Others just need the escape from their home or work place to go workout. These are all valid points, and I am not going to argue that these factors are not warranted. But I would like to make it aware that you can reach your goals as a bodybuilder by training Home Alone.
Training Home Alone
Now at the age of 35, I have been weight training for almost 20 years and seriously for 15. Surprisingly, my years of weight training have been either in the basement of my parent's home and now at my own home gym studio where I do personal training.
It simply began watching my brother working out in my parent's basement. After a few years of his training, he eventually went on to competing. So, like younger brothers do, I followed in his footsteps.
During my teen years it was cool to join a gym for a number of reasons. Including, showing off in front of the girls, seeing who can bench press the most, or to get a pump before going out on a Friday night. Even with these temptations and peer pressure, I still choose to stay at home and train by myself.
At that time, I couldn't give you an answer on why I trained at home, but it just felt right. We didn't have a lot of equipment, so the focus was on plain old free weights. It was equipped with barbells and dumbells, a basic lat. pulldown machine, a narrow bench with the leg ext./curl attachment, and my fathers squat poles from the 1950's.
Machines Vs Free Weights:
Through the years while training at home, I competed 6 times. I won two first places in my class and two overalls titles. So as you can see, to reach the level of competitive bodybuilding, the basics are what will get you there.
A couple of years later my wife and I bought a home. I had all the intention to train my clients at our home, so I converted the garage into a studio. When it came to purchasing equipment I was very excited. But after much thought, I stuck to the basics and bought the same type of equipment just like what I had at my parent's house. The only difference was the higher quality of equipment to withstand more use.
I did splurge on buying a leg press machine and an individual leg ext. / curl machine. Believe it or not, this was the first time I ever used a leg press! And during this time of training, I won two more overalls including receiving my pro card.
This is just one example that the basics and determination are key to become a bodybuilder. I am not professing that training at home is better than the gym, just the fact it can be done.
Ok, many of you are probably saying to yourself, what about a spot, how about the energy a gym can give you, or the advantage of new equipment? Well, they are all great points and here are my thoughts on each of the following.
What About A Spot?
This is the one factor that I do miss, but finding out it is not nessessary. I am guilty of having the barbell get stuck on my chest when I was younger but I then bought spotter racks. And many times I have bottomed out while squating and releasing the bar followed by a big crash.
As you learn your body, there comes a time when you know you can only handle one or two more reps. Sure, doing slow negatives followed by a spot is a great technique to increase strength, but my training is for bodybuilding, not power-lifting. And, going to complete failure too often is quite hard on the joints.
Energy In The Gym!
True, working out in a crowd can be motivating and pushing each other can increase the intensity of your workout. But training alone at home, there are no distractions, period! I have become self motivated by training alone and the focus is always there. My music is loud, my workout outfits are a mess, but no one is judging me during my training, only when I am on stage.
Advantages Of New Equipment:
Weight training has truly evolved since its existence. There are number great machines available and to name a few, Hammer Strength, Strive, and Body Masters have all contributed. But what these companies have focused on is to simulate the movements that can be done with a barbell or dumbell!
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The big difference are gyms that have these machines are also selling memberships. Do you think a gym that just had the basic free weights would have as many members compared to the gym with the latest equipment?
So as you can see, training at home can be a viable solution if you don't like going to a gym, and still become a successful bodybuilder. Of course, this is just one perspective and I am not saying that training at home is the only way to go. Ultimately the choice is yours and I have seen competitors do well with both situations. You just have to weigh out your options and make the best decision for yourself and go for it.