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Last Updated on October 4, 2021

5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

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5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

With the lines of work and home becoming increasingly blurry, it’s no wonder why we struggle to find the time to prioritize our health. Particularly with weight loss, it’s often difficult to manage the ever-present constraints around work, children, time to exercise, and the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.

Taking the effects of stress and the rise of remote work and work-from-home situations, we need to be far more tactical in our weight loss pursuits. Quite often, these exercises for weight loss at home aren’t even fitness-related.

Firstly, let’s look at a standard day in the life of a busy professional or parent to really understand the battlefield in which we need to operate.

We all have 24 hours in a day to work with. Knowing how we spend that 24 hours is crucial when learning where time will be best spent for our weight loss journey. Setting unrealistic expectations can be a quick way to end up back at square one.

  • Sleep: 8 hours (parents, if you’re lucky)
  • Work: 8 hours (sometimes more)
  • Children: 2 to 4 hours (includes pickups, drop-offs, and play)
  • Meal Preparation: 1 hour (at a minimum)
  • Household Activities: 1 to 2 hours (because someone’s got to do it, right?)
  • Total: 20 to 22 hours

Taking into account that switching between tasks takes time and cognitive space, we can start to understand why people just want to sit and scroll through social media at the end of a day. We also haven’t factored in the work commute if you have to report to the office.

Just realized you now have minimal time to yourself? This might start to explain why you struggle to gain momentum in your weight loss journey. Let’s work out how to take back the initiative:

  • Automate – Are there any tasks you can automate? If you’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, maybe it’s time to hire a cleaner or have ready-made meals delivered to your door. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but removing the decision of “what’s for dinner?” can be a great way to reduce stress and free up brain space and time.
  • Optimize – If you’re time-poor with kids, it’s time to optimize your activities. Turn screen time into playtime outdoors, and get them to join in on your activities. If your children are old enough, it might be time to start offering pocket money for chores and meal preparation. This strategy helped me stay fit as a single parent. By getting out and active with my son, I doubled my return on investment by staying fit and enhancing my relationship.
  • Eliminate – We’re only human. Sometimes, we simply have too much on our plate due to our high expectations. Take a look through your daily tasks and work out what can be removed.

Now, go through this exercise yourself. What potential spare time do you have to work with? If the answer is none, you might want to keep reading.

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Exercise Selection: It’s Not All About the Burn

No equipment? No problem.

So, we’re finally tracking the elements that matter. It’s time to start leveraging exercise to accelerate our weight loss journey. Alongside focusing on individual exercises that help with weight loss at home or caloric expenditure, we’re going to focus on another method to help keep you consistent and accountable for the long term: interest.

Interest has been linked as one of the key motivating factors to maintain consistency towards a goal. By choosing a form of exercise that your body and mind can enjoy, your chances of weight loss success are far greater.

Here’re the 5 best exercises for weight loss at home:

1. Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

Maybe the body isn’t what it used to be, and intense forms of training simply just aren’t safe anymore. Also considering the body’s response to stress, it might be in our very best interest to choose low-intensity activities that we can repeat daily.

Mobility and movement flows have risen in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise focuses on restoring range of motion (ROM), improving stability, and returning people to activity. Some exercise options include:

  • Quadruped Rocks
  • Frog Stretch
  • Hip Prying
  • Scapula Push-ups
  • Hindu push-ups

Below is a 10minute warm-up flow that shows you how to put all of this together:

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2. Yoga

Yoga is another perfect example of LIIT methodology that can be advanced as your ability improves. Focusing on mobility, stability, and range of movement using only your body weight, it’s a perfect entry-level activity for those that may have lost their way on their weight loss journey.

3. Calisthenics

Strength training at home can be difficult when you lack equipment or experience. An obvious path to building strength at home is calisthenics. Starting with just the following basic bodyweight movements:

You can begin your journey with no equipment and build to quite an advanced level. Here are five movements you can look to master over time are:

Depending on your ability, choose movements that allow you to progress safely over time. There is also gymnastics-based training you can move towards if your body is ready for a more demanding form of training.

