Posts Tagged ‘Home Gym’

5/3/1 Wave A completed

Posted: November 13, 2014 in training
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So I finished the my first time doing “wave a”, ie the first week, of 5/3/1. Took me a week and a half instead of a week though, because life happens.

I’m looking forward to the next week with higher % lifts.

I’ve still yet to figure out fractional issues so I’m still rounding everything to the nearest 5lbs.

So far I am still loving being able to focus a bit more on upper body than I was before.

Speaking of which, look! I almost look like I have arm muscles! (was actually trying to get a photo of my workout outfit).

This is the reason I started doing 5/3/1 and I like it. I definitely feel like I’ve gotten a better upper body workout this past week and a half than I had been getting trying to follow stronglifts.

I also like the flexibility of the assistance work, since it’s optional. I have yet to do a “jack shit” workout- never done only the main lifts. But my squats workout was a short one for me. I was exhausted and did the main lifts, 5 sets of 10 at 40% for squats, and then 5 sets of 10 hip thrusts with the bar only. Which is a short workout for me, lol.

But it’s nice that if I have the time and energy I can add in all kinds of extra stuff. And if I don’t, the main part is short and quick. So I’m liking that.

So that’s my update I guess, lol.

I hate when people lie to try to make a point. I’ve been seeing a lot of claims recently that fitness costs nothing- just go outside and run! And really, as much as I love fitness and think it’s worth the cost, and I think it’s also an investment in myself, my well being, and my health. Financially speaking that will have pay-offs, more importantly it has non-financial pay-offs.

But yes- it costs money! How much will vary, but it does cost money.

Just go outside and run? Really? I have never hear actual advice regarding getting started running that suggests one should just go out in whatever footwear is closest and run in that. Everything I’ve read says that running in improper footwear can cause injuries and should be avoided. I’ve read over and over that people should expect to spend around $100 or more on a good pair of running shoes. Which is also what I spent on my first pair of running shoes that I got at a running store where I trusted the advice given on what kind of shoe I should wear based on watching me walk. After that I decided to try out the whole “barefoot” running thing. Except not literally barefoot, I bought vibrams which cost over $100 as well, because actually going barefoot would pose a different set of dangers. Just heading outside my house to run barefoot outside means running across areas with broken glass among other danger to one’s feet. Not to mention even if one was going to take such a risk, that would only be possible a few months out of the year after that you risk hypothermia and frostbite.

My new vibrams shoes, which I got for under $50

My new vibrams shoes

I just had to buy a new pair of vibrams for running and thankfully they were cheaper than my old ones. Though they also seem to be a somewhat cheaper quality so I am not sure they will last me as long as the old ones.

And as a woman with boobs, for running, I consider a good sports bra non-optional. All the good sports bras I have also ran me >$50 a piece (which is why I own only 3 good sport bras). I’m a D cup, and those basic little sports bras you can pick up at meijer or wherever do not provide the support needed for running. I have those types of sports bras too, they work for some lifting*, yoga, and other low impact activities, but I can’t wear them for running.

*depends on the lift. I prefer something better if I’m doing Clean and Jerks or similar which will result in bounce.

Aside from that, the rest is not as essential. I suppose I don’t really NEED designated workout clothing, though honestly anyone who is going to claim that what you wear doesn’t matter, I have to wonder how much exercise they are really doing. Running in my jeans will not be comfortable, and lifting and yoga I’m definitely going to have restricted range of motion in them. I have a few pairs of lounging around pants which could work for lifting or yoga- I’d be stopping every couple seconds to pull them up from falling off my ass if I tried running them. So yeah, I have specific running pants that are made for wearing while working out that I wear for running and lifting.

Totally gratuitous picture of me in my workout clothes

Totally gratuitous picture of me in my workout clothes

Aside from that for the most part my workout clothes aren’t really that workout specific. I find some t-shirts more uncomfortable to workout than others. The one pictures above, aside from loving the saying on it, is actually really comfortable for working out in- it doesn’t shift around too much or bunch up. But I don’t bother with shirts made for working out usually- my workout shirts are just standard t-shirts or tank top, and hoodies, that are comfortable to wear when working out.

But pretending like clothes don’t matter? No- clothes do matter! Physically speaking some are more comfortable than others and that matters.

Beside that, psychologically they can matter and that’s just as valid as the physical aspects as well. I actually care what I look like when I’m working out even thought typically I workout in my own home, alone, in my basement. So why do I care? Because I have more fun and more motivation working out if I feel a bit badass about it. Though it also matters what I’m wearing if I’m going to take form check videos that I might post online, because sometimes I lift in underwear and a sports bra… but I’m not posting a form check video of me squatting in just a bra and underwear.

Of course before I move entirely away from the topic of clothing, I also wear gloves when lifting and I have a lifting belt, so there are some more fitness specific clothing items I own and use that cost money. Though certainly both are matters of personal preference and not entirely required.

