Have you ever felt like you have to have an expensive gym membership in order to get in shape? Or maybe, the price of the gym membership isn’t the problem, but actually getting there is. You don’t have child care or you just simply don’t want to take the time out of your day to drive across town to the gym or stop at the gym on the way home and deal with crowds of people.
If any of these struggles are your reality – I understand! I love to go to the gym and have a membership. However, with the exception of our short stint in Montana last summer, I haven’t belonged to a gym in quite a few years AND I’m honestly in better shape that I was when we went to the gym. When I workout at home I’m more efficient. I don’t waste time waiting on equipment and walking into the gym. Plus, I’m not scared to SWEAT and grunt! 😬
So, how do I stay in better shape without a gym membership? Here are 10 ways to get started exercising at home today!
8 Ways to Start Exercising at Home
1. Take a Jog Around the Block (or fast paced walk)
Basically, just get your heart rate pumping and start sweating. You can use a Fitbit or other fitness tracker to log your steps, or simply set a watch for 30 minutes and go. You certainly don’t have to be fast and if you need to start with a walk, that’s fine too! Signing up for a 5K in your community is a great way to motivate yourself to START. If you want to begin running, there are many great Couch to 5K apps out there. Anytime, I’ve wanted to start running or training I find that what motivates me more than anything is signing up for a race. THEN, I suddenly have something very real to work towards. If you don’t want to run but simply walk, that’s fine too. There are usually tons of walkers at 5Ks.
2. Use Bodyweight Exercises to Build Muscle
You don’t even need equipment to start getting in shape at home. Sure, a few basic pieces of equipment (see below) will certainly add variety, but it’s not necessary. Use the weight of your own body to assist in building muscle. Here are just a few exercises that will do this:
- Push Ups
- Tricep Dips using a chair (see a chair dip here)
- Sit Ups
- Squat Jumps
3. Create a Home Gym with Simple Equipment
With just a few basic pieces of equipment it’s easy to create a home gym. If you have some money to invest I definitely recommend these bowflex dumbbells. We have these dumbbells for a few years and they are incredibly handy as they fit in a tight space, but allow for different weights which helps you customize your workout. The dumbbells paid for themselves pretty quickly when we didn’t have to pay monthly gym fees. We use this exercise ball instead of a bench as we can stow it away a bit easier and it works extra muscles since you have to stabilize yourself anyway. If you don’t want to invest in the dumbbells, we also have these resistance bands. They work great and are really affordable, as of this post only $30 on amazon (price subject to change). You can easily modify a workout that calls for dumbbells to use the bands instead.
4. Follow Along With a YouTube Exercise Video
There are many wonderful fitness DVDs out there, but you don’t have to even spend a dime on them if you don’t want to! There are plenty of great fitness workouts you can get from YouTube. It even has workouts from popular well known trainers such as The 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels. You can find pretty much whatever kind of workout you are looking for from yoga to HIIT to strength training on Youtube.
5. Buy a Workout DVD or Plan
Perhaps you enjoy working out to videos, but you want a specific plan to follow. Maybe you wouldn’t know where to start with looking up workouts on Youtube. In this case, there are plenty of great workout DVDs that include a plan. I’ve done a few of the popular ones you may have heard of such as Insanity, Piyo, and most of Body Beast. They were all great workouts, but completely different! Consider your goals, level of fitness, and time commitment before choosing your plan. My post on 5 Tips to Choosing the Best Workout Plan might be helpful as well.
6. Start Practicing Yoga at Home
This is one of my favorites over the last few years. I love it because once you learn a few basic poses it’s a great way to destress and listen to your body.
If you are a beginner and looking for a DVD, I recommend Rodney Yee Daily Yoga. It consists of 5 different yoga routines and they are all pretty short (approx 20 minutes.) Earlier this month, I started going through 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. This series would be great if you are completely new to yoga AND it’s completely free!
If you are looking for something much more intense a few years ago I bought The Ultimate Yogi and really enjoy doing these DVDs, but they are much longer so I find they are more difficult to fit into my daily life right now. Lately, I’ve just been doing some yoga on YouTube, mostly along with KinoYoga who has tons of different videos including practice for inversions.
7. Use a Pre-Planned workout (not video based)
Anymore unless I’m doing yoga I prefer to follow a plan, but not a video. I’ll either create my own plan to follow or try out one that I buy or find for free. I love to try out new plans to find routines I truely enjoy. Here are a couple of the plans I’ve tried that work well for home workouts:
- Lauren Gleisberg’s Weight Training at Home Plan – I am currently doing this and LOVE it. You do need dumbbells, resistance bands, and a ball, but it’s a great plan. Plus, I find the price (currently $12) to be VERY affordable and reasonable. However, it is 6 days a week and I find the sessions to be more time intensive than BBG (see below.)
- Kayla Itsine’s BBG – I’ve completed both 1.0 (twice) and 2.0. This is a great workout and arguably the best shape I was in was when I was doing this. It includes TOUGH 30 minute circuits. However, I find it to be pricy for what it is. Check out this link if you want to read my complete review of Kayla Itsine’s BBG. (Actually, it’s been a few month since I wrote that and I am thinking of restarting it…that’s how much I loved it!)
8. High Interval Intensity Training (Quick and Effective)
If you haven’t read my post on High Interval Intensity Training (HIIT) definitely check it out. HIIT is an effective and efficient way to burn fat by boosting your metabolism. Plus, it’s easy to do at home and requires no equipment! I’ve been working HIIT into my routine about 2 times a week recently. Check out my post on HIIT to learn more.
No Gym = No Problem
Staying fit at home can be much easier than belonging to a gym. Though I miss the atmosphere of working out alongside other people, in general, I find I can fit a home workout into my schedule much easier. Plus, it saves us money each month that we are happy to allocate elsewhere in our budget! What is your favorite way to stay fit at home?
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