Watch Your Step: the Common Pitfalls of Home Workouts

Fitness is a way of life, or at least it can be. But in life and in fitness, poor decisions backfire. Gone are the carefree days when you could eat whatever you wanted without putting on a few extra pounds (and we use the term ‘a few’ very, very loosely). If even your last year’s clothes don’t fit anymore and you cannot remember the last time when what you saw in the mirror sparked joy, you have decided to put a stop to it all. The problem is, this isn’t your first time, and you aren’t exactly motivated to start over yet again.

We’ve looked into it and put together a list of the common pitfalls of working out at home to help you build a strategy that will lead you to success (for real this time).

Set the mood

Working out at home can be all the more daunting if you are surrounded with distractions, be it your buzzing phone or your confused dog contemplating whether to join in. You need to make your exercise time your ’me’ time. Make your home gym more inviting by clearing up the area. Wear comfortable clothes and keep a bottle of water close at hand. 

Mind the form

You need to execute all the exercises properly or you risk getting injured. Study each exercise carefully to get the form right if you want it to be effective. Another thing is not to undervalue warm-ups before and stretching after each session. This helps reduce the risk of injuries, ease muscle soreness and makes you more flexible in the long term.

Don’t sweat it (no, really)

Listen to your body. You have to push yourself, but you have to do it at your own pace, otherwise you may be tempted to give up on working out altogether. Forcing yourself to go drastically above your limits will not lead to better and faster results. Allow us to illustrate:

  • Just because you are soaked in sweat does not mean you are losing weight
  • You shouldn’t be shaking while doing planks or push-ups
  • Doing an exercise should not cause you pain
  • You don’t have to be absolutely exhausted after a workout for it to be effective

By struggling to perform the more demanding exercises that seem promising in terms of effectiveness, you may be unknowingly jeopardizing your health. 

Without professional supervision, strenuous exercises can be a risky endeavor which may lead to injury or worse. In the event that you do suffer an injury, allow yourself recovery time and do not proceed with the workouts as this could lead to long-term damage.

In other words: you need to persevere, but not at all costs. If an exercise is not working out for you, find another one to take its place. 

Include rests in your fitness regime

Keep your eyes on the prize but do not forget to rest. Rest should be a part of your training regardless of your baseline condition. You need to rest in order to give your body time to regenerate tissues.

Stay hydrated

We cannot stress this enough: before, during or after the workout, in the morning, throughout the day and in the evening, remember to drink water.

Nevermind the scale

It’s rewarding to look at the scale and discover that what you have been doing has led to actual, measurable results. But if the number stays the same even after weeks of training, the effect on your determination and self-confidence could be devastating. 

If you haven’t been working out on a regular, ongoing basis, you could even gain weight from building muscle. You may also be shedding fat in the process, but the numbers will not necessarily show it. 

Ignore the scale altogether, and if you need numbers to tell you you’re doing something right, use an old-fashioned measuring tape instead.

Find a program that suits you

Home workouts are tricky because there are just so many of them out there. For instance, high-intensity interval training is effective and dynamic, but this fitness trend is not right for everyone. 

You need a workout that will motivate you to bring your A-game. Do your research and experiment to find out what’s right for you. Unlike a one-on-one personal workout where your personal trainer will bend over backwards to modify your workout according to your body type, problem areas and lifestyle and fix you up with a diet plan to match, home workouts require you to be disciplined enough to follow through all by yourself. 

If you are enjoying yourself while working out, you are on the right track.  For an in-depth inside scoop and fitness programs tips and tricks from professionals who are in it for the long haul, click here.

Mix it up

When you work alongside a personal trainer, you rely on them to make things as interesting and dynamic as possible. When you are alone at home, you may enter a cycle of repetitive exercises which focuses on a single group of muscles. These could not only bore you to death, potentially killing your will to exercise in the first place, but also turn out counterproductive and create an imbalance between said group of muscles and the rest of your body.

Set up a reasonable schedule

Some days, you just don’t feel like exercising, even if the previous day was your rest day. That’s okay and there’s no reason to feel guilty about it. There are plenty of ways to compensate for missing out on your workout, from cycling, hiking and jogging to gardening or even doing chores. Just make your home workout or any other kind of physical activity a part of your daily life, and make it fun!