Majed Al Hamad explains why building a home gym will help you continue training through lockdown and beyond

Fitness expert and personal trainer Majed Al Hamad on why building a home gym is the key to training through lockdown and beyond.

We don’t yet know when gyms can reopen in the UK. Despite the latest Government announcement giving the green light to some service industries to open from 4 July 2020, health centres and gyms remain closed.

When gyms do finally open, it will be a big relief for many people who have been missing their regular visits during lockdown. However, keen exercisers will have to combine gym visits with at home training even when doors do open. This is because the measures gym owners need to take to be ‘COVID-19’ safe depend on having far fewer people using the facilities at any one time.

This is why the best way to ensure your training continues to the level you need to reach your goals is to create a home gym. Combine this with outdoor training until you can add gym visits back into the mix.

Why building a home gym helps maintain training

Before the pandemic it was possible to drop into your local gym at your own convenience. And although there would inevitably be busier times, even then people were welcome to wait for equipment to be free. This will not happen when gyms do finally reopen.

With fewer places available and strict opening times in place, you will still need a home gym. A hybrid training programme will help you hit your goals without sacrificing sessions.

And to make sure you get the most out of your home workouts, your best bet is to invest in some equipment. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend lots of money, but it does mean taking the time to plan the best set-up for your goals.

Here’s how.

Plan what gym equipment you need to reach your goals

Think about your overall goals before you begin buying equipment. Understanding exactly what you want to get out of your home workouts will dictate the kind of equipment you need to buy. For example, if your main aim is to improve your endurance and cardiovascular fitness, you need to include versatile equipment such as kettlebells and dumbbells along with a rowing machine, treadmill or stationary bike.

Check out local second-hand online selling sites if you need to keep the costs down. It’s generally possible to find good used equipment. Alternatively buy a skipping rope as these are super cheap but work brilliantly for cardiovascular exercises.

Maximise the space you have available

If you’re more interested in building muscle and increasing strength, the first step is to work out how to make the most of the space you have. Your aim should be to have the maximum load of weights possible with minimal equipment. As the main driver for building muscle is mechanical tension, concentrate on equipment that allow you to do this.

Adjustable dumbbells or a barbell and complete set of plates are ideal. Include a set of resistance bands of varying strengths and you will have everything you need. However, if you can’t spend that much money, a good quality resistance trainer and set of bands is enough to keep making progress. If money and space are not a problem then I would absolutely recommend investing in a squat rack, dumbbells and an adjustable bench.

Keep your training on track with a clean diet and good nutrition

It might feel difficult to replicate the equipment you normally use at the gym, but it’s possible to create the ideal home set up. If you can only make do with minimal equipment at home, the best way to build muscle is to concentrate on press-ups, squats and dips.

However, if your main aim is to lose fat, then you must keep your nutrition on track. It’s not possible to target stubborn fat in a single area with exercise alone. This is why doing endless sit-ups won’t eliminate fat, although will build muscle beneath the layer of fat. To lose weight, the only way is to create a calorie deficit, which can be done with a mix of diet and training.

Be consistent and follow your training plan until you can begin to add gym visits back in. Not only is it important for your fitness goals, but as well know, regular exercise boosts wellbeing and mental health too.

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