Aside from clothing though, not all fitness is running and even running outdoor depending on your location can not always be an option. I prefer running outside but it’s hard to do during Michigan winters- I don’t mind bundling up with the cold, the difficulty though comes when sidewalks and streets are not shoveled or plowed and we have several feet of snow. You ever try running through that? I have. It doesn’t work very well. So come winter if I want to keep running, realistically I’m going to have to find a way to do that indoors. So that means pay for a gym membership or treadmill… luckily for me the first part is actually covered in my tuition, so I just need to pay or parking to go to the on campus fitness center.

But what if running isn’t your thing? Every person isn’t interesting in all areas of fitness.

I posted before about how much my home gym cost me and how it relates to average gym membership costs, so I won’t bother going over all that again. But for most people, if you want to work out, there is some cost involved in it. For most people that means gym memberships fees. Or you workout at home and pay for any costs associated with that. Unless you only body weight stuff that requires no equipment- though even pullups will require a bar, but it’s certainly rather limiting if you go that route.

I think the cost is worth it and certainly there are ways to cut costs. And I would hope that people wouldn’t be pushed away from getting active because they think they need all the fanciest equipment. Heck, even though most places say to expect to spend $100+ on running shoes, you can find some that are cheaper if you know what you are looking for and shop around. Don’t be discouraged and give up. But also, let’s be honest about it- zero cost options are pretty limited. I don’t see any benefit being served by pretending this isn’t the case.

This post is going to have to two parts. I workout at home, and I’ve had some folks ask about my home gym so I’m going to start with a little virtual tour of my home gym in it’s current state. After that, I am going to talk about some of my thoughts on working out at home vs a gym.

My Home Gym

7.8 (2)

A tidy looking view of my home gym

My home gym area is not particularly large and nothing really fancy about it. I don’t have a ton of equipment, just the basics mostly.

This is a photo of what it looks like when I'm working out though- set up for squats here.

This is a photo of what it looks like when I’m working out though- set up for squats here.

The space is just big enough, which also means that I’m constantly moving around my barbell and bench for each exercise. I would love if I could get another barbell so I could leave one in the squat rack and one outside it, but for now I have what I really need, and it’s not too much of  a problem to move the bar in and out of the rack as needed, along with moving the bench as needed.

So I also want to talk briefly about cost. I love my home gym for a number of reasons I will get into later, it did require  a fair bit of cost total. Though in the long run I think cheaper than gym membership for me. In total I think my gym cost around  $1,136 to me. That’s an estimate because I’m guessing at how much some of the older items cost me. That was not paid all at once, I got parts of my gym at different times.

Average gym membership cost according to my googling is $55/month. So a year gym membership is cheaper, mine works out cheaper after the 2 year mark. I expect my equipment will last me that long, though by then I will probably have more. A fair bit of my stuff is over a year old already. I’ve spent $895 about in the last year- and that was for all the big stuff.

Within the past year I have bought puzzle mat pieces for the floor which ended up costing me around $100 for the space covered here.  I bought my bench new on sale for $75 (it’s incline and decline adjustable if you can’t tell from the photos). My power rack was $370 new (actually as cheap as many second hand options I found, I might have been able to get it cheaper but my ceiling in the basement is low and most racks were too tall. This one just barely fits.) And I got my barbell set for I think it was $350 second hand off craigslist.

My weight plates, weight rack, and ez curl bar.

My weight plates, weight rack, and ez curl bar.

This was good deal since my barbell set included a standard 7ft olympic barbell, an ez curl bar, 435lbs worth of plates for the olympic bars, and of course the rack for the weights (which also can hold the barbells) as seen here.

To me those are the basic- barbell, plates, power rack and bench. Before having these it was hard to really do much real strength training. I consider these the basic necessities you need if you want to do weight training. The power rack is important for safety working out alone. I’ve had to explain this a number of times to people I know who acted like I was being frivolous in my spending when money is tight by buying the rack. But without it, I couldn’t really go heavy. Working to increase my bench I’ve several times failed that weight- a power rack means I have bars next to me that catch the barbell if I fail a lift instead of it coming down and crushing me. And the weight on my bench isn’t that heavy, it probably wouldn’t kill me if 95lbs fell on my chest, but I’d rather just avoid that injury. And the higher I get my weights, the worse those injuries could be without the safety of the rack. (plus for things like squats, it means I can do heavy weights. I can’t clean what I’m squatting right now and definitely can’t press it overhead. I could clean to a front squat but before my rack to get the bar on my back I would clean and press then lower to my back. That works for bar only or light weights- it doesn’t work for heavy squatting.)

I also have a weight cheat sheet telling me which plates I need to have a total weight number on the bar (counting the bar weight)

I also have index card cheat sheets telling me which plates I need to have a total weight number on the bar (counting the bar weight)

Prior to these main pieces of equipment I’d had some dumbbells, standard size plates, resistance bands and an exercise ball.

Dumbbells and exercise ball.

Dumbbells and exercise ball.

Resistance bands and extra plates for adjustable dumbbells.

Resistance bands and extra plates for adjustable dumbbells.

