I’ve been working out at home from the days of Jane Fonda. Yes, it’s been that long. And I’ve been wanting to write a post about it forever but kept delaying or something else would come up. But here we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic where working out at home is the only choice for almost everyone.
So here are my top tips for working out at home:
Minimal equipment needed (but not vital)
If you are able to get your hands on some basic exercise equipment then I recommend you get:
A good quality mat that is relatively thick to cushion your knees especially if you don’t have any carpets at home
A set of hand weights – starting from 0.5kg and up to 5kg. If you’re a beginner I wouldn’t go over 3kg.
A step aerobics platform – I’ve had this one from Reebok for at least 15 years! You can use it in so many ways.
Jump rope – it’s cheap and doesn’t take any space and an excellent way to get your heart rate up.
No equipment? No problem
There is so much you can do with your bodyweight alone, you don’t need any weights. It is recommended to use water bottles or food cans as weights, which can work for very low weight arm workouts, but I would stick to good old fashioned exercises such as push-ups and planks to work on my arms.
So if you have no equipment, here’s what you can do:
If you are able to go out then take advantage and go for a walk or a run.
If you have stairs in your home or building then going up and down is an excellent cardio workout.
Search YouTube for no equipment home workouts. There are so many options, trust me you won’t get bored.
Dance – if you love to dance, Zumba will get you moving and no equipment is needed. Not a Zumba fan? Then play your favorite tunes and dance like no one is watching. And if you have little ones, I’m sure they will love to join your dance party.
Even if you don’t have a mat you can still work on your abdominals such as with these standing 5 mins or 10 mins abs workout.
Partner workout game
This is fun if you have someone at home to workout with. Download this Workout Game PDF and cut up the exercises and place them in a bowl. Then get a pair of dice and take turns with your partner to roll the dice and pick up a paper. Then you must both do the exercise stated with the dice dictating the repetitions. So if the paper says Burpees x2 and the numbers on the dice add up to 8, then you must do 16 burpees in total. If you are not sure of the exercise just search it on youtube before starting the game.
Try many workouts until you find the best for you
If you’ve been used to working out at the gym, doing classes, or using the equipment available, you may need to change it up a bit in order to find what works best for you at home, and the only way to find out is by trying. For example, if you used to do a 50 HIIT workout at the gym, doing a similar workout online may not work for you. The gym provides an atmosphere that keeps you going, getting you through the tough parts, and makes sure you finish the class. At home alone, you might want to quit halfway through. So you may need to split your workouts into two 20 minutes sessions for example, or do a 20-minute online workout, 5 minutes of jumping rope, and 5 minutes of stairs. The more you experiment, the better you will get at knowing what works best for you.
Netflix and move
Get those steps in while watching your favorite show, as simple as that! An activity tracker really helps here, as when it’s evening and you still haven’t reached your step goal for the day, you can get up and do those remaining 2000 steps while watching an episode of Friends. I personally combine my workouts with watching YouTube. I put my timer on for 15 minutes and just do a different move for 50 seconds, rest for 10 and do the next move until the 15 minutes are up.
Find an accountability partner
If you’re the type of person that only gets motivated to workout by a personal trainer, or knowing that your friend is expecting you to show up for your morning walk, then having an accountability partner will help you get those at home workouts done. You can set weekly workout goals with a friend, or make a date to “walk and talk” with your sister for 20 minutes every morning. If you’re not sure I recommend you take Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies quiz, and if you’re tendency is an obliger then chances are having an accountability partner will be a big motivator.
Mini workouts, more than once a day
If it’s difficult to find enough time to do a proper workout, or you get bored easily, then break it down to different mini-workouts throughout the day. For example, I’m taking advantage of the cool weather in the early morning for a bike ride or a walk, and since the curfew in Kuwait ends at 6 am the streets are empty at that time. I then would do a quick yoga sequence. After breakfast, I might do a 15 or 20-minute intense workout using bodyweight or hand weights. This works for my schedule and energy levels. Find what works for you and spread it out in your day.
Commit to working out every day
When it’s every day you don’t question it. You just get it done. And that way if you miss a day, for whatever reason, you’re good. This is especially important if you can’t find the time as 20 minutes a day is better than an hour a week. It’s simple math.
Workout in the morning
The best thing about working out at home is that you can do it any time of day as there is no class timetable to stick to or personal trainer schedule. But if you leave it to later in the day, there’s a higher chance that something (or some kid!) will get in the way, You also have more energy in the morning, you will feel great physically and mentally and hopefully, those positive feelings will stay with you the rest of the day. More importantly, breakfast will taste so much better.
What’s your mood?
You can always find some form of movement you are in the mood for. I want you to push yourself to move, but not to push yourself to do a specific form of exercise. If you had planned to do an intense Tabata workout but don’t feel up for it, ask yourself: What am I in the mood for? It might be yoga…it might be dance…as long as you move, you will feel so much better once you are done. Believe me, there will come a time when you had planned to do yoga but you have so much energy you want to do an intense workout. It works both ways, as long as you really listen to your body and give it a chance to “talk to you”.
Good form and posture always!
If you are exercising for the first time please please take extra care. Good form and posture are vital to avoid injuring yourself. If you’ve never exercised at a gym or had someone show you how to properly do a certain move or use weights, please avoid these types of exercises and always listen to your body. I don’t have any background in physical education, but I have been exercising at home for more than 20 years, so I’m just sharing all those years of personal experience with you.
I hope the tips I’ve shared help motivate you to get moving at home, and here are my favorite online workouts depending on your “mood”:
If you love to dance…
I love the Body By Simone workouts that combine both dance and toning, and the moves are not too complicated. I especially like this 40-minute workout and this 20 minute one.
The FitSevenEleven channel on YouTube have amazing dance workouts between 20-30 minutes in length.
If you want something quick…
Check the Song Workouts playlist on MadFit’s YouTube channel. If you only have a few minutes and want to add a few more minutes to a workout, then this will be perfect. I love how she pairs the moves with the music.
A bit of everything in one place…
The POPSUGAR Fitness YouTube channel has 100s of online workouts to choose from, for all levels and time preferences. The same workouts are also on their website where you can search the workouts by type, difficulty level and duration.