Ranging from something as simple as putting on a pair of jogging shoes or roller blades, to lifting in a well-equipped in-home gym, individuals across the United States have discovered the joys of working out away from the traditional gym or health club setting. Hopefully this article will introduce some people who would not have otherwise thought about it, especially personal trainers, to the wonderful experience of having an in-home gym.
Let me first say that when I refer to in-home training I am not recommending the gizmos and gadgets you see every night on infomercials. While a few of these devices have some merit, most are a waste of time and money. One thing, and one thing only, changes peoples physiques and melts away bodyfat in the most effective manner possible; strength training. Most devices seen on the infomercials are poor strength training tools, and therefore basically worthless.
The few pieces of infomercial equipment that I have come across that are good strength training tools either have flaws that eventually prove fatal to their effectiveness, or start in the one-thousand-dollar range. A bench, an Olympic set and/ or dumbbells and a pull-up bar can equip an in-home gym that will allow for more variety and better workouts than can be achieved with any of the machines seen on infomercials - and often for much less money.
When presented with the suggestion of working out at home, most people immediately have a few concerns. Among the more common concerns of people I have spoken with are why a home gym is something they should consider and the quality that such a workout can provide. Understanding the potential of in-home training is very important to pursuing it wholeheartedly, thus ensuring that you maximize your experience with this exciting area of fitness training.
Why Should I Consider Training At Home
First I will address the question of why you should consider training in your home. The most obvious reason is the freedom that it brings. Your new gym will always be open, always play your favorite workout music, and the equipment you want to use will always be available. A home gym will have no dress codes, no inconsiderate or rude fellow patrons, and you will save valuable time and frustration by not having to drive to and from the gym every time you want to work out. In short, it will be YOUR gym.
This area of personal freedom extends even further for personal trainers. Imagine never having to punch a clock, never having to listen to the "newest training innovation" that the boss has come across, and now wants every trainer to use, and never having to worry about some underhanded fellow trainer stealing your clients. Training in a private setting will increase your potential clientele by including those who prefer to workout in a more "exclusive" setting, and those who might not feel comfortable in a gym setting, as many beginners are not.
The fact is most people would like to work out and get in shape, but they are embarrassed about their current condition, and feel they lack time. They shy away from health club and gym settings for these very reasons. How do we as fitness professionals reach out to these people? Simple - by creating a private setting where they do not have to worry about social pressure and, if necessary, take the workout to them, which is easily accomplished with a swiss ball and some dumbbells.
How Effective Can A Home Workout Be?
The next concern, and probably one of the most important, is how effective can a workout at home really be? Will it let me achieve a killer workout, and actually keep me progressing in my fitness lifestyle? The answer is a resounding YES! The same training principles that apply in the gym still apply at home. Although it may take a little creativity, I guarantee that you can achieve results just like those garnered in a gym setting.
My personal experience, both with my clients and myself has clearly shown that people can and do achieve outstanding results using in-home training methods, often with very little equipment. You will probably find yourself making better progress than you have been, as many people have found a renewed passion to workout when they have an in-home gym setting that is tailored to everything that they enjoy.
Two of the above mentioned principles that allow for progress in any fitness endeavor are specificity and overload. While many more principles exist, these two are very important in an average fitness program. The full definitions and meanings of both principles can be quite complex. I will give a quick explanation of each so you can see how they apply to the gym, and why this means that you can have great workouts that let you continue to progress at home.
The principle of specificity says that you need to train specific to you goals. If you do incline bench, it will make you stronger at the incline bench, not the flat bench. Doing leg extensions will make you stronger at leg extensions, not squats. To improve your 1RM in the power clean, you have to do heavy power cleans. You have to train specific to your goals. By realizing this and by analyzing why you are working out (to get bigger, to get stronger, to lose fat, etc.), you will be able to adapt a workout in any setting to meet your specific needs.
The workout parameters (sets, reps, weight used and rest intervals) that best train each goal is beyond the scope of this article, but several fine publications exist, including Fitness: The Complete Guide, which detail suggested parameters. These parameters will hold true in both a traditional and in-home gym setting.
The principle of progressive overload is also very important for ensuring continual progress. In a nutshell, this principle says that you must constantly challenge your body with stimulus greater than what it is used to overcoming. If you constantly curl twenty-five pounds for twelve reps, you will never get bigger or stronger arms. If you always run for two miles every day at the same pace, you will eventually plateau and not get anymore aerobically fit.
Your body will adapt as efficiently as possible to whatever you are doing so you must progressively challenge it more and more over time. Again, this principle holds true for any training setting, be it in the largest health club or in the most sparsely equipped home gym. As you can see, just a quick overview of these two principles demonstrates that an in-home training program can be just as effective as one applied in a more traditional gym setting.
My intention here was to whet your appetite as to the possibility of having your own personal gym. Keep an eye out in future issues of ProTrainer, where I will go into more detail about considerations on this topic, including space vs. equipment considerations, and some unique exercises using simple combinations of equipment of which you might not have thought.
Hopefully some of you now see that the reasons to train at home are numerous. In addition to the convenience of having a gym set to your own specifications and there whenever you want it, you can get great results from such a setting. If you find yourself less than enthused at the prospect of climbing into your car again, driving several minutes to your gym, battling fellow members for equipment and space, and then driving home through traffic, then consider the alternative of an in-home gym.
James Wilson, MSS