A Guide To Picking and Planning for a Sustainable Home Workout Routine

What are your goals for your workout?

For many people, working out at home means doing something different than they were doing before; either moving in a new way or starting a movement practice for the first time. Before you invest time, space, and money in home workouts, why not invest time in understanding what your top three goals for working out are? Many people assume the reason to exercise is to lose weight or gain muscle. That’s not why I train. I train to empower and cultivate a deeper relationship with myself as I move about the world. Some people engage in movement because it is fun and they just love it! Some people use it to help boost their mood, improve their sleep, or manage their stress. Those are just a few examples, but some might resonate with you, too. Take ten minutes to brainstorm all the reasons why you want to work out. If you come up with more than three, then take an additional minute to look at your list and circle your top three. You will come back to this list.

What kind of workouts do you enjoy?

How much money is in your budget for working out?

I have a very organized friend who told me she and her wife recently adjusted her family’s budget to reflect how she and her family were living their life these days. Knowing they both needed to be set up for movement practices at home, they reallocated money that went to things like meals out and trips to the movies before to fitness equipment. For other folks, that money may need to be reallocated for healthcare costs or to pay down debt. The good news is you can find things out there at every price point. I know for a fact that many practitioners are offering sliding scale and free classes as well. Movement@Home is a directory of trauma-informed and HAES-aligned practitioners who offer different types of online workouts ranging in price. I encourage you to review your own finances and write down how much you can comfortably spend weekly, monthly, or one time for fitness.

Where do you have space to workout, and how much space do you have?

Space is a resource just like money, and limited space often demands creativity. A friend of mine sets up his bench and works out spanning the entirety of his studio apartment. I know a lot of people are kettlebell training in their galley kitchens and I have a friend who works out in her bathroom. Remember the smaller the equipment, the easier to store. Make note of where training will fit into your world in a way that feels sustainable and convenient, rather than squeezed in.

What kind of workout aligns with your goals, what you like to do, your budget, and your space?

Armed with all this information about yourself, you are better equipped to invest your resources into a workout you enjoy and will stick with. Many of us are familiar with sinking money into a membership or piece of equipment we barely used. It doesn’t feel good to realize that the treadmill in your bedroom has become a very expensive place to hang your purse or dirty laundry. Planning and preparing make it more likely we can take a healthy self-care behavior — like working out — and making it a long-term health habit.

What do you really need to do this workout?

Sometimes what is sexy and well marketed does not align with what we actually need. Do your research. If you are new to resistance training you can do a lot with resistance bands, which are versatile and cost a heck of a lot less than free weights. A yoga mat is nice to have but a towel will work in a pinch as well. Things like rowing machines and exercise bikes come at a variety of price points. I found an air resistance rowing machine that meets my needs for half the price of the Concept 2 air resistance rower that I used at the gym. I have trained clients at home using tote bags and backpacks filled with books, broomsticks, canned goods, and bottles of water.

What do you already have from the “needs” list?

Once you figure out what you need you can put a plan in place to secure those items so you can get started. When they’ve arrived, set a start date for yourself.

What is still on your equipment wish list?

There is nothing wrong with wanting fancy equipment. In fact those can often make the workouts more efficient and fun. Keep that list for a later date when you can invest in those things. Because you have taken the time to prepare for your new movement practice it is more likely to stick and the money spent will be a sound investment that you will feel good about. Feeling good about all aspects of your home workout, even how you allocate your resources to make it happen, can make the whole experience that much more enjoyable.

Author of Lifting Heavy Things, Trauma Informed Personal Trainer, learn more at laurakhoudari.com

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