Not feeling like going back to the gym after the circuit-breaker? Absolutely fine – there is no need to spend money on a gym membership to stay fit. Of course, you could find tons of excuses not to do anything – but with the right equipment and a bit of planning, it’s very easy to get into a great home-workout routine.
Here are our best tips to get your own home-gym and make the most of it!
1. Pick an objective – and stick to it!
First and foremost, if you want to stay motivated in the long run, you need to decide first what you are going for. Is your goal to…
- lose weight?
- gain muscle?
- improve your performance?
It is much easier to stay on track when you train toward a well-defined objective, so you should probably spend some time crafting one. Give yourself a quantifiable goal, with a timeline... and stick to it.
It needs to be realistic (you won’t lose 20kg in 1 week, nor go from 0 to 100 pull-ups overnight) and you can even plan for some sort of reward when you achieve it – a new gadget, a new piece of gym outfit, or a meal at a nice restaurant.
You will need to track your progress, so choose some metrics that allow you to see the change. It can be your weight, some before/during/after pictures, your weightlifting or running personal records… or if you have just started working out, simply the number of sessions you log in every week, that you may want to increase over time. Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve is the best way to stay motivated.
2. Get the RIGHT equipment
You don’t need much to be able to train efficiently, build muscle or burn a crazy amount of calories, and you certainly do not need every piece of equipment available.
Just select the few that match your goals, and train hard with them. Of course, if you are afraid of getting bored, you can spice things up with a few additional pieces, like resistance bands & accessories. But the baseline is: KEEP IT SIMPLE. A few weights to choose from to encourage muscle growth, a couple of ways to do cardio (that you enjoy, don’t force yourself to go jogging if you hate it) and you’re all set up!
Here are the few pieces we would recommend getting first.
A pull-up bar
A bar to hang on is one of the home gym absolute must-haves. It is the simplest way to get better at pull-ups & chin-ups, but also to release your back from the tension accumulated all day, especially if you spend most of your time at a desk.
Quick tip: grab the bar for a 30sec active hang a few times a day (or every time you walk under the bar) to get a stronger back & a better grip in no time.
You want to make sure your bar is nicely installed and secure – if fixing it to the wall with screws is an option, please do so. It will allow you to practice a broader range of movements, including toes to bar, knees-to-chest & muscle-ups.
A pair of dumbbells (or more)
Dumbbells are great, because they let you do a broad range of exercises – you can train your entire body with just a couple of them.
They are also more challenging than barbells, as they prevent your strong side to compensate – from squats to overhead press, you will feel the difference.
Choose a weight that allows you to do various moves – you can buy a separate, lighter pair for isolation movements, like biceps curls.
For ladies, we would recommend picking a pair of 10kg, guys could pick 2 x 15kg or heavier. You should be able to do at least front rows, snatches, squats & deadlifts with them.
Don’t panic if they feel heavy at the beginning: your body will quickly adapt, and the weight will feel much lighter soon.
Get your dumbbells from F1recreation and enjoy a 10% discount with the code HEALTHY10
Kettlebells are great for HIIT training – They can be used both for the cardio part (with KB Swings, for example), and the resistance part (with KB Squats, Deadlifts or Romanian Deadlifts).
Make sure you get one that is decently heavy (12 or 16kg for ladies, 20+ for guys) in order to get the most benefits from your training.
A Jump rope
If you don’t want to run outside and don’t own a treadmill or indoor bike, make sure you get a jumping rope! You can either go for a weighted one (used in MMA gyms) or for a speed rope (the very thin one), that will allow you to also train your double under technique and burn a lot of calories in a very short amount of time.
A good quality mat
If you are into yoga, you probably have one already – if not, make sure you don’t get the cheapest models if you plan on doing burpees or any sort of cardio on your mat, as it will get damaged pretty quickly.
A BOSU Balance Trainer (especially if you are a runner!)
BOSUs (the blue half-spheres you sometimes see at the gym) are great to add imbalance, and therefore complexity to your workouts. They are also fantastic to train your ankles & knees’ stability and get stronger legs – the best way to prevent running injuries!
BOSU products available in F1 Recreation online shop (10% discount with HEALTHY10)
3. Block your schedule & get started
Now that you have your objective & equipment, comes the hardest part: make some time for your workout!
During the past few months, we all got more spare time, but it was quite easy to get absorbed by other activities – or just come up with excuses – not to work out. However, staying active is crucial, especially as the daily energy expenditure of people who started working from home has dropped quite significantly.
Make sure you find 1hour at least 3 to 5 times a week and commit to a ritual.
Try to stick to the same timeslot – it makes your other activities easier to articulate around it.
If possible, turn off your phone, and don’t let the outside world disturb you. You should take it as you “me” time and turn all your attention to your goals.
Make sure you start every session with a clear program in mind – it helps a lot turn any session a fruitful one. You can build your own training program or check out online to find the best exercises to achieve your goal.
Finally, to keep making progress, you will need to gently and regularly increase your training’s intensity – what doesn’t challenge you (and your muscles) doesn’t change you!