4. Aerobic Exercise

Another underrepresented form of exercise, aerobic exercise is often overlooked for its sexier counterparts like strength and HIIT. With the prevalence of obesity nearly tripling between 1975 and 2016 and the major cause in adults being cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to focus on activities that improve cardiovascular or heart health.

Another benefit is that it can be as simple as getting your steps in, going for a swim, or going for an easy ride or run. Phil Maffetone pioneered the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Method that almost anyone can adopt regardless of fitness level and experience.[1]

Here’s a 30-minute session of aerobic exercises you can try:

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5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training is a great way to elevate the heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. It can also be super time-effective, giving you a great bang for your buck. Try sequencing some of the movements and exercises above together with minimal rest to keep your heart rate elevated. Be sure to select movements that suit your current level of fitness and ability.

Here’s a HIIT workout that takes little time and is suited for any level:

Chipper 60

Complete all reps of every exercise for time. Exercises can be done in any order and repetitions to complete the workout.

If you can’t do jump squats, regress to normal squats, and don’t be afraid to change the leg raises to a 60-second plank if you need to. Finish up with some light stretching or foam rolling.

What Also Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Stimulants

Sleep, stress, and stimulants, also known as the hamster wheel of death. Tracking these elements gives us the power to finally stop relying on our ever-depleted stores of discipline and motivation to get the job done. It will also highlight the self-destructive habits that sabotage your weight loss journey.

Simply put, stress affects stimulants, sleep affects stress, and the vicious cycle continues.

Sleep

Are you getting enough sleep? It’s well documented that sleep is an important factor in weight loss and recovery.

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“Restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.”[2]

Start this journey by tracking how much sleep you’re getting. Certain wearables can also track the amount of movement and time you spend awake or in lighter sleep cycles. Getting enough time in REM or deep sleep is critical for weight loss.

Stress

We don’t need to be fancy. A simple daily measurement out of ten indicates how much stress we think we are under. Using this number, we can observe the effects that sleep, stimulants, and exercise have on our stress levels, allowing us to deploy the right strategy for our weight loss goals.

Stimulants

Stimulants can be classified as anything we put in our mouths. Tracking calories, alcohol, and caffeine is a great way to observe, predict, and avoid trends or at-risk periods of overeating and destructive behaviors. Tracking this is aligned with how well we sleep, and our stress response gives us enough information to start forming better weight loss habits.

Work to identify the trigger, observe the response, and then look to adjust.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re fighting fit or returning to activity, the best exercises for weight loss at home are the ones that you can do day in day out that you enjoy. Think of exercise for weight loss as we do for compound interest. Consistently and regularly making deposits may not show immediately, but with time, they give you the momentum you need to reach your goals.

Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] PhilMaffetone: Maximum Aerobic Function
[2] SleepFoundation.org: Why is sleep so important to weight loss?

More by this author

Brett Turley

Shaper & Optimiser of Habits | Founder of Minimalism Fitness

5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

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Last Updated on September 27, 2021

Best Bodyweight Workouts For Beginners (The Complete Guide)

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Best Bodyweight Workouts For Beginners (The Complete Guide)

Think you can’t get a great workout or build muscle with your body weight? think again. Getting fit doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple, safe, and effective with bodyweight workouts you can do anytime and anywhere for the rest of your life.

Regardless of whether you are an athlete, recreational exercise enthusiast, or someone who hasn’t lifted anything but small children or everyday household items, using your body weight as resistance is one of the best ways to get and keep your body in tip-top shape for years to come.

What Is Bodyweight Training?

Bodyweight training or workout uses your body as resistance and is essential for gaining and maintaining muscles, especially as you age. According to the National Institute of Health, beginning as early as age 30, we gradually lose muscle mass and strength as a natural part of the aging process.[1] The rate of loss varies from person to person and will increase due to a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutritional selections. If you don’t do anything about it, the average human will lose 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade. But there is excellent news. With the addition of daily movement, weekly strength training, and proper nutritional choices, gaining muscle is more straightforward than you will expect.

