Workout

Gym Or Home Workout: Which Type Of Routine Suits You Best?

Gym Or Home Workout: Which Type Of Routine Suits You Best?

Are you happy working out at home, or do you have to be among others as you get toned? Here’s how you figure out whether you’re a gym or home workout person.

Many people ask themselves whether they should choose a gym or home workout. They may have limited budgets or time, or strict ideas on what they need from their exercise regimen.

If you are weighing the pros and cons of gyms vs. home for your fitness schedule,  there are many factors to take into account. Not only should you think about what kinds of movement you prefer, but you should also think about what motivates you and what inhibits you. You want to choose the best way possible to stick with your program!

Here are 15 questions to ask yourself to determine the right fitness regimen for you.

1. Do You Need The Presence of Others?

It’s hard to slack off and watch TV at the gym.  The presence of other people with similar health goals can be motivating.

There is also a healthy competitive spirit at the gym. By measuring your progress against others, you may push yourself more to work harder.

If you thrive on the opinions of others to get moving, you may wish to exercise at a gym instead of at home.

2. Have You Recently Had a Baby?

If you have recently had a baby, you are probably juggling the urge to get rid of the baby fat with exhaustion, child care, and breastfeeding. Getting out of the house may be more of a challenge than it’s worth.

In this case, you may want to start exercising in the privacy of your own home. You will be able to jump up if the baby cries, and you won’t have to compare yourself to a lot of skinny minnies in spandex.

On the other hand, if your gym has babysitting services, going out to work out can be a much-needed break for new moms.

3. Do You Work Irregular Hours?

Maybe you work the late shift and get home in the middle of the night. Maybe you need to jump in transglobal calls at odd hours. It can be hard to schedule training at the gym when real life and work worries get in the way. Not all gyms are open 24 hours a day, either.

Some people’s careers are so demanding and time-consuming that it is hard to schedule any time during the week to get to the gym. When they get home, they may just want to collapse. For these people, maybe a weekend routine or activity is best.

If you are simply too busy to be able to commit to a daily routine at a gym, you can make sure you have an inviting place to work out at home whenever possible. Invest in a treadmill, stationary bike or a set of free weights and keep them in your study or garage.

That way, you can pick up the weights or jump on the treadmill at any time you have the energy, day or night.

4. Are You Shy About Your Appearance?

Maybe you don’t like your current weight. Maybe you are ashamed at how little muscle you have in your arms and legs, and you want to bulk up more.

Going to the gym can be intimidating for people who are inhibited about how they look. They may refuse to go at all, which of course is antithetical to the goal of getting on a fitness regime.

If you are low in confidence about your physical body, start off with an at-home fitness program. You can lose weight and get into shape with exercises or even a private trainer. You will start gaining self-esteem in no time.

5. Do You Have Young Kids at Home?

It can be difficult and expensive to get to a gym when you are taking care of small children. Even though some health clubs have child care, your kids may have other ideas.  Some children enjoy the playgroup at sports clubs and other venues, and some would rather relax in the comfort of their own houses.

Exercising at home allows you to save on babysitting while keeping an eye on the youngsters upstairs. You are also setting a good example,  that health is an important priority in your family. They may even want to join you!

6. Do You Need to Get Out of the House?

If you are a stay-at-home mom or you work remotely, you may realize that some days you never leave the house! Signing up for a gym or fitness classes can force you to leave your abode. That’s good for not only your physical but your mental health.

A change of scenery can also be inspiring. A different environment plus exercise for even 30 minutes per day can clear your mind and reset your attitude if you are otherwise housebound.

7. Do You Work Out with Your Partner?

If you like to work out as a couple,  your decision of gym or home may depend on your partner’s preferences. You can work out either place, so long as you agree.

Working out with a spouse or friend can push you when your energy flags,  and pass the time if you get bored. They can inspire you. They can also annoy you-which is actually another great method of motivation!

Gyms sometimes also offer family memberships so you might be able to save some money as well.

8. Do You Want to Meet New People?

If you lead an isolated lifestyle or have moved to a new location, you may want to spend your free time meeting new people.  The gym is the new singles bar, church or community center.

Many gyms organize meetups on weekends like hikes, softball games and other healthy excursions. There are even more casual ways to meet people, like at the juice bar after your work out. You will have an opportunity to meet people with similar health goals.

If you have friends at the gym, you are also more likely to return on a continuous basis. Fitness can become one of just many shared fun times.

