Hey everyone 👋🏼
Just when the first COVID 19 lockdown kicked in my wife and I decide to go all-in on our first home gym.
It's the first time I have put any effort into a home gym, a place where I can hit my 'flow state'. Wait..what? What is a flow state?
A flow state is also known as being 'in the zone', it's the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
To hit your flow state, you don't have to have a home gym, it can be anything - a dance studio, yoga studio, games room, riding course, climbing wall, spinning room, martial arts dojo, basketball court, football pitch. It's that special place where you feel most present, so tuned into yourself that you just flow, everything works in tune, your mind, your body and your spirit, it's where you feel most alive.
This is where I generally hit my flow state - in my home gym, in the garage. I didn't buy all the equipment immediately, it was built up over time, we just put it all in one place when the first COVID19 lockdown was announced.
Home Gym Equipment
Let's cycle through the equipment and pricing from top left and circle clockwise then I will cover my general training routine.
Bought second hand for about $150 from Gumtree.
Bought second hand for about $200 from Ebay
About $7 each from Amazon.
Samsung Smart TV and Apple TV
Migrated from my front room, standard stuff here, you can pick each of these up for less than $100 each these days.
Les Mills Subscription and App installed on Apple TV
About $120 for the whole year, this is the primary tool I use to get in my flow state. Once I started my subscription and learned the routines, it changed the way I work out forever.
Bought second hand from Ebay for about $150.
So that's my cardio taken care of across 3 machines at the front of my home gym
Barbell, dumbbells and free weights.
Nothing major here, maximum plates are 10kg - heavy weights not needed for Les Mills body pump classes 😅
Purchased yonks ago for about $70 from Amazon for the whole kit, I think it was a special offer at the time. The barbell is padded which is a nice feature.
Purchased from Amazon for about $20. Really good in Les Mills CX works classes.
Purchased from Amazon for about $30.
This is used extensively for the Les Mills Body Pump classes that stream from the Apple TV Les Mills app. Picked up from the local dump for free.
Pull Up Bar.
Bought from Amazon for about $50.
Attached and wrapped around the pull-up bar. Amazon $20.
Bought from Amazon for about $60.
Weighted Hula Hoop.
Again bought from Amazon for about $40.
Last on the list is the Punch Bag, again free from the local dump.
Home Gym Time and materials.
When COVID really started to get serious and the 1st lockdown was announced, we ordered the flooring (just vinyl) for about $100, ensured the floor was sealed and then bought 5 x black shower curtains and some washing line to split our gym from the other side of the garage (which looks like a disaster zone 🙈). It took a weekend to do it.
We then finished it off with LED strip lighting all around the top of the gym, so when the doors are closed and the music is pumping through the Les Mills classes, the LED lighting really gives you that feeling of being in a fitness studio.
Okay, so that's the equipment!
How I enter my flow state when training in my home gym.
I'd like to say that it just happens, but it doesn't. There are a couple of fundamental foundations I personally need to get right before I feel like I can enter my home gym in the right state of mind. Mostly it's diet, sleep and hydration, I'll cover that off in a future post, but if those aren't right, I don't feel like training full stop.
I always hit my home gym at about 8 am, before starting work, I can't do it during lunch or after work as there is too much on my mind and it just turns into a normal training session, I just can't get into the right state of mind.
This is what works for me. I keep it as simple as possible. I have 2 workouts, cardio circuits and strength training.
Music is massively important for me to enter my state of flow. When not immersed in Les Mills programs (Body Pump, RMP Spin and Body Balance), I have a playlist of home gym music that I have curated over time that really resonates with me and sparks my imagination whilst doing cardio.
Workout 1 - Cardio circuits.
Airpods in, playlist loaded, I start on the treadmill. Fast walk for about 2 mins before entering a jog (usually with my Jacket on) then I up the speed into a light jog for about another 2 mins ensuring that I am listening to my body and feeling my oxygen intake, feeling my muscles and my thighs beginning to warm up, my calves, my feet hitting the treadmill, the movement of my ankles and the twist in my waist, ensuring that I control my form as I run and to try and stay as light on my feet as possible.
Now I am ready to ramp it up a bit, I enter 2 states of speed for the remaining 15 minutes. By this time I am liquid warm, some of my favourite inspiring music is pumping and I am entering a flow state. The jacket comes off and I am immersed, liquid warm, working with my body, all connected, it feels great.
I rip through the remainder of my treadmill session by doing my top-level speed for 1 whole minute and then a steady good pace for 2 minutes then back up to full speed for 1 minute.
I take my notepad into the Gym, when I come off the treadmill I have to write stuff down, creative thinking always comes easy to me when I am in this state of mind.
