As it has been said, our home is our castle. It’s one of the few places we truly feel comfortable; so why not exercise there? Because many people don’t have time to go to the gym, are intimidated by the gym (some people scream really loud when lifting…scary), or don’t want to wait on equipment (you know that guy that does like 15 sets per piece of equipment…yeah that guy) almost 67% of gym memberships are never used! Working out at home doesn’t sound like a bad option!
From demolishing calories to shredding fat, you can get the results you want from your living room! Below are 10 of the easiest, most simple ways for beginners to start making their castle into their very own gym and get incredible fitness results along the way!
1. Body-weight Exercise For Starters
“Man, working out at home sounds fun and all but who can afford all of that equipment?”
I’m here to tell you that one of the best tools you have at your disposal is yourself! Bodyweight training is all the rage nowadays because it focuses on increasing your functional strength through movements like squats, pushups, pull-ups, dips, planks, etc. This functional strength is the strength you need to perform daily tasks in your life and this form of training can be just as effective (with all other things considered) as traditional weight-lifting at a gym! Save yourself time and money and get to those push-ups!
2. After-burn Train
“Great, so I’m getting stronger but I NEED to do cardio; aka I need a treadmill. There’s no way I’m running outsides, it’s freezing!”
The answer is after-burn or commonly referred to as EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) training. Basically, if you strength train at a high-intensity (70-75% of your VO2) for an extended period of time (at least 30 minutes) your body requires more oxygen and therefore calories after your workout to return it to its normal resting state. In fact, you can burn extra calories over 38 hours after your workout is over still due to that workout—that’s insane. You could be burning calories still from your workout the NEXT night while sitting on the couch watching Big Bang Theory re-runs! [Note: For a more detailed EPOC training guideline click HERE.]
3. Keep It Simple, Stupid
“But dude, I need all of that equipment at the gym and I need someone to help time my rest sets!”
Dude, no you don’t! Making your home your gym is all about being convenient and making it as easy and pain-free as possible! You don’t need complex rest or working sets that only Einstein would understand (because we all know that Einstein was big into lifting). The best thing to do is to keep it simple. In fact, a simple workout (with normal resting sets) when performed at a high intensity is just as effective as some complex workout that you put together from 3 weight lifting magazines, 2 online resources, and the advice of your brother-in-law who lifts a lot. The best bet is to keep your workout simple in order to help you remember it, make it more convenient, and make it more likely for you to perform!
4. Short Bursts of Exercise Create Huge Results
“Listen here fella; I have no time to go to the gym now, why would I have time at home?”
Great question and the answer is twofold. First, you will save time not going to and from the gym, save time not at your “gym social hour,” and save time not getting ready because you can basically exercise at home in whatever you want (from pajamas to work boots)! Another thing that is important to remember is that time you save doing all the things can be put towards exercise; even if it’s only 10–15 minutes! Everyone thinks that you need to exercise an hour a day to see great results but a recent study found that those that exercised just 8.5 minutes a day received the SAME cardiovascular benefits as those that exercised 25 minutes a day! That’s incredible! The point is not to exercise less; the point is that you now have the time no matter if its 10 minutes to still help improve your health!
5. Keep Your Workouts Fun
“Yep…nothing says fun like sweating profusely while trying to catch my breath for 25 minutes all while thinking I’m going to die…sure sounds fun!”
Exercise doesn’t have to be running at full sprint for 5 minutes or even doing lunges until you have to crawl to your car. Exercise can be fun and if you can make it fun at home, you are more likely to do it more often and ACTUALLY more likely to eat less afterwards! The next time you need to get some “cardio” in, don’t rush to the gym to wait 35 minutes to get on a machine then power walk for 25 minutes. Instead, go outside and take a hike; literally! Research has shown that when you have fun while performing the exercise you aren’t as likely to reward yourself with junk food afterwards!
6. Walk Your Way to Better Health
“Well sorry to break it to you, but I’m way out of shape and there is no way I can perform super high-intensity exercise!”
No worries! Do what you can when it comes to high-intensity exercise. Until then, start briskly walking to increase your exercise capacity! Yup—walking. Walking is ideal for helping sedentary individuals build up their exercise capacity so they can move on to more intense exercise! In fact, for the obese (or beginners), walking is great way to burn calories at a lower heart rate and actually burn calories faster than cycling and even jogging in some instances! If you need to make your walks even more difficult, carry 2 pounds dumbbells with you or punch the air while walking like you are Rocky training for Apollo Creed!
7. Persistence Pays Off
“I go to the gym now whenever I feel like it and haven’t seen results, how can I at home then?” “You can’t just go randomly and expect results…“ “I went 3 Fridays ago, why don’t I have a six pack?”
It’s all about persistence. One of the top ways to get in shape is to stay active and exercise on a persistent basis! One of the biggest factors science has found that determines your cardiovascular and overall health is persistent exercise. It doesn’t matter if you workout less than 10 minutes a day or over 30 minutes, as long as you are exercising on a persistent basis then you will get some great results! Make sure to stay active every day, no matter if it is your workout day!
8. Stick to the Bare Essentials
“Blah, blah, blah…I’m tired of bodyweight exercises and there is no way I can get a great workout without a ton of equipment!”
Besides your own body the only other equipment that is needed for starting out is a couple dumbbells (5–10lbs) and an exercise mat (or even a towel). That is literally it! You can get a killer workout with just these bare essentials! By exercising at a high-intensity while performing your workout in a circuit like set, you can build muscle, burn calories, and induce the EPOC effect! [Note: circuits are strength training exercises performed at a high intensity where you move from one exercise to another very quickly with little to no rest between sets while performing exercises that work the entire body.]
“Even if I do start working out at home, there is less accountability there and I’m more likely to not exercise at all!”
I totally understand that! That’s why you need to set up 2–3 fail safes in order to make sure you stick to your at-home workout! Science has shown that the more fail safes you have in place the better prepared you will be. First and foremost have a friend or your spouse keep you accountable! Accountability is one of the biggest motivators to actually workout! Have them check in on you from time to time to make sure you still are crushing your at-home fitness goals! One phone call a week is enough to do just that.
10. Strength Training is a MUST
“Well I hate to lift weights, I have no idea what I’m doing. It can’t be that important!”
Sorry my friend! If you take anything away from this, remember to start strength training. No, it’s not about getting huge ripped muscles that make you look bigger than the Hulk trying to deal with his enormous rage issues (which you can achieve if that’s what you want). For many of us it is about burning calories, building muscle, relieving stress, improving your cardiovascular health, and even improving your bone strength! Strength training can do all of that and more! You won’t get “bulky,” you will get healthy, so start lifting today!