Home Gym or Gym Membership? Which Works for You?

Home Gym or Gym Membership? Which Works for You?

If you prefer working out when it’s convenient for you, without having to share equipment or travel a long distance to do so, a home gym may be just what you need. Pros and cons exist for both home and public gyms. However, a home gym can help you save money and time in the long run. Sure, a gym membership gives you access to a variety of fitness machines; provides social interaction; and offers personal training. But you also face the risk of membership costs increasing, having to share equipment with others and having to commute to the gym, all of which could compromise your exercise routine. A home gym, on the other hand, enables you to customize your space, the workout machines, and your workout schedule. The advantages of having a home gym include: Flexibility When you exercise at home, you can be flexible about when and how long you work out. You can work around a busy schedule and fit in a run at home that might otherwise get axed if there’s no time for a trip to an outside gym. Saves money Although a home gym requires an initial investment, you are likely to save money in the long run because you’re not paying monthly membership fees that keep you hinged for a year at some gyms. And you’re not having to put miles on your car and refueling for the commute to an outside gym. No long waits Some busy gyms often force you to wait for certain machines while others are using them. At home, you can spend as much time as you...
Building The Perfect Home Gym

Building The Perfect Home Gym

In the age of COVID-19, public gyms may not be the safest place to pump iron, squeeze in a cardio session, or perform core-strengthening exercises. With some areas of the nation still encouraging people to shelter in place and social distance, home gyms are on the rise. Rather than risk exposure at a public gym, fitness enthusiasts are taking advantage of the convenience and benefits of working out at home. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast seeking to work out at home or someone determined to lose the extra weight gained during the pandemic, creating the perfect home gym is within reach. In the long run, working out at home will not only help you achieve your goals but will also save you on gym membership costs. Before exploring the tools and equipment you’ll need, first determine your goals, the kinds of exercises you plan to do, and how much room you have to build your home gym. Assess the space Not only will you need space for workout machines, but you’ll also need some space for floor work like pushups, squats, sit-ups, stretching, and lunges. Having a designated area for your home gym is ideal. A single room, a section in the garage, or an area in the basement are all great places to set up a fitness center. If you’re planning to set up a home gym with all the bells and whistles, you’ll need the space to lay it out properly and safely. Be sure the area is well-lit with natural light and/or overhead lighting so you can keep an eye on your performance while working out....
Will Bodyweight Workouts Build Muscle?

Will Bodyweight Workouts Build Muscle?

There are a lot of conflicting ideas out there on whether or not bodyweight exercises will build muscle. Some say bodyweight workouts will keep you lean, but not give you muscle mass. Others argue that bodyweight is all the weight you need, and lifting weights at the gym or at home is unnecessary (even dangerous) for building muscle. Neither statement is entirely true all of the time. Why? Because there are several factors that come into play when determining the efficacy of building muscle through bodyweight training. Let’s explore those factors a little more in depth. Body Type If you’re someone who has difficulty building muscle in general, this is probably the factor you prefer not to consider. Nobody wants to be told their muscle mass goal is unrealistic, but if you’re relying entirely on bodyweight workouts to get you there, your body type will determine how well your muscles respond. Either you’ll get stronger and leaner, or you’ll get stronger and develop bigger muscles. Maybe you already know what body type you have, or maybe you’ll just have to try it out. Don’t base your results entirely on body type, though. There are other things you can do to encourage muscle growth through bodyweight workouts. Keep reading. Rep More, Rest Less When you’re lifting heavy weights, it’s normal to rest for a full minute or two between reps. However, when you’re doing bodyweight workouts, you want to increase the stress you put on your muscles for as long as possible in order to build muscle. Some studies have shown this approach to be more effective in increasing metabolic...
3 Ways to Strengthen (and Protect) Your Lower Back

