know the gym often becomes my second home. Being in a supportive environment with like-minded people motivates and inspires me to step up my game.
At the same time, you needn’t rely on a gym to get an butt-kicking workout. Like my client, maybe you’ve got familial obligations that challenge fitting in gym time. Maybe you don’t like the gym environment, which admittedly can become intimidating or cliquish. Perhaps you travel frequently and you’re not getting your money’s worth at the gym.

I’ve heard a zillion excuses not to work out, and I don’t buy any of them. At the same time, I’ve found people buy expensive gym memberships and then use every excuse not to use them. That’s where creating an at-home workout environment might become your saving grace.
I love this option because it pushes you out of your gym comfort zone and forces you to really think about what works for you. This literally becomes your chance to set up a customized workout environment. With these seven strategies, it needn’t become a time-consuming second hobby or require turning your living room into a miniature gym.
1.     Schedule it in. Your baby’s crying, your dog barks, then your cell phone rings and you notice it’s your boss, oh, and the toilet’s clogged. The upside to working out at home is convenience and familiarity. Unfortunately, that can also become its detriment as a zillion distractions steal your workout time. You must become incredibly adamant if you do at-home workouts because otherwise you’ll find every suitable distraction to stymie your efforts. Schedule it in and don’t let anything get in your way.
2.    Rally your friends. Having a friend with a similar time schedule can make you better adhere to an at-home workout. If you’re a freelancer, maybe you find a late-morning mom who can get away for an hour. If you’re a 9-to-5er, ask a coworker to hit a nearby park. Some people like working out alone, but having that motivating friend can increase compliance and accountability. Figure out what works for you and then do it.
3.    Don’t get carried away with equipment. The last thing you want is to enthusiastically buy a bunch of stuff and then have it gather dust in your basement or have to haul it to one of those second-hand equipment stores. You can get a killer workout with a few basic items like a chair, bench, or steps. Equipment-wise, you’ll maybe add a pair of dumbbells or two, a medicine ball, some resistance bands and bam, you’re good to go.
4.    Use your body weight. A few well-chosen props can enhance your workout, but you can get a killer workout using your own body weight. Focus on big, multi-joint movements. Burpees, mountain climbers, stair runs, and high-knee running in place are among the many intense exercises to get you lean and toned. Just be aware of your downstairs neighbors when you’re jumping around!
5.    Get outside. I realize this isn’t possible in, say, Chicago winter, but as much as possible utilize your nearest park, backyard, or lake to do burst training. Sprinting up a hill or sprinting alternated with walking are among your many exercises can give you plenty of fresh air and maybe some sun while getting an intense workout.
6.    Mix it up. “I became so enamored with the hot instructor that I didn’t want to do anything else!” a friend once confessed about a particular fitness video (this was in the VHS 90s) that she was using, like, a year after she should have branched out. Just like at with a gym, you can stagnate falling into the same at-home workouts. Keep things fresh and mix up your game. Maybe you find a new DVD, buy a new piece of equipment, or...
7.    Hire a trainer. A trainer can help you intelligently set up an at-home gym so you don’t spend thousands on useless equipment and – equally important – you’re using that equipment intelligently. Trainers can also change up your workout so you don’t stagnate. At the very least, consider an at-home trainer when you first set up your at-home gym, then maybe once a month to mix up your routine and ensure your form is top notch.

Especially as the colder weather approaches, at-home workouts can become more appealing, but they require discipline and focus. If you’ve ever worked out at home, what strategies do you recommend to stay motivated and not become distracted? Share yours below or on my Facebook fan page.

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Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!  Take Jini's "Are you Ready?" Quiz at© 2014 Jinifit, Inc.

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