There has never been a better time to hate the gym. It seems like there’s a YouTube video or fitness blogger for everyone interested in exercising and feeling their best, even if they find it impossible to fit gym time into their schedule. Love Pilates or yoga? Not only does your computer have you covered, but you can also perfect your peacock pose without getting out of your pajamas. Prefer a 10-minute high-intensity workout? You’ll find hundreds of thousands of video instructors who will whip you into shape in the privacy of your home.
But are all workouts created equal? What is the deal with home workouts? Can they really deliver the same fitness benefits as a gym? Certified personal trainer Katy Fraggos, owner of Perspirology, gives us the good, bad and ugly when it comes to home workouts. And don’t worry — even if you never plan on stepping foot into a gym again, Fraggos’ home workout tips will make the time you do spend working out at home far more effective.
“The most common excuse for exercise is lack of time,” Fraggos says. “With longer work hours, more commitments and growing families, it is easy to see why this is such a constant issue. Streaming workouts and on-demand fitness training programs are now becoming more and more popular for these very reasons. They allow you the convenience (and privacy) of exercising at home on your own time.”
Fraggos’ Perspirology is a dance-based fitness studio in New Jersey, but she says many of her Manhattan clientele cannot attend regular classes in the studio, so they subscribe to her on-demand training videos to get their fitness fix at home. Although she says she believes any workout is better than no workout, she admits there are still some negatives to working out at home.
“The fact is that working out at home takes real discipline,” Fraggos says. “You might start out motivated and ready to get back to the body you once had, but over time, this motivation will most likely fade for a variety of reasons. Many times, the lack of change in the program will cause you to plateau. Another common occurrence is that you finally realize that no one is holding you accountable for your workouts. You may become distracted or allow yourself to skip sessions during the week because no one else cares.”
Another problem that Fraggos often sees once clients return to her exercise studio: If their home workout does not give guidance on proper form or alignment, there’s a good chance that they have created some “ugly habits” that she says will ultimately have to be corrected before progressing further. Doing daily sets of pushups if you’re doing them the wrong way isn’t going to deliver the desired results — and it may even lead to injury. It may be worth your time to enroll in a few fitness classes before you commit to an at-home workout in order to ensure you’re moving your body and holding poses the right way.
Fraggos offers three suggestions for creating the best at-home workout possible. “My suggestion is to create scheduled appointments for your home workouts, just as you would with a doctor, hair stylist or dentist,” she says. “Make this part of your routine, and do not break your appointments. Make sure you are varying your workout routine if you are not using an on-demand subscription that does it for you. By keeping it fun and fresh, you will be more likely to enjoy this time and see it as a much-needed stress reliever. [Finally], be sure to find a program that helps you understand proper form and alignment. In the end, any workout is better than no workout, so stay focused and choose smart programs to keep the bad and the ugly out of the picture.”