If there’s one thing recent events have taught us, it’s that there’s no better and safer place to be right now than our homes. As companies turn to remote work and schools to online classes, fitness professionals have found refuge in home fitness programmes to cope. And it all boils down to one question: How does one properly and effectively work out from home?
At least from the perspective of a “just starting out” fitness enthusiast, this is something I’ve pondered on in past weeks as I figure out ways to be more active. In between writing, eating, sleeping, and sometimes, decorating, that is. To honour that thought, and those of others in the same predicament, I talked to Filipino fitness coaches Kyla Gancayco of The Movement Studio and Joseph Guevara of The Givars Effect about their home workout tips for Filipinos.
Also read: These Pinoy Trainers Will Get You in Shape This Quarantine
How is it different from working out in gyms?
First, let’s settle this once and for all: Except for offering a safer space given today’s health climate, what are some of the benefits of working out from home that you can’t find in gyms and lifestyle centres? Both coaches share their takes below.
On pacing and privacy
“When you go to the gym, one of the things you have to consider is what time it will be least full in order to have access to the equipment you need. If you go when it is busy, the squat racks might already be occupied (depending on which gym you go to), while most dumbbells and machines are probably being used as well,” Kyla explained.
She added that for those who have a busy day-to-day schedule, finding the time to visit a gym alone, one that’s not already full, poses a challenge. “[But] when you work out at home, you have unlimited access to your own home gym and are able to freely decide what time is most convenient for you to work out, be it as early as 5am or as late as 11pm.”
Kyla further stressed how working out from home can greatly benefit those who tend to feel less comfortable and confident when around other people. “When no one is watching you, there is less fear to challenge yourself because quite literally, your only competition is you,” she said. “I’m not in a rush anymore because I’m not worrying about the person who might be waiting to use the squat rack after me.”
On time and convenience
For Joseph, who has been exclusively offering home fitness programmes, going to the gym offers inconvenience, one that he hopes to address through his personalised services. “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, my goal was to set up a garage gym at home. For me, this is one of the best investments that I made,” he told TripZilla.
“The inconvenience of going out of your way after work or before work going to the gym is a big enough hindrance to keep you from making this a habit. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have gym memberships. What I’m saying is that if you have your training space at home, then you won’t have any excuse not to use it,” Joseph added.
The former athlete likewise considers time as an irrevocable resource. Before, going to the nearest gym for him used to take 20 to 25 minutes. Then, there’s the usual routine of finding park outside gyms, doing the workout itself, and attending post-gym activities. These things would have him spend a ton of time outside, which he could use more productively.
“These were my experiences prior to the pandemic. Now, it is really a must to isolate ourselves and workout in our own space,” he also said. “With this, I could not stress out enough that making an effort to accomplish home workouts consistently, with or without equipment, is one of the best investments that you could make for yourself, most especially — for your health.”
Home workout tips that work
Having laid out the benefits of home workouts, we move on to the core of the home workout agenda — how to do it properly and effectively. Below, Kyla and Joseph discuss their tried and proven home workout tips for Filipinos summed up in three main points.
Know or set your goal
“You have to first make it clear to yourself what your goals are, then build your home gym around these goals,” Kyla said. “A programme that worked for someone else might not necessarily be the best option for you. Find something that suits your personal goals and conveniently fits in your daily routine.”
By knowing your goal from the start, it’ll be easier to motivate yourself when you feel like skipping a routine, if not backing out from your fitness journey. “Know that there will be days when you will dread working out, but that’s why it is so important to establish your goals from the very beginning — so that these goals can drive you to put in the work even when you don’t feel like it (because you definitely won’t always feel like it).”
When you know your goal, you can also set a tangible and effective timeline for yourself. according to Joseph. “After defining your goals, set a time wherein you start with your fitness journey and also put a deadline (e.g. 90 days, 30 days, 180 days) depending on your target.”
When doing it on your own seems unlikely at first, it helps to find a coach who can guide you with choosing a programme that will resonate with you. “Find people who studied the craft of human anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, or exercise science, to name a few,” Joseph suggested.
Invest in the basics and improvise
Having a goal and a clear understanding of it, the next move is to find a space and tools to work with at home. “Make sure to find a space for your gym where you will feel comfortable enough to spend one to two hours of your day in. You won’t be able to gym somewhere where there is too much clutter. And you wouldn’t want to gym somewhere that gets too stuffy or stinky,” Kyla said.
Regardless if you want to build muscle or to lose fat, Kyla suggests resistance training as one of the most effective options for beginners. For this, investing in basic equipment is paramount. “There are several ways to get in a good strength workout with just your bodyweight. However, having just a set of dumbbells and a yoga mat will give you a much wider range of options for your workouts and will make it much easier to progress.”
Alternatively, you can also focus on improving cardiovascular and muscular endurance through bodyweight exercises. Joseph assures that to make these work, or any other programme for that matter, knowing how to improvise is vital. “You don’t have to stress yourself in procuring gym equipment since you can use regular household items as gym tools,” he said.
“You can use heavy bags as dumbbells, stairs for your elevated surface, and laundry bars for pull-ups,” added Joseph, who has been teaching his clients to use household items as improvised workout equipment. “If you want to invest in equipment, a pair of dumbbells with adjustable weights that range from 7.5 to 20 lbs, resistance bands (booty and power bands), and a pull-up bar will suffice.”
Even from home, strive for consistency
As in working out in general, consistency is key when striving for a healthier lifestyle. “When you find a programme that suits your needs, it will be easier to stay consistent,” Kyla shared. “Find something that you can sustain, allow yourself to rest, and if you have extra time, throw in some active recovery to learn a new skill that will keep it fun (like learning to jump rope or to do handstands).”
She also reminds Filipinos to be more realistic with their routine. “Challenge yourself, but don’t burn yourself out. Be practical with your programme — don’t push yourself too hard and too soon to the point that you’ll end up wanting to quit right away. Whatever it is, remember that it is a privilege to be able to move,” she said.
While there are several programmes to choose from to cater your goals, Joseph believes it comes down to thorough planning. “After getting the easy parts done, now you just have to religiously do the plan every day,” he said. “Accept the fact that results won’t come in overnight. Your transformation will be the accumulation of the work done in the specific time frame.”
Furthermore, to achieve consistency and better results overall, he encourages Filipinos to stay committed and focused, not necessarily on other people’s journey, but on one’s own. “Don’t stress about the fitness journey of other people. Be competitive. Not with them, but with yourself. Be 1% better than you were each day.”
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Being able to work out from home is a privilege — make the most of it
With these home workout tips for Filipinos in the open, it’s crucial to realise that working out isn’t just about staying fit, but also healthy and active. More importantly, know that even from doing it at home, discipline matters! “My principle in health is always focused on the long game. Motivation is fickle. Today, you may have it, and then come tomorrow, you don’t,” Joseph also said. “That said, be brave enough to start and admit that you need help. Commit and be coachable. Lastly, even if you don’t feel like it, do it and be consistent.”
Furthermore, with everything that’s going on, the merit of changing one’s perspective towards home workout cannot be stressed enough. “There are many things going on right now that seem to be out of our control, but one of the few things we have control over is how we decide to move our bodies,” Kyla shared. “When you stop looking at your workouts as a burden and start seeing them as a privilege, it will be easier for you to keep going. You’ll be surprised with how strong you really are, but to find out you must first be willing to try.”
The quotes above have been edited for grammar, clarity, and flow. All images courtesy of Kyla Gancayco and Joseph Guevara.