If you’d rather drop a dumbbell on your foot than spend an hour in the front row at Zumba, we feel you. And while we’re all for trying new things, nothing says it can’t be on your terms. In fact, here are a few ways your introversion is actually helping you crush your fitness goals.
1. You save a ton of money by working out in the comfort of your living room.
Splurging on boutique fitness classes can cost upwards of $100 each month, and that’s not including the pricey Lululemon leggings you just had to have. And some gym memberships, once you get past the flashy “Sign-Up Today and Save” discount, can come with their own barrage of hidden fees. Avoiding these money traps in favor of your own at-home program can save you some serious cash over time. Not to mention flying solo during your workouts doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it alone. “There are so many streaming classes now that customize workouts and feature top trainers,” says Joanna Cohen, an instructor at Y7 yoga studio in New York City. (Discover some of our favorite online workouts and trainers on YouTube.) “I’m also a fan of keeping a fitness diary with a friend,” says Cohen. “If you do it digitally, you can keep track of your progress and keep each other motivated while still doing your own thing.”
2. You don’t have to feel awkward about your red face, puffy breathing, or loud grunts.
Working out in your own space means there’s nothing to hold you back while you break a sweat. Instead of hiding in the back of a crowded studio room and blindly following the girl in front of you, you have the opportunity to shine at home. You can give in to the over-the-top enthusiasm of the fitness instructor yelling at your from your screen and maybe even burn more calories while you’re at it.
3. You’ll get more out of your gym sessions.
Instead of just making a beeline for an open treadmill when the gym is crawling with people, take advantage of off-peak hours. “Obviously, the before- and after-work rush is the busiest time, but if you can be flexible with your schedule, try stopping in on your lunch break or around 8:30 at night,” says Cohen. “Avoiding rush hour means open classes and no lines for machines. You can create a new circuit for yourself every time.”
4. You have the quiet time needed to perfect your form.
If you’re partial to exercising at home (or when the gym is blissfully empty), you know it’s the perfect time to try something new. If there’s a complex moves circuit you can’t seem to nail or you’re finally ready to attempt that headstand in your yoga routine, now’s the time to try and fall and try again. “Form is the most important aspect to any exercise,” says Kole Hansen, a personal trainer and cofounder of TahKole Fitness. “All you need is a mirror, YouTube, and about 4-by-6 feet of space and you can teach yourself anything.”
5. You’re more in tune with your body.
According to one study, introverts are more in tune to their bodies’ inner cues, which not only means you’re less likely to overeat, but you also have more control when it comes to making healthy decisions (like whether you should push through that knee pain or take a rest). Many people are competitive by nature, says Tah Witty, a personal trainer and the other half of TahKole Fitness. “When you feel like people are watching you, you put yourself at higher risk of injury because you’re taking on more weight or constricting muscles that need to be relaxed.” (Hey, that leaderboard won’t win itself.) “I always tell people don’t push through the pain, search for the discomfort,” says Hansen. “Discomfort is our body telling us where we can improve. Pain is a warning that something is wrong. Getting familiar with that voice is the best way to create change.”
6. You’re better at savoring that “me time.”
Whether you’re saving costs and forgoing travel time by exercising at home or enjoying a truly judgment-free workout in an empty room at the gym, solo sessions give you the rare opportunity to adjust every last detail to your needs—time, music, reps, exercises, even grunting if it’s leg day. It’s also prime time to give yourself a little therapy, says Hansen. (Did someone say, self-care massage?) “On an emotional level, we store feelings in our body,” he says. “Exercise is a great way to work through whatever you’re dealing with and knock those emotions loose. If you need to cry, cry. No one’s looking! Adjust your workout so it suits your mood.”