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Time to invest

If you love your training

My online feeds are now flooded with videos of people lifting bottles of water and kitchen equipment. The pandemic life. While I'm pleased to see that so many keep moving, I fear that for the serious trainee it is not enough. Because although doing a couple of burpees in the living room is great for maintaining health, that's about all it has to offer. Training without proper equipment lacks variety and progression models, which will over time hurt your results and your training spirit. So in order to be ahead and keep things interesting, now is the time to invest in some training gear.

photo by @wearebru

That first week of out-of-gym-training was probably sort of exciting because of all the stuff that's going on. Or maybe you just took a break from training because it would soon be back to normal anyway. But now, at least in most Western countries, we know we are looking at multiple months of closed gyms. That's a lot of water bottle squats while your cat is staring at you.

Exercising at home with no equipment sounds attractive. It's free, accessible, and time efficient. Yet the fact that it takes a viral outbreak in order for people to seriously start doing it says plenty. In the end it comes down to incentive to train and how rewarding the process is. And this is where gyms show their strength through community, a positive atmosphere and most of all: quality equipment. While the atmosphere part may be tricky now that we're confined to our houses and neighborhoods, we do have power over supplying ourselves with useful equipment.

"In the end it comes down to incentive to train and how rewarding the process is."

It will probably take some flexibility and getting used to the fact that not all of the fancy gear that you normally use is available. At least I know for me it does, because I love my barbells and being able to manipulate loading percentages. But even if you don't have either space or cash to set up a squat rack at home, serious training is possible. Even on a budget. I personally have purchased a few sets of elastic bands, an adjustable weight vest, and a TRX set. It cost me a few hundred bucks, but this kit already provides me with tons of additional exercise options which I can manipulate in resistance and carry around in a back pack.

'But piece of equipment [X] is expensive!'

Maybe a couple of hundred bucks is more than you can manage for now. Then there are cheaper alternatives. For less than a hundred bucks you can already put together a set of bands and a set of adjustable gymnastic rings which you can put up in your house or outside. Throw in an adjustable dumbbell and you will already have expanded your current home-exercise library with hundreds of adjustable movements for months to come.

But I urge you to make your budget as big as you can manage. Because if I have learned one thing as a trainer, then it is that investment breeds adherence. Whether that is investment in material, environment, or support; quality equipment and proper knowledge go a long way in making training purposeful and rewarding. Especially in a time where it is bound to be harder to keep things interesting.

Yours truly, walking the walk

Exercising without any equipment can work, and may be enough for some. But if you consider yourself to be more of the 'training type' than the 'exercising type', I urge you to act accordingly. Even if it's just ten bucks for a mini-band, that is already fantastic. But in my opinion this is one of those rare more is more occasions. And if you don't need all that crap anymore once your gym reopens, no problem. Put it on eBay and make someone else happy with it. But let's be clear about one thing: exercising is free, but training requires sacrifice.

Good luck!

Bryan Wolters

MSc. Human Movement Sciences, former powerlifter, and current trainer at Vondelgym Amsterdam.

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