3 Ways to Strengthen (and Protect) Your Lower Back

Nothing puts you out of commission quite like an injured back. Anyone who’s ever thrown their back out from practicing improper form or strained their back from lifting too much knows how frustrating it is to put your feet up while you wait to recover. Studies have shown that back pain is often genetic, meaning even active, healthy people may end up dealing with it for their entire lives. However, there are things you can do to strengthen your lower back and therefore reduce the chances of throwing your back out or dealing with other painful (and annoying) chronic back issues. We’ll share a few of them in today’s blog. Form First Weightlifting is a great way to strengthen your back. However, as soon as you break form, it also becomes the best way to injure your back. People usually end up with bad form because they’re lifting too heavy. The best way to protect against this is to build weight gradually and practice in front of a mirror — that way you can see when your form is off before you start to feel it. There’s a fine line between challenging yourself and hurting your body. The moment you feel yourself cross that line into injury-prone territory is the moment you need to reduce your weight. No PR is worth a back injury. Try these weightlifting exercises to strengthen your back: Deadlifts Good mornings Dumbbell or barbell rows Kettlebell swings Yoga Moves Yoga will strengthen not only your back, but also all of your stabilizer muscles. To understand why that is important, you need to first realize that the body has two types of muscles: movers and stabilizers. Most...
5 Ways Employers Benefit from Workplace Gyms

5 Ways Employers Benefit from Workplace Gyms

Have your employees been begging for an office gym? No doubt, they want the convenience of having a workout facility within walking distance of their desk, and they’d really enjoy not having to pay for a gym membership elsewhere. But what’s in it for you, the employer? As it turns out… a lot! There are actually some pretty significant benefits that employers enjoy when they invest in a workplace gym. Let’s take a look at four of them. Loyalty Not only have workplace gyms been shown to decrease absenteeism, but they also demonstrate to your employees that you’re committed their success both personally and professionally. This is a powerful message that resonates with employees. Don’t be surprised when your employees stick around and also recommend you to others. Not only are gyms great for employee retention, but they’re also an effective recruitment tool. You’ll quickly impress and gain the loyalty of potential hires when you mention your onsite fitness center. Productivity We all know that exercise reduces stress and boosts brain function. So, why wouldn’t you want to make exercise more accessible to your employees? Why expect them to somehow squeeze in workouts before school drop-offs and 8 am meetings? Too many employees are forced to choose between workouts and work because there just isn’t time for both. The time your employees spend working out at an office gym will benefit you many times over. As employees are rejuvenated mentally, you’ll find them to be more engaged during meetings, more focused on projects, and freer to work late because they won’t be trying to get to yoga class at 7. Camaraderie If you build a gym at your workplace, it will only be a matter of time before it becomes a social activity....
Hate Cardio? Here’s How to Love It

Hate Cardio? Here’s How to Love It

We hear it all of the time: I hate cardio. Why is it that one of the most important types of physical activity out there is so dreaded by so many people? Do people really hate cardio that much, or are they doing it wrong? And what about all of those people who claim to love running and working out? What’s their secret? We suspect cardio enthusiasts have a few secrets worth sharing, so that’s what we’re going to do. Keep reading to learn how to fall in love with cardio again or perhaps for the first time. Consider the benefits. The benefits of cardio are abundant. Things like mental clarity, boosted metabolism, and increased energy simply cannot be achieved through screen time or naps on the couch. So, even though cardio might be painful for a time, you have to admit, the benefits far outweigh and outlast a 60-minute sweat. Switch things up. If you’re jogging the same route every day, or hopping on the same stationary bike at the same time every morning, then you’re going to get bored. You just are. And there’s a chance that you don’t actually hate cardio — you just hate redundancy. The key is switching things up. If you usually use a treadmill, try a row machine. If you always run at the same pace, try a sprint workout. If you usually quit halfway through a 60-minute cardio workout, try doing 30 minutes of cardio and then lift weights for the second half. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your cardio. The important thing is that you do it. Get out of your head. If you’ve ever...
Should I Be Taking Protein Powder?

Should I Be Taking Protein Powder?

Do you know how much protein you should be getting in a day? The recommended daily allowance (RDA) in order to not be protein deficient, is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. However, if you’re working out regularly, trying to build muscle, or focused on beating a personal record at the gym, you’re going to need more. Think closer to 0.72 grams per pound, according to PubMed Central. Why protein powder, though? Why not just eat more food that’s high in protein? Here are a few reasons people choose protein powder as a supplement: They’re active, and protein powder smoothies or shakes help them reach their RDA of protein without having to worry about going overboard on other things in the process, like sugars or carbs that might be in food. Throwing together a protein shake is much easier than cooking an extra meal. Protein shakes are (arguably) tastier than high-protein foods like chicken or broccoli. Making a protein shake is more affordable than buying one from your favorite smoothie place or getting takeout to meet your protein quota. Protein shakes are an easy way for people who eat plant-based diets to get the protein they need. More protein equals more strength. Sometimes active people experience extreme fatigue during or after workouts because they’re not getting enough protein. Tips for Taking Protein Powder Buy quality protein powder. Read the ingredients before you buy a protein powder. You’ve heard this advice before, and it’s especially important when it comes to protein powder because supplements like protein are not regulated by the FDA. Consequently, there are a lot of protein powders on the shelf packed with ingredients that are difficult for your body to digest. Choose wisely....
3 Places to Get Home Workouts That Don’t Require Equipment

