Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Gyms may be opening, but I’ve become a home workout convert

As part of lockdown in England easing, indoor gyms are set to open from the 25 July which means that many people are able to return to the familiar selection of treadmills, exercise bikes and free weights. However, I’ve found myself reluctant to return, having discovered the advantages of home workouts.

Before lockdown, a trip to the gym was an integral part of my life as it was for millions. I would work out three to four times a week, and it had a wide range of effects from what I eat to how I scheduled my day. The unprecedented extent of lockdown, which included all gyms closing, unsurprisingly shook up my weekly routine.

We all realised quite quickly that lockdown would not be a simple two week or even a month-long affair, and home workouts became not just the preferred option but the only one. I was guilty of frantically looking up different home workout plans – at one point I had 6 different fitness apps installed on my phone.

Once I got into the groove, the advantages of home workouts became clear

I finally settled on a 30-day plan that required no more than a roll mat and a chair – a far cry from the numerous weight machines and cardio equipment with built-in TV screens. Once I got into the groove, the advantages of home workouts became clear. Foremost, while the actual time working out remains the same, there is no time needed to travel to the gym. Rather than needing to give yourself half an hour to get ready and get to the gym, it simply takes stepping out of the back door.

Another advantage is the cost, or rather the lack of it. Most gyms offer a membership for around £30 a month, with cheaper rates available in 6 month and yearlong packages, whereas my dad hasn’t caught on to charging me for working out in the garden…yet. Granted if you are looking at home workouts as a more permanent option there is the initial cost of equipment. So far, I have bought a pair of 15kg dumbbells and was bought some resistance bands as a present. However, this was for just over £100, less than gym membership would have been for the period.

Home workouts allow me to focus purely on myself

Any equipment you buy is an optional extra, with the only essential being a roll mat to do floor-based exercises, and these are readily available for under £20. Unlike gym memberships, gym equipment will always hold some residual value that can be recovered when sold. There’s far more choice, some may swear by a certain piece of equipment, but no one is forced to buy it.

The isolation of a home workout has also been a huge positive – I’m not working out next to someone that I would immediately compare myself to. Whereas in the gym I would find myself unconsciously feeling like I was never pushing myself, because there was always someone running for longer, benching a higher weight or completing more squats than me. Home workouts allow me to focus purely on myself so I’ve been more motivated and working out for myself and not in a subconscious competition.

For many, space is the limiting issue and home workouts just aren’t feasible

Home workouts certainly aren’t the objectively superior option. For those that enjoy powerlifting, gyms offer access to equipment that would otherwise cost thousands and require a spare room. Moreover, I have had the luxury of a decent-sized garden as my exercise space whereas for many, space is the limiting issue and home workouts just aren’t feasible.

At first, I thought I would have been forced to endure home workouts and be queuing up at the door when gyms finally reopen. However quickly several advantages, some that I did not even consider, became apparent.

While many are counting down the days for the gyms to open, I’ll be holding onto the home workouts for that bit longer. For me at least, that was my lockdown silver lining.

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