Exercising at Home versus At the Gym

When I initially became interested in taking care of my health and implementing some sort of fitness routine, my first step was signing up for a gym membership. I did not know whether or not I would actually use it because I was never an active person before. I chose the classes I could actually keep up with, bearing in mind my fitness goal at the time was to lose fat. Not weight, but fat.

 

 

I did fat-burning cardio classes such as Barre, Aerobics and Zumba twice per week. I also went on the treadmill almost every day. I did Pilates classes too for some form of resistance training to gain lean muscle. At first, I did Pilates twice per week and then I worked my way up to doing it four times per week as I enjoyed it the most.

Within a few months however, I unintentionally went into a heavy caloric deficit. This means that I was burning more calories than I meant to. I realized that although my goal was to lose fat, which I did, I wasn’t implementing the correct fitness routine for myself. I was eating in moderate quantities, yet I still burned a lot more calories than I needed to. I then learnt that a fitness routine is not just about doing what you feel is correct, but rather taking into account how your body would react to these changes, good or bad. I naturally have a fast metabolism, so of course I would burn more calories than other people when doing fat-burning exercises. I replaced doing more intense forms of cardio with Pilates and slow-paced cardio, such as walking, so that I didn’t burn as many calories. Slowly but surely, I started to maintain a healthier weight (after all, it’s a learning process, right?).

I enjoyed being a member at the gym for a year or so until it became too expensive for my student budget. I realized that I also had, in a sense, outgrown the gym. I never really used the equipment at the gym and the classes became repetitive. Due to muscle memory, it wasn’t as challenging anymore either. I decided to cancel my membership. At this point I was already into exercising often and purely for the enjoyment of it. This is what happens when you take part in exercises/sport that you actually enjoy doing!

 

 

I started exercising at home by following YouTube fitness videos. I wouldn’t recommend starting out exercising in this way because it may be confusing to follow and you may not be doing the exercises correctly leading to a potential injury. However, fitness had already became a part of my lifestyle. I felt empowered being completely in charge and being able to push myself some days, while other days I only did stretching if I felt like it. The reason why I could do this is because I remembered the advice and tips the instructors at the gym taught me, and I have always been very aware of the correct form for exercising and how to maximize my workouts with slight variations. Quite honestly, it does take a lot of willpower to stick to your routine when nobody else is pushing you to exercise and it’s in the same space that you relax in, but it’s completely free and limitless!

When you are starting out, it is recommended to approach anybody who has experience in training. After all, not knowing what you are doing exactly and being too afraid to ask for help could easily result in overexertion and injury.

What I took from this experience is that even though I really enjoyed attending classes at the gym because it was more structured and it taught me a lot about how to exercise correctly, it’s definitely not the only way to stay in shape or challenge your workouts. Whether I was exercising at home or the gym, I always made it work for me. The key is to find out what you actually enjoy doing, align that with your fitness goals and incorporate some form of resistance training.