I worked in gyms for many, many years, I opened a gym, I met many friends and colleagues in gyms, I gained the qualifications that enable me to make workout videos in a gym.
I even met my wife in a gym.
Yet I am categorically stating that working out AT HOME, using not much more than your own body, is far superior to working out in the gym for all but a slither of the exercising population.
Why? Read on reader.
Reason 1 – YOU have to do everything at home (yes, that’s a good thing)
The gym is filled with equipment covered in outlandish promises.
Want to target the muscles on the inside your thighs? Here’s just the machine to help you do it.
Fancy targeting the gluteus maximus? All aboard the buttmatics 3000.
Want to get your heart pumping? Then ably mount this 23rd-century bike (yes, we flew it back from the future – THAT’S how good it is) adorned with miraculous gadgets (that you’ll never understand, let alone use) and watch your favourite soap opera while you do it. What the heck, let’s blow artificial wind in your face at just the right temperature while we’re at it.
What do they all have in common? They are taking the burden of work away from you. (P.S this is NOT a good thing.)
Muscles are moved through the range of motion, expertly directed by the axles and pulleys of these finely tuned machines. Nice, yes, but you’ve inadvertently given around 50% of YOUR benefits to an inanimate object. The only machine you want to be finely tuned is yours.
When you exercise at home with minimal equipment, you have to do ALL the work.
Let me save you the effort. No matter how nicely you ask, a burpee just WILL not do itself!
Not a muscle moved or heartbeat pumped without YOU instigating it. You are the director of a movement, the high chief of action and the master of motion.
Therefore you get ALL the benefits.
Reason 2 – You actually LEARN about movement
Leading on nicely from point 1.
When you don’t have a machine to guide you through a movement, even an exercise bench to support you, you HAVE to learn the mechanisms of movement by tuning in to your body.
A plank performed incorrectly may cause a twinge in the back. You’ll quickly learn about the importance of glute, pelvic floor and TA engagement. A bad lunge could damage the knee. It will need expert placement of the foot and knee alignment – you’ll need to know this.
Want to target the glutes? Better learn the mechanisms of the squat.
One of the most important relationships a person will ever have is with their own body. Why create an unnecessary ‘menage a trois’ by inviting fancy equipment to the party?
Working out from home is a private movement affair with just you and your body.
Monogamous relationships flourish.
Reason 3 – Free as a bird
You may not relate to this slightly odd reason, but this is my blog so I guess you’ll have to learn to live with it…
The much-loved T-shirt I’ve had since I was fifteen years old, covered in holes and so worn you can barely read the print (thankfully), is not considered suitable gym attire by Steve and Sarah Mcjudgeitall with their brand new Under Armour clothing and fancy trainers.
Not that it bothers me, but I do feel sad for the t-shirt. I like that t-shirt and it pangs me that fashion decrees it no longer up to scratch (actually, it probably wasn’t fashionable when I bought it)…but that isn’t what reason 3 is.
Me and my t-shirt can deal with the heat.
Instead, imagine that I wasn’t wearing that t-shirt at all. Or my shorts.
Picture, if you will, me turning up to the gym in only my underpants and trainers…(actually, don’t imagine that – especially if you’re eating breakfast).
Steve and Sarah would have a sensory overload!
Yes, on a warm day, I like to work out in JUST my underpants. There I said it! I LIKE IT! ( a little too much…)
No sweaty shirt sticking to my body. No shorts getting caught on my leg hairs. Just an open window with a cool breeze on my skin…
When I work out from home, I make the rules and in MY gym exercising in your underpants or tatty t-shirts or even your birthday suit is just fine!
Reason 3: Your house. Your rules. All the rules.
Reason 4 – The sands of time
“So much time, so little to do.”
Said Willy Wonka (no reference to reason 3) sarcastically, as he showed golden ticket winners around his chocolate factory.
Time is precious.
Too precious to; pack my workout gear, get in the car, drive to the gym, find a parking space, wait for the receptionist to let me in because my card is broken, go to the changing room, find out I haven’t got any change for the locker, go back to reception, wait for the receptionist to finish helping the member who’s card is broken, get some change, get changed, find a way to attach my locker key to my body without looking like a four-year-old with a name tag on a school outing. WORKOUT. Go back to the changing room. Wait for a shower. Have a shower. Find out I forgot to pack spare shorts. Put rest of clothes on. Put sweaty shorts back on. Go back through reception. Drive home with cooling sweat dripping on the car seat. Have another shower to remove congealed sweat from legs. Done.
Total time taken: 27 hours. Workout time: 45 minutes.
Working out from home.
Workout. Shower. Done.
Total time taken: 50 minutes (I have very little hair and don’t wear makeup). Workout time: 45 minutes.
Reason 5: Money can’t buy you health
Gyms don’t actually want you to turn up. No, really. It’s true. I know because I used to run one!
If all paying gym members turned up, every day, there is no way the gym would be sustainable. NO equipment would be available and the gym would have to close as the membership caps would be too low.
They don’t want you to turn up (at least the majority of you), but they do want rather large amounts of money from you every month.
This is not a dig by the way, gyms are well justified in asking for this money. It is the only way to sustain the business.
They have the equipment to maintain, high rents to pay, employees wages to cover, swimming pools to keep clean. They need YOU to pay for it.
Working out from home, the overheads are low.
You can workout for free by following our youtube channel (if you have exceptionally good taste), or somebody else’s if you don’t (that’s a joke by the way….well, sort of) or for a small amount of money you can get structure and the support of coaches and team members by joining us at Team Body Project.
Oh, and we DO want everybody to turn up every day and we do everything we can to try and help make just that happen.