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Until COVID-19 started in Europe in 2020, I was going to the gym regularly to work out. But when I started working from home, I completely gave up on working out. This is definitely not ideal for my health.
In 2021, I decided to start working out at home. And I found out that this was actually easier than I expected. You can start working out with very little equipment (even zero if you want). And you can actually save a lot of money by doing so.
In this article, I will go over a few ways to work out at home for free.
I am definitely not the best example to follow to work out. I have always hated working out. But I could generally keep the habit of going to the gym a few times a week to get some exercise.
But I am part of the people for which a small barrier is enough to stop them from working out. For instance, I would never drive to the gym solely to work out. The gym has to be on my way to (or from) work. Otherwise, I would never go.
So when COVID-19 started, and I started working from home, I was not driving to the city anymore and, as such, stopped going to the gym. In total, I went 5 times to the gym in 2020.
Given that I am sitting all day in front of a computer for my work, I definitely needed to improve my working out routine.
Work Out At Home
Since I would not go to the gym, I decided to bring the gym to me and work out at home. I made working out at home one of my 2021 goals.
In the beginning, I was thinking it would not be easy to set up a place for working out and not have all the machines that I was used to having. But after some research, it turned that it is really easy to work out at home.
I have been doing that for a few months now, and I have been able to keep the habit of working out regularly.
As I mentioned before, I am not a very big gym person, so a simple workout routine is enough for me. I do not need many weights and machines. But if you want to go that route, this could work as well. But you will need a larger initial investment.
What training should you do?
The first thing you will need to do is find a workout that you can do at home. You need a routine that suits your working out goals, and you may also want something that you can do in your conditions. Some people have more space at home to install some equipment. And some people are more willing to spend money on equipment, so it is entirely up to you.
Now, I am not a gym expert, so I cannot tell you which workout you should do! But I can tell you how I find a workout routine that works well for me.
These days, you can find everything on the internet. I am a complete beginner, so I started researching different ways to work out. It turns out that there are a ton of different possible routines. I recommend doing your research well because some of these are quite bad. After some time, I decided to go with a simple calisthenics routine. Calisthenics is based on using your body weight to train. I thought this was perfect to work out at home since you do not need a ton of equipment.
And for finding a workout, the best way I have found is simply to go on YouTube. You will also have to filter out the results a lot. For instance, I have found some videos for beginners where they would recommend starting with a one-legged squat. I can barely do a simple squat, so it is stupid to start with a one-legged one. One thing I would recommend is to try to find a routine with progressions. That way, you can progress over time, and you do not get lost in the same routine forever without knowing what to do after.
In the end, I have settled with this routine to start with:
This routine works well for beginners, has easy progressions, and requires very little equipment to get started.
I am not saying this is the best workout routine there is. But I have found this to be a no-nonsense channel with easy and well-described progressions. I plan to focus on this routine for at least six months. After this, I will see how I am faring and see if I need to make adjustments.
There are also tons of apps you can use that propose some workout routines. But I really do not want to have to use my mobile while I am working out. And there are also some paid online services that would generate workout routines for you. But I do not feel they are necessary, at least not for beginners.
What do you need?
What do you need will entirely depend on how you want to train. If you want a simple routine, you will need very little equipment.
Here is my station to work out:
And here is the rest of the equipment:
I have bought:
- A dip station
- Simple push up station
- A pull-up bar
I already had the rest of the equipment lying around (mostly unused). I bought most of it (except the push-up station) second-hand on the internet. It was straightforward to find. I have spent something like 50 CHF to buy this.
If you need more equipment, you may have to spend more. But there are many things available second hand online.
So, yes, it is not free. But then, once you have the equipment, you can work out whenever you want for free.
Pros and Cons
Let’s go over the pros and cons of working out at home compared to working out at the gym.
Working out at home is definitely cheaper. Unless you actually install a full-fledged gym in your home, you will very quickly save money. In my case, I have spent about 50 CHF on my equipment. Compared to the 600 CHF I was paying per year for the gym, it takes only one month to save money!
For me, working out at home is easier than going to the gym. There is less friction for me to go. I only have to move to another room, start the training. I can do that anytime, and I do not waste any time. So far, my attendance at my home gym is already better than the attendance at the actual gym. But this will be definitely harder for some people. For some people, paying to go to the gym was actually motivating them to go. So, depending on you, this could be either a pro or a con.
A disadvantage when you work out at home is that you need some space to work out. But, this is not as bad as people think. I put all my equipment in the laundry room on the side. I only take it out when I start the workout. So it takes very little space. And you could entirely do that in your living room.
Another disadvantage is that if you want to do weight training, you may need a lot of equipment. This is not a big deal since I have a few weights that I am using to complement my workout routine. But for some people that use heavy weights and multiple machines, it may not be possible or practical to work out at home.
The last disadvantage is that it can be lonely for some people. Many people go to the gym to also see and talk to people. This will be unlikely to happen at home unless you work out as a family.
For beginners and people that do not like going to the gym, working out at home could be a great solution. Since I started to work out at home, I already much prefer it compared to going to the gym. And I also save money in the process, which is great!
Working out at home works really with working at home (duh!). Now that I am working at home (hopefully forever) working out at home is the next logical step. That way, I do not have to take my car to go to the gym. And I do not have to pay for the gym at all.
And fortunately, these days, there are tons of workout routines available on the internet, especially on YouTube. This is where I found the routine that works well for me. And I am sure that everybody can find a good routine that would work for them as well.
If you are like me and sitting all day, working out is necessary!
What do you think about working at home?