Are you wondering what is the best way to calculate sets and reps? Why shouldn’t you skip leg day? We have answers. This is #gains, explained, a space for you to ask any fitness question. The Men’s Health team (and other experts) are here for you.
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I wonder how you guys feel about working from home? I have since found that I am able to better organize and focus my workout schedule without having to drive to the gym, park the car, wait for the machines/equipment and drive home. I work long, sporadic hours during the week, so I may be out and about here, but is there any research on better gains/overall health when working out at home or is it more harmful than going to the gym?
to many Men, physical fitness and exercise are inherently environment specific. The gym has always been that staple.”Third placeA place dedicated strictly to physical activity without the distractions and comforts of home, filled with plenty of heavy equipment and a like-minded community. Until 2020, most people maintained a hard line between the gym and home, carving out only space and time to sweat in their living rooms. When there was no other choice.
That changed when gyms closed in 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. And while many exercisers were elated when they were able to return to their favorite fitness centers, not everyone was ready to go back. From the question above, it sounds like you’re in that latter group – and mostly me too. I feel most comfortable working out at home, and the bulk of my workouts take place in my backyard. Whether you’re sick of commuting, wind up waiting in long lines to work on a squat rack, or if you’re really uncomfortable around groups of people sweating and breathing heavily in an indoor setting – Covid-19 is still very prevalent, and the risk of deflation may not be a thing. You are willing to risk it – that’s okay. I find myself frustrated with sticking to a full workout routine for all of these reasons.
It can feel nerve-wracking going against the mainstream way you do fitness, but I’m here to tell you: If working out at home is your thing, there’s no reason to force yourself to hit the gym. We don’t have enough data to declare that home workouts or aerobics are more effective, in part because the distinction between the two types of venues varies greatly from person to person. What are your goals and what kind of equipment and space do you have? If you’re trying to build muscle like a bodybuilder doing home exercises with just your body weight on your living room yoga mat, you’re going to have a tough time. But if you’re focused on more general fitness goals and have access to more than just a good set of dumbbells, you’ll be well positioned to be successful. High-profile fitness instructors like Marcus Filly and Don Saladino work out from home, and no one would accuse them of slacking off their routine.
The main factor you need to consider is whether your home fitness plan is one that you can maintain. Consistency is key above all. “Removing barriers will definitely help you function consistently,” says Dr. Rachel Hershenberg, Ph.D. ABPP, a licensed clinical psychologist and Emory University professor wrote his book Activate happiness. “If you find that your body feels great, you look forward to workouts at home, and you continue to meet your weekly goals for how often you work out, these are great signs that your new habit is working.”
Men’s health Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, CSCS, agrees. “Training from home removes a lot of the barriers and friction parts: less headaches on the go, less headaches with waiting for equipment, and less headaches over the locker and racing to the post-workout meal,” he says. And don’t underestimate how much just going to the gym can be. This aspect of commuting is also key: proximity to a gym is a major factor in commitment, According to IHRSA research: 70 to 80 percent of gym-goers live within 12 minutes of their home or office of a gym,” he notes. “If you go to a gym, you want to close it.”
We also know that the best exercise for you is the one you love to do. If you dread every aspect of your trip to the gym, you’re not going to have a great time, and you’ll have a hard time sticking to your training plan. You’ll be better off at home without those stressors, even if it means you can’t access every piece of equipment imaginable. The extra effort you’ll put into a workout you enjoy will be worth it.
As you progress on your fitness journey, you may find that your home workouts won’t be able to serve every purpose. Your goals will evolve. If you’re not in a position to build the equivalent of a home gym, with heavy equipment and specialized machines, you’ll need to find a place where you can hit those big weights and some strong friends to make sure you’re safe. “If you’re trying to achieve a weightlifting goal, it makes sense to have more of a load and other people around,” Samuel notes. Likewise, you don’t want to mess with home equipment and turn into a #fitnessfail. Take my word for it.
A hybrid routine might be the best option for you, with some days spent in the gym accessing the equipment and community you need, and the rest in the comfort of your own home. If you can afford flexibility, take it. But most importantly, stop thinking of this as a binary decision. Fitness and exercise should not be limited to one specific place. The key is knowing what you need, and being honest with yourself about what you are willing to put up with to achieve your goals. This is my current model—I do most of my workouts in my yard, but on weekdays that are for heavy lifting, I opt to hit the gym so I can finish my workout more gracefully. I go during off-peak hours to avoid the rush so it’s not always convenient, but I feel better knowing I made this choice because it worked best for me.
In general, your plan should be more about what you’ve found to work for you, not just what seems to be the norm for everyone else. “Having the knowledge and space to work out at home relieves you from going to the gym, and indeed, that’s how it should be, because fitness can and should be done anywhere, not just in the gym,” says Samuel.
How to make your home workout space work for you
If you decide to make your home a designated exercise space, here are some tips to make the experience even better.
Separate your space
While one of the advantages of a home gym is that you don’t have to travel to train, your sanity could potentially benefit from some separation between your living room and exercise space. Your loved ones will probably also appreciate it if the floor isn’t covered in weights as well. Whether this means you have a designated corner of the house where your equipment is located or a separate room devoted entirely to fitness, you should make the boundaries clear.
Move your limits
One of the great things about a gym is that everyone knows what you’re there to do. When you’re at home, that line is blurred. Whether you live with roommates, a partner, or an entire family, make sure everyone else in the house knows your workout time isn’t interrupted. This could mean making a schedule, if the workout space is in a common area, or just making it clear when it’s time to exercise.
Invest in the right equipment for you
Not everyone’s going to love the latest and greatest fitness trend—and if you know it’s not you, there’s no need to splurge on your new connected cardio machine. Think about the types of workouts you want to do, then build your home gym arsenal from there. paying off Some of our top picks to get you started. Another tip: Always make sure your space can handle your gear. Measure your ceilings, look at your floors, and consider how you’ll need to store your weights before making any purchases.
Brett Williams, fitness editor for Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT-certified trainer, former professional football player, and technology reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. You can find his work elsewhere at Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.