Jess has always been a sporty girl, but her love for horse riding has always been at the forefront of her hobbies. In 2020, Jess began to realise how beneficial weight training was for her lifestyle. Not only to help her performance in sport, but also for her mental and physical wellbeing. She works out with a variety dumbbells and resistance bands in her yard. Jess loves to fit a workout in whenever she can during her busy schedule, and her home gym has made this much easier.
Where did you start your fitness journey?
I’ve been active and sporty for as long as I can remember. In school I played, netball, basketball, and hockey. At lunchtimes, I used the school gym to push myself above and beyond. I also went for runs whenever I had free time. My main focus was horse riding, eventing in particular. Horse riding uses every muscle in your whole body, so to be the best possible version of myself I felt it was important to become stronger. I was sick of feeling a little weak here and there. At the start of 2020, I really got in the zone and just became obsessed with weight training. I can honestly say I now feel a different person and the days are much easier!
What were your goals and targets?
I’ve always really enjoyed weight training and found it extremely beneficial for your mental health and general well-being. I used to focus more on cardio as I’ve always struggled keeping my weight down, but I soon discovered that weight training alongside interval training was the best way to reach my personal goals.
“My goal has always been to perform to the best of my abilities, whether that’s when I’m riding the horses or when I’m working out.”
I like to set myself small little goals but in the long run I want to become leaner and stronger so I can help my horses and myself out as much as possible. This will also help to improve my self-confidence and how I see myself.
Did you know you were going to end up working out from home?
For as long as I can remember I’ve always preferred home workouts. I have various workouts that I love to follow but I like to try and mix things up too. When you own horses and have all the general yard duties and riding to do you don’t get much spare time. Having all my weights and equipment at the yard is super handy because it means I can fit workouts in whenever I like! I started with just a small selection of dumbbells but I’ve gradually built up my collection over the year. Just by having everything there and available whenever I wanted to train meant I was much more focused and able to reach my personal goals, although there are still lots of goals to be reached!
How long did it take to finish building your home gym?
It didn’t take long at all to get a few dumbbells, resistance bands and a mat together, maybe a week. However, it has taken a year to get all my dumbbells and there are still a few more I have my eye on. With weightlifting, the more I’ve done, the stronger I’ve got so needed to buy heavier dumbbells to reach my goals. Anyone can set up a home gym, you don’t need lots of equipment to get fit/stronger and reach goals. All you need is a positive and committed attitude. You can still work out effectively with light weights or resistance bands but I’m one of those people that if I’m going to do something, I do it properly!
Roughly how much did your home gym cost?
Approximately £550 – that’s including all my dumbbells, resistance bands and mat, along with a few workout DVDs and my portable DVD player. All the equipment was bought new. The only thing which I bought second hand was the DVDs, which researched and found on eBay! My 4 pairs of light dumbbells I bought from Argos and Sports Direct, but all my 7 other pairs have come from MuscleSquad. I found out about them on google and their prices couldn’t be beaten, and the quality is fabulous!
Is there anything you’d change?
To be honest I wouldn’t change anything. I love working out at the yard especially outside when the weather is nice. Nothing beats it. I suppose I sometimes miss the gym atmosphere. It can be nice to work out with friends and have use of different machines, but I’ve found working out on my own has really helped me stay focused and reach targets easier. It helps me to be competitive with myself, not others.
What’s your favourite part about working out at home?
Not being crammed in a busy gym waiting for machines and being able to exercise in the fresh air is a bonus. I also find home workouts de-stressing and refreshing! Being able to work out as and when I like is so handy with a busy lifestyle, some nights I don’t finish the horses until 8pm. To be able to fit my workouts in during the day is perfect as I just wouldn’t have time to travel to a gym, and it wouldn’t be cost effective. What I love about exercising on my own is that I know no one is judging me. I do lack confidence and have always worried what I look like whilst working out. Having a private space to work out means I can stay relaxed and focused on my workouts and not have to worry about what others are thinking.
What’s a piece of equipment you think every home gym should have?
For me personally, I use mostly dumbbells, but I also use my resistance bands. You just can’t go wrong with them. You can make them longer or shorter to make certain exercises more challenging or easier. You can exercise your whole body with them, from your arms, to your core, to legs. They’re a super effective piece of equipment that anyone can afford. Even better is how light and small they are, meaning you can take them with you wherever you go!
Is there anything you would’ve done differently?
I wish I had got on and bought my dumbbells earlier on. Having it all at home has been a real game changer! I’d like to be able to afford a storage rack for all my dumbbells, as it’s a little annoying having to unstack them and get them all set out ready, but at the same time totally worth it. I’d ideally like to have a better eating plan as I feel this would really help me towards my goals. But at the end of the day, I do lead a busy lifestyle so it’s not always easy to be organised with set meals and I’m also human and love food!