These were bought peice by peice years ago when I didn’t have the space for a full gym area.

The latest addition to my gym: a fan!

The latest addition to my gym: a fan!

Treadmill residing in a different, uncleaned-up area of my basement.

Treadmill residing in a different, uncleaned-up area of my basement.

I also have  treadmill. This was not factored into my prices above since it came free to me (it was my mom’s before). I have not gotten this set up to use yet though (mainly would like it for winter, until then I just run outside).

If I ever get the money for it next up on my wishlist for gym equipment would be kettlebells, foam rollers, and medicine balls (probably in that order) (I do have an actual home gym wishlist too! lol).

Home Gym vs Commercial Gym

There are a few things that go into this sections on my thoughts between a Home Gym vs Commercial Gym. For me, personal preference has me preferring a home gym hands down.

With a home gym I don’t have to worry about gym hours (great since I workout late at night and so I would otherwise need a 24/hr gym. I also don’t have to worry about limited holiday hours). I have no commute time to get to my gym. I can wear whatever I want to workout- now that it’s summer and it’s overly hot inside my home gym, I usually stick to a sports bra with no shirt which I would not be comfortable in at a gym. I’ve also been known to forgo pants, because hey- it’s just me. Sports bra and boy-short style undies and I’m good to go! I doubt a gym would be ok with that! A big one for me is not worrying about people watching me or judging me. I never have to wait for equipment either. And the newest thing I like about my home gym is that I can yell during heavy lifts, which I’d probably be too self-conscious to do in a gym.

There are some things I think gyms have as benefits. They more equipment available- if I was a member of a gym I would likely have access to a larger range of dumbbells and cardio equipment. I might have access to Kettlebells, medicine balls, and with some gyms even things like a pool. And while my home gym offers flexibility, on plus of a gym I’d have to go to is that I could go after work and tell myself I’m not going home until after the gym rather than currently when I go home, decide I should eat first, sit around for a bit, and then it’s later than I planned on it being to start a workout.

That’s all kind of basics though. In ranked order, the issues of feeling comfortable are probably top in reasons I prefer my home gym. I don’t have to worry about people judging my workouts, I don’t have to worry about people mocking me or even posting photos of me behind my back, I don’t have to deal with men in the weight room being condescending or acting like I don’t belong. Anecdote time- when I was working out at my University’s fitness center in undergrad one time I was doing bench presses when it was crowded- I usually tried to avoid crowded times when I would have to deal with waiting for equipment. I managed to get a bench and a bar though and I start a set. Some guy asks if he can work in- yeah, no problem. Well he stands there while I’m doing my sets acting annoyed at having to work in and share with me, and then starts telling me how the gym has chest machines I could use instead. I don’t want to use the machines- I prefer free weights. You can use the machines! Getting unsolicited advice from men and annoyed looks that I was using equipment they wanted as if they had more right to it that me was common. And I hear the same thing from women all the time in gyms- many men act like women do not belong in the weight room and can be downright rude and offensive as a result.

This is where I feel some internal conflict though. Individually, being able to avoid this is a huge plus. There are times though I feel like I should workout at a gym just for this reason. Because more women in the weight rooms will help make other women feel comfortable in them, and by choosing to avoid the issue by working out at home that’s one less woman in the weight room. Also more women in weight rooms I think can help teach men that weight rooms actually don’t belong to them alone.

There is also the fact that in the age of smartphones, it’s becoming more common for folks to take photos or videos of people at the gym and then posting them online to mock them. So glad I’m not in those by working out at home. Sometimes though I feel a similar conflict there, about taking the easy way out, but less so because I don’t feel like I owe it to anyone to have my body mocked online. And as a fat person if a photo or video of me at a gym made it online to a place were people make fun of people like that, my body size would almost certainly be a target.


Posted: June 12, 2014 in About Me
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Hello! I just created this blog and before I jump into a post I thought I should give a bit more detailed background about myself and this blog than my about section has.

Right now I have just finished up the first year in my PhD program- I am working on  a PhD in Social Work with a research interest in US social policy, violence against women, intersectionality, and more specifically my intended dissertation topic is on US asylum policies for women seeking asylum due to gender based persecution. One year of coursework down, 1 qualifying exam passed. Hopefully I will be finishing up the rest of my coursework this upcoming academic year and taking (and passing) my next two qualifying exams, then on to the dissertation!

While in school full time I also work part time, and do so while trying to manage invisible disabilities. It gets overwhelming at times, and in between all those things I am trying to also work in getting into better shape. It was in November that I moved into a new house (and am still working on unpacking!), which has also been great because I have space here for a home gym area which I eventually got set up with an olympic barbell and weight plate set,  bench, a power rack, a few dumbbells, and other miscellaneous things. I also have a hand-me-down treadmill that I still need to set up (though for the time being I have been running outside).  My mom told me once when she was over at my house that the most organized part of my house is my home gym area- this is probably accurate!

So this blog is here to share thoughts as I continue on with getting in better shape.