For me, making use of fitness DVDs/online streaming in order to work out at home is by far the best way to get in shape. Before I discovered the world of home exercise, I’d sometimes manage to go to the gym, to a fitness class, or out for a run. But I never really stuck with anything, I never pushed myself hard enough or consistently enough to get the results I wanted, and life – or just the weather! – tended to get in the way. Exercise was a chore, and a chore I tended to neglect. Plus, it was costing me a fortune.
Exercise videos changed all that. Here are a few reasons I love them and you might too:
1 – THE COST
Beachbody on Demand costs just £99 per year. Even the cheapest, most basic gyms are £20+ per month and fancier ones – particularly in London – can be five times that. And that’s just simple gym membership with no support. Individual classes tend to be at least £10 a go, and often far more.
2 – SAVE TIME
If you’re going to the gym or to a fitness studio, you need to travel there. You need to pack your fitness clothes and shower stuff. You need to get changed. And once you’re there, half the time, you’ll have to wait for machines to become free. For the sake of an hour’s workout, you can easily end up taking the best part of two hours out of your schedule.
At home, you throw on some workout clothes, press play, and you’re off, with no hassle, no delay and no interruptions. An hour’s workout actually takes an hour. This makes it much easier to fit the workouts into your life which means its much more likely you’ll be able to stick with them.
Plus, its much easier to motivate yourself to press play than it is to drag yourself out to the gym in the rain and the dark.
3 – WORK OUT WHEN YOU WANT
Despite my love of workout videos, I occasionally decide to try a specialist class at a local yoga studio. Every time I do, my stress levels go through the roof. You have to book in advance, which can be a challenge with popular classses. And once you’ve booked, you have to make the session or you’ll be charged anyway. With a variable and unpredictable work pattern, it’s hard to be confident a week in advance that I’ll be free at a specific time on a specific evening. And then, of course, you need to be on time for the class. This means one of two things. Option One, pick an earlyish class and either miss it because I can’t get away in time or else dash manically to the studio with things half finished. Option Two, pick a late class, and end up either staying at work killing time or going home for an awkward half hour then heading out again.
With home workouts, I can start my “class” at the exact second I want. On the one hand, this gives me the option of very early morning or very late night workouts. But it also means I can start at 7.36PM, rather than having to make a stark choice between 7 or 8.30..
4 – NO NEED TO WORRY ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE/WEAR WHAT YOU WANT
Have you ever felt self-conscious in the gym or the studio or even just out for a run? I’m sure it happens to even the most confident, experienced and in shape of us at some time or another. And particularly when you’re new to exercise, public workout spaces can be an intimidating place, whether that’s due to “mean girl” types (or perfectly nice girls who just happen to be stronger/bendier/faster/slimmer/more toned) sleazy blokes, or just due our own insecurities.
At home, there’s just you and your family or friends. And my husband’s inimitable combination of cheering me on, laughing when I fall over, and shamelessly checking me out in tight yoga pants is actually extremely life-affirming. And I enjoy watching him do Body Beast just as shamelessly 😉
There’s also the clothes issue. It varies a bit from place to place, but at any gym, you need to look vaguely presentable, and at some, it’s like being trapped inside an Instagram album. Once in a while, I love to dress up in fancy workout gear. But I love that at home, I can throw on any old thing without worry.
5 – STRUCTURE AND MOTIVATION
Often, at the gym, I used to find myself wandering about. Get on the treadmill for a bit. Half-halfheartedly use some resistance machines. Rinse and repeat. I wasn’t pushing myself within a session, and I didn’t have a plan from session to session.
With fitness programmes, all the thinking is done for you.
In each individual video, you’re told exactly what you have to do, from speed to number of reps – it’s well structured and, assuming you’ve picked a programme of the right difficulty level, almost certainly pushes you harder than you’d push yourself.
And then, on a week by week or month by month basis, programmes are structured both to help you keep progressing and challenging yourself, and to make sure you work your whole body.
Most video instructors tend to be super motivating: pushing you, giving encouragement, reminding you of correct form. It’s like having a personal trainer on hand 24/7.
6 – SPEED AND EFFICIENCY
I’ve talked above about hour-long workouts. In practise, I’d generally end up spending about an hour and a half on actual workout time at the gym. Most of my favourite exercise videos are between 25 and 45 minutes long. Because there’s no waiting around for others between sets, because they are so well structured, and because you’re pushing yourself to your personal limits, you can get equal or better results in much shorter sessions.
7 – NO NEED FOR CHILDCARE/FITS AROUND YOUR LIFE
When you’re exercising outside of the house, you’re emphatically OUT. So someone needs to be there for the kids, and all the chores have to wait until you’re back. With home exercise, you’re IN. I don’t have kids yet, but I have plenty of clients who do. And they tell me it’s easy to work out while they read or watch TV for 30 minutes. At worst, you’re there and able to keep an eye on them. At best, you’re instilling a love of exercise and a healthy life.
I generally try to prep the evening meal and stick on some washing before I start my workout, as well as running a luxurious bath for once I’m done (no dripping gym showers for me). I can focus 95% on my workout while still being confident the house is under control. Again, it’s all about increasing the ease with which I can slot exercise into my life.