If you think working out means you have to spend hundreds of dollars a year for a gym membership because you don’t have all that fancy equipment at home, think again.
Working out at home can be much easier than joining a gym, when you commit to it and hold yourself accountable. It’s pretty ideal, in fact. Here’s why:
10 reasons working out at home rocks
- Your bathroom and kitchen are nearby — no waiting and no need for shower shoes.
- You don’t have to lock up your valuables while you’re working out.
- There’s nobody around to make you feel self-conscious about how you look or how fit you are.
- You don’t have to worry about parking.
- You don’t have to take off your clothes in front of strangers.
- No need to rush to fill up your water bottle before your class starts.
- You don’t need to pack a gym bag and remember to pick it up on your way out the door for work.
- You can hide out from too-hot, too-cold or too-rainy weather.
- You get to pick the playlist.
- It’s free — or close to it.
And you don’t need expensive equipment. Patty Wood, a certified personal trainer at Personally Fit in New Hamburg, Ontario, says you can get an amazing, full-body workout just by using your own body weight, right at home. She says getting fit hasn’t always easy for her, either.
“I was overweight and suffered from multiple running injuries,” she recalls. “It was through my own process of self-guided research, advice from a past client and a heathier lifestyle that I got where I am today.”
There are a ton of simple ways to get moving at home. Here are some tips and tricks to help you find a home workout, stick to it and get the best results:
1. Choose your at-home workout space
Designate a corner in your home as your workout spot. You really only need a space the size of a yoga mat to have a bunch of options for an effective and efficient workout. It’s best to not exercise in the same place you watch TV or eat. This will help you focus and stay committed to your workout, without thinking about the Netflix series you’re watching, turning on your work computer or checking your phone.
2. Put on your gym clothes
Dress like you’re actually going to the gym. You’ll feel more like exercising when you’re wearing athletic clothes, than if you keep on the sweats you’ve been wearing since you got home from work. You might also find it helpful to put on your running shoes and do 15 minutes of housework or yard work with music on to amp up a little extra energy before beginning your workout. You should also invest in good, supportive running shoes. Taking care of your feet is extremely important, so do some research into what type of shoe you should be wearing for your workout. Wood says it’s also a good idea to reward yourself with new shoes or a new workout outfit once you reach a goal, if your budget allows. You can find budget-friendly workout clothes at stores like Old Navy, Joe Fresh or Winners.
3. Don’t worry about gym equipment
You likely don’t need that much equipment, if any at all. “There are so many body-weight exercises,” says Wood. “A few of my favourites are planking, body-weight squats and push-ups. These three exercises involve many different muscle groups at the same time, allowing you to burn calories and build muscles with fewer exercises. It’s always important to have proper form to reduce the risk of injury. You can create your own circuit with these three exercises.”
If you do have basic equipment such as hand weights and a mat, you have numerous options. If you’re going to use weights, it’s a good idea to have two different sets so you can customize your workout. If you don’t have hand weights and you want to add extra resistance, try soup cans or water bottles. Some other equipment you might find beneficial include resistance bands or a foam roller. They can help you to stretch your muscles before a workout and pamper them afterwards.
4. Use your devices to get new workouts
If you don’t think you can make up your own circuits, there are lots of routines out there, especially through apps, and many are free. Try Fitplan: Gym & Home Workouts, GetFit: Home Workout & Fitness, or the Tone It Up app. They feature programs that guide you through daily workouts that you can do any place, any time — including at home. Most are free, and most of those that aren’t have a free trial so you can see if you like them before committing to paying for them.
If you have a smart speaker, you can also use it to guide you through a home workout. Alexa can pull up five-minute workouts for you if you want to get in a blast of exercise in a short amount of time. You can also try creating an energizing and free playlist on Spotify. Choose songs that pump you up, and occasionally swap out your playlist to keep things interesting.
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5. Set realistic fitness goals
Start slowly, trust your strength and treat your body well. You don’t need to jump into it full-speed, but commit to what you think is reasonable for your body and schedule what you can manage each week. Maybe three days a week will work to start. As you become more comfortable, start doing more. If you have a flexible schedule, work shifts or remotely, you might want to consider other ways to stay active when you’re working from home. Try recording your times and reps and challenge yourself to improve them. Wood says this is a great way to keep track of your progress and encourage yourself to keep improving.
Do your best not to make excuses. “Make exercise part of your daily routine and schedule a workout time that works for you, whether you’re a morning or night-time person,” says Wood. Make it your own and do something you enjoy, and you should start to feel and see results.
6. Find a workout buddy
A convenient and free way to stay committed to your home workouts is to find a workout buddy to either work out with you at home, or to challenge to do the same workout as you at their home. The Tone It Up app has a share-challenge feature that lets you send a challenge to a friend. Your family might even be encouraged by your new workout habits, and feel inspired to get more exercise, too.
Your home workout doesn’t need to be super-fancy or complicated. Wood shares this body-weight, equipment-free routine:
- Warm up by walking up and down the stairs for five minutes.
- Hold a plank for 20-60 seconds (modifications: lean on your knees, forearms or hands — whichever feels best for you).
- Push-ups: 10-15 repetitions (modifications: from your knees)
- Squats: 10-15 repetitions
Rest for 30-40 seconds between sets and repeat. The number of sets you do will depend on your current fitness level. Last, cool down by walking on the spot and slowly stretch out your muscles.
“Exercise is a great stress-reducer,” says Wood. “It's so important to make time for exercise. Unplug and just do it! You will feel better and sleep better, and you’ll be more confident and productive. Find your balance and make it work as part of your daily routine.”
Home workouts are entirely customizable, time-efficient and cheap. Commit to the time and trust the process, and you’ll be on your way to living a healthier life.