Before she became a personal trainer and self-proclaimed “fitness junkie,” Girlwithnoname (who actually does have a name: Jackie Burgmann) wasn’t happy. More than unhappy, she was depressed. Each area of her life – professional, personal, and even romantic – had taken a hit, and to top it all off, she gained weight after A) deciding she couldn’t deal with the anxiety she felt at the gym, and B) giving in to comfort eating.

Finally, Jackie decided to regain control of her life – and getting back in shape was a HUGE part of that. She knew heading back to the gym was out of the question, so she started researching at-home workout programs. After hanging on to what worked and tossing what didn’t, she developed a routine that not only worked for her, but also helped her kick the fear, anxiety, and depression she’d developed.

Now, Jackie’s a successful fitness coach with her own at-home workout program, the aptly-titled Hot at Home. The smokin’ 47-year-old has been an inspiration to me since we first met several years ago, and I hope that inspiration spreads now that she’s sharing her story with you.

Alicia Sparks: Not everyone enjoys going to the gym, and not just because they don’t want to workout. Some folks feel stressed, anxious, and even panicky when they’re in a gym environment or just thinking about working out around others. As someone who hates the gym for her own reasons, what pushed you to take matters into your own hands?

Jackie Burgmann: Oh wow, that’s a long story, and I tell the all the sordid details in Hot at Home but I’ll try to tell you the quick version here.

I went through some rough patches in my life a few years ago, with a relationship, an illness in the family, a job I hated and felt stuck in, and all happening at the same time. I started suffering with depression. Add to that, the fact that I absolutely LOATHED the gym experience. Those time-wasting commutes, those annoying crowds and super-fit people I always felt were snickering at me because I was so out of shape and so obviously had no clue what I was doing, and those extremely intimidating muscle-heads scared me (I had been insulted by a couple of them on two different occasions, which really didn’t help). Plus, people can be pretty inconsiderate at the gym and wiping others’ sweat off the equipment I wanted to use was just grossing me out.

But ultimately, my hatred for the gym made my decision for me. I quit the gym.

And subsequently I stopped working out. I believed I could only get a GOOD and PROPER workout in a gym and I didn’t like the gym, so it seemed reasonable to assume that if I wasn’t going to go to a gym, I couldn’t work out effectively, so why bother?

Then of course, I gained a bunch of weight, which made me even more depressed. So I turned to food for comfort. And guess what? Gained even MORE weight. I was in a downward spiral at that time in my life.

And at a certain point I became resigned to the possibility that I’d never be a thin person again…and this was also in part because of the depression I was feeling. It all just felt so hopeless.

As you can see I can totally relate to people who don’t want to go to the gym for whatever reason, because I’m one of those people. I was always getting stressed out and anxious thinking about going back there, too.

Anyway, even though I was out of shape and desperately wanted to be in better shape I just didn’t know what to do about it, so for a long time I did nothing.

But, it was the day that I went shopping for a new pair of dress pants for the Xmas season (because everything I owned was now too small for me) and failing miserably because nothing in the stores I was used to shopping in was large enough to fit me, that I knew I really needed to take back control of my life or I was destined for a lifetime of misery, ill-health and self-loathing.

That was when I decided to STOP letting my hatred for the gym be the reason I couldn’t get back into shape. I went searching for the “BEST of the BEST” workout techniques and styles that you can do at home.

I live in a very tiny apartment in the city, so let me tell you, if you’re committed to avoiding the gym and only working out at home, it can be a challenge to get a good workout in such a tiny space.

But I wanted better things for myself. I wanted control of my life back and I wanted to get back into shape and look good and feel good again. And I also didn’t want to die of some horrible disease that could have been prevented if I’d just taken better care of myself. That thought absolutely terrified me beyond any other fear or desire. So, I just started searching for the best techniques that would work best without needing a lot of space and whenever I discovered something I thought might work, I started experimenting with those techniques at home, testing and eliminating what didn’t work and keeping what did until I cracked the code.

What I’ve developed is this totally kick-ass workout series that will take anyone, regardless of gender, age, fitness level, space limitations OR fear or hatred of the gym and get them in seriously great shape quickly and simply. Without needing a gym membership, and without needing gobs of space at home to set up a home-gym environment.

