The Pros and Cons of Working Out At Home

My Bowflex MAX Trainer M5 has become an important component to my workout regimen ever since I got it last fall. Typically, I use it once or twice a week, and rarely on sequential days, because I like switching up my workouts. I prefer not doing the same thing two days in a row, if I can help it!

This week, though, I went on a MAX Trainer bender. I’ve used it four times in the last six days. And it got me thinking, about a lot of things. There are definitely pros and cons to working out at home, and I’ve compiled a list.

If you’re unfamiliar with a MAX Trainer, you can check out this post, or visit Bowflex’s website. It’s a fantastic cardio machine, kinda like a cross between an elliptical and a stepper, and it can provide an awesome workout with a great calorie burn.


I’ve used it so much this week partly out of necessity, and partly by choice. A couple days were busy busy, and I didn’t have time to go to the gym, so I had a great workout in my living room. I’ve also been under the weather this week, and since I didn’t know how much I could handle, or if I’d need a bathroom at a moment’s notice, I didn’t want to risk venturing out of my home.

One nice thing about the MAX Trainer is that it has a variety of programs, and while they all involve the same movement, I was able to switch it up, so my workouts didn’t feel so repetitive. Here’s what I did, with the calorie burns in parenthesis:

  • SATURDAY: 15 min. Calorie Burn program (196) + 15 min. Steady State (152). Total Calories: 348.
  • SUNDAY: Calorie Goal program, where you use the machine however you like, until you burn 300 calories. I wasn’t feeling well, so I kept it moderate (at most), and burned 300 calories in exactly 30 minutes. Total Calories: 300.
  • MONDAY: Lifted weights at the gym + 10-minute cardio warm-up.
  • TUESDAY: 14 min. MAX Interval program (228) + 16 min. Steady State (136). Total Calories: 364.
  • WEDNESDAY: Rest Day. I had earned it, plus I felt pretty crappy.
  • THURSDAY: 15 min. Stairs program (199) + 15 min. Fat Burn program (237 cals). Total Calories: 436.

Here’s what I love about having a MAX Trainer in my house:

  1. I can get in a great workout when my schedule is tight.
  2. It’s relatively quiet, so I can watch TV while I exercise. Right now I have 59 Season Passes on my TiVo, so there’s always something to watch. I lean towards comedies and game shows when I exercise, but not always. Bob’s Burgers, The Big Bang Theory, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Judge Judy, and The Golden Girls reruns are my most common workout shows, although yesterday I watched How To Get Away With Murder.
  3. The logistics are so easy. I don’t need to think about packing a gym bag, or factoring in traffic. Water and protein shakes are literally waiting for me 30 feet away in my kitchen. I’ll throw on the same gym clothes I wore the day before, because who’s gonna know? (Now you know, so you better not tell anyone.)
  4. In addition to being a great cardio workout, the MAX Trainer engages all the muscles in my legs, and that’s perfect for a stair racer like me. My legs get sore after a good MAX Trainer workout, and I like that.

It’s not always sunshine and unicorns, though. There are some drawbacks to working out at home, too.

  1. Having a machine in my home means I can procrastinate forever, because it’s not going anywhere. It’s so easy for me to think: I’ll exercise after dinner. Then dinner comes and goes, and I’ll think, I can exercise after I watch the news. And then I’ll watch the news and three other TV shows, I’ll think, shouldn’t you write a blog post before your brain shuts down? And I’ll go on like that all night, and never exercise.
  2. It’s not social. I work from home, so I spend more than enough time alone, within these walls. Look, I’m usually not Mr. Social Butterfly at the gym, but at least going there gets me out of the house and into the world.
  3. It can be easier for me to slack. Sometimes I commit more to my workout knowing I went to the trouble of driving to the gym or going downtown to train in a skyscraper stairwell. If I’m having a day where I just want to get a workout over and done with, I’m more likely, in the comfort of my own home, to put in just the bare minimum.

None of these cons are deal-breakers, though. In fact, I can mostly avoid them if I plan my MAX Trainer workouts like I do the rest of my workouts, and then stick to the plan. Plus, the pros far outweigh the cons – otherwise I wouldn’t have used the MAX Trainer so much this week!

Keep it up, David!


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