Want to Start Working Out, but Don't Know What to Do? These 10 At-Home Tips Can Help
Whether you've committed to start working out for the first time ever or you've decided to make it a priority after a bit of an extended break, beginning a new exercise routine can be downright daunting. Add in factors like a busy full-time job and having a family, and honestly, who can blame you for not wanting to drop a load of cash on an expensive gym membership every month if it's possible life might often get in the way? Thankfully, there are many ways you can embark on an effective fitness routine from the comfort of your own home. Here, we've gathered 10 tips straight from trainers to help you slowly but surely whip yourself into shape.
Build the Habit Into Your Daily Routine
Starting an effective home workout routine is not as easy as turning on a video or purchasing a shiny new piece of workout equipment, George Foreman III, a boxing coach and founder of EverybodyFights in Boston, told POPSUGAR.
"If you really want to succeed with a long-term program, start with a small commitment to something you can do anywhere," he said. "Build this small commitment into your morning and evening routines, right before something you would never start your morning or go to sleep without doing." For example, every morning and evening before brushing your teeth, perform 20 push-ups and 20 squats. "Eventually your body will crave the activity and it will be hard to start and end your day without it," Foreman said.
Physically Designate a Workout Space at Home
Once you're in the habit of exercising at home every day, it can really help you to designate a small space in your home to get in the mindset of continuing this habit. In addition to storing your fitness equipment in this area, you can make the space your own workout haven by painting the room a different color or even simply posting a print-out with your favorite motivational quote on the wall, Foreman told POPSUGAR.
Find an Online Video You Love
If you're not familiar with exercising but want to work out regularly at home, there are tons of awesome online videos to help you get started. "You can find videos that will take you through yoga, HIIT, postpartum toning, strength training and more with very minimal equipment," Victoria Nolan, a certified personal trainer at Suite Time Fitness in Houston, told POPSUGAR. "These videos will take you through a warm up and a cool down routine that you may be more likely to skip if yo were to do it solo." POPSUGAR has a ton of videos to pick from.
Make Someone Keep You Accountable
For many people, the idea of letting someone down is enough to keep them from breaking their workout plans. So be consistent in making workout plans with a friend or trainer to come workout with you at home. Similarly, even committing to home workouts with online trainers can prove to do the trick and inspire you to say consistent, Foreman said.
Invest in a Few Pieces of Equipment
You'd be surprised at how buying a few pieces of gear (such as an exercise mat, some free weights, and resistance bands) to outfit your home gym can make all the difference in maintaining a routine. "You can get a complete full body workout without having to spend a lot of money on weights or even needing a large space to exercise," Nolan said. "People tend to discount how effective resistance bands, which cost about $30 for a full set, and bodyweight exercises can be."
But Keep the Equipment Minimal
Foreman recommends minimizing the equipment you use at home, and says that when you do use training tools at home you shouldn't base your entire routine on them. If you find yourself away from your home gym, it will be easy for you to find an excuse to break from your routine if you "need" your tools to work out. "Use home gym equipment to enhance your workout, or to mix things up every so often, but don't let them become the centerpiece of your routine," he said. "Try to use things you can easily find at a hotel gym when you're on the road."
Invest in Quality Activewear
While you definitely don't need the most expensive athletic apparel out there, what you wear to work out does matter. You are much more likely to stick with an exercise routine if you wear clothing that is comfortable and functional, such as pieces made with dry-fit or sweat-wicking fabrics. "Invest in apparel that makes you feel comfortable, empowered and ready to train hard the same way you would at the gym," Foreman said.
Know That an At-Home Workout Can Be as Hard as You Want It to Be
You don't need fancy machines to complete a hard workout that leaves you feeling sore and strong. Squat overhead presses are simple, yet effective moves Nolan recommends trying at home. Stand with your feet hip distance apart with a dumbbell beside each foot.
Take a breath in as you bend your knees, placing your weight in your heels as you squat down and grab the dumbbells. Breathe out as you stand up, pressing the dumbbell all the way up into an overhead press.
Nolan also recommends banded kickbacks for activating and strengthening your glutes. On all fours, loop the band around your left foot. Keeping a tight hold of the handles, slowly kick your left leg back, keeping your tummy tight and engaging the left glute. Return to the start and repeat 10 to 15 times per leg.
Don't Be Afraid to Do a Lot of Push-Ups
"There are so many ways to do push-ups, whether it's on an incline or decline, on your knees, on a wall, or with different hand positions," Nolan said. No matter which way you choose, the exercise is challenging.
Nolan's favorite is the scapular push-up. Get in a plank position, keeping your arms as straight as you can. Sink your chest toward the floor then push your upper back up toward the sky. Repeat 10 to 15 times. "Focus on the area between your shoulder blades, this is where the work is happening, tummy is held tight and hips are held in line with your upper body," she said. "If you're very new to exercise, this can also be done against a wall."
Download a High-Intensity Interval Training Workout App
"If you already have a home routine and are looking to switch it up a little, there are many free HIIT workout apps you can download on your phone," Nolan said. "You can set your work to rest intervals, as well as sets. It's a great way to get your heart rate up while focusing on strength work." She recommends a traditional Tabata format of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, performed eight times. "What you do with those 4 minutes is up to you, but I like to alternate between two exercises (for example, kettlebell squats and push-ups), to keep it interesting," she said.