Ask anyone what the toughest part of starting a workout routine is, and chances are, they’ll say “showing up.” Sure, making enough time, having the proper equipment and knowing exactly what to do (and doing it correctly) are common excuses, as well. We all want to lose the extra fat, improve our mood and increase our strength, but too often these barriers keep us on the couch rather than doing crunches at the gym. Does this mean we’re destined for a life of Netflix, pizza and yoga pants that have never been to a yoga class?
Most of us would rather stay home than venture out of the house in the cold and the dark at 6 a.m. on the way to the gym. The alternative? Don’t leave the house.
Yes, you read that correctly. Convert that extra room, that corner in the basement or that small, unused foot space into your own personal fitness center. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to create an atmosphere that will inspire you to sweat instead of sit.
Thanks to livestreaming workouts, the next “generation” of DVD routines, you don’t have to leave the house to get fit. All you need is a smartphone or computer to search YouTube for countless, FREE workouts. Search formats that are unique to your goals, using terms such as bodyweight, beginner, HIIT, weight loss, yoga and more.
An advantage of dumbbells is that they fire up more of your synergistic and stabilizer muscles than machines. Exercises done with free weights are similar to the neurological patterns used during sports skills. They are versatile and can help you reduce body fat, improve muscle tone and increase your range of motion. Training with weights will have a positive impact on your metabolism, as well, creating a more metabolically active muscle that will be revved up throughout the day.
Kettlebells are used by a variety of fitness-minded people, from soccer moms to professional athletes. By including this piece of equipment in your home gym, you will build core stability, coordination, endurance, strength, power and flexibility. They are extremely versatile and can be used for traditional swings as well as a replacement for dumbbells while doing shoulder presses, arm curls, squats, lunges, Russian twists and more.
Not only does jumping rope improve balance and coordination while burning major calories, but it also decreases foot and ankle injuries by strengthening the surrounding muscles. Another unique benefit to jumping rope is improved bone density. When subjecting your bones to weight-bearing exercises, you will improve their bone density while decreasing your risk of osteoporosis. We like this jump rope from the Vitamin Shoppe.
While you may think a mat is only necessary for yoga, it’s an excellent prop for stretching, Pilates and other bodyweight movements. Check out this one and get ready to indulge in your postworkout restorative stretches.
With some creativity, resistance bands can provide a full-body workout. With elastic resistance, your body is able to perform more functional movements that mimic both daily activities and sport-specific movements. Unlike free weights, elastic bands do not rely on gravity to provide resistance. In general, the thicker the rubber band, the greater the resistance and the more difficult a move will be. These resistance loops are a great option for all fitness levels.
Even without any equipment, you can still get an efficient and effective workout with bodyweight exercises. Wall sits, planks, squats, lunges and push-ups can be extremely effective ways to build muscle and improve strength. Check out our 4-Move Circuit that you can do anywhere, without any equipment.
Regardless of where you live or what your fitness goals are, overcoming the reasons not to work out is your first step toward a fitter, healthier life.