Remember: Always talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an exercise routine that’s right for you. If you experience any pain or difficulty with exercise, stop and consult your healthcare provider.
Working out at home has obvious advantages. You can listen to whatever music you like, the equipment isn’t covered in other people’s germs, and there are no lineups for the showers. But there are obstacles, too: distractions from the kids, the phone, the dog, the Internet, and/or the dirty kitchen counters can all seem unavoidable when it’s time to work out. We get it—that’s why we’ve got some real tips for real people who want to get fit but would rather not schlep to the gym.
1. Schedule it in
You schedule important phone calls, appointments and events, right? Well, good health is also important, and sometimes the only way you can ensure that you’ll work out is if you block it off in your calendar. If you use a calendar app, set a reminder or two ahead of time to get yourself psyched up. Make an appointment with yourself and commit to feeling good.
If you honestly just can’t fit a workout into your already over-scheduled life, you may have some extra time that you forgot about…in the morning. Experts say that people’s motivation and drive is at a maximum in the morning, and willpower wanes as the day wears on. And that’s not the only reason to become an early fitness bird—if you wait until later in the day, it’s a lot more likely that things will pop up and get in the way of working out. Yes, watching one more episode on Netflix after the kids go to bed is relaxing, but hitting that morning workout the next day instead will have longer-lasting benefits.
Still don’t think you have time to workout at home? Sneak it in while you’re cleaning the house!
2. Perfect your space
You don’t need a ton of space to get a good workout; you only really need an area about the size of a yoga mat. Working out indoors can get warm, so make your space near a window for a cool breeze, or add a fan in the corner. Make sure there’s a music source nearby with a good Bluetooth speaker to keep you pumped up. Don’t forget to sweep or vacuum the floor—nobody wants to do push-ups over dog hair and toast crumbs.
3. Get the gear
Loads of fancy equipment isn’t required to get fit at home. In fact, bodyweight-only workouts like yoga and pilates are a great way to stay fit. All you really need is a yoga mat to give you some comfort and stability on the floor. If you do want a few props to take your workout up a notch, you don’t need a whole gym’s worth of stuff. Some dumbbells, resistance bands, a skipping rope or a couple of kettlebells should do the trick, depending on your fitness goals.
4. Get dressed
It may sound shallow, but having the right outfit can make a big difference with your fitness motivation. Sure, you can work out in your stained sweatpants and an old Fun Run t-shirt from 2006, but they may not be your best choice. Technical apparel that fits right, wicks away sweat and looks good will help you feel great while working out.
Most importantly, make sure you have a pair of supportive shoes that you can wear indoors. Shoes designed for running are a good choice if you’re going to be dabbling in different kinds of workouts. Take the time get professionally fitted for your foot type and size. Your feet and joints will thank you.
5. Find a coach
You’re probably not going to hire an actual trainer for working out at home (but kudos to you if you do!), so an outside source for motivation, goals and workout ideas can really come in handy.
Say hello to your new workout buddy—YouTube. There are literally thousands and thousands of workout videos and channels on YouTube dedicated to helping you get fit. Whether you’re into yoga, pilates, Zumba, bellydancing, high-intensity interval training, hip-hop tabata, cardio or Prancercise, there’s something out there for you. Just be sure to check out the video first before you dive in—it may not be right for you. Recommendations from your fittest friends is a good place to start.
If you’d rather not dive into the wilds of YouTube, there is also a huge selection of great workout apps for your mobile device. Not only will you get tips for exercises and routines, some apps can also track your progress and even remind you when to workout. There are a lot to choose from, free and paid, so here are a few popular suggestions to get you started.
Fitness DVDs are also helpful to have in your fitness arsenal. Having your own DVD library can save you the trouble of searching the internet or fiddling with your device—just pop your favourite into the DVD player or laptop, and you’re good to go. If you’re not ready to commit, you can also check out the selection at your local library.
6. Start slow…but keep going
If you’re a beginner or coming back after a long break, aim for 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (something that elevates your heart rate and breathing) at least three times a week, and 20 to 30 minutes of strength training (resistance exercises with weights, bodyweight or bands) three times a week. Don’t worry, that’s not six separate workouts per week; you can combine strength and cardio in to one workout session if you like. Be sure your strength workout covers all major muscle groups: upper body, lower body, abdominals and back.
No matter what type of exercise you do, start slowly and gradually increase your workout time and intensity. Doing too much to start can lead to soreness, fatigue and even injury, and you likely won’t continue.
7. Find your thing
One of the best ways to kill motivation is with boredom. Working out doesn’t have to be a chore! If you’ve chosen a workout routine that you dread everyday, it’s time to switch it up. Pilates got you yawning? Try a spicy Zumba workout. Tired of being trapped inside? Go for a walk/run! HIIT too bouncy? Pop in a yoga video. Luckily, there are almost as many ways to stay fit as there are types of people who want to get fit.
Do you have any tips for real people who are trying to stay motivated to work out? Post them in the comments!