15 Things You Can Do To Make You More Likely To Use Your Home Gym
So you’ve settled into the ‘new world’ (at least for now). You’re beginning to build some new routines and COVID-19 isolation is starting to feel like the ‘new normal’.
And you’ve managed to scrape together a few select pieces of exercise equipment. Of course there were a couple of odd pieces that you’ve had rusting in a shed somewhere, and you maybe added a few new toys to the mix. Maybe a dumbbell? A kettlebell? If you’re lucky you’ve scored a barbell and some weights. And maybe a pull-up bar or a set of gymnastics rings.
You’ve got a nice little home gym set up. You’ve got everything you need.
Literally at your doorstep.
You’re still not exercising as much as you’d like to.
There’s still something keeping you from those daily exercise sessions.
And that thing is fixable…
It’s your environment – one of the six steps to behaviour change.
You see, when we’re talking about behaviour change (forming new habits), one of the key factors is your environment. And it boils down to this. ‘How easy is it to complete the behaviours you want to do more of?’ How easy have you made it to start an exercise session?
You need to create an environment where completing your exercise is as easy as possible. You need to reduce resistance to exercise by removing any barriers that may stand in your way. If you find this difficult, look for ‘bright spots’ in your current behaviours, things that are currently working in other areas of your life, and copy them. Make it easy to start by create situation where it’s easier to do than not do. It’s hard to change yourself, but we can create the conditions that support this change.
So what can we do to tweak our environment, our ‘home gym’ to make exercise more likely?
The question to ask, is what ‘preparation tasks’ can I take away?
Here are some ideas, and the good news is, you only need to make the change once, and it’ll continue to make ‘starting exercising’ easy for as long as this crisis lasts.
- Keep your home gym clean: It means you won’t have to clean up before you can start using it.
- DON’T keep your home gym tidy: By ‘don’t keep it tidy’, we mean don’t put everything away. If everything is put away, it means it all needs to be got out before you can start using it.
- Follow a program: Make sure you have a program to follow so you know what your next session will be. Trying to decide what to do is an extra barrier to entry that we can remove if you have a plan. Read: How to Modify Your Exercise Program During COVID-19
- Write up your next day’s workout in advance: Further to ‘follow a program’, make sure you finish each day’s training by writing up your session for the next day on a whiteboard. It’s one less task you’ll have to do to begin the following day’s training.
- Choose your location carefully: Locate you home gym somewhere that’s easy to access. The more accessible, the more likely you are to use it.
- Leave your bar loaded in the rack: Got a barbell? Don’t pack it away at the end of your training. Leave the plates on it that you’ll be using to warm up for your session the following day so it’s ready to go.
- Have your music ready: Make sure you’ve got your favourite training music on a playlist so you can just press play. And your music set-up (your speakers) should be super easy to hook up to your phone.
- Pre-fill your water bottle: At the end of every session, fill up your water bottle for the next day. This bottle should live in your home gym.
- Make your pull-up bar accessible: Got a pull-up bar or high rings? If you need a box to access the bars, leave the box under the bar/rings.
- Clean gym towel: Have a clean gym towel laid out and ready to go for your next session.
- Leave your gym mat down: Use a gym mat? Leave it where you’ll be using it.
- Keep you fan plugged in: Got a fan in your home gym? Leave it plugged in and ready to turn on.
- Have a phone holder/cradle: Want to film your session for “the ‘gram”? Or maybe you need to see the timer on your phone? Have a phone cradle permanently set up that you can easily slip your phone into.
- The ‘gym clothes effect’: Have your clothes laid out and ready to train. This ‘gym clothes effect’ has been shown to increase your chance of exercising by 300%.
- Have some greenery: Something as simple as the colours around you can make a big difference to your happiness and mood. The presence of greens and blues increases immune system function and physical activity while reducing the prevalence high blood pressure and depression. This will make your home gym a more compelling space to be in.
Can you think of any others? What can YOU do to make exercise more likely?
At the end of the day, we’re engineering an environment that makes it easier to train than it would be not to train. Long term, this will help you build permanent exercise habits.
Dan Williams is the Director of Range of Motion and leads a team of Exercise Physiologists, Sports Scientists, Physiotherapists and Coaches. He has a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health Science) and a Postgraduate Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science from The University of Western Australia, with minors in Biomechanics and Sport Psychology.