Binge-watching to burpees: Making the best of home workouts

Sweat dripping off your face, you struggle to finish your last rep. You crank up the music and find it in you to do one more. When you’re done, you feel invigorated and confident, but most of all, satisfied.

If you’re a gymgoer, you know this scene. Leaving the gym with your sneakers in hand, you’re already thinking of what you’ll try tomorrow. It’s challenging, it’s fun, it’s addictive.

But how often do you feel that way after a home workout?

When the Ontario government shut down gyms in October 2020 to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions, gymgoers turned to home workouts.

If you’re not getting that satisfying feeling you normally get at the gym after your workout, this is for you.

What’s all the fuss about?

Whether you’re an avid gym rat, or you’re thinking about starting, let’s look at what makes a gym so attractive to its members in the first place.


Gym goers can find a sense of community in gyms based on their shared passion for fitness. Other members become familiar and workouts feel like visiting a friend.

Danika Dumoulin, a Business Management student at the University of Ottawa, has stuck to the same gym in Orleans for four years because of the people. “When you walk in the gym, there’s at least four or five people that are going to say hi to you,” she said. “It really feels like a family. That’s the kind of atmosphere I want to be surrounded with.”


According to, people tend to give their undivided attention to the task at hand in a gym. Sweating it out in a place dedicated to that means no looming chores around the corner or siblings calling your name.

Everyone is there to get the same thing done. There’s a sense that you are on a mission. At home, the only person keeping your focus accountable is you, making it easier to get off track by a new episode of Bridgerton.

A motivating atmosphere

In a gym, you often pull competitive and motivating energy from others. For Alex Morehouse, client service specialist at Algonquin College’s Fitness Zone, a good atmosphere is what helps give him a boost.

“Being surrounded by others training kind of gives you a kick in the pants,” the certified personal trainer explained. “So, even if you’re having a crappy day and you see other people working, well then maybe that will spur you to rise to the challenge….”

Friendly competition can go a long way. Add that to the drive that comes with knowing you are paying for a membership, and the motivation comes naturally.

How to bring the gym home

Now that we know what people love about the gym, let’s figure out how we can bring that experience home during the pandemic.

Find your why

Why did you start training in the first place? According to Morehouse, answering this question is the first step to a rewarding home workout.

“Obviously, if it’s just as simple as: because it’s healthy for me – great,” the powerlifter said. “But if there needs to be a deeper reasoning, then taking the time for yourself to mentally just work through that would be a huge factor to finding your motivation.”

Morehouse says his source of motivation to train has changed. With no weightlifting competitions in sight, he looks to setting an example for his daughter – who is featured in this video he made for the Algonquin Students’ Association’s Instagram page.

Whether it’s to improve your health or to manage exam stress, setting your intention is key. “…That’ll help form your goal, and to keep you motivated to want to exercise in the first place or get up from bed when it’s all snowy and COVID-like,” Morehouse said.

Make space

It can be tempting to workout from the edge of your couch but your mind will likely associate that area with binge-watching rather than burpees.

According to, dedicating a space for workouts helps. You don’t need to invest thousands into a home gym. You can clear a section of your bedroom or clean that dusty corner of the basement.

Danika Dumoulin, a University of Ottawa Business Management student, makes sure to dress in workout clothes when she trains in her home gym, helping her stay motivated.
Danika Dumoulin, a University of Ottawa Business Management student, makes sure to dress in workout clothes when she trains in her home gym, helping her stay motivated. Photo credit: Danika Dumoulin

Mimic a gym routine

Small things like wearing gym clothes, bringing her water bottle and sticking to her workout music help Dumoulin train at home.

As she would in the gym, she stays off her phone. When she starts scrolling through social media, she’s out of it. “For me, the next thing you know, I don’t feel like working out anymore,” Dumoulin explains. “[I’m] like, ‘Alright, I took too long of a break, I’m tired…I’m done.’”

Believe it or not, these tricks can help fool your mind to recreate that gym feeling.

The bottom line is, whether you have a home gym, or you’re working with Youtube videos and a mat, keeping at it – even during a pandemic – is a win.

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