In March, practically every public gym in the country closed its doors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It made sense--your healthy habits shouldn’t expose you to a potentially dangerous virus.
Consequently, closing gyms was a no-brainer.
While many gyms are still closed, some states are opening them back up. Either way, many of us are considering when - or whether - we should return.
Do we get back to our workout routines and hope for the best? Or do we move our routines to our homes, either continuing what we’ve been doing or taking the next step and setting up a home gym?
It’s a tough call.
We’ve got some tips to help you make that decision and some instructions in case you decide to go with the home gym.
What To Consider Before Going Back To The Gym
Before you go back to the gym, you need to consider whether the risks are worth it. We all know exercising is good for you -- you don’t get a gym membership because you enjoy it (ok, some of you do). But the downside right now is the risk of infection. You might be doing something healthy by going to the gym, but you're also exposing yourself to COVID-19.
Gyms remained closed until now because they are very effective at spreading infection. People breathing vigorously, sharing equipment, and touching surfaces are all significant transmission vectors. Plus, air conditioning units pumping recycled air through the room compounds the problem. If somebody is carrying the virus, there's a high chance that it will spread.
“But I’m terrible about working out at home! I need a gym!” Okay, fair. So, how do you protect yourself?
First, stay home if you are sick! If you’ve had a fever or a cough or any other symptoms of coronavirus, stay home for at least two weeks or until you can get tested.
Be sure to wash your hands with sanitizer before and after you go to the gym. This habit will protect both you and the people around you.
Next, sanitize equipment before you touch it with a spray bottle, according to your gym's policies.
Third, don't touch your face. Your mouth, eyes, and nose are particularly easy spots for a pesky virus to sneak in.
Finally, observe social-distancing parameters and keep your distance from other gym members.
If you're still not comfortable even after doing all that, or if you’re gym isn’t open yet and you want to stay active, then maybe you should consider getting a home gym.
Why Invest In A Home Gym?
There are multiple benefits of investing in a home gym.
- Save time: Home gyms save you a massive amount of time compared to their commercial counterparts. There's no travel time, and once you've finished with the weights, you can immediately hit the shower and carry on with your day.
- Save money: There may be upfront costs associated with a home gym, but you save a massive amount over the long-term. Gym memberships aren't cheap and add up over time.
- Your choice of decor: Gyms are a little boring, right? When you own your gym, you can post whatever images you want on the wall—bodybuilders, cats hanging from trees telling you to “Hang in there,” cars, comic book heroes - you name it. Anything goes.
- Include whatever equipment you like: When it comes to home gyms, commercial interests play no role. Neither do restrictive health and safety regulations. Thus, you're allowed to include whatever toys you like. Just don't hurt yourself.
Equipment For Different Budget Levels
Not sure you can afford a home gym? Here's a rundown of the kind of equipment you can buy at various budget levels.
Don't have much to spend on a home gym? No problem. Here's a list of inexpensive equipment you might want to include:
- Exercise mat
- Jump Rope
- Resistance bands
- Customizable dumbbells
Many training apps, like BeachBody.com, have options for working out with minimal equipment.
Got a little more money to spend? Then you might be able to add the following:
- Squat rack
- Full weight set (so you don't have to add and subtract plates every time you change exercises )
- Rowing machine
- All-in-one cable machine for traps, delts, biceps, triceps, glutes, quads and hamstrings
If you have a lot of money to spend, you can pretty much recreate a commercial gym. A full set of equipment includes:
- Barbell and weight set
- Bench press
- Leg press
- Hack squat machine
- Chest press machine
- Lateral pulldown machine
Remember, you don't need a massive budget to exercise. Even if you’re broke, you can still set up a home gym with little more than a mat, a jump rope, and a bottle of water. If you're stuck for exercises, use training apps that cater to people who don't have a lot of equipment.
Don’t take it easy just because your gym hasn’t opened and don’t force yourself to go if you’re still not comfortable. Working out at home might be the new norm so get started with your own home gym using these tips.