My Favourite Home Exercise Bike and My Ideas for the Best Home Workout

Having a blog is an amazing thing for me because I can now reach more people than I have ever dreamed of. Connecting with you has pushed me to be more flexible and creative with my fitness advice. After all, you guys come from all walks of life (and so many different places), so what works for my personal clients isn't always a viable solution for my readers. Even going to the gym is not an option for many so in this article, I am giving you my top tips for building one in the comfort of your home. Read on to find why you need a home gym, how to choose the space, and what equipment to get(including a recommendation for my all-time favourite home exercise bike)!

Everybody Needs A Home Gym

Home workout equipment can be pricey and complicated but building your own home gym doesn't have to be. In fact, most of the time all you need is some space for bodyweight exercises. When busy clients ask me about incorporating exercise into their schedule, I tell them it doesn't take more than an empty corner (whether it's in their living room or in a hotel that they are staying in) and 20 minutes. You can get an awesome workout with basic exercises like squats, push-ups, lunges, and planks.

If you can only buy one thing for your home gym make it a thick, high-quality yoga mat. This gives you the grip and support to perform so many different floor exercises. Besides, you can replace weights with random objects but nothing can prevent the dreaded crunch-induced friction burn.

How About Cardio?

Great question. You can't fit many cardio machines in a small home gym space. You could do bodyweight interval training but people often aim at a higher intensity than that. If you have been following me for a while, you know how much I love high-intensity interval training. Here are just a few of its benefits:

  • It's quick and efficient. 15 minutes of HIIT, three times a week give you better results than an hour on the treadmill every day. I have personally witnessed it plus there is science to back it.
  • A HIIT workout burns more calories both during and after the session. For the 24 hours after you have done HIIT cardio, your metabolism speeds up and the fat melts off.
  • It can reduce heart rate and blood pressure, even in people who already struggle with cardiovascular problems. In other words, HIIT not only prevents future problems but it actually makes your heart healthier.
  • HIIT exercise reduces insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when your cells don't respond to the insulin telling them to use up blood sugar. It's a risk factor for type 2 diabetes plus it makes losing weight essentially impossible (you can't burn fat when insulin is up).

In the gym, I love putting clients on the rowing machine and on the bikes for some HIIT cardio. Then there comes the air bike, which essentially combines the two. It is efficient, it doesn't take much space, and it gives you a five-star HIIT workout. My personal favourite home exercise bike is the Schwinn Airdyne AD8 because it's easy to set up, sturdy, and it gives you a lot of options to monitor your workout.

But What Makes A Home Exercise Bike Great, Anyway?

I get asked a lot about the best cardio machines to have at home and my usual response is which one do you think your laundry will look best hanging on?! As sadly this is what usually happens to so many home gyms. If however you are serious about setting up a training space at home then read on... There are so many different stationary bikes available on the market that choosing one gets quite confusing, even for gym rats like me. The basic difference between the various types is simply the resistance. Exercise bikes use either friction, weights, magnets, or a fan to give you resistance.

On most bikes, you set up a certain resistance much like you would set up a treadmill to a certain speed. On my particular favourite, the air bike, has a fan in the front (where a wheel would usually be) and the faster you spin, the more friction between the fan and the air. Essentially, the harder you pedal, the harder it gets, which allows bikes like the Schwinn Airdyne to have infinite resistance levels.

Another major pro of the air bike is that it engages both arms and legs. It's a full-body exercise machine that adjusts to your level and in turn gives you a higher calorie burn. Plus, this form of cardio removes the impact of hitting the ground (or the treadmill) so your joints and ligaments get a break. A home exercise bike is probably the safest and most effective form of cardio you can do by yourself.

The Perfect Home Gym Workout

Over the years I have seen so many people with good intentions of improving their fitness levels but sadly with no plan whatsoever to actually make this happen. As a result they see no changes and usually quit within a few weeks.

