The Case For A Home Gym

Some people wonder why I keep exercise equipment at home, when the average gym has the most sophisticated workout equipment that one’s heart can desire. I’ve usually justified this making an excuse about saving time, my odd work timings etc, but decided today, to put forward what I thought are the main reasons for you to keep exercise equipment at home.

To begin with, this is the equipment that I have at home.

1) Kettlebells : 24Kg, 16Kg, 8 Kg (now used as a doorstop)

2) A custom built Pull-Up rack, 8 1/2 ft tall, to accomodate pullups with legs straight. This device also has an attachment that allows me to secure a bar across it to perform inverted rows.

3) A heavy punching bag (4ft).

I strongly believe that that most gym equipment is unnecessary for building a functional and powerful body. A regimen of bodyweight exercises and cardiovascular training, backed up by a sensible diet is sufficient to bring most people to a decent level of fitness.

My own exercise regimen consists primarily of body weight exercises – namely pullups, pushups, and un-weighted full squats. I occasionally do lunges, and rarely ever do crunches.

I have been using Kettlebells for high intensity workouts, alternating 35-60 seconds of activity with 15 seconds of rest, for 16 or so cycles. Kettlebells themselves are quite amazing, I consider them to be a complete weight training system that you can store under your bed.

So, why keep exercise  equipment at home?

Unless you live in a matchbox 20 floors above Manhattan, you probably have enough space to keep some basic fitness equipment at home.

1) Ability to use uncommon systems of training.

Until a few months ago, no gyms in Hyderabad offered Kettlebell training. I learnt about Kettlebells from another enthusiast who was kind enough to spend time with me trying to teach me the basic exercises (Thanks so very much, Vicky!). With no gyms offering this training, it made sense to get my own equipment and exercise at home.

2) Save on the gym commute.

I did have a Gym membership, but even the daily 20 minute round trip to the gym is precious time saved by working out at home.

3) Hygiene

Yup, in Hyderabad in summer, even airconditioned gyms can smell like the galley of that ship in Ben-Hur.

4) Circuit training.

This is hard to do in a gym, especially if there is a waiting line for weights and benches.

5) Focus

Every other person in a gym seems to be a fitness expert. It helps to be able to exercise without someone coming to you to discuss the latest fad that he discovered in a $39.99 E-book.

6) Dress for comfort

I’ve found, that while lifting kettlebells, the most comfortable gear is the Jockey 1005 – ‘stripper briefs’, as a friend calls them. Now, how many gyms can you exercise in wearing something that minimal?

7) Economy

All my equipment combined cost less than a two-year membership at a decent gym.

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Slipping Off The Wagon

OK, so I went on a regimen of diet and exercise, lost a lot of weight, and made tremendous improvements to my athletic performance. These weren’t easy changes to make, but I pushed, and was able to stay on the wagon long enough to see some pretty remarkable results, but then the slide started.

 

Normally, I’d allow myself one ‘cheat’ meal every week. At this meal, I’d eat a small portion of one food that I absolutely love, but is prohibited by my diet rules. Soon after this meal, I’d get back to my usual programme, with perhaps a couple of slightly more intense workouts thrown in. However, over the past few weeks, I’ve become a little more casual about what I eat. I found myself breaking my diet rules ‘ever so little’ but much more frequently.

 

Now, instead of the one bite of dessert while dining out, there was a humungous piece of cake at a birthday party; instead of a little bit of Biryani I had a pretty substantial portion with lots of other things that would temporarily alter my body chemistry and take me out of my fat burning zone. Instead of sticking to a single beer and a few glasses of water to restore hydration, I went on a drinking spree almost as extreme as my bar bankrupter days.

 

The results were predictable – my gains have tapered off. I have made no gains in either inch loss or weight reduction in the past two weeks. Thinking back on all these events made me realize that I’m slowly slipping back into the pattern of behaviour that resulted in me being overweight in the first place! I’m back on the wagon now, but this has been a frightening lesson in how easy it is to slip back into old habits, and reverse the gains I have fought so hard for.

 

I have been uncluttering my life, hoping for more time to ‘stand and stare’. This has given me far more free time that especially on weekdays has resulted in moments of utter boredom. While restructuring my life a few months ago, I had been able to link this boredom to smoking and ‘grazing’, both of which I have cut quite drastically since. Maybe I do need to keep myself occupied, and perhaps this is the best possible time for me to get back to finishing that novel and screenplay.

I love my new body, It’s totally worth the fight to keep it like this 🙂