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Not ready to return to your gym? Here are a few alternative options
Here are some other options if you’re not ready to return to the gym under the ‘new normal.’

IN LAST WEEK’S article I highlighted the dos and don’ts of getting back into your “new normal” gym routine.

Everything was covered from a checklist with gym etiquette to important tips to consider upon restarting your training routine from the gym floor again.

For a lot of us, the reopening of gyms is a happy sight. The gym environment can bring us a lot of positives: community, connection, routine, and structure along with all the physical and mental health benefits that go with that hour away from our busy lives.

However, your “new normal” gym visit will include cleaning, signing forms, temperature checks, booking, and queuing systems for gym floor visits to small classes.

These changes can make us feel a little uneasy initially, so you may feel the gym is not the best place for you at the moment.

In today’s article I will highlight the alternatives to the gym you can consider, especially for the summer months.

The home gym 

I have seen some fantastic home gym ideas over the last few months,  and this may well be the way forward for a lot of people.

Home gyms are great, and if you go about it the right way it won’t cost you too much to get started. I started my home gym almost 10 years ago and I have rarely returned to a large busy commercial gym same. 

I now train myself, family, and clients between a small personal training studio and my home gym.

Image-1 (1) David Last's home gym.

How to get started 

The first step is to find some space. It can be large or small, upstairs or downstairs or even out the back garden. I turned my old shed into a training space, started with one suspension trainer and a kettlebell and built from there.

My best advice would be to pick small equipment that are versatile for exercises, easy to store, and won’t break the bank. Resistance bands, a set of gymnastic rings and a kettlebell really is a good place to start.

Time and time again I see people invest in treadmills, stationary bikes, and squat racks that are quite costly to start with, will take up space, and are fairly one-dimensional.

Too often, I have seen these gather dust in the corner before appearing in the graveyard fitness equipment section on adverts and Donedeal!

A good starting checklist for a home set-up

  • Exercise mat
  • Resistance bands
  • Suspension trainer
  • Kettlebell or set of dumbbells
  • Foam roller and massage ball

These would be my top suggestions to start with. As I said above,they won’t cost too much and you can really get plenty of workouts done with this selection.

As for the best suppliers I would highly recommend D8Fitness and McSport. Both suppliers will have a great selection for home use and I always find them very knowledgeable on what is the best option for your home set-up.

My last bit of advice before looking at further developing your home set would be to get the most use of the above and become consistent with working out from home. If you can see yourself sticking with the plan and are enjoying it, then perhaps look at going further and investing in more of the substantial equipment such as a rower, assault bike or perhaps even a squat rack station with weights and barbells.

The local park 

In last week’s article, I encouraged readers to keep up the exercise lockdown routine you were doing, so that more than likely meant getting outside when we could.

We have been spending so much extra time indoors over these last few weeks, so it’s important to get outside into the elements, especially over the summer months

One of the most popular options is training in the park with a limited amount of equipment. You don’t need fancy equipment for workouts to be effective. Nowadays many parks have basic tools like pull-up and dip bars, making it even easier to put a workout together.

On top of that, having something basic like a resistance band, jump rope or kettlebell is always handy for an outdoor session.

In a previous summer series article I demonstrated full-body outdoor workouts that require minimal equipment and that are fast, fun, and effective.


Discover new outdoor ideas 

Changing up your venue and bringing your routine outside away from the gym floor can only lead to good things.

I’ve always been a huge fan of bringing my training outdoors and there’s no reason why you can’t too. From trail runs, cool hikes, bike rides to dips in the Wicklow lakes, I have pretty much tried it all over the last few weeks. The key is to keep it varied, fun, and effective.

You will be surprised at what is out there and what you can do. The options are endless.

In a previous article, I have highlighted some of Ireland’s best spots for a weekend hike, cycle or swim!

The last few months have been challenging for us all and perhaps, by now, we can look at things differently and see how important our health truly is and how exercise can help to  keep us physically and mentally strong. Let’s hope we can all keep moving forward in the right direction, and by playing our part, keep everyone safe.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin. For more information, you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Or you can send him a direct message here.
You can also see some of his previous articles here.

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