It’s a new year, and you want to transform into a new you. Whether that means shedding a few pounds, bulking-up that muscle, or just maintaining good health, why not work out in the comfort of your own living room?
Despite many gyms reopening, COVID-19 is still a potential threat and it may be a good idea to get your daily workout in at home instead of sharing germs within the weight room.
If you’re struggling to put a workout together or simply lacking the motivation to roll out of bed and get started, here are five tips to help you begin your fitness journey at home:
Think about your fitness goals before you start your workout journey
Quinn Dilworth, part-time assistant strength and conditioning coach, said before you jump into your first workout at home, it’s essential to think about the fitness goals you want to accomplish because it will help you hold yourself accountable.
“It’s all about building realistic expectations and making sure that you have an end goal in mind,” Dilworth said. “Know that you won’t probably reach [that goal] within a week but within months of hard work.”
DSU Alumna Deshka Olsen said people should keep a fitness journal to jot down their goals, track their progress and record their workout numbers as they work out at home.
“You have to envision where you want to be physically in order to get there,” Olsen said. “Imagine going on a drive and trying to get to a destination but having no clear idea of where that destination is. Just like that example, your fitness journey needs an end goal so you can eventually push yourself to get there.”
Dilworth said you can create small daily goals to help plan your workout and focus on strengthening one specific area of your body.
“I also think with every workout you need to have a small goal in mind of what you want to accomplish in the set amount of time you’ll be exercising,” Dilworth said. “If you’re trying to lose weight, your goal should revolve around conditioning. If you’re trying to build muscle, your goal should involve hitting a certain weight or focusing on exercises that work that specific muscle.”
Olsen said no matter what your end goal is, it will help drive you to want to work out at home, especially when you don’t feel like it.
“Develop your ‘why,'” Olsen said. “That’s going to ultimately get you to get up off the couch and doing those burpees.”
Your home workout doesn’t need to be too complex
Sometimes, people feel like their workout at home won’t be as effective as a workout at the gym because they don’t have the same equipment or environment the gym has, Olsen said.
“You don’t need fancy equipment or a complex routine to get a good workout in,” Olsen said. “Start with body weight workouts at home to build a strong foundation and get your form right.”
Dilworth said to focus on primal movements like pushing, pulling, squatting and hinging. Simple body weight workouts at home like squats, pushups, pull ups, inverted rows, lunges, Romanian Dead-Lifts and planks are all basic exercises that can make you sweat hard right in your living room.
“There are a million and one variations of those movements,” Dilworth said. “Start small and easy, while progressively getting harder with time.”
Jenelle Young, part-time health science instructor, said interval workouts are simple to plan and convenient to do in the space of your own home. She recommends using the stopwatch timer on your phone, choosing a series of six to eight exercises, and doing them for a set amount of time.
A simple routine Young likes to do at home includes:
- 30 seconds of pushups
- 30 seconds running in place
- 30 seconds of wall sits
- 30 seconds of mountain climbers
- 30 seconds of reverse planking
- 30 seconds of burpees
- 30 seconds to have a water break and stretch
- Repeat three times
Dilworth said if you want to get small equipment to use in your home workouts, hip circles and mini bands are fairly cheap items to purchase that can take your bodyweight workouts to the next level.
“If you are ‘feeling rich,’ kettlebells are also awesome to get your hands on due to the number of different variations of workouts you can use with it,” Dilworth said.
“Keep your workout short, sweet and to the point“
Life gets busy with classes, jobs and social commitments, and sometimes we like to make the excuse that we simply do not have the time to fit a workout into our agenda.
“That excuse can easily be combatted with understanding that your workout does not need to be long, and a few minutes is better than no minutes,” Olsen said.
Your home workout should only range from 30 to 50 minutes, she said.
“Even when using heavy lifting equipment, workouts shouldn’t be longer than an hour,” Dilworth said. “You are either not recovering enough or you are not working out hard enough. Keep your workout short, sweet and to the point.”
Young said she likes to design her home interval workouts to include things like reading, cleaning or even studying.
“For example, hold a plank while you read for 2 minutes followed by a set of crunches for 30 seconds, followed by 2 minutes more of studying while holding another plank,” Young said.
Olsen said home workouts should feel more comfortable and convenient, but remember to work hard in the small amount of time you’ve set aside for yourself.
Use online resources to assist you with your home workout
If you’re a beginner and having trouble trying to come up with a workout plan, finding a workout app or online workout video is your way to go.
“CrossFit.com has some great at-home workout suggestions,” Young said. “The website includes videos, pictures, descriptions, written routines and more that you can easily follow at home.”
Young also recommended searching “Sarah Beth Yoga” on YouTube, which has ample free yoga workouts.
YouTube is home to several free home workout videos that include Zumba, dance workouts, HIIT workouts and more that a viewer can follow along with at home on their phone, TV or laptop.
“When I don’t feel like planning a whole workout routine, I just like throwing on a HIIT workout I find on YouTube for free and follow along,” Olsen said. “Most of these videos are under 30 minutes, include simple body-weight exercises that get your heart pumping, and are easy to follow mirror.”
Get rid of the distractions and excuses
It’s extremely easy to get distracted and make a quick excuse to get out of doing your home workout. Most of the time you might be in bed, snuggled-up, watching your favorite Netflix show and exercise does not sound appealing at all.
“If you can remove obstacles that may be keeping you from creating a good habit, even making it a mere 20 seconds easier for you, then you will be more likely to create that habit,” Young said. “Try putting your workout shoes and clothes out in the evening so they are ready to grab immediately for a workout.”
Dilworth said most people are distracted by their phone and to break that habit of getting distracted by it, people should turn it off a few minutes before they exercise.
“Turn off your phone and the TV and just focus on the task at hand,” Dilworth said. “The key is consistency, and as long as you trust the process, it will work and goals will be met.”
Olsen said she sets a timer on her phone so she can stop whatever she is doing and get to her quick 30 minute home workout.
“It’s amazing to just be able to drop whatever I’m doing and tell myself that it’s OK to commit literally a few minutes — not even an hour — a day to making myself better,” Olsen said. “When I open my fitness journal, I instantly forget all the excuses I was just thinking about using.”
Young said the key to eliminating any excuses you may come up with is creating a workout that is fun and personalized to your liking.
“The main thing is to just get moving and if possible engage in activities that you love,” Young said. “The possibilities are limitless.”