If you want to see change, you can't just spend 20 minutes doing random exercises and call it a day. You need a program that fits your level and fitness goals. This is where I come in to help build and adjust a program. There is a lot that goes into it, but here are my basic tips for building a home gym workout that will give you actual results:

  • Figure out your goals and be honest about them. 'I want to be healthier.' will not get you out of bed if a flat stomach and a toned backside are what you are really after!
  • Don't fear weights. For every workout, aim to spend at least 70% of the time doing strength training exercises. Squats, lunges, push-ups pull-ups and twists should be a part of every training programme.
  • Don't just stick to the standard 3 sets of 10. As you've read in previous blog posts I'm a big fan of Time Under Tension Training. Slow things down and aim to push yourself to the limit. I would suggest that you pick 5-6 body weight moves (that you know how to do properly) and perform each of them slowly for time or until failure.
  • You can choose your own intervals during HIIT cardio. My favourite is 30 seconds on, 15 seconds off. During the on time, you need to go all out and earn your rest period! The air bike is great for that because you can really push yourself and there is no limit. Then during the rest period, you just bike at whatever speed is comfortable. Don't stop but don't worry about the speed or rpm.
  • Avoid doing HIIT on consecutive days. Three times per enough, if you are really pushing yourself.

Finally, I thought I would share how my own home gym looks like!

I would love to hear your questions and thoughts in the comments down below! And if you have a home gym space that you are proud of, share a pic on Instagram and don't forget to tag me @davidosgathorp.

Let's get inspired together!

 


Woman drinking protein shake

The Best Dietary Supplement You’ve Never Heard Of: 9 Amazing Benefits Of Hemp Protein Powder

Every week I get asked numerous questions covering anything from my favourite pieces of training equipment, my own health care, my nutritional programme and some of my unique training methods that I use with my celebrity clients in London. I thought it would be a good addition to post about some of these here on my blog in this new section I have titled: The Can Do Review.

I'm going to start things off here with my take on Protein shakes...

 

Protein Powder. These days everyone seems to have it in their kitchen cupboard. 20 years ago only professional bodybuilders would start their morning with a protein shake– today protein powder is as much of a kitchen staple as fruit and veg.

The problem is I see so many people that haven't followed a steady workout plan in years but still drink protein smoothies religiously, as though that would magically put more muscle on them!

The question I want to answer here is, are protein powders necessary or even healthy?

In this article, I want to address the common misconceptions about whey protein and why I believe hemp protein powder is much a better alternative for you.

Protein Shakes And Your Performance

Speak to most personal trainers and they will often be quite obsessive about  the amount of daily protein that you should aim to consume. A popular number is 46 grams per day for the ladies and 56 grams for men. But that is way too big of a generalisation. For most people the simple approach of consuming real foods and aiming to add a bit more protein to their diet has incredibly positive affects on their body composition.

Benefits of Protein Powders

So do protein powders actually work? well yes, especially when they have branched-chain amino acids which fuel muscle growth and improve performance exponentially. What is more, a higher protein intake helps maintain muscle strength even during times where the client is working out less meaning that getting back in shape after a holiday becomes much easier.

Finally, protein smoothies (as opposed to protein shakes) are an easy way to add other healthy foods into your diet, for instance green leafy vegetables.

The Dark Side Of Whey Protein

Whey protein cons

Although more protein is great for your body, not all protein powders are. Let’s start with something very basic:

What is whey?

I am sure 99% of gym rats don't actually know the answer to this! Let me explain...

To make cheese, you add acid to the milk. This separates the solids (curd) from the liquid (whey). Most of the fat is left in the cheese, while whey contains the protein which normally helps the calf grow. You know what else helps the calf grow? Hormones.

The hormone balance is one of the most delicate and underestimated systems in your body. Throw that off and you are risking issues like extreme weight gain, mood swings, and horrendous skin problems to name a few.

Hormones are present in our milk and some of them pass into the whey as well. Most of them are peptides (a.k.a. small chains of amino acids) and they make it to the final product in very high concentrations. This can disrupt your hormones dramatically and completely negate any positive effects the powder might have.

More Problems With Whey

Sadly, the hormones aren’t the only problem with whey powders. They are also detrimental to your gut bacteria. Damaging this can cause chronic inflammation, which is a risk factor for virtually all chronic diseases (cancer and heart disease included). If that long-term risk is not enough, gut health issues have also been linked to poor athletic performance. Yes, your workout supplement might actually be ruining your progress.

Don't believe me?

Ask ANYONE that's ever consumed a whey protein shake if they've encountered some flatulence issues or an upset stomach as a result!

