As a new year rolls around, there’s a build-up of pressure to make (and stick to) New Years’ resolutions. If you’ve committed to improving your physical fitness, losing weight, and working towards a healthier mind and body, you’re already on the right track. But the biggest barrier to following through is often the lack of preparation and an iron-clad plan in place.
Saying it is one thing, but actually doing it requires an arsenal of good at home workouts to lose weight.
If you’re looking to avoid the chaos at the gym, save valuable time (and cash), and still make a dent in your weight loss goals, these at-home (or close to home) workouts are the perfect place to start.
#1 Aerobic/Cardiovascular Activities
The best way to burn calories and fat is to get your heart pumping. That’s exactly what aerobic exercise, or cardio, is meant to do.
When your muscles are hard at work, they require increased oxygen to maintain function. To supply your glutes, hamstrings, biceps, and so on with the O2 they need, your breathing speeds up to intake enough oxygen. At the same time, your heart beats faster to better circulate the oxygen and glucose throughout the body.1
So how do you know if your cardiovascular system is getting a good workout? If you’re out of breath and can feel your heartbeat in your chest, you know you’re doing something right. These aerobic exercises are some of the easiest ways to kick your cardiovascular system into high gear, burn off those calories, and ultimately, decrease body fat:
- Running – All exercise is good exercise, but if weight loss is your goal, your running routine should be closer to up-hill sprints than a mellow Sunday jog around the block. Hill running gives your glutes and quads a major workout while raising your heart rate and torching those calories. If you have a treadmill, you can crank the incline and the speed to target the aerobic system, which helps with weight loss.
- Cycling – Whether your bike is stationary or not, cycling can be a fantastic leg workout and cardio killer, especially if running is hard on your knees and ankles.
- Zumba or dance class – This is one of the best ways to squeeze in your daily cardio workout without even realizing how much of a workout it is. With so many online Zumba and dance classes, it’s a fun way to exercise from the comfort of your living room.
- Jump rope – If you have limited space, jump rope is a high-energy stationary activity (as long as you steer clear of the priceless antiques). You can even do it without the rope and still get the same great exercise. When learning