If you want to build confidence, endurance, move better, feel stronger, and lose weight, start with bodyweight workouts. Your body is one of the most fantastic fitness machines ever created to handle life’s physical demands and challenges, and it is always available to you. With a bit of effort, consistency, and proper progressive programming, you will not only improve your fitness level, but you will also continue to feel mentally focused, and you might even minimize the effects of the aging process.

    Photo Credit: Kaileen Pfeiffer of Pfeiffer Photography

    Need more convincing?

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    Jane M. Taylor, MS, CSCS, PN L1, Owner/Coach of Raw Fitness Performance, says:

    “Mastering bodyweight strength is crucial if you plan to add strength training to your overall fitness plan. Having coached thousands of athletes, adults, teens, and kids, I apply the same movement paradigm to everyone, especially beginners.

    First, can you get in position? In other words, do you have proper mobility and stability? You do? Great.

    Next, can you get in and out of position? That’s bodyweight strength—movement with control.

    Spending time practicing bodyweight workouts is time well spent. Not worrying about an external load allows you to groove the movement, laying down the foundation and establishing the fundamentals to eventually express more significant amounts of strength with weights when you are ready to progress.

    Not only that, no matter where you go, you’ll NEVER miss a workout!”

    Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises

    Here are 12 benefits that will motivate and excite you to put your body to work.

    1. It helps improve any muscle imbalances, especially from rounded shoulders and tight hips from sitting too long (hello, new work from the home model).
    2. It works the whole body.
    3. It lays down an excellent foundation for future weighted programming.
    4. It helps improve strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, and coordination.
    5. It can increase your confidence.
    6. It saves time going to the gym.
    7. It can be done anywhere, so there is never an excuse not to work out.
    8. No equipment is necessary.
    9. It never gets boring.
    10. It’s free.
    11. It’s great for any body type.

    Will I Build Muscles With Just My Body Weight?

    Yes!! Following an intense workout, muscle fibers break down and need to repair. It’s during this repair phase that the muscles will strengthen and grow. Note that for this process to occur, the body must be pushed outside of its comfort zone. Using external resistance, aka free weights, barbells, or bands, will speed up this process and is a fantastic addition to any strength program, but it is doable with just your body weight.

    As you improve, the trick is to continue changing your training variable (sets, reps, intensity, time under tension). Once you have mastered your technique, it is time to take it to the next level by mixing high-intensity exercises with exercises performed slowly, focusing on engaging the muscle during the contraction phase, which I will demonstrate in the video.

    Let’s break down a few beginner exercises and body parts to get you started.

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    First, there are seven basic movements the body can perform; pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting, twisting, skipping, jumping. From these seven, there are many different variations for each body part which I will show you below. With bodyweight workouts, you work all your muscles, including your heart, as you elevate your endurance.

    1. Back – Plank Push-Ups, Back Extensions
    2. Chest – Push-Ups, Incline Regular, High to Low Plank
    3. Arms – Modified Side Plank, Side Plank Hip Drop, Dips
    4. Core/Hips – Planks (high and low; you may perform off your kitchen counter), Elevated Mt Climbers, Opposite Arm Leg Reach, Bear Crawl Hold, Isometric Knee Press (Single and Double Knee Hold), Heel Drops (Single and Double Heel Drop), Deadbug, Crunches, Floor Bridge
    5. Legs/Hips
    6. Quadriceps – Seated Bent Knee Extensions, Seated Straight Leg Lift
    7. Hips – Side Leg Raise, Deadlifts, Prone Leg Lifts, Glute Extensions
    8. Squats – Chair Squat, Step Out Squat, Plie Squat, Wall Squat Hold
    9. Lunges – Step Ups, Stationary, Side Lunge, Curtsy Lunge, Swing Lunge

    Designing a Bodyweight Workout Program

    With bodyweight workouts, the variety is endless and can be applied to any current life situation. Whether you have 10 minutes or an hour, use the simple format below to keep your muscles constantly guessing. If you are just starting, begin with 20 minutes twice a week for two to four weeks. As your fitness level improves, increase the time and amount of days/week.

