Always practicing what he preaches, Bristolian expat Patrick follows his own fitness and nutrition advice and can usually be found training hard in his home gym or walking his two Great Danes around the countryside surrounding his house in Pafos, Cyprus.
I have worked in fitness for almost twenty-five years, long before the big chain gyms and celebrity personal trainers existed, and during that time I have spoken to thousands of people regarding exercise and its many benefits.
The benefits of exercise are an easy sell; you’ll look great, feel great, will be healthier, leaner and stronger, have more energy, be ill less often, have a better outlook on life, develop determination . . . it’s an almost endless list! However, the downside is that to enjoy these benefits you have to invest a few things, namely time and effort.
I can’t really help on the effort front; even easy exercise requires that you get up off the sofa and get moving, but when people tell me they don’t have time to exercise, I have the perfect solution – exercise at home.
It was during another protracted conversation about the advantages of home exercise that I was inspired to produce what I hope will be the ultimate guide to getting fit without having to join a gym.
Joining a gym is great but if your working day is long, your gym is not within easy reach of your home or workplace, the gym fees are very high or you simply don’t like big, busy gyms, even the best equipped chrome-plated fitness palace won’t help you get fit.
However, if you chose to exercise at home, you can forget all about the inconvenience of commuting, exercise at any time you like, exercise in privacy and, for less than a typical month’s gym membership, construct your own home gym at which your membership never needs renewing.
On a personal note, having worked in fitness for so long, I have enjoyed complimentary membership of some of the best gyms around – until recently I was part-owner of a large gym in Cyprus. But, and despite having ready and free access to several gyms, I still maintain my home gym and use it more often than the other more extensively-equipped facilities.
When I’m exercising at home, I know that I can work out without interruption, I don’t have to queue to use any of the equipment, can play the kind of music I prefer, work out at any time I fancy and avoid wasting any valuable time travelling to or from a ‘real’ gym.
I’m often asked ‘Can you really get fit exercising at home?’ which is a very good question. Some people mistakenly think that you’ll get fitter if you have state of the art exercise equipment to use when actually, the opposite is true. A lot of modern exercise equipment is designed to make exercise easier and not necessarily more effective. Fancy machines with padded seats and smooth mechanics may be a pleasure to use but all that pandering actually reduces the effectiveness of the exercise; a seated chest press machine will never be as effective as the common or garden press-up.
Whenever someone tells me they don’t have time to go to the gym, I happily explain to them that, actually, they can be their own gym. With nothing more than a few square meters of space and the willingness to put some work in, anyone can develop all the fitness and strength they will ever need using nothing more than their own body and, for variety, some very cheap and often free homemade pieces of equipment.
Getting fit can often seem complicated and expensive but that’s because of the nature of the fitness industry. The truth is that, if you want to get fit and enjoy all the benefits of exercise, you really don’t need a gym.
- Patrick Dale