There are a host of reasons why people feel like they can’t prioritize working out, but two of the most common are scheduling issues due to work or school and being a little overwhelmed by the public gym atmosphere.
In a survey done by OnePoll in conjunction with supplement company Isopure, out of 2,000 people, nearly 50 percent said working out around others at a gym can be intimidating.
But these hurdles are worth overcoming, because the benefits of exercise are widespread. Weight management and increased muscle mass are two of the most well-known perks, and, according to the CDC, some of the lesser known benefits are reduced anxiety for adults, lower chance of heart disease and prevention of certain types of cancers.
While a community gym may not be for everyone, that isn’t your only option. Working out at home is a great alternative.
Here are some tips and professional advice about working out at home from Heather Callahan, Liberty University’s Associate Director of Fitness and Programming for Campus Recreation. Callahan graduated from Liberty and has been a fitness professional in the area for 11 years; she also has been certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine for six years.
Callahan believes home workouts provide countless benefits, one being you don’t have to follow a gym facility’s hours of operation.
“You get to work out on your own time,” she said.
This includes adding in small, intermittent workouts throughout the day versus just doing one long workout.
“I am a huge fan of staying active throughout the day. We can be sedentary all day at our desks and then exercise for one hour of the day, but at home, you can take little movement breaks,” she explained.
Another bright side of working out at home is you are always a few feet from your gym. Instead of getting ready and driving to your destination, you can simply roll out of bed and work out in your designated home gym area.
We can’t overlook the main benefit of going to a gym—the community. This community of people can, at times, help people stay accountable to their fitness goals. Liberty University Senior Andrew Eshleman feels the community is his main attraction to going to the gym.
“Working out at the gym is a way for me to relax and escape my normal day-to-day life,” Eshleman said. “It’s great to be a part of a community who supports you and shares the same goals as you.”
While home workouts do not possess a natural community, there are ways to work around that and stay motivated. Callahan finds a couple ways to build a sense of community while working out at home.
“I won’t lie, sometimes that is hard. No matter how long you’ve been doing it …” she explained.
“If you can work out with someone, do it. If not, maybe get a friend to keep you accountable even if they aren’t with you.”
You can make your home gym as cheap or expensive as you would like. Those with larger budgets may choose to spend thousands on top-of-the-line gym training equipment brands such as Rogue, Hammer Strength or Stairmaster.
But if you are just getting started with a home gym, it’s a good idea to start simple—which also turns out to be a cheaper route as well. According to Callahan, the first items to consider purchasing are resistance bands, a quality workout mat and some dumbbells.
“I would recommend getting a set of light, medium, and heavy resistance bands. Versa loop bands that fit around your knees are a great way to add resistance at home,” she said. “For a little bit more money, you can invest in smaller [weight training] equipment like kettlebells or dumbbells, lighter set and heavier set, to really set yourself up with a beginning and at-home workout space.”
The weight for your light and heavy set would vary depending on your strength, but a light set of dumbbells would be used for a higher rep count per set and a heavy set would be used for a lower rep count per set.
Once you’ve created your space and are ready to get started, Callahan recommends two fitness apps to lead you in your home workouts. Glo and Alomoves both offer a range of workouts—from HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to yoga—to help you accomplish your goals. These apps do charge but typically start with a free trial.
If you don’t want to pay, Insider.com rounded up a few of the best free workout apps: Nike Training Club App, 5 Minute Yoga and 7 Minute Workouts. These aren’t as thorough as the subscription apps but are a good way to get started. Also check out YouTube for free workouts as well.
According to Callahan, if you desire to have more customized workouts curated for yourself to accomplish your goals, there are personal trainers who will travel to your house for at-home workouts or speak with you online.