We’re almost two months into 2020. If you made a New Year’s resolution to work out more, how is it going? Right about now is when the excuses start to creep in: I have no time, it’s inconvenient, it’s too expensive. This is where at-home fitness can be a real game-changer. Gone are the boring workout videos of the 90s—today’s at-home workout options are seemingly endless—from uber-expensive Peloton classes to apps that serve up a host of free workouts, all on your own schedule.
Who might benefit from an at-home fitness program?
If most of the bullets below sound like you, working out at home may be just what you need to keep that New Year’s exercise resolution.
- You’re short on time (and who isn’t?)—You’ll save time getting to and from the gym and there’s no need to pack your clothes and toiletries for that post-workout, pre-work shower.
- You need flexibility—Especially for those with families, it’s not easy to get to the gym when classes are offered. At-home workouts allow you to exercise when it’s convenient for you—whether that’s 5AM or 10PM.
- You can’t spend a fortune on fitness—Memberships at several boutique studios (spin, barre, yoga, etc.) add up. Fortunately, there are tons of apps and livestreaming services ranging from $0 to under $50 a month that give you access to a variety of workouts.
- You’re just not that into working out with other people—Some find motivation in fellow gym-goers, but others find it intimidating. The privacy of at-home fitness could be the perfect solution, especially if you’re just starting out.
Are there downsides to at-home fitness?
Yes, and you can probably guess what they are.
- It’s easy to slack. Without others in a class or an instructor pushing your limits, it can be easy to, well, go easy on yourself. And, there’s no one there to correct your form, so performing a move the wrong way can lead to injury.
- There are distractions. Your cell phone rings, someone comes to the door, the dog is barking. All of these can derail the best of workout intentions.
- It can be a little lonely. Even though some of the latest livestream classes feature an actual instructor on-screen, you’re still by yourself. If you enjoy the social interactions that come with working out at a gym or studio, at-home workouts may not suit you.
There’s an at-home fitness solution for every budget.
If you’re willing to make a substantial investment, two of the most popular options are the Peloton bike or treadmill and The Mirror. These offer the latest technology with on-demand or live workouts from some of the best instructors around, and the ability to customize your workout and track your progress. These solutions bring the class environment to you in your home and offer a high level of personalization from recognizing your name to knowing your heart rate. But, of course, that personalization comes with a price.
If you’re not ready to make such a big investment, you can still get an awesome workout with livestreamed workout services or fitness apps. Some charge a monthly fee, others are free.
- Fitness apps and videos: These offer libraries of classes to choose from and the ability to visually follow along with an instructor on an iPhone or iPad. Be sure to also check out WebMD Health Service’s 3×3 Fitness Trios on Instagram (@webmdhealthcoach).
- Boutique studio livestreamed workouts: Love the classes but don’t have the time to get to the gym or don’t want to be there in person? A fitness studio that streams classes might be a good option.
- Subscription workouts: Typically offered for a monthly or annual fee, you can subscribe to a digital workout program. Two subscription workout companies you may be familiar with are Daily Burn and ClassPass Live.
For more action, try gamifying your workouts.
Virtual reality technology now offers the ability to combine video games and physical fitness. You can even get competitive. One gadget, the Stealth Core Trainer, tracks your progress in the game and ranks you on a leaderboard against other exercisers. While running is technically not done at home, you can spice up your runs with Zombies, Run! — an exercise game where (you guessed it) zombies are chasing you and you’re trying to save humanity.
Some tips for at-home fitness success.
- Dedicate a space for your workouts, even if it’s just a corner of a room—with all your equipment at the ready.
- Strive for a balance of strength, cardio, and stretching. Alternate cardio and strength workouts.
- Schedule at-home workouts just as you would classes at the gym. Put them on your calendar and hold yourself accountable.
- Use social media as a stand-in for gym buddies. By posting about your workouts, you’re sort of accountable for doing them!
- When you don’t feel like doing anything, tell yourself you’ll do an easy video or half of a workout. You’ll likely end up doing the whole thing.
- Wear workout clothes that inspire you. Even if no one sees you, you owe it to yourself to feel good in what you’re wearing.