On the surface, working out at home seems like the perfect alternative to going to the gym.
It’s convenient, it’s cheap or free, and best of all, it’s private. Plus, you can get amazing home workout results!
However, a lot of people struggle to work out at home on their own consistently. It’s hard to stay motivated, and there’s no monthly cost keeping you accountable.
If you hate working out at home, are you doomed? What are your options?
The biggest reason people hate working at out home is a lack of motivation. Look for accountability in the form of a friend or trainer, and then work on motivation — carve out a space and a set time for your workouts to stay on track.
Let’s dive into some more reasons people dislike working out at home, and see what professional trainers tell their clients to keep them going.
Why Do People Hate Working Out at Home?
Despite the convenience and privacy that home workouts bring, they have their own set of disadvantages that could be fueling your hate.
1. It’s Difficult to Get in the Mood
Gyms are awesome. All the equipment you can imagine is right there, there’s often pumped-up music playing, and the place gives off a vibe that screams, “It’s time to get active!”
Your home doesn’t do that.
Pushing your sofa back to make room for your gear-free workout doesn’t suddenly make your home feel like a gym.
2. You Have No Peer Pressure to Keep You Motivated
You can find accountability buddies at the gym, helping you stay motivated. You don’t want to let anyone down!
You don’t have that at home.
Nobody’s going to miss you if you skip your workout for a few days, and self-motivation is far from easy.
3. You’re Too Comfortable
Mel Austria, personal trainer at melaustria.com makes a valid point:
“Your home usually signifies a place of relaxation, a place to wind down after a long day so it’s natural to feel uneasy about working out there.”
Luckily, can condition your brain to associate certain locations with certain activities.
You can quite literally train your brain, as mentioned in this Harvard Health article.
Your brain is naturally conditioned to see your home as a place of relaxation, not exercise, but you can change that.
4. You’re Not Confident In What You’re Doing
Sure, you can follow a YouTube video or an instructional article, but you can’t be certain that you’re doing it right.
And that’s assuming you even know what kind of home workout you want to do! HIIT? Strength? Yoga?
Mel Austria points out that people dislike home workouts due to, “Not feeling confident about the movements or feeling unsure about doing the workout right.
“Most people have no idea what they are doing which only makes them less motivated to actually start the workout.”
5. It Can Be Expensive
Doing pushups and HIIT workouts on your living room floor is free.
Building a state of the art gym in your garage? Not so much.
Not everyone can afford to shell out thousands of dollars for a premium home gym upfront, and a lot of folks find it tough to get going without plenty of equipment at their disposal.
You don’t need equipment to work out, but some people can’t find the motivation without real workout gear.
6. You’re Distracted
TJ Mentus, ACE personal trainer, garagegymreviews.com, says,
“It can be hard to mentally focus on a workout at home where there can be many distractions whether it be family that interrupts, animals, or just knowing that it would be just as easy to watch TV or take care of the to do list instead.”
When you’re at home, so is everything that TJ mentioned, and it’s all calling your name, beckoning you away from your workout.
I often work out when my kids are home, and you can be sure they interrupt me regularly!
7. You Don’t Have a Routine
You have to actively make time for the gym in your routine.
The commute, the workout, and the aftermath are a whole ordeal, so you need to have a routine.
There’s no commute at home, and you can work out whenever you want.
So, you put it off. You’ll lift weights after this episode of your favorite show ends. You’ll use the treadmill when you finish the dishes. You’ll follow a HIIT workout after you email your boss.
Before you know it, the day is over and you don’t have time to work out. You have no workout routine to stick to, and it’s impacting your motivation.
(Find out more about exercising and working long hours.)
Tips to Find More Home Workout Motivation
There are a ton of factors that make home workouts challenging, despite the ease and convenience.
So what can you do about it? Will you be forced to shell out for an expensive gym membership?
Not necessarily! Let’s get some advice from professional trainers.
1. If It’s Difficult to Get in the Mood…
You need to find something that puts you in the mood to work out.
First of all, get into your gym gear.
Don’t just work out in comfortable sweats and a t-shirt from the laundry pile. Get real gym clothes to set the mood and help you feel like a million bucks.
Then pick a room for your workout, so you’re conditioning your brain to associate that room with exercise.
Finally, make things interesting and amp yourself up.
Kyrie Luke, personal trainer with HealthfullyRootedHome.com says,
“Do invest in a nice sound bar or something to play music. Turn that thing up and let it really get you in the mood to sweat! This will emulate what you would find at a studio or gym.”
2. If You Have No Peer Pressure to Keep You Motivated…
Find an accountability partner.
Kyrie Luke suggests having Zoom workouts with a friend, but something as simple as having someone to check in with post-workout can help to keep you motivated.
Mel Austria points out that “A large percentage of people get their motivation to workout from having someone there to hold them accountable.”
Even your spouse or kids can keep you in check!
If you’re really struggling to stay accountable to someone, hire a personal trainer.
They won’t let you get away with skipping a workout, that’s for sure.
You can find a trainer who’ll come to your house, or you can look for someone offering virtual consultations.
3. If You’re Too Comfortable…
It’s time to retrain your brain.
Find a specific room that you rarely relax in, then use that to work out.
It could be your garage, your spare bedroom, or even your shed.
Soon enough, you’ll start associating this room with workouts, and it really will feel like going the gym.
The more you can orient that space toward fitness, the better! Put up motivational posters, create cool lighting, and make it feel like a real workout studio if you can.
4. If You’re Not Confident In What You’re Doing…
First of all, it’d be a good idea to get a personal trainer for a few sessions so you can learn the correct form for your workouts.
