Training at home or at the gym?!
Should we be training in the gym or can we get results from home?
It's a question that many of you who are at the start of your fitness journey's will often ask. You're sitting there probably thinking I'm not sure I have the time for the gym, I also wouldn't know what to do & I don't think I'd feel confident enough to go in there.
For a lot of you, this can hold you off starting a training journey because you think you have to go to the gym or the only way to train is in a fitness facility. First things first to make it very clear, you can train at home, you can get great progress & results at home.
You can do good quality, effective, functional, bodyweight sessions at home and if you're willing to invest in a little bit of kit then the world's your oyster! Having a bit of a range of equipment makes a really big difference to the amount of variety you can apply at home, and it helps to keep things fun in sessions, as well as improve your rate of progression. This can sometimes be why people feel they can't train at home anymore as either they don't have enough kit to keep things varied & themselves moving forwards & they find that progress just plateaus.
Personally, for me, I've been training now consistently for the past 5 or 6 years. So at this stage home training just doesn't give me enough anymore. I trained at home at the start of my own fitness journey & on the yard all through the 2020 & 2021 pandemic with pretty limited kit but eventually it did start to get to the stage where I was running out of ideas to keep things fresh & also it becomes a bit of a hassle. Let's be honest going to a gym using their kit where it's properly set up is always a much better option!
Don't get me wrong it was amazing to have the ability to train from home & from a convenience point of view it's a 10/10 but depending on your level of experience at some point you may just find it starts to become more of an inconvenience as you're limiting on what you can do.
When I go to the gym I want to go into the gym and lift heavy loads. Alot of my strength training is done at high loads & hard intensities so the gym just means it's much easier for me to be able to push heavy & have a productive session. I don't have access to that kit at home and for me, I work from home pretty much full time so I like to go away to do my training in a different place.
I see it as that's my place where I'm going to work on my fitness & have a hard session. As soon as I get in those 4 walls my phone goes on don't disturb & it's my time to work hard & enjoy my exercise. I like to have that separation of environment and find it makes me much more focused & regardless of whether the session is more of a conditioning based workout or a core workout I just find there's better variety in terms of kit & it makes the session more fun as you can keep things novel & equally you see better & faster progress on a consistent basis because you can keep increasing the intensity consistently.
But that’s my preference & that's where I now enjoy training after 5 years of progress. Initially, I trained at home, because I wasn't confident enough to go into the gym space & it worked wonders for me. I didn't know what I was doing with resistance training so I followed a 3 month programme from home & I can safely say now I wouldn't be where I am with my fitness today if I hadn't done those first few months at home. Or those Covid years at home. It's good to have the option of being able to exercise from home & it makes life easy. Again it depends on your situation but if you've got a busy home life or children heading out to a fitness class or gym probably just isn't an option so home training is a winner!
For most of you especially if you're new to training you're going to get plenty of gains & progress at home to begin with & long term if you're willing to invest in a bit of kit you will keep seeing results. As we go through the strength training process, your body is going to adapt & become stronger. For instance, you've got a 10kg KB at home & in 12 weeks time that 10kg is no longer going to be heavy enough or really challenge you physically as it did at the start of the process because you've become stronger so at some point you will need more resistance to challenge you but that doesn't need to cost a bomb!
But to begin with, as long as you've got some resistance bands, short & long ones are useful and your own body weight, you'll have enough kit to be able to challenge yourself & train from home.
Purchasing a couple of dumbbells, or a kettlebell would be fab & give you a bit more to work with but if you haven't got one, weights can be invented quite easily at home. For example a rucksack loaded up with a couple of heavy water bottles or a towel with some stuff wrapped inside will give you a good bit of load and resistance. Wine botles work well too! Obviously, just make sure what you are using for makeshift weights is safe to lift.
But back to the question in hand & whether you should be training at home or in the gym, it's personal preference & ultimately it depends on your goals & your training age. Equally, it depends on how much progression you want to see and how far you are wanting to take your training but if you're wanting to train to feel good, release a bit of steam at the end of the day, work your muscles effectively & get your heart rate up a little bit then there's plenty you can do from home.
Around 70% of the clients I coach 121 train from home & many continue to train from home for good as they've found they great results & continue to do so, it's convenient & saves time as you're not spending 30 minutes every day commuting to & from your gym & you feel comfortable in your own space so ultimately get more from your sessions.
If you want to see your lifts getting heavier & more specific progress such as your conditioning times on a certain workout coming down, then the gym would probably be a better option as it's going to be a much more accurate reflection of progress as equipment is never going to be a limiter & you can keep progressing long term & assessing numbers to gauge progress.
But then again, it's weighing up the pros and cons of each and thinking, okay, yeah, going into the gym probably adds another 20 minutes to my day but I know I have a way more effective session when I'm there so it's worth it but for others of you you may well find that extra 20 minutes really eats into your day & it just doesn't work & you can get enough done from home anyway.
So it really is just personal situations and what works best for you. If you do train at home one thing I would suggest is trying to make sure you set up a specific training space/area if you can. If you're lucky enough to have a stable outside or spare room then have that as your training space so that you have a clear fitness area in your mind & you don't just end up doing sessions, willy nilly here & there.
If you get into that habit, what can easily happen is you end up half-heartedly doing a session. Say if you're training in the living room whilst everyone's watching a film it's easy to get distracted & for your headspace I really suggest creating a space you use consistently to build that association in your mind of ok this is where I train, this is where I go to work hard & you'll be much more focused.
I hope that gives you a bit of clarity on what might be the best option for you but ultimately it's up to you! As I said, you can get great progress training at home for sure but it just depends on what your goals are, what your preferences are and also the rate of progress you want & expect to see.
For the majority of beginners home training is a great place to start & in my mind if you're lacking in confidence to get into the gym or are worried people may look at you & think, what on earth is she doing, then training from the comfort of your home is a great way to get started! Get fitter, learn your staple movement patterns & how to execute them with great form & then in time if you feel like you need a bit more challenge & are ready maybe you head to the gym or you might decide that you love training at home & want to invest into a bit of kit to take your fitness to the next level!
Whatever you decide it has to work for you! Just because I go to the gym doesn't mean that will be best for you!