The Trouble with Training at Home


photo: flickr

After five hours of typing, I break to water the garden and tend the chickens. It’s nice to finally venture outside, even if it’s just for chores.  I end up back at my desk, writing a few plans, answering emails, and balancing my budget.

Now 7 hours into my workday, it’s time to take another break before finishing up a few small details and starting my evening chores—oh, and of course dinner needs to get on the stove.

This time the break is for a workout. But I’m not feeling it. You’d think having a nice full gym 10 yards from my desk would be the most glorious site on the planet. At first, it was just that. I’d venture out there multiple times per day, testing new exercises, perfecting ones I’ve done for years.

That got old. I found myself going into the gym less and less frequently. Some weeks I’d make it out there twice, while others I’d get 20 minutes into a workout and hang up the towel.

I thought I was coming up with excuses to be lazy, but that’s just not my personality. When I had a gym membership, I went religiously. There wasn’t a single week where I slacked off.

However, some days I stepped into my garage with dread. What gives?

I finally started putting the pieces together when I talked with some friends and clients who felt the same way. The commonality: we all worked at home or stayed home during the day.

Everything made sense. It wasn’t that we developed an aversion to exercise. We simply missed getting out of the house. The gym was our time away from home. It was our chance to get out in the world and mingle a bit—even if it was just quick nods in the mirror or a hello in the locker room.

We took that away and didn’t replace it with anything else. Now unless it’s an errand, a trip to the school, or a dog walk, the stay at home/train at home group never left the house some days.

The other week I ventured out to the gym to train with my friend. It was the most frustrating experience. Waiting for equipment, not finding what I need, carrying heavy weights all over just to set up supersets.

I missed my home gym.

I was never one to go to the gym and socialize, but I loved training in the presence of others. Something about that competitive drive. It just kicked in when I was there. Not that anyone was competing with me. The onlookers just gave me all the more reason to hit personal records, train a little harder, and add a few more sets.

Plus I was out of the house, darn it.

So what does a girl do when her biggest social event of the week gets canceled?

Ladies, we have to replace it! Plain and simple. Get out of that rut, put a kink in your routine, and find something new.

Take a class, join a meet-up group for a sport or activity you want to try, start a walking group in your neighborhood, or sign up for a competitive event. It doesn’t have to be any life altering, but the only way you’re going to fall in love with the gym again is if you fill that void.

Also, realize the advantage of having a gym at your disposal. Your workouts can be whatever you want. No longer do you have to go in with an hour plan and feel guilty if you didn’t finish it. Some days I just want to work on my squat or deadlift. Other days I grab a jump rope and a kettlebell for a quite conditioning circuit. Having that flexibility is huge because I fit in exercise around my schedule rather than stressing about fitting my life around the gym hours.

I think the biggest challenge about having a home gym is knowing it will be there tomorrow.  Get that thought out of your head. Tomorrow doesn’t exist, so live in the now, get off your seat, and get into the gym. (I tell myself this every day)

I was feeling pretty mediocre about my home gym for a while. I didn’t appreciate the good thing I had. I realized that I had to fill the void and take the initiative to do something social.

And also realize that it didn’t matter whether I banged out an hour-long heavy session or just worked on my deadlift PR. I just had to get out there everyday and work hard.

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7 Comments
  • Great incite. Having a home gym is great if you are motivated to use it, but obviously useless if you are not. Sometimes just mixing up when you workout and home and when you go to the gym will do the trick.

  • I love having a home gym. I am a stay at home mom and I love that I can get my workout done at home. I have friends that come over to workout with me during the week. It really helps to keep the intensity up and keep things fun.

  • To have a home gym is fortunate but after working at home all day and only interacting with your family can get redundant. As a human being it’s normal to want to interact with other adults or at least to show off your new running shoes! A group class that you very much enjoy is hard to skip week after week especially if it’s time convenient. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

  • I can see it being a problem. It’s hard to get out of your comfort zone at your house.

  • I think it is true that gym time helps “get out,” too.

  • This hit home with me as I’ve been struggling lately to get any type of fitness in. I do work away from home but it’s a family business…feels like I’m at home. I go to work and to home and have my own gym at home where I don’t have to wait for barbells or dumbbells; it’s all at my disposal when I want it. But the monotony gets old…I live close to Omaha, NE where there is a plethora of activities going on. I’m going to make sure I get there to take a yoga class once a week and to mingle with other adults, especially woman (I work with 11 men) :)

  • Great point, sometimes we just need to switch it up, other times we need a little motivation boost, etc. Try fun new things to stay fit!

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