Get a homebody

The sad truth is that there can sometimes be obstacles to actually getting your butt inside a gym.

The sad truth is that there can sometimes be obstacles to actually getting your butt inside a gym. First and foremost, there is the issue of cost. On the “salary” of a student, 30 or 40 bucks a month can seem like quite a bit of money—not to mention that most gyms usually want a new member to plop down as much as an extra hundred for silly fees. Oh, and of course there is the pressure to upgrade to whatever the fanciest membership plan is.

Then there is the issue of time. Depending on where the gym is located, it might take 20 or 30 minutes to get there. If one has a busy schedule, this is valuable time that could be used much more productively. While it is believed that one’s health should be one of their top priorities, that doesn’t mean wasting a bunch of time in travel to and from the gym is a good thing.

Lastly, there is the problem of crowds. Personally, I will make the walk to my gym, only to turn right back around when I see how packed with people the place is. If I have to stand around and wait five minutes for every single machine or weight I want to use, what’s the point? I’ll never get in the groove and I’ll only accomplish maybe a quarter of what I set out to do. Admittedly, this could be seen as a case of self-sabotage (after all, some exercise would be better than none), but you likely have other things you need to get done. Would you rather get ahead on reading and homework, or spend that time on a crappy workout?

For those who absolutely can’t overcome these obstacles, working out at home may be a good option. I don’t normally recommend working out at home because equipment is usually extremely limited and workouts become much easier to put off, but for some people it’s really the only option. So, how should one go about it?

Since the reader probably lives in the Portland area, where we are rained on eight months out of the year, some cardio equipment is a must. A treadmill or elliptical machine is a good pick. While a used gym-quality machine will probably cost at least a grand, department store quality equipment really isn’t that bad; just be sure to follow all the instructions for proper use and invest in an extended warranty. In my experience, these machines have short life spans, so be prepared for the hassle of exchanging them when problems inevitably arise. The absolute cheapest alternative would be a quality jump rope—for those who can, it is an effective and nearly cost-free cardio workout.

Building considerable amounts of muscle at home poses some challenges as well. After all, progressive overload is crucial to facilitate muscle growth, but weight sets can be expensive. A used BowFlex-type of equipment can be adequate if one isn’t seeking to attain a Mr. Olympia physique, but otherwise a serious weight set will be needed. Expect to throw down some bucks for a bench, a bar and at least a couple hundred pounds of weights. Now, if one simply wants to maintain their muscles and/or obtain more of that “Fight Club” look, considerably less equipment is necessary. As a minimum, a set of those elevated push-up handles and a doorway pull-up station are recommended. A variety of bodyweight squats or lunges will probably be adequate for the lower body. A light set of dumbbells or even milk jugs filled with water or sand can be used for rows, tricep extensions, curls and a variety of other exercises. Since the resistance is so light, focus on short rest periods and improving endurance.

While working out at home with minimal equipment may not be ideal, following these tips will optimize the situation until better options or more funds are available. ?