Before reaching one million followers on Instagram and working with celebrities like Kim Kardashian West, celebrity fitness trainer Melissa Alcantara — who has partnered with Messenger on fitness accountability — began her workout journey similarly to how she maintains it now — at home.
"A lot of people don't know this, but I started my fitness journey working out from home doing Insanity by Shaun T. It was the most challenging and rewarding experience ever," she says.
"Sixty days and a ton of sweat, laughs, tears, and pounds off my body, I knew my life had changed forever."
Since returning to her home-workout roots, the CEO and bestselling author has learned that sometimes you think you need things (like fancy gym equipment!) until it's gone. It's then when you realize you never needed any of it after all.
"My home is my comfort space. I can wear what I want, say what I want, do what I want on my own schedule, and sweat as much as I want without anyone judging me," she says.
"I can still get in a fantastic workout and feel great about myself afterward without a fancy setup at home. All you need is some guidance and a plan. The rest is consistency and habit."
With that said, Alcantara hardly surprised us with her take on the most underrated home workout tools: your own body, gravity, and training bands.
We love Alcantara for serving up this no-excuses point of view. Even better, she's sharing how she gets the most out of each "tool," below — and let's just say, she does some of her best work while in her backyard, blasting '90s jams, tanning, and singing.
Your Own Body
Learning to move with purpose, engage your muscles properly, change directions, and get going takes a ton of control, power, and grace, Alcantara says.
"A squat is not just moving up and down. You need to place your feet firmly against the ground and spread your toes, rotate your knees outward to engage your adductors, tuck your booty to use your glutes and posterior chain muscles, your chest needs to be forward and shoulder blades back, your head needs to stay aligned with your spine," she explains.
"After all of this, your breath needs to move with your body. Make sure to inhale on the way down as you stretch those muscles — and exhale on the way up to engage your core."
This way, you can move well forever and make the most of your body.
According to Alcantara, you can take any movement — like a squat — and add gravity for maximized results: "Simply attempt to lift off! So instead of a bodyweight squat, now we're doing plyometric bodyweight squats."
It takes a ton of power to jump off the ground just a few inches, she adds — that's why it's important to use your core to control the movement and land softly as you prepare to repeat.
"Want to get the best upper-body pump and brutal hamstring workout? Try using my training bands, and you'll be in for a treat," Alcantara says.
With training bands, Alcantara notes that you don't need super complex, heavy, and cumbersome equipment to get a great training session and results.
Combining gravity with resistance bands throughout a workout can promote a powerful, graceful, and, more importantly, healthy body, she adds.