    The greatest thing about bodyweight workouts is there are multiple variations, and you will never get bored. Select an exercise from each category. Always starting with a movement that works numerous muscles at once ex push-ups and squats, then move to exercises that work smaller muscles, aka dips for the triceps.

    Best Beginner Total Body Workout

    Beginner: two times a week

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    (Repeat 2 x 10 to 15 repetitions)

    1. Plank Push-Ups

    1. Begin on your elbows on an elevated surface such as your kitchen counter or dining table.
    2. Step your feet back and together so you are supporting your body weight on your elbows.
    3. Maintain a straight line from the top of your head to your toes.
    4. At the same time, brace your core by pulling your stomach muscles in towards the back of the body and begin to retract your shoulder blades as if you are squeezing a pencil, then push the counter away with your core and elbows and come back to the starting position.
    5. Perform the prescribed repetitions (reps).
    6. Your whole body should move as a unit.

    2. Push-Ups

    1. Begin by placing your hands shoulder-width apart on an elevated surface such as your kitchen counter or dining table.
    2. Step your feet back and together so you are supporting your body weight on your hands, maintaining a straight line from the top of your head to your toes.
    3. At the same time, brace your core by pulling your stomach muscles in towards the back of the body and begin to bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the counter, then straighten your arms and push back up to the starting position.
    4. Perform the prescribed reps.
    5. Your whole body should move as a unit.

    3. Step-Out Squat

    1. Begin standing with your feet together.
    2. Step out to the right and lower your hips back behind you, pushing through the heels. Keep the knees behind the toes.
    3. Stand up and step together, tucking the tailbone under and squeezing the butt at the top.
    4. Perform the prescribed reps.
    5. Repeat on the left.

    4. Stationary Lunge

    1. Step out about hip bone/hip distance.
    2. Step the right foot back and stagger your stance about the same distance as the length of your leg.
    3. Keep the back heel off the ground and begin to bend into both legs, lowering your body towards the floor.
    4. Be sure to place more of your body weight through your front heel and keep the front knee behind the toe.
    5. Perform the prescribed reps.

    5. Hip Bridge

    1. Lie on your back, either on the floor or couch.
    2. Bend your knees and place your feet on the floor.
    3. Press through the feet, squeeze your butt and press the hips to the sky.
    4. Lower down 1/2 way, then repeat.
    5. Perform the prescribed reps.

    6. Isometric Knee Press

    Depending on your core strength, begin with one side at a time or both legs on a tabletop.

    Level 1: Single-Leg Knee Press

    1. Lie on your back, either on the floor or couch.
    2. Bend your knees and place your right foot on the floor.
    3. Keeping the left knee bent, bring it up off the floor into a 90°-angle (otherwise known as tabletop position).
    4. Place the left hand on your thigh.
    5. At the same time, push your hand into your thigh and thigh into your hand. You should feel your abdominals contract.
    6. Hold that contraction for 10 sec, then pause.
    7. Perform the prescribed reps.
    8. Switch sides.

    Level 2: Double Knee Press

    1. The exact format as above, only this time, both legs will be in tabletop.
    2. Keep the abdominals braced for 10 sec, then pause.
    3. Perform the prescribed reps.

    Conclusion

    If your goal is to move and feel better in your body and continue to progress to an advanced fitness level, begin with bodyweight workouts. Not only will it lay down a solid foundation, but it will also help you minimize injury and give you the confidence to keep progressing to more challenging workouts.

    Commit to yourself and future strength gains by incorporating bodyweight workouts into your weekly routine. I promise you won’t be sorry.

    More Beginner Workouts You Can Try

    Featured photo credit: Fortune Vieyra via unsplash.com

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    Reference

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