It’s undeniable that home gyms are becoming more and more popular. When benefits include such things as no commute and being able to exercise whenever and however you want, why wouldn’t you get yourself some home gym equipment? Many people are deciding to convert their spare rooms or completely renovate their garages to create their own home gym haven.
I spoke to powerlifting enthusiast and world record holder Amanda Howes about her own home gym and how she got into strength training.
Apart from powerlifting, which we’ll come onto, do you have a 9-5 job during the week?
I’m a full time mum of three and I’ve recently qualified as a personal trainer. I have a few clients that I train throughout the week and I absolutely love being a part of their own fitness journeys. I’m also a Co-Director of a children’s nursery based in South Yorkshire.
What inspired you to set up your home gym? Were time/work commitments a factor?
I decided to set up my own home gym as my powerlifting training was starting to increase. It just made more sense to have a set up at home rather than going and training with my coach all the time (which would cost far more in the long run). Plus, I was doing my qualification to become a personal trainer so I knew it would be an investment for my career as well.
What was the first piece of equipment you bought and why?
I bought a BodyMax Functional Trainer cable machine, a BodyMax heavy power rack, 200kg of rubber radial weight plates, a full set of kettlebells, an exercise bike and a BodyMax T60 treadmill. The reason I bought all of this equipment was to help develop my strength and keep on top of my cardio training. I knew I would eventually be setting up a private PT studio so it just made sense!
What is your favourite piece of equipment in your home gym and why?
My favourite piece of equipment would have to be my barbell. I have a real love and passion for powerlifting and without that bar I wouldn’t have been able to achieve the things I have done in powerlifting. It’s definitely my favourite piece!
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to set up their own home gym?
My advice would be to do some research and understand what you actually want to achieve at home. Some pieces of equipment can be quite expensive and if you’re not going to fully make use of them it could be a waste of money. Learn how to use the specific piece of equipment you have invested in for your home gym to ensure you get the very best out of it. Also, don’t be afraid to ask other people for their advice and tips! What might work for one person may not always work for yourself so the more people you speak to, the better it will be for you.
When and why did you decide to start powerlifting?
The PT I was training with a couple of years ago mentioned powerlifting to me. Having competed in the sport himself, he understood what it takes to become a strength athlete and thought I’d do well so encouraged me to try it. So, throughout some of our sessions together we would give it a go and see how I managed. Over a month or so he adapted some of my sessions to powerlifting training rather than just general PT work. Shortly after this, I made the decision to transition from just general PT work to full powerlifting training. I’ve been a powerlifter now for nearly two years and I’ve been in love with the sport ever since I started! It wasn’t long before I was looking for my first powerlifting meet.
Holding a British and world record must be something you’re very proud of? Especially given the dedicated training this must have involved.
Yes, I’m extremely proud of everything I have achieved whilst powerlifting with two federations! I achieved 1st place and 4th place with the Yorkshire and North East Powerlifting Federation (YNEPF). With the British Powerlifting Federation (BPF), I achieved 1st place at the British Powerlifting Championships and setting a new British record in bench press was amazing!
Also with the BPF World Powerlifting Championships I won two gold medals, 3rd place for ‘Best Overall Female’ in bench press, and set a new World record in bench press – this is something I’m extremely proud of!
Training six days a week is definitely hard work but it’s worth it when you see your own personal bests increasing. Also, watching my totals get bigger in competitions gives me such a buzz to keep pushing on and see just how far I can go!
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start powerlifting? Was there anybody in particular you admired or looked up to when you started?
If you’re thinking about starting powerlifting, I would definitely recommend booking some sessions with a PT or coach. In doing so, you can make sure you get your form right, which is really important. If you aren’t moving in the correct position and have the wrong form, you will end up hurting yourself and you can end up with injuries that will set your progression back. Form is key so make sure you get that in order before you start loading up the bar!
To answer the second question, I’m a massive fan of Amanda Lawrence. I’m definitely in awe of her strength ability, she is such an incredible athelete!
Do you have any tips (recipes, diets or natural treatments) for keeping fit and healthy that you could share or recommend to our followers and customers?
As a strength athlete and PT, I believe that we shouldn’t be overcomplicating our diets. Just keep it clean and simple and avoid processed food.
Do you follow any fitness pages / do you have anyone who inspires you in your fitness journey?
I’m a big fan of strongmen/women so I tend to follow the likes of Eddie Hall, Luke Richardson, The Stoltman Brothers, Andrea Thompson, Donna Moore and, of course, lots of different powerlifting groups like gbpowerfeed, theipf, powerliftinglegends, gb_powerliftingsupport_group, and bpf.
Don’t forget to check out our Instagram page for more home gym inspiration!