If you’re looking for ways to stay fit and work out at home, you aren’t alone.
Home fitness has become the go-to solution for people trying to stay fit during uncertain times. As the pandemic situation continues to be uncertain, so does the idea of going to the gym or taking a class. As such, many of us have been left scrambling to find ways to keep up with our workouts without equipment and personal trainers.
Keeping up with a routine is more important now than ever, especially if you’ve been feeling the effects of the last couple of months. It can be really easy to lose motivation and forget to keep your body moving when you’re not leaving the house (and we know the months have been flying by!), so now is as perfect a time as any to get moving again, even if it is at home.
Luckily, there are a ton of options for you to continue working out from home even if you can no longer hit the gym every day. Below are some of the tips and tricks that can optimize working out at home so you can get the most out of them.
Setting a goal is one of the most important steps to setting up a home workout regime. This will help keep you focused on your “why,” even when the couch or Netflix is calling.
Consider setting concrete and achievable goals that can be quantified, rather than abstract goals like “getting fit,” so you can celebrate all your wins along the way. Specific, performance-based goals can be more motivating than weight loss goals on their own. For example, you can aim to:
- Increase your endurance so you can last 10 minutes longer during your HIIT workout
- Run a 5k around the neighborhood
- Be able to lift “x” amount of weight during training
If weight loss and getting fit are part of your motivation for starting your home fitness routine, they will follow when you’re able to consistently achieve milestones, and setting your goals up like this can keep you motivated and hitting your home workouts even when you just aren’t feeling it.
Establishing a Routine
A well-balanced home fitness routine is going to have a couple of components:
• Warm-ups to get your body primed for your more intense activity. Get ready for your home workout by practicing dynamic stretches or yoga in your living room, or go on a moderate-intensity walk around the block to get your muscles ready for action. Even if you don’t feel like working out at first, sometimes just going through a warm up will have you changing your mind.
• Cardio activity to keep your heart healthy and increase stamina. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises are a fantastic way to raise your heart rate and burn calories in a short time and with minimal space to work with. Many HIIT exercises can be done in spaces that are the size of a yoga mat – think burpees, jumping jacks, and high knees, for example. If you have the space for it at home, you can also go outside and do some sprints in your yard to really get your heart racing.
• Strength training via weightlifting or other resistance training. Your strength training can be made up of strictly bodyweight workouts, or you can invest in multifunctional weight training equipment like dumbbells to increase resistance without taking up a ton of space in your home.
• A cooldown period. A good workout will end with stretching to recover from your more intense exercises and prevent tightness and sore muscles the next day. Roll out your yoga mat and stretch it out – you can even do this while you’re hanging out in front of the TV.
There are plenty of options out there for structuring a workout regime without a ton of equipment and space. Whether it’s weightlifting with a pair of dumbbells, subscribing to an online fitness class, or exploring something new like barre workouts, the important thing is to find workouts that you genuinely enjoy doing so that you look forward to working up a sweat.
If you haven’t exercised much before or if it’s been a while, try a little bit of everything! You might find a new activity that you love to do that you wouldn’t have otherwise given thought to – home yoga, anyone? If you find yourself getting bored with your routine, don’t be afraid to switch it up.
Setting Up a Successful Home Workout Environment
Many people find home fitness limiting because you don’t have the space and the variety of equipment you would normally have in a traditional gym setting. No worries though – you can easily create a successful environment for your workouts, no matter how much space you’re dealing with.
If possible, designate a separate space for your workouts like a garage or basement, so you can replicate a gym environment that’s meant solely for your workouts. If that’s not feasible in your living situation, you can easily convert your living room or bedroom to your workout area – just make sure to clear enough space to move.
Rule of thumb: you can do plenty of HIIT exercises and strength training in a space the size of a yoga mat.
No matter how much space you have, do whatever you need to do to get into the zone – pump some music, put on a workout video, whatever gets you into the right mentality to hit your workout hard.
No home gym is complete without the right equipment – but it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. If you’re mostly doing with bodyweight workouts, for example, you can get away with just a yoga mat or using a nonslip area.
Resistance equipment can range from simple workout bands to complex weightlifting racks and cable machines. Unless you’re planning on doing really complex exercises, a simple dumbbell or kettlebell set can cover a huge range of activities and amp up any workout.
If you’re working out for weight loss, you might think about investing in cardio machines like ellipticals, stationary bikes, and treadmills to burn more fat. These will likely be some of the more expensive pieces of equipment, so unless you’re investing for the long haul, think of incorporating more intense HIIT intervals that will get your heart rate up just as high. Another great tool for anywhere and anytime is a jump rope – it’s an oldie, but man is it one of the best cardio tools around.
Set a Schedule – and Stick To It!
One of the most difficult parts of home fitness is that it can be hard to stay accountable.
Establishing a good home workout routine can take a lot of motivation – when you don’t have to rush to make it to your biweekly spin class or face the guilt of not making the most of your gym membership fees, it can be hard to convince yourself to get up and move.
Figure out ways to keep yourself accountable for hitting your workouts. Write yourself a non-negotiable training schedule and commit to sticking to it. Setting digital alarms or scheduling out blocks in your daily calendar can help remind you to set that time aside for your fitness routine.
If you like some social motivation, team up with your old accountability partners to participate in your workouts together or check in with an online coach who will keep you more accountable than you can be on your own.
Doing home workouts can be just as effective as going to the gym – it all depends on the amount of effort you put in. Keeping up a regular home workout routine will keep you focused, healthy, and boost your mood even when you’re stuck indoors. Incorporate a workout routine to balance your healthy lifestyle and make the most out of the space you have.