3 Places to Get Home Workouts That Don’t Require Equipment

If there was ever a time to have a home gym, it’s now. The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down gyms across the country, and while some may be using this as the ultimate excuse for skipping workouts, others are looking for ways to maintain fitness and not lose the gains they made at the beginning of 2020. While not going to the gym may take some of the wind out of your sails temporarily, the good news is, this is only temporary, and there are plenty of fitness resources that will help you stay fit at home, whether you have a home gym or not. YouTube It probably goes without saying, but YouTube is teeming with videos for workouts of all varieties. Whether you’re trying to see an example of a specific exercise, learn how to master a motion, or follow along with an entire 30-minute workout, you’ll find what you’re looking for on YouTube. The best way to find YouTube videos with workouts that do not require equipment is to search the word calisthenics. Calisthenics is a form of resistance training that uses the weight of your body to build muscle. Learn more about calisthenics by watching the video Calisthenics Explained. YouTube is a great place to begin your dive into working out at home without equipment, but you may eventually get tired of sorting through videos on YouTube and filtering out workouts or instructors that don’t fit your taste. When that happens, it’s time to check out our next two suggestions. CompTrain CompTrain posts daily CrossFit workouts that you can do at home, either with or without equipment. There’s a tab on their home page called Home Gym, where you can view...
Why You Should Incorporate Resistance Training into Your Workout Routine

Why You Should Incorporate Resistance Training into Your Workout Routine

Exercising on a regular basis has many benefits: improved heart health, stronger muscles, more energy, and a general feeling of better health. There are all kinds of different ways to work out your body including cardio training, bodyweight workouts, and resistance training (lifting weights). Many people are nervous about the idea of training with weights because of the danger of injury. However, weight lifting provides many advantages that other types of exercise can’t, and there are precautions that can be taken to avoid injury during weight lifting. Here are 3 big reasons you should incorporate resistance training into your exercise routine. Resistance Training Super-Charges Your Metabolism Compound weight lifting exercises such as bench presses, deadlifts, power cleans, and barbell squats use a massive amount of muscles to accomplish. Compound exercises are also referred to as full-body workouts because they require assistance from your core, back, legs, and sometimes even your chest and shoulders. Naturally, when you use more muscles, you will expend more energy and burn more calories. Compound workouts also help boost your metabolism and burn fat for several hours after your workout is over. Resistance Increases Your Overall Strength While cardio workouts are definitely beneficial and bodyweight exercise is great for toning your muscles, no workout is better for building strength than heavy weight training. Have you ever been in the gym performing a workout, and while the weight doesn’t feel overly heavy, you feel pain in your joints? This is caused because your muscles may be able to handle the weight you’re lifting, but your tendons aren’t quite at the same level of strength as your muscles are. It...
Buying Pre-Owned Gym Equipment

Buying Pre-Owned Gym Equipment

We all know buying gym equipment is expensive. It’s easy to understand why most people tend to check eBay or Craigslist for pre-owned options before they buy something brand new. While buying pre-owned is not looked down upon, as gym equipment this day and age can last for years, it is smart to check out what you are purchasing and buy something that’s worth the price. Here are some tips on buying pre-owned equipment so you can get yourself in the best shape of your life — for less! What to Buy It’s necessary to find and pick out what you like when it comes to fitness. If you like biking better than running, go for the bicycle rather than the treadmill. You may want both so you can ride the bike when you are watching your favorite show and you can run on the treadmill with your favorite music, or walk on it while reading your favorite book. Whatever it is you buy, be sure it works with your fitness goals, and it’s something you wouldn’t grow tired of quickly. Choose Quality Brands Always be sure to remember just because you are buying “used” equipment doesn’t mean you can’t buy good equipment. Used doesn’t have to mean generic. If you’re interested in purchasing a particular brand name machine or machines, go for it! Buying brand names may add a large extra cost to your purchase, but it can also save you money in the long run when it comes to repairs or maintenance costs in the future. Check Wear And Tear Another clue that will tell you if used...