9. Are You Trying to Lose Weight?

Overweight people are sometimes embarrassed to start working out in front of others who may be more fit. Although everyone will tell you not to worry, if it prevents you from showing up it is a problem.

Some gyms are focused on weight loss and are more likely to have a clientele with goals similar to yours. Alternatively, sometimes you will have more luck with the initial fitness push when you start working out at home.

After a little time with regular exercise and good nutrition, you may start to feel confident enough to integrate some group activities into your regimen. Many gym rats started out as overweight: they will describe to you how they used to hate going to the gym, and now they love it!

10. Do You Have Special Physical Needs?

Maybe you are recovering from an injury. Maybe you have a sensitive back or a sore shoulder. Maybe you are developing arthritis or other age-related weakness.

If you have special circumstances which might risk your well being, you are better off working out at a gym or at home with a personal trainer. You need guidance on the right kinds of exercises to do to prevent you from hurting yourself.

A professional coach or physical therapist can guide you in ways that strengthen the body part in question without risk of additional injury or strain. They can spot you if you are hesitant about certain moves.

11. Do You Like A Certain Kind of Music?

Some gyms blast loud music non-stop. You may love that! Or it might send you screaming for the hills.

You can always wear headphones if you like a specific kind of music to get you going or to block out the noise of others. However, if you prefer to blast Gregorian chants first thing in the morning while doing your sit-ups, you may be better off in the privacy of your own home.

12. Are You On A Strict Budget?

Gyms vary widely in price depending on the services they offer and the location. There are fancy gyms with pools and spas, located in high-end real estate markets, where the monthly membership fees can be high. There are also plain nuts-and-bolts gyms which just provide the basics.

Working out at home can be more cost effective because you save yourself those high monthly fees. However, paying for something sometimes ensures that you actually do it.

If you want to save some bucks, working out at home is a great option so long as you actually stick with the program. One alternative is to hire a coach to come in once per week to create a program you adhere to the rest of the time. They will check up on your progress and adjust your routine as you improve.

13. Do You Need Extra Encouragement?

Sometimes when you work out alone you can just give up. If you get tired or it hurts, there is no reason to keep going! And the refrigerator is just inches away, full of enticing snacks…

If you are pushing through an aerobics class at the gym, the teacher is probably hollering words of encouragement throughout. If you are bench pressing an extra heavy weight in the gym and you are struggling, the words of encouragement from the trainer and your fellow gym members can make all the difference.

Working out with people gives us an extra kick. It’s often too easy to throw in the towel when you are home alone, unless you have a coach by your side urging you to do your best.

14. Do You Crave Variety?

Boredom is a big enemy of fitness. Some people need to shake it up often, or else they just get bored and quit.

If you choose a gym and you are inclined towards boredom, make sure there are lots of different activities. Do they offer a range of fitness classes like Pilates, yoga, and TRX? Do they have a pool, tennis courts or cycling?

If you are working out at home,  shake it up. Go for hikes or run outside in nice weather. Use videotapes of different workouts and change your soundtrack often. You can even work out in different rooms of the house.

Changing your exercise routine is not only good for you mentally, but it is good for you physically. It is healthy to work out different muscle groups and alternate between endurance, cardio, and weight training.

15. Do You Want Nutritional Advice?

Most exercise programs work best when they are supplemented by a diet. You will find many different opinions on the best diet plan for your specific goal: to lose weight, build muscle, or address specific health issues.

If you decide you would be happier at a gym, choose one with someone on staff who can help guide your nutritional regimen as well as your exercise program. Many trainers and coaches can advise on specific diets, foods to avoid, and perfect portions. Other gyms even sell nutritional supplements and other items which are better for you than snacking on junk food at home.

If you are working out at home, you can research the many resources available which advise on the best methods to achieve your nutritional goals. You might also work with a coach who is also educated on diet.

Gym or Home Workout? Either or Both May Work For You

If you are trying to decide whether the gym or home workout is right for you,  you need to look at your personal preferences, goals, and priorities. But be flexible! Your life may evolve over time.

You may want to go to a gym after working out at home for a few months and losing weight. Your child will soon be old enough to want to participate in a playgroup. You may learn ways to go through your circuit at the gym quickly and efficiently in a way that works with your tight schedule.

Whatever you decide, there is always an option which will work with your specific lifestyle, family, and budget. The important thing is to just do it.

For more information on working out and living right, check out our blog.