You can also learn form by following along with a YouTube video and matching the instructor’s movements as closely as possible.
Kyrie Luke recommends working out in front of a mirror.
This can help you catch some of the mistakes in your form.
Compare your reflection to a trainer in a video or illustration, and make adjustments to your workout as needed.
Ultimately the best thing you can do is follow an actual program or system and not just individual workouts.
Try Beachbody on Demand or find a good calisthenics workout program that will tell you exactly what to do and expect each day.
5. If Your Dream Home Gym Is Too Expensive…
Working out at home can be free if you follow equipment-free workouts like yoga and HIIT.
However, some people want a home gym instead, but the price is off-putting.
You can make yourself feel better about the costs in two ways.
Compare Upfront Costs to Gym Prices
Purchasing a handful of mid-range gear can cost you maybe around $1,550.
That’s budgeting $500 for a treadmill, $500 for another machine, and $550 for a set of dumbbells of varying weights — just as a reference.
Gyms can cost $50 per month or more, so you’ll have paid $1550 before you’ve had a membership for three years.
Meanwhile, the gear you buy could last a decade, so you’re saving money in the long run.
Check Facebook Marketplace and other places to buy used
People put all kinds of things on Facebook marketplace for killer prices!
You could get a $500 treadmill for $50 on there because someone is moving away and wants to get rid of the treadmill ASAP.
If you’re a Facebook user, then marketplace is worth checking out. You could buy a ton of gear for under $500—that’s less than an annual gym membership often costs.
Secondhand gear is often as good as new stuff, so don’t shy away just because the equipment is pre-owned.
6. If You’re Distracted…
Here’s where retraining your brain comes into it again.
Tell yourself, this is my workout time, I can take care of other things when I’m done.
Try to avoid having too many distractions in your workout room (like a TV or a big pile of undone laundry), and let your family know not to disturb you during your workout time.
Set aside a space for your workouts, and as TJ Mentus suggests, “Ideally it would be in a part of your home where you will not be disturbed.”
7. If You Don’t Have a Routine…
Create a routine as you would if you were leaving the house for the gym.
Set aside specific times for your workouts and stick to them. Ideally, work out at around the same time every day to stay disciplined.
Mel Austria says, “You have to be disciplined with yourself and force a routine until it becomes a habit.”
You may dread this at first, but the hardest part is getting started.
Eventually, your workout routine will be just another part of your day.
My best tip for never skipping a workout is to create a specific goal for yourself. It could be a strength goal (master the one-arm pushup), a cardio goal (run a 7-minute mile), or something else.
But when you have a goal or a set of specific goals, each workout gets you closer to achieving it.
Without goals, you’re just checking something off your To-Do list, which can get old!
Top Alternatives to the Home Workouts
If you really, really hate working out at home, and you just can’t seem to find a way to make it work, that’s OK.
Home workouts aren’t for everyone!
Here are some other options you can consider:
Technically you’ll still be working out at home, but consider taking virtual classes.
You won’t feel alone, the expert instructor will keep you motivated, and you get a gym-like environment without leaving the house.
Spinning, yoga, and HIIT are popular choices for virtual classes. Find them through local gyms and studios in your area, or use an app like Beachbody on Demand.
Running or Walking
If you want to get away from the distractions at home, then give running a shot.
You’ll be out in the open air and away from the home comforts that hinder your motivation.
If running is too intense for you, then power walking also has great benefits.
(Check out the pros and cons of running here.)
If running isn’t your thing, then cycling might be.
Get yourself a bike and some bike gear, and start pedaling.
You can do it close to home, and it’s free after the initial investment of a bike. You can get great, inexpensive bikes on Facebook marketplace.
TJ Mentus mentions that there may be local running or biking groups you could join. That can help with accountability while taking on this new endeavor.
If you have a pool of your own, then consider swimming laps or lengths to work out.
If you don’t have a pool, there might be one in your area.
A membership at your local pool may cost less than a gym membership, and it’s usually an entirely different environment if you’re someone who hates the gym.
Keep in mind, some places have both gyms and pools, but you’re under no obligation to visit the gym in the building.
(Check out what kind of results you can get from swimming workouts.)
If working out indoors doesn’t work for you, then take it to the backyard, or even to the park!
Lots of people work out in the park, and some people even hold fitness classes there.
Bring a yoga mat and your laptop and follow along with workout videos.
If you’re bashful, then look for a park where people are already working out. You won’t stand out if other people are doing the same activity nearby.
Budget Gyms and Classes
Does the price of a gym membership put you off going to the gym?
Then look around for smaller, less expensive gyms and exercise classes.
If there are any of these in your area, then they could be your perfect solution.
(Check out some no-contract gyms you can try here, risk-free.)
If you don’t mind the gym but hate working out in front of people, then hunt down one of those 24-hour fitness places.
You can work out at dawn, late at night, or any time you like.
There’ll be fewer people around during these off-peak hours, and sometimes there’ll be nobody around at all.
(Here are the best 24 hour gyms you can find in most cities.)
From lack of motivation to distractions, home workouts aren’t always as easy and convenient as they appear to be on the surface.
Some people hate home workouts as much as other people hate the gym!
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to get more out of your home workouts.
Start by carving out a set time and a proper space in your home to workout. Then, make sure you’re following a good program or set of workouts (and not just making it up as you go!) and look for ways to get some accountability.
If you still hate workout out at home, you can always try an alternative like virtual classes, outdoor workouts, or budget gyms.
For more, check out what to do if you hate the gym.
Hope this helps!