With a quick YouTube search, anyone can get the feeling of working out with a personal trainer and in a fitness class right in his or her living room. Exercise DVD’s and fitness videos promise results in no time at all without the “stress” of going to the gym, but can they really give you the pump up you deserve? I have tried a few of them, and my attitude toward this craze is a mixed bag.
Benefits of home workouts
I sometimes push play instead of driving to the gym because there are certain benefits of a home workout … like time and I am feeling lazy.
- It is you and only you. You get to the comfort of your own living room without hearing Nancy breathing and sweating next to you.
- Do exactly what you want in your workout. You can customize your own workout to include 8 minutes of Pilates, 10 minutes of cardio, and 5 minutes of yoga by mixing and matching YouTube videos.
- You can save gas and time. Staying at home offers a quick workout, so there is no excuse for not exercising today.
- There is no dress code. You get to wear whatever you want for the workout. Your living room gym has no particular rules– no shoes, no shirt, no pants, no problem.
- You get to pick the music. Leave the headphones off and sweat to your favorite track over the speakers.
- You set the pace. You get to push yourself, or not push yourself, to your heart’s desire. Jillian Michaels is very encouraging in her videos, so you will always feel like someone is appreciating your hard work.
Limitations of home workouts
Despite a few real benefits, I will never be on the home workout train permanently. Being at home fosters far too many limitations that will only hinder progress in the long run.
- Nancy isn’t there to push you. Being at home means you can slack off while convincing yourself that you are working hard. Group fitness is fun because of the community environment. Twenty strangers get to come together for their health and well-being – and don’t even act like you don’t want to outshine Nancy (even just a little bit).
- You have to make decisions. A trained professional created a coherent 45-minute fitness class. You don’t have to worry about an ad playing or needing to skip through the introduction, as a professional has done this for you in a real-life class.
- No one can help you with form. Injuries happen, but trainers in the gym are there to help you with form and techniques to reduce the strain. When you are home, you may be using poor form yet never know.
- You cannot pump iron like you need to. Weight sets are expensive and take up a lot of space. The 10’s might feel heavy right now, but if you are consistently using them you will outgrow that set quickly. Gyms provide all the weights you could ever need. To make progress, you need to push yourself to the next weight and next level.
Overall, home workouts could be a great thing in the beginning, but you need to work as hard as you can for the entire video. Jillian Michaels did not get her physique by only doing sit-ups in her living room. If you are serious about getting results, you should hit the actual gym. Nothing can compare to the smell (yeah.. I like gym smell now!), the mirrors, the lights and the equipment a gym provides. Other than stretching, I am a gym-rat for life.
I challenge you to complete a 20-minute workout over the weekend. You can complete a video or hit the gym: just get active! Tweet me with #CALChallenge.
Collegian writer Hayley Blackburn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @hayley_blckbrn. If you have a specific question or topic, let her know. Leave a comment!