Ahhh, working out at home.  I don’t have to fight traffic to get there…or deal with parking…or be bound to the class schedule…or share equipment…or take a locker room shower…  

So I’m just going to put the video in and, oops phone call I need to take…try again, darn it, I need to move the furniture farther back…ok, try again, hmm, I wonder if my form is correct?…another phone call!…ok, now I’m ready, wait the video didn’t pause, rewind, now no sound…ok, here we go, well I don’t have the right weights to do that, how do I modify?…whatever, the floor is slippery, where is the mop?…

Phone alarm rings – time to pick up the kids.  Net activity accumulation – less than walking from the gym parking lot to the locker room!!  Home exercise IS a viable option for many but it’s important to understand how it can uniquely challenge motivation – at the same time you have every distraction you have no distraction. 

The challenge of distractions – The phone, computer, notebook, tablet – all have ‘off’ buttons buuuuut, the temptation lingers.  Then, there is the architecture itself, since you ARE exercising in your living room.  This might mean rearranging furniture, which strange as it sounds can impel more rearranging or cleaning, until before you know it your exercise window shuts because it’s time to pick up the kids.   

Gyms have purpose in form and if nothing else, you will never mistake the weight area for the kitchen or the group fitness room for the den. 

The challenge of no distractions – Even the most motivated among us are more likely to sustain activity having something other than our movement to focus on.  The obvious distracters are music and TV, which most gyms provide, some like multi-plexed theaters with several screens all tuned to different channels.  An especially distracting distraction is comparing/contrasting how the same breaking news is covered by Fox, CNN, local news affiliates, and ESPN – fascinating – but all the while treading along, sometimes doing more than planned because you couldn’t tear yourself away until the segment finished.  It’s also not past us to enjoy the detailed graphics of machine displays.  I particularly like watching my avatar conquer the fancy LED mountain as I walk on the incline treadmill.    

When it’s you alone in your living room there isn’t much in the environment to distract you from…the exercise.  True, you can figure out how to pipe in music or watch TV but the net impact isnt quite the same because the strongest distraction is, drum roll please, the other exercisers! 

We draw energy and inspire one another, usually not even realizing it.  No doubt you can create a state-of-the-art home exercise entertainment system but even perfect acoustics is no match for the emotional strength we draw from others – that translates into motivation.  We see others do it, and are inspired to do the same.  Strength in numbers…share the pain…commiserate together…celebrate together!  These are all good things that can happen at the gym – even when no one knows they are happening.  Not to mention, there is also the human gym-drama distraction – Look at what s/he is wearing today…  Look who’s talking to whom…  Did the trainer really just say that to the client?…  – and of course chit-chatting with our gym friends.   

Home exercise CAN work, and there is a certain peace of mind knowing where the soap came from – just beware of how its distractions and lack of distractions can challenge your motivation.