There are plenty of reasons to love gym workouts and classes, particularly the motivation, sociability and endorphins they provide. Yet amid the Covid-19 pandemic, gyms have become difficult or impossible to access; and even when they reopen, some people may not feel comfortable visiting them for a while.
At the same time, it’s more important than ever to make time for regular exercise. Working out can help you sleep better, relieve anxiety and boost your overall energy levels, as well making you an all-round healthier person.
With that in mind, here are some creative ideas for a home gym that will channel the spirit of your favourite venue (you might even find you prefer it).
Set up a yoga ‘studio’
If yoga and pilates are your workouts of choice, a bit of effort will help your longer sessions really feel like you’re in a class. Dedicate fifteen minutes before your workout to setting up and getting in the zone (that’s time you’d normally spend travelling to a venue, after all).
Think about lighting (perhaps via a coloured lamp), scent (using candles or a diffuser), and your surroundings (hide away signs of work, chores and any technological devices you don’t need for the session). Lay down your mat. If it’s looking shabby or you don’t particularly like how it looks, now could be the time to treat yourself to one you really love.
Take time to find the class format that suits you best; don’t just feel like you need to do what your friends do, or what the internet is going crazy for. You might enjoy live sessions that make you feel like you’re practicing along with lots of other people, or you might vibe with a niche Youtuber with a couple of hundred subscribers. Some people report feeling stressed about trying to crane their necks to see a screen, so you might prefer to learn some moves and guide yourself.
Invest in kit
There’s heaps of equipment that will take your home gym to the next level. If you’re a spin addict but can no longer attend in-person classes, or want to have easier access at home, weigh up your options for purchasing your own exercise bike. There are some pricey models out there with all sorts of fancy features, but you could also look at more basic or second-hand bikes when you’re getting started. Some bikes even have a laptop stand for you to work while you work out.
Other great pieces to invest in include a dedicated gym towel, a set of weights with stands, wall bars to hang up gym equipment, resistance bands, grippy floor pads, a large mirror, an exercise ball and a punching bag.
Create your own studio
This is a commitment, but one that could prove transformative if you want to level up your training (why not join together with friends?) or if you are planning to start a personal training business.
A converted garage is great if you have one to spare, but one of the best options for setting up a studio is to use a retired shipping container. Shipping containers have had a real moment in recent years, given new lives as shops, restaurants, classrooms, offices. This will give you the space to store all your equipment, provide a dedicated place to blast music and workout, and give you the freedom to customize the space exactly to your own taste.
Exercising in the great outdoors doesn’t have to mean going for a run. One of the best exercises to do with a bit of space (this could be a car park or quiet street if you don’t have a park nearby) is skipping. Skipping has numerous health benefits, including better cardiovascular health, posture improvements, and building arm, shoulder and leg muscles.
You don’t have to jump at random – look up some circuits to complete before you head out and work your way through them. If you find you enjoy skipping, you can level up to electronic ropes that will track your time, calories burned and jump count.