Fitness has become incredibly popular and almost a crucial element of the 21st Century. It’s not just about the way we look or how we feel, it’s about being healthy and the ability to live and enjoy our lives to the fullest. One of the most common ways to achieve this is to turn to the gym. Now don’t get me wrong, going to the gym definitely has its perks and is a great way to get fit. But for many of us, it just isn’t an option. It could be that we don’t have enough time to go, or perhaps we can’t afford the membership. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean you can’t get the same results working out at home. In this post we’ll be looking at how you can do just that; How you can jump start your home fitness program whatever your fitness goal may be.
Disclaimer: If you have any medical conditions or injuries, please consult a doctor before embarking on any new exercise program. I am not a doctor or an expert, simply encouraging others to live a fitter, healthier life by showing them the techniques that I use myself. These techniques may not work for everyone! This post does contain both non-affiliate and affiliate links, whereby if you make a purchase through clicking one of these links I may earn a small commission.
Since living in the Alps, most of my exercise has of course come from the outdoors. Mainly skiing or snowboarding during the winter and hiking in the summer. But whilst these are physically activities, they don’t exactly keep me fit. It’s also a little less interesting when you’re on your own so much. Since I’ve had a little more time on my hands this summer, ok a lot more, following a home fitness program has not only improved my fitness but it’s also kept me sane! The nearest gym is about 40 minutes away, so working out at home is my only option. But it works.
Why work out at home?
There are numerous reasons why we should all be exercising and not being able to get to a gym should not stand in your way. There are even many benefits from working out at home let alone being considered a preference for some. For example, the obvious reason is that it’s a huge money saver. Another is that it is a convenient time saver not commuting, therefore you can fit working out easily into your busy, daily schedule. It’s also a time saver not having to prepare your gym bag, make snacks to go and put on your makeup!
Other benefits of working out at home:
- It encourages you to learn about fitness as you’ll have to research ways to be creative and the different exercises you can do
- No one is judging you. You are free to feel looking as ridiculous as you need, nor do you have to worry about epically failing in front of people!
- No waiting for equipment or having to adapt your workout routine
- The floor and equipment you’re using aren’t full of other people’s germs
- It gives you a private moment to yourself away from everybody else. A necessity and extremely important when it comes to mental health
Where do I start?
As with any fitness program, irrelevant of your lieu of exercise, setting goals and having a plan is vital. Try and be specific when setting your goals. Once you know why you are going to be working out you can start putting together a plan. If you’re new to this, I recommend finding an existing plan that’s suited to your goals. You can find hundreds on the internet, but my preferred sites are: Spoteby, Popsugar on youtube and of course Pinterest.
Bear in mind it takes some trial and error. Take the time to find the right exercises for you at the right level and don’t be afraid to use resources. The aim is not only having the right plan for you and your goals, but having a workout plan that you enjoy and look forward to.
Need a workout schedule to help you stay on track? You can download the free printable now!
Start small and slow. If you’ve never worked out much before, following a 5 day a week fitness plan of 1 hour a day is not the best idea, even if you want fast results. You might be raring to get started but the motivation won’t last if it’s too hard – and that’s if you last yourself! Instead, start with 2-3 sessions a week for the first 2-3 weeks. Then look at upping it to every other day, then or 2 days on 1 day off.
The last thing I would recommend when getting started with a home fitness plan is sticking to the same workout time and place each day. Even though working out at home is convenient and easy to adapt around your day, you still want it to become a routine. Also, having a dedicated area in your home specifically for fitness will help motivate and avoid distractions.
Don’t I need equipment?
You don’t need fancy gym equipment to get results or to get fit. There are a lot of exercises using your own body weight that can make a huge difference to your fitness. Having said that, there are a few things worth investing in, especially if your goal is to build muscle.
1. A yoga/exercise mat. Not only is this crucial for padding and protection, it’s hygienically cleaner for not sweating all over the place!
2. A resistance band or/and an exercise ball. These are affordable and open up a huge world of exercise possibilities.
3. Dumbbells or kettle bells. Even for weight loss this is highly recommended.
4. Jump rope. This is amazing cardio if you have some garden or outdoor space
What exercises can I do at home?
There are thousands of exercises that you can do at home. Don’t let this overwhelm you! Stick to the basic ones to start (you’ll be surprised how effective they really are) and try variations of those exercises over time. For example, a 30 second wall sit is a great lower body exercise. Once you have used this in your routine for a couple of weeks (and of course you can increase the time,) make it harder by holding a weight or something heavy. After a few weeks doing it this way, you can add a resistance band between your knees.
Other lower body exercises:
Squats – one of the best lower body exercises you can do, strengthening not only the muscles but your bones, ligaments and tendons.
Variations – sumo squats (wide legs), squat pulses, chair squat (legs together), squat jumps, frog jumps, If you want to increase the difficulty of the basic versions, hold a weight or add a resistance band.
Glute bridges – perfect for small spaces.
Variations – take one leg off the ground (single hip raises), place your heels on an exercise ball or coffee table, hold a weight on your middle area, hold an object between your knees
Fire hydrants and donkey kicks – again, perfect for small spaces and a great exercise to work your butt.
Variations – add a kick out (fire hydrant), knee forward + knee to the side (fire hydrant), add a resistance band (both), Place hands on exercise ball or couch (donkey kicks,) perform in plank position (donkey kicks), squeeze a dumbbell behind your knee (donkey kicks.)
Upper body exercises:
Push ups – a classic for working the upper body.
Variations – arms wider, arms closer, raised leg, raised leg and knee forward (spider), Put your feet on something higher (like the couch), put your arms on something higher
Dumbbell exercises – push presses, front raises, lateral raises, tricep flick backs, scull crushers, bicep curls…the list is endless. If you don’t have dumbbells you can use filled water bottles!
Tricep dips – great for doing at home as you can use the couch
Variations – place your feet on the coffee table, one leg off the ground alternative arm straight out, place a weight on your middle/upper legs
Planks – perfect for small spaces and endless variable options
Variations – full plank, elbow plank, move between elbows and hands, side planks, one arm, one arm and alternating leg, reverse plank, plank jacks, knee to elbow….to name just a few
Russian twists – targets your abs and middle area
Variations – legs off the ground, hold a weight, place shoulders on an exercise ball, use a resistance band around your ankles
Crunches – whilst controversial, doing fewer reps is thought to be more effective (and I definitely agree!)
Variations – reverse crunches, cross crunch, knee to alternate elbow (bicycle crunches,) leg pumps, hold a weight (arms stretched out over your head,) hold a weight behind your knees
As well as your target exercises, any workout should get the heart pumping, therefore you should be incorporating cardio into your routine. If you can’t get out for a walk, run or bike ride, there are many on the spot exercises you can do at home. For example; jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks, burpees, mountain climbers, knee drives etc. It is also crucial that before any workout you warm up correctly and that you warm down and stretch after your exercise. If effective, these only have to be 5-10 minutes.
The Bottom Line
It might not be easy, but you don’t have to go to the gym to get fit, or to achieve your physical goals. Whether you’re working out 15 minutes a day or an hour 3 times a week, consistency is the most important thing you need. Even if your workouts consist of basic exercises, if you do it on a regular basis you will see a huge difference after just a couple of weeks. This should be encouraging enough to get our butts into gear and kickstart our home fitness program! Still need motivation? Check out my post on how to get/stay motivated here!
How do you work out at home? What equipment do you use or exercises you do? Let us know in the comments section below!