This Is the Best Time of Day to Exercise For Better Sleep

This Is the Best Time of Day to Exercise For Better Sleep

The link between better sleep and exercise is well known. We’ll tell you the best time of day to exercise so you can rest easy and wake up refreshed.

As well as whole host of benefits, from weight control to fighting depression, exercise is also important for getting a good night’s sleep.

In fact, just 30 minutes of exercise three times a week was enough to improve sleep quality for sedentary women suffering from insomnia.

So, the jury’s in – working up a sweat during the day is key to sleeping soundly at night. But, is the effect is the same regardless of when you exercise? After all, it’s not unreasonable to assume that a late night exercise session might leave you too wired to fall asleep.

While it is true that the timing of your workout can have an influence on sleep, there are lots of different factors to consider. Read on to find out the best time of day to exercise for better sleep.

The Connection Between Exercise and Sleep Quality

It’s safe to say there’s little debate over the fact that exercising helps you sleep better.

In a recent poll, the National Sleep Foundation found that up to 67 percent of exercisers report getting a good night’s sleep. Only 39 percent of non-exercisers were able to report that they experienced the same high sleep quality.

And, the more intense the workout out, the bigger the difference. Seventy-two percent of vigorous exercisers said that they rarely or never experienced symptoms of insomnia. In contrast, 50 percent of non-exercisers said that they often wake up early, while 24 percent experience insomnia nearly every night.

Further research studied over 3,000 adults who tried to complete the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity each week. These participants showed a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality. They also reported feeling less sleepy during the day.

And, this effect runs both ways too. Getting enough sleep means that you feel well-rested the following day and have enough energy to exercise. On the other hand, feeling tired after a bad night’s sleep is more likely to make you skip your workout.

But, what’s the best time of the day to get active for optimum sleep quality? Here, we compare how exercising in the morning, afternoon and at night affect how well you sleep.

Working Out in the Morning

Many people favor exercising in the early hours because it ensures that you’ve got your workout in before the demands of the day take hold. And, making the effort to wake up early and work out means you’re sure to reap the benefits of better-quality sleep.

In fact, working out in the morning has the added bonus of even deeper sleep at night. One study compared participants who worked out at 7 AM, 1 PM, and 7 PM for three days per week. Those who worked out at 7 am experienced longer, deeper sleep than the other exercise groups.

The same study also found that morning exercise has a greater effect on reducing blood pressure. During sleep, your blood pressure dips by around 10 to 20 percent.

The 7 AM exercisers experienced a 25 percent drop at night and a 10 percent reduction in blood pressure throughout the whole day. This drop in blood pressure is associated with deeper sleep as it one way that the body restores itself during the night.

And, if you exercise outside in the morning, you’ll also benefit from a dose of sunshine. Not only does this boost your vitamin D levels, but it also helps regulate your circadian rhythm for a more consistent sleep/wake cycle.

Working Out in the Afternoon

If hitting the gym at the crack of dawn isn’t for you, don’t worry. Working out in the afternoon also has benefits, for both your performance and your sleep quality.

By the afternoon, your body has had more of a chance to warm-up. In fact, it’s one or two degrees warmer than when you first get out of bed.

As a result, your muscles can work more efficiently and there’s less chance of you injuring yourself. You’ll body will be supple and more flexible. Dance steps will come easier and you’ll be more adept at complex full-body movements like swinging a tennis racket.

In addition, afternoon workouts can also help you fall asleep more quickly and wake up less often during the night. This is because exercise raises your body temperature for around four or five hours. Following this period, your core temperature decreases, sending a signal to your body to start preparing for sleep mode.

Exercising in the afternoon is also a great way to release stress and tension after a hard day at work. Focusing on the physical later in the day allows your body to take over from your brain. This then reduces the possibility of being kept awake at night by an anxious or busy mind working overtime.

Working Out at Night

Maybe exercising in the morning isn’t for you. And perhaps an afternoon workout is impossible with your schedule. Whatever your reasons, many people find a late night sweat session the most convenient for them.

But, does late night exercise have the same positive effect on sleep quality? Or, is it possible that working out before bed actually negatively effects your sleep?

There’s no single answer to these questions. It can depend on the workout you do, but when to exercise depends more on your individual reaction.

For example, doing yoga and Pilates at night is said to be beneficial for those kept awake by stress. This is because of the stretching movements and focuses on breathing help you to relax and unwind before bed.

Also, strength training at any time of the day has been found to improve sleep quality. That said, the time of day that you lift weights does make a difference to how your sleep improves.

