Are Your Home Gym Efforts Going Nowhere?

Pamela Chan, M.Ed./Editorial

How are your at home – AKA Home Gym – efforts going these days? Have you returned to group exercising at your local community rec centre or gym? This has been an issue with which I have grappled for some time now, as Covid keeps on keeping on, the cost of living gets more expensive and my household budget gets even tighter than it already was pre Covid. Should I keep trying to become a home gym slayer or should I return to group classes at a local gym?

My first task was to find a gym meme to share with my story because if you can’t laugh at your life and what’s going on, what’s left?

Are Gym Selfies a Thing?

This meme caught my eye because I thought “is this a thing? Is this something people are talking about?” Clearly I need to get out more. I’ll never take gym selfies or videos because I’m hopelessly – and laughably (I made that word up) – uncoordinated. My sporty children clearly don’t take after me. I was that school girl constantly blowing out her knees on the hills south of Dublin. (There is actually a known medical condition for children prone to falling down.) You can tell because I’m often sporting iodine painted, scabbed up knees in photos.

And Then Covid Arrived

In the months leading up to the pandemic, I did appreciate going to the gym every morning. That is until Covid took hold. Most of the people who know me didn’t think much of me going to the gym 3 or 4 times per week but being that disciplined was a big accomplishment for me. And it was fun. I like using toys like battle hoses, sandbags, TRX and dumbbells. Mindlessly peddling on a bike or trotting on an elliptical (do they even make a difference?) just doesn’t appeal. I’d love to use an exercise sled as I’ve pushed many a heavy load of garden gear in recent years. 

Well That Didn’t Go Well

After Covid started, I tried weight lifting at home and threw out my shoulder while using a kettle bell. It took over 2 years to stop feeling pangs of pain if I tried to use it too much. Physio exercises didn’t really help. More recently,  I’ve tried exercising by myself again and I’m interested to see how others go solo in their home gyms. But I miss the community spirit of group lessons and I also suck at “home gym” efforts. My best efforts are when I  hoof it around local hills with my dog (cardio) or throw large bags of soil and the like around during gardening season (weight lifting and resistance training!).

To Return or Not?

I’m toying with the idea of going back to a gym. (Have you heard of F45 gyms?). But I still know people who are getting bad cases of Covid on the regular. So I wiffle waffle back and forth. How are you approaching this issue? I could use some other perspectives. And if you are going to a gym, which one do you like? (I’m assuming you go maskless because….yeh. Not many are wearing masks these days and who wants to exercise with a mask?) 

Back to this selfie gym meme. Hmnn. God forbid selfies and videos are popular at group gyms now. I do not want to be in anyone’s background. Even if I did have the most bootylicious butt enhanced by padded lycra pants, that are oddly popular now.

Over to you. Where’s your exercise game at these days?

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If you are trying to do more exercise at home, here are some fun hacks for equipment.

DIY Plyo Box If you or someone you know is handy with wood. This would make sense if you have wood and equipment lying around. Otherwise you might as well buy one. I made one for stepping up (not jumping) that is higher than my stepper step. I used a large cardboard box and stuffed it tight with condensed, tough cardboard.

DIY Parallettes – presumably you could make taller ones too.

DIY Sandbag – cool idea but I would definitely not use rice. We live in a household ruled by the wisdom of my father-in-law. No grain of rice should be wasted!

DIY Slamball – or, uh, just make one. I haven’t costed out which would be cheaper. But if you already have some of these tools on hand, getting a few more parts might not be too spendy.

DIY Battle Ropes – pretty creative ideas in this one. I wonder if fire stations really do give away old hoses? I actually really enjoy using battle ropes. They are an excellent challenge.

Rola Bola Balance Board – I need to sign one of my twins up for woodwork next year so he/she can make one of these!

4 Position DIY Pull Up Bar – if going to your local park or your straight pull up bar isn’t doing it for you.