To add insult to injury, the very proteins found in whey powder are not typical for the human body. Bovine milk (and whey) contains large globular proteins that are supposed to make the calf put on up to 80 lbs per month. When these same proteins enter the human body, they disrupt our entire system, causing an immune response, as well as unexpected consequences to our metabolism.

Finally, I am yet to meet a client that prefers plain protein powder to the chocolate-flavoured one. The artificial sweeteners in these products have been shown to increase inflammation, induce sugar cravings, and cause weight gain. And don’t even get me started on the flavour-enhancing agents.

Hemp Protein Powder To The Rescue

hemp protein powder

You want to increase your protein intake but now I've told you that whey powder does more harm than good.

A lot of people aren’t even aware that there is an alternative. Hemp protein powder is clean, natural, plant-based, and it contains all the amino acids you need.

Also, hemp is a sort of super plant. It’s one of those rare cultures that doesn’t need pesticides and fertilizers, and it isn’t ever genetically modified, either (it does pretty well on it’s own). You can use it to make textile, biofuel, materials for the automobile and construction industry. And, of course, you can eat it. Hemp seed are rich in proteins and poly-unsaturated fatty acids. They can be consumed on their own (and they have some amazing heart and liver health benefits) or processed into other products.

Benefits Of Hemp Protein Powder

Hemp seeds are processed into plant milk, which can then be turned into hemp protein powder. Here are all the amazing benefits it has (and why I always recommend it to my clients):

  • It’s a whole protein. Hemp contains all 21 amino acids, including the essential ones that your body can’t produce.
  • Hemp protein powder is rich in branched-chain amino acids. These fuel your muscles directly, with very little processing required.
  • Hemp is a safe and clean plant source – no GMOs or dangerous chemicals here.
  • The processing doesn’t involve harmful compounds like hexane that are often found in whey protein.
  • Hemp protein powder is easier to digest.
  • It doesn’t damage your gut flora.
  • The proteins found in hemp protein powder are ones your body is used to recognising and using. They will not cause an immune response.
  • There are no hormones in hemp protein powder. It doesn’t encourage inflammation but rather prevents it.
  • Hemp protein powder can be just as affordable as whey but with a much higher quality.

How To Choose And Use Hemp Protein Powder

I do have a favourite brand and product that I usually recommend. Remember that a protein powder is simply a supplement, though. Nothing can replace a diet rich in real, wholesome food. Try using hemp protein powder in nutrient-rich recipes, rather than just mix it with water. Some of my favourites are in porridge (with some oats or quinoa), green smoothies, or in a protein-packed omelette.

The Review:

Product: Purition Raw Vegan Hemp Chocolate Protein Shake

 

Suitable for: I honestly would recommend this to all of my clients. It is a very common theme for my female clients to consistently fall below their daily protein consumption requirements. As a post workout shake or as part of a breakfast smoothie this product solves that issue in the healthiest possible way. As a vegan source this product is also an excellent meal supplement for those not getting all essential amino acids in their diet.

Value for Money: At around £20 per kilo it's certainly not cheap, but like most things in life you get what you pay for. You can find plenty of really cheap protein powders online but if you've taken the time to read the article above then you'll now know that the low budget price also comes with high levels of animal hormones, sugar and artificial sweeteners that induce inflammation and cause sugar craving and weight gain!

This is the best protein supplement I have been able to find and I believe it represents a good value product.

My thoughts: It actually tastes very good and even better as part of a smoothie. There's no chalky texture or strange after taste that you get with numerous protein shakes and it is a genuinely great source of nutrition. The price may put some people off, but what price do you put on your health?

The Can Do Review: 4/5

 

 

Hemp Powder Smoothie Recipe

Here is my trusty morning smoothie, featuring hemp powder and more healthy goodness:

2 tablespoons hemp protein powder

1 medium banana

1 cup of pineapple (skip it if you want to cut the carbs)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 cup of baby spinach (always buy organic)

A handful of berries (fresh or frozen depending on the season)

Liquid of choice (I love plain Greek yogurt for the good bacteria or almond milk)

If that is all you are going to be having for breakfast, add half a cup of soaked oats and a nut butter you like (my favourite is almond butter) for some extra energy. Enjoy!

 

I would love to hear your thoughts and personal recommendations, as well as any questions you might have. Share them in the comments and I will be sure to respond!

 

Cheers,

David