Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Working Out at Home vs. The Gym

I really want to continue this fitness thing, but I've been stumped as to what I should write about. I want this to be different than anything you can just "Google" and find out on your own, so I really need YOUR specific questions - what do you really want to know about. I guess I can tell you what works for me and hope that helps you. You tell me. I just want to help.

Most of the questions I got involved something like, "How do I work out at home?"

This is a tricky one for me because I fail miserably when I try to work out at home. There are WAY too many things at home that occupy my time: kids, laundry, cleaning, cooking, and on and on. However, I realize this might be the only option for some of you, so I'll try to provide some input on that subject.

I would recommend getting a workout partner. Spouse, neighbor, friend, etc. Just get someone that will do this with you AND STICK TO IT. Then pick the medium you want to do: home equipment, workout DVDs, race, walking/running/cycling outside, etc. Last pick the time of day you are going to make this happen (morning, evening, daytime, whatever).

Let me give you a couple of scenarios to give you an idea of how those factors could work for you.

Scenario 1
Dilemma: My friend Jane and I want to run a 5K in a couple of months. Neither one of us have ever run in our lives, but we really want to do this.

Solution: First, we went to Runnersworld and found our training program. We selected a 9-week program that started out with no running experience and built from there. (9 weeks because that's how long until our race). We both feel like early morning before our families wake up will be the best time to workout. Our program only has us work out 4 days a week, so we get 3 days off. Week 1 we were gung-ho and stuck to it. As time went on, I didn't want to wake up each morning, but I did because I knew Jane would be waiting for me. As we stuck to our training program, we eventually went from walking, to running for 10 minutes. and gradually built up our endurance so we can jog for 40 minutes, which is about how long we hope to finish our 5K in. We had so much fun doing this together, that we are going to do another one. This time, we picked a different program on Runnersworld because our starting fitness level changed from the last time.

Scenario 2
Dilemma: My hubby and I both really want to get in shape. We have a treadmill, but never use it. We even have some free weights, a resistance band, and a jump rope, but they never get used either.

Solution: We decided that after we put the kids to bed, we will get out our dusty equipment and put it to use. We take turns. He walks/runs on the treadmill at various inclines and speeds for 5 minutes, while I do weights for a muscle group (ex: biceps), then we switch. We repeat this cycle for about 80 minutes until we get through all 8 muscle groups*. We do this 3-4 nights/week, so we still have 3-4 nights to just sit on the couch and relax.

*Sidenote: I plan on showing you guys in upcoming posts a variety of exercises that you can do for each muscle group.

Scenario 3
Dilemma: My neighbor Nancy and I want to do Power90X workout DVDs at home. We both are home during the day, have kids, and neither one of us want to wake up early or work out at night.

Solution: I have a big playroom the kids can run around in that is right by the room we would be doing our DVD in. After we drop our older kids off at school, we get together, put on a DVD, and do our workout. Sometimes we do Jillian Michaels or Pilates to add variety.

So that's somewhere to go with the "at home" fitness program. Now let me tell you why I prefer the gym.

1. At the gym there are no distractions. I go there and I get to workout.
2. I am not an early morning person (I used to be, but that was when I could sleep through the night). Therefore, I go to the gym with my kids. They have a playroom where my kids can play with other kids their age(s) for an hour.
3. When it's cold or you have poor air quality (like I deal with in SLC), you can still run indoors if you are training or like to run as your workout.
4. It has a pool. As a triathlete, swimming is an essential part of training.
5. Group fitness/cycling classes. Most gyms include these in your membership. I like having someone push me and tell me what to do. Then I don't have to think of my workout and I usually work harder because I even if I want to quit, I keep going because the instructor said so.
6. You also have the option of working with a personal trainer which is something I strongly recommend if you can afford it.

I realize that not all of you have gyms in your area or a gym membership may be an expense you can't fit in the budget. Let me make a couple of suggestions.

1. YMCA or Rec Centers.
2. Church fitness programs. I know in my local church, they have 6 am and 9 am group fitness classes that are free. The 9am ones are a little louder because you can bring your kids and they run around in the back of the gym.
3. Also, one of my very best friends joined a running group earlier this year. It's an amazing support group and a great social experience for her. She hated running and would barely run for 10 minutes. Now she has run several half-marathons, ran her first full marathon in October, and is doing another one in February.

My sincere hope is that something in that jumbaloo of information was helpful to you. If it left you feeling discouraged or any other negative feeling, please email me. I truly, truly, truly want to help in any way I can.

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  1. My friend is doing P90x and loves it. I'm just biding my time until I fully recover from sinus surgery so I can get on my running program, too!

  2. I don't know if this has been asked/covered yet, but how do I lose this darn pregnancy weight?!!!! Sure, workout, eat healthy, but I have a little infant who requires a lot of time (not to mention doesn't nap!). I am just too tired to go anywhere to exercise and I will, 10 times out of 10, jump in my bed rather than jump into my exercise clothes when I have free time. You know cuz working out requires not only the workout, but changing clothes, jumping into the shower, getting ready after that...This makes me sound lazy doesn't it! Is there anything I can do to help without really working out?

  3. beachbody.com has tons of great DVD programs that aren't as time-intensive as P90X. My favorites are Chalean Extreme and Turbo Fire. Both really effective and (at the risk of sounding like a perky aerobics instructor) really fun! I do them in the AM before my daughter wakes up.

  4. I did the Wii Fit to lose the first twenty of thirty pounds lost. I decided I try and do it every day, emphasis on try, as in, don't get discouraged and give up if i miss a few days. I did at least half an hour of step every time I did it, and often did free weights (cans from the pantry LOL) while I did it. Generally I managed to do it four times a week. Really enjoyed the yoga and the step, found little ways to push myself harder as my fitness level increased, and found myself quite encouraged watching my weight go down! (i was also doubling my veggies on my plate and eating them first at suppers, and cutting most snacks)

    I plan on joining a gym that has a daycare once i'm ok'd to work out again (four weeks ago i was having a baby, lol) ... I like this particular gym b/c if you book ahead your childcare is free but if you don't show up for your booked childcare you get charged a fee for it. So once you've decided to go, you're committed. :)

  5. I have kids at home, too, and am missing my gym membership, but it's not in the budget right now. I like to run at night after kids are in bed when possible, but we've got ice and snow on the ground right now and it's too dangerous. Yesterday, my kids and I did Just Dance on the Wii for about 45 minutes and I was sweating! Not the most strenuous workout, but if you get into it, you can really get moving. Plus it's really fun for my 5-year-old when I play with her.

    Amanda -- Remember that the baby weight did not come on all at once and it's going to take time to take it off, especially when you're nursing (which is a great thing!). Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Take it slow and steady, and enjoy your time with your baby!

  6. Just to let you know...P90X is pretty harsh if you haven't been working out. I KNOW it says it's made for the beginner too, but BELIEVE me...you will NOT be able to walk for a week after the first DAY much less work out again. I got a different video from the same company and did that one first. It's geared towards women and it's soooo much easier and it will work you out slooooowwwly. It's called "Slim in Six". Try it BEFORE the P90X. Just a suggestion...:)

  7. My question is more about diet than working out... I am NOT a cook...so when I grocery shop I stick with things easy to make or prepacked meals. Help! what should I buy?!?!
    I love your posts and am finding motivation in them!


Where I am no longer blogging, this blog is for reading purposes only. I am afraid I just can't keep up with it anymore, therefore, I may not be able to reply to all comments. Thank you.

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