A breather, maybe 2 minutes. I switch on the Apple TV, open up Les Mills, select RPM (Spinning) and i'll usually do a short RPM session. I switch my Airpods over to the Apple TV, and kick start the Les Mills RPM session.
Again from the moment I start, the energy of the lead instructors just keeps me in that flow state. This is split across 3-4 short 3 minute sessions with amazing music and tutoring, it is an emersive experience and I am all in from the start, again throughout the session I am in tune with my body, feeling the liquid warmth, the oxygen feed, the movement, everything is just well working together as it should be, no disconnect between mind and body.
So that is 2 sessions done, about 35 mins of flow state achieved over 45 minutes so far, next on to the elliptical machine. I am as about as liquid warm as I am going to get at this point, everything is fluid.
My elliptical machine has about 12 programs, I quickly select a 3 x gradual hill climb and ramp it up to about level 9 (one away from max). Each hill climb lasts about 3 minutes and I do it twice with maximum effort.
What I am feeling the most here is the twist in my waist, the pull on my shoulders and the pressure on my calves, I tune in, my playlist is pumping throughout my head and I am away again.
My warm down is about presence and body connection. I'll drop off my last session, pick up a yoga mat, drop into child's pose and stretch out my back whilst being as present as possible, feeling my breath and all the muscles and tendons twitching as my body recovers. I'll then do some more stretching (most of which I have picked up from the warm-down session from Les Mills Body Pump and Body Balance) as I become as aware of my body as I possibly can, feelings that usually come in here are gratitude, confidence, awareness and appreciation.
I am ready
That's it. I shower (I do this in a certain way to facilitate my flow state).
I am ready for whatever the day throws are me. Even if it isn't massively productive, I always have that conscious awareness that I entered my flow state, I pushed it, I feel good and nobody can take that away, it's in the bank.
Work Out 2 - Strength Training.
Les Mills Body Pump.
My other work out session to achieve flow state is through immersive training with Les Mills online sessions.
Let's rewind a bit. My wife had been doing in person Les Mills Body Pump classes at the local gym for the past 6 years and I thought it was more of a cardio class.. oh was I wrong, dead wrong.
I joined a class once and at one point, I thought I was going to die (to be fair though, I had let myself go a bit and was pretty unfit) I felt like crawling out of there.
What I did enjoy though, was the music, the tempo, the energy flow and the routines. Although I found it really tough initially, a few classes later, I was hooked. Not only could you do the instructor-led classes, they also had virtual classes in the fitness studios 3-4 times a day, so lots of availability, no excuses, I was all in. Fast forward a year or so and I am in the best shape of my life, all thanks to that one class.
I had no idea Les Mills had an app that I could download on my Apple TV, iPhone or iPad that would allow me to train wherever I wanted, and I didn't really need it until COVID19 came along.
So what does a Les Mills Body Pump class look like? Well, you can select the 55, 45 or 30-minute sessions but the shorter sessions are all broken down from the 55 minute ones. In the Les Mills app you can even customise the sessions for upper and lower body but if you do a 55-minute session, it looks like this:
- Warm-up - 5 mins
- Squat track (usually with a barbell) - 5mins
- Chest track - 5 mins
- Back track - 5 mins
- Triceps - 5 mins
- Biceps - 5 mins
- Lunges - 5 mins
- Shoulders - 5 mins
- Abs & Core - 5 mins
- Stretch and cool down - 5mins.
Again I do this before work, so I hit my home gym at about 8am. From there I'll kick start a Body Pump session (by now I have my favourite workouts across the range but they all follow the same format as above).
Warm-up is nice, Les Mills do select great music for Body Pump and they play inside your head for days after. Then it's time for squats, if you want to build useful go muscle (not show muscle) in your legs, wow is this one way to do it.
Midway into the squat track and I am hitting my flow state again, my heart is pumping as much blood as it can into my thighs as I work along with the tempo of the music, 5 minutes on legs doesn't seem long, but if you have the optimal weight and if you are holding the right form, you really feel it.
By the time I hit the chest track, all the thoughts of not wanting to put myself through the pain have gone, I am in the zone, flow state achieved, everything is working together again, mind, body - liquid warmth.
Finishing out the rest of the Body Pump tracks is the same feeling, it's hard and you feel out of breath and pumped up at the same time, it is that combination that really does yield results.
Then it is time for abs and core before a nice stretch out. about 40 minutes of flow state achieved before starting work, again that is in the bank, no matter what happens during the day.
I do other things here and there, a bit of Yoga, Muay Thai (I am passionate about Martial Arts) but those 2 workouts that I always try and alternate on a day to day basis get me to my flow state. I hope that you can find yours and I do hope that this community can help.
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