Those who get their pumps and curls out of the way in the morning tend to drift off to sleep quicker than night exercisers. But, those who pump iron at night wake up less often and sleep better overall.

But, what about cardio before bed? It’s logical to think that a high-energy workout that has your heart pumping and increases your body temperature is not the way to ease yourself into a pre-sleep state. And it’s true – for some people exercise before sleep can cause insomnia.

But, that doesn’t mean that night-time cardio should be off-limits. The National Sleep Foundation found that exercisers report improved sleep regardless of when they worked out. In fact, in one study, male cyclists rode stationary bikes for three hours up until 30 minutes before bedtime and had no trouble sleeping.

Make Your Workout Schedule Work for You

To reap the many benefits of exercise, improved sleep included, your workout schedule must have all of ‘the three Cs’ – commitment, convenience, and consistency.

Commitment means making a plan and sticking to it. But, just as your plan is individual to you, so is your idea of convenience, as is how you can ensure consistency. If rolling out of bed and into the gym is the only way you can stay consistent, great. But, if it’s convenient for you to work out at 9 pm and you sleep well afterwards, don’t feel you have to change your routine.

Likewise, if you find that your workout schedule isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to change it. Many people swear by working out first thing as there’s less going on to side-track your best efforts to get a workout in. But, if you feel sluggish and tend to struggle through your morning workouts, don’t feel obliged to continue exercising early.

You might find that you feel more energetic in the afternoon or evening. Not only is your body temperature higher during this period, but your endurance also peaks around this time of day. And, getting outside for a mini workout at lunchtime is also a great way to boost your afternoon productivity.

Feel free to experiment with exercising at different times of the day and use an activity tracker to analyze your sleeping patterns. This way, you’ll know for sure which time of day is best for you to exercise.

And, if it’s more convenient to work out later, but you experience reduced sleep, try playing around with your schedule. Move your workouts around by half an hour or so and see what time works best for you. After some trial and error, you’re sure to find when to exercise for the best sleep quality.

The Best Time of Day to Exercise for Better Sleep

Some people are firmly in the early-exercise camp. Others say that a moonlit jog is the only time to get in their daily activity.

Whichever side you’re on, you’ll be pleased to learn that the best time of day to exercise is whenever it’s most convenient for you. And, whatever time of the day – or night – you prefer to exercise, you’ll still sleep soundly come bedtime.

For more information, check out our FAQs, or contact us to find out how our Body Transformation Challenge can help you achieve your fitness goals, and get a better night’s sleep too!

10 Workout Motivation Tips to Avoid Fitness Fatigue

10 Workout Motivation Tips to Avoid Fitness Fatigue

Everyone starts working out with a lot of dedication. Unfortunately it can fade fast. These are our best tips for workout motivation to meet your goals.

Working out isn’t something you can do every once in a while or whenever you feel like it if you really want to see results. It requires you to show up every single day. You have to be dedicated to your workout routine, learn how to create healthy eating habits, and start taking better care of yourself as a whole.

That’s when the physical and mental transformations begin to happen.

However, it is common for people to experience some ups and downs on their fitness journey – like struggling to find workout motivation or stick to their diet. Everyone goes through these things at one point or another, but it’s on each person in the gym to push past them.

If you’ve been having a serious lack of motivation to get in the gym and work toward your goals, use these tips to build your drive back up.

1. Put on Your Workout Clothes

This is the simplest thing you can do to get your mind into workout mode. Putting on your workout clothes doesn’t mean that you have to go to the gym right away, but it does help significantly in making sure you show up.

If you seriously don’t feel like going to the gym today, try this trick. Grab your favorite workout outfit, put it on, and see how you feel once you look in the mirror or even in the next hour or so. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference this little trick makes.

2. Try Different Kinds of Workouts

Maybe the issue with your workout motivation right now isn’t that you’re not showing up to the gym, but that you can’t wait to leave once you’re there. Maybe you’re bored with your workouts or feel like they’ve plateaued.

The quick fix for this is to switch up your routine.

Try out different kinds of workouts until you find what engages you the most. For some people, there’s no better way to do cardio than to take a spin or Zumba class. For others, lifting becomes a lot more fun in a CrossFit gym or some other group setting

Keep in mind you don’t have to do one single kind of workout, either. It’s possible to do yoga on Monday, lift on Tuesday, then run on Wednesday and still reach your goals!

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

No matter where you are or what you’re doing to exercise, remember that you’re there to work on you. This means you have to focus on what your body needs to do to get a good pump and stop paying attention to what other people are doing.

You won’t be as buff as the strongest person in the gym right away and you’re not going to be as fast or as slim as them, either. More so, you have to keep in mind that they were once in your shoes as the newbie to working out and being fit.

Work on putting all your energy into your fitness journey instead of others’. This will do wonders to motivate you to keep going and work harder than you have in a while.

4. Stay Hydrated All Day Long

Comparing yourself to others is a mind game that does you no good. But, there could be a physical reason why you’re not feeling motivated to workout – like the fact that you’re dehydrated.

Water plays a significant role in every single thing your body does. It affects your mental focus, energy levels, digestion, and how well you rest, too.

If the body can’t perform such functions like its supposed to, it’s definitely not going to feel up for the challenge of working out. When you drink a good amount of water throughout the day, though, you increase your chances of getting it done!

5. Focus on That “Pumped Up” Feeling

Speaking of getting it done, take a moment to think about how amazing you feel when you finish a workout. There’s nothing that can match that sense of accomplishment when you walk out of the gym super sweaty or with your muscles shaking a bit.

Not to mention, the build-up of your pump and reaching that sense of accomplishment is also pretty cool. There’s something special about walking into the gym with low energy and walking out feeling like you can take on anything – especially if you’re making progress in how heavy you’re lifting or how much endurance your body has as a whole.

6. Take Advantage of Your Rest Days

Here’s something else to consider: maybe your motivation to go to the gym hasn’t disappeared, maybe it has completely run out (for now).

That’s what happens when you overwork your body and push yourself too hard. There’s a big difference between being dedicated and showing up, and not knowing how to listen to what your body is telling you.

You need to have a rest day.

Even if it’s an active rest day, you have to be able to let your body relax. This is the precious time that your muscles need to rebuild themselves after working so hard in the gym. It’s also your chance to do something with your time other than working out that benefits you in a different way.

7. Reward Yourself with Cheat Meals

One of the best things about rest days is that this is usually when people have their cheat meals. Cheat meals help you curb cravings and stick to your long-term goals. They’re also a great reward to give yourself after crushing your workouts, and they serve as a nice boost of motivation as cheat day gets closer and closer.

Keep in mind that there’s a difference between enjoying one well-deserved cheat meal and going completely off the rails, though. You risk guilting yourself and losing even more motivation to workout if you take cheat day too far. But, enjoying it mindfully offers many benefits.

8. Remember Why You Started

Another way to find the workout motivation you need is to take a look at the goals you’ve written down. Keep these at the front of your mind as you do every single rep, when you sit down to eat, and as you go about the rest of your day.

Whether you’re trying to grow 10 pounds of muscle or lose 20 pounds of fat, you have to remember why you started. This is the motivation you need when you’re thinking about skipping your last set or when you’re trying to cheat your reps. It’s what makes you show up at the gym in the first place and reminds you to work hard while you’re there.

9. Change Your Perspective

As smart as it is to remember why you started, you may discover there’s a deeper issue at play if you’re having to find workout motivation every single day. Working out really shouldn’t be a chore; it should be something that you genuinely want to do instead of a task that you feel obligated to complete.

If this isn’t the mindset you have right now, it’s time to change your perspective. Take a step back for a second and try to identify what it is about working out that you don’t like. Figure out the barriers you’ve created in your mind, then work past them.

Find ways to improve your relationship with working out. Do workouts that are more enjoyable to you or at least try not to be so hard on yourself.

10. Have Someone Hold You Accountable

The final way to boost your workout motivation is to have someone do it for you. Not to say that you should rely on them, but rather, commit to showing up for them as well as for yourself.

Get a gym partner to hold you accountable when you’re trying to skip out of a workout, or even better, hire a personal trainer! This is someone you can lean on when you’re really not feeling your workout for the day.

But, you’re still the one who has to put in the work.

That work does become a lot easier to do when you have someone making sure you show up and lifting you up throughout the workout. They’re there to offer you support, call you out when you’re cheating yourself, and remind you of the inner strength you have to keep going.

How to Get the Most of Your Workout Motivation

You can have all the workout motivation in the world and still struggle to get the results you’re looking for. That’s because you have to know how to train your body once you actually get into the gym.

This takes a little time to figure out. You have to be patient as you learn how to build a mind-muscle connection and create routines that best target each muscle group, not to mention understand which supplements to take and when.

Thankfully, you don’t have to take all of this alone! That’s what we’re here for.

Click here to discover everything our personal coaching services can do for you!

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