Once I had it figured out it didn’t take me long to get in the exact shape I wanted to be in (my specific goal when I started was that I wanted to be able to SEE MY ABS for the very first time in my life, even though I was over 40 at the time…and I succeeded). Before long I was posing in skimpy workout gear for a professional photographer getting my photographs taken to show everyone that I did it. And I also wanted to let everyone know that if I can do it, ANYONE can do it. I’m so excited about what I managed to achieve for myself that I want to share it with everyone who wants to do the same thing. That’s why I wrote Hot at Home. So people can get what I got, without suffering the “gym experience.”

AS: I’m betting you had certain kinds of readers in mind when you developed the Hot at Home program – especially readers who hate the gym, like you do! What about people who don’t necessarily hate the gym, but who live with social anxiety issues or who are struggling with depression and aren’t yet ready to make the leap to the gym. How would Hot at Home benefit them?

JB: Oh ABSOLUTELY, I had those kinds of personality types in mind. Like I just mentioned, I AM one of those people. I had fears, anxiety, and depression back when I decided to quit the gym. And I still had those issues when I decided to get in shape exclusively at home. And I still have the fears and anxiety because I still get intimidated by the muscle-heads and loathe the crowds and really don’t like people staring at me or watching me workout.

But, I no longer have the depression! Getting in better shape can really change the way you view yourself and your world, and subsequently it changes the way you think and your moods for the better.

Hot at Home would be a great fit for anyone that’s suffering from these issues because this is exactly who this book was designed for. People working out with Hot at Home can enjoy the benefits of getting in great shape without leaving the emotional comfort and privacy of their very own home. And it doesn’t matter if your home is tiny. The workouts in the book are designed to work specifically in smaller home spaces.

Plus, in Hot at Home I also included a substantial “Mindset” section where I explain EXACTLY how I turned my mindset around and got the ‘taking care of myself’ and ‘better health’ mindset and attitude in place so that I could move forward with an effective workout plan that got me results. If someone is feeling down on themselves, this section is an extremely valuable tool that they can use to turn their own way of thinking around to take control of their own lives and feel better about themselves and their lives.

AS: Aside from the physical health benefits, what mental health benefits do you think people who take the leap with Hot at Home – or any home workout program, really – can experience?

JB: The mental and emotional health benefits of working out are proven. Study after study show that getting a good workout can elevate moods and even change a really bad mood into a really good mood…usually instantly.

When you work out your body produces endorphins. Endorphins are small, protein molecules that are produced by cells in your nervous system and other parts of your body. Endorphins are able to bind to the neuroreceptors in the brain to give relief from pain. Endorphins have also been shown to control feelings of stress and frustration. Endorphins are naturally produced by the body so they’re also a great way to achieve a natural “high” or feeling of euphoria. Endorphins are responsible for the so-called “runner’s high” that runners claim to experience (and as a runner myself I can tell you that this is NOT a myth). So getting a great workout will help you produce endorphins, which make you feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.

Also, one recent study found that 60 minutes of aerobic activity increases levels of a brain chemical called tryptophan, which is then converted in your body as serotonin. Serotonin is the same neurotransmitter that anti-depressant drugs target. So, instead of taking drugs, get a great workout in and you’ll find you can create a similar reaction for yourself…a better mood without drugs!

Plus, the longer-term effects of working out are a healthier, and possibly slimmer body, which can dramatically affect self-image. A better self-image leads to better self-acceptance, which can’t help but create an overall longer-term feeling of well being and more frequent good moods instead of bad moods.

One of the challenges for depressed people, however, can be finding the motivation to work out. If one just doesn’t care, it’s hard to leave the comfort of a cozy couch and get up and move. But research has shown that a regular workout schedule can help you avoid depression in the first place. So exercise is an excellent preventative measure against developing an issue with depression in the future.

However, if someone has already found themselves in the grips of a depression, then the “Mindset” section in Hot at Home might be the tool they need to find the motivation to start. I’d highly recommend giving that a read if just motivating to getting a workout started is the issue at the moment.


Jackie Burgmann is a Certified Personal Trainer living in Vancouver, BC who specializes in In-Home Training and Online Fitness Coaching. Jackie runs her coaching programs and her popular fitness video-blog using the pseudonym Girlwithnoname at Girlwithnoname – Fitness at Home.

Jackie is also the author of Hot at Home, the latest in ‘In-Home Training’ fitness resources. Not up for the long commutes, annoying and frustrating crowds or the intimidating, inconsiderate muscleheads you have to deal with at the gym? Hot at Home is The Transformation Solution for People Who Hate the Gym. Visit Hot at Home to find out how YOU can ditch the gym forever and get in your best shape in the convenience, comfort and privacy of your own home.