How To: Workout at Home
As a busy working mom, it can be really hard to find the time to get to the gym and maintain a fitness routine. I get that. And I've been there.
Before kids, I was at the gym on a very regular basis because I have always enjoyed being active. As my first-born grew and my husband was working on the road, I found it harder and harder to find time to work, commute, take care of her & the house solo, and find time for myself and get to the gym. Frustrated with my inconsistent fitness routine, I finally let my friend convince me to try at-home workouts - because doing something was better than doing nothing.
Since then, I have done 99% of my workouts from my home! And now, I'm able to fit in 4-5 days a week, most weeks. I do a combination of outdoor running, outdoor Tabata workouts, and Beachbody programs in my living room. I have been able to build and maintain muscle, stay lean, and feel great by consistently getting in my 20-45 minute workouts - instead of stressing to get to the gym once or twice a week for an hour.
It does not take much to get started at home. The biggest hurdle, will be your attitude.
You need to create the motivation to actually commit to the workout, no matter what type you decide to do.
Beyond that, you will need a few workout staples to purchase or acquire.
Here is a run-down of what I have in my home:
Set of dumbbells. I like the neoprene coated ones as they are super comfortable, and they look nice. Once you get to the higher weights, the coated hex ones are great too. You can find both at places like Academy, Target, Walmart, Scheels, or Dicks. Because they are heavy, these are usually something that you will want to go in-store to purchase instead of shipping. I recommend having 3, 5, 8, 10, 15, and 20lb weights for most people. This will allow you to have appropriate weight for each body part and allows for a variety of training styles that you may use.
Weight-tree. This is great for space saving and keeping your weights organized. I grabbed this one from Amazon and it works very well and holds six sets - plus I set another on the top.
Yoga mat. You can also grab a workout mat, it is essentially the same thing. This will help give some cushion when you get down on the floor for exercises. They are cheap to pick up and your hands, knees and back will thank you.
Resistance Loops. I have had several brands in the past and I cannot stand cheap sets. The ones that I prefer are from Beachbody and are the rubbery/latex material. They come in a set of three so that you have three resistance levels. Next on my list is to get some of the wider fabric ones to add to my gear.
Jump Rope. You can get a great cardio workout in the garage or driveway in a short amount of time if you incorporate jumping rope into your workouts.
Good Shoes. If you want to add in running, walking, sprinting (which you can do from anywhere, at pretty much anytime) then you certainly want a great pair of running shoes to support your feet and joints. My favorite over the years (and a running community favorite) are Brooks. I suggest getting fitted at a running shoe store to get the best style for your stride and activities. It is worth it to keep you pain free! If you will be focusing on indoor weight workouts and HIIT workouts (such as Beachbody) then I suggest getting a pair of cross trainers to give you the support and stability that you will want for the lifting, side to side and jumping activities that will be worked in.
Adjustable Dumbbells. These are our most recent addition to the home fitness set-up and make it possible to lift much heavier without having a full set of weights that take up a lot of space. There are several brands that make these, and I was able to find a deal on this less known brand before Christmas. They had great reviews and work just as well as the top name brands. These are perfect if you have already build up a bit of strength and need a higher weight set. Currently, only my husband uses these, as my workouts right now are challenging with the 20lbs dumbbells; however, I will be ready to move up in weight on a few things and these will be very handy.
Now that you have some gear... what do you do with it?
I am a big advocate for the Beachbody on Demand programs if you are wanting to incorporate fitness at home. Not a coach myself, and a huge gym rat prior to kids, I was so skeptical to try them and swore working out at home would not be effective. The programs are well designed and actually DO provide a great workout in 20-60 minutes (depending on your program). And, they have a lot of different styles of trainers and workout programs, so it is versatile no matter what you prefer. Boxing, dancing, barre, lifting heavy, HIIT, circuits... it is all there. Speaking of lifting - it really is for everyone and is a fantastic way to boost your metabolism and improve your entire body.
As a former personal trainer, I am also very capable of designing my own workouts; however, it makes it so much easier, more fun and more challenging to just press play and have the prep work done! Also, being an app based program makes it so easy to do it anywhere (you can also access on your phone) and at anytime. Wake up early and press play, turn it on while dinner is in the oven, let your kids join in with the workouts, or knock out the workout after the kids go to bed. I have done all of the above to fit my workout into my schedule - guilt free.
If you need help connecting to a coach to get started with it, I can refer you to several.
While the app programs do check the box for lifting and cardio - I am someone who also enjoys running and some outdoor workouts. So I do them. For some people, your schedule may allow for you to get up early and run before the kids are up and your day starts. I would love that! BUT, that does not work for me at this point in our lives. Instead, I find time to squeeze those in whenever I can.
Anyone can run (or walk) from pretty much anywhere. I have ran up and down my subdivision street to get my miles or sprints in... even at night. I have ran laps around parking lots. Up and down the long driveway. At a park. On a trail. On the road.
If you are determined to get out and run (or walk) it IS do-able, you just have to find a solution instead of finding an excuse.
Besides running, you can also incorporate jump rope or other Tabata workouts in a very small space - no matter where you are. I do these style workouts in my driveway or garage, and I have also done them on the sidewalk of my daughters dance studio because that is where I had 20 minutes to squeeze it in.
The biggest thing to realize with shifting to working out at home is to accept that any workout is better than no workout. That was a lightbulb moment for me. I had to stop thinking a 20 minute driveway workout or a 30 minute program wasn't good enough for me. I would so much rather get in 4-5, 30-minute sessions of moving my body each week than struggle to get in an hour long session that met my [former] standards.
Now you have some gear, some program ideas, and hopefully a shifted and open mindset that is ready to take on at-home fitness and get your body moving! Choose activities that you enjoy and you will be more likely to continue to show up to them and have fun in this journey.
If you have specific questions, drop them in the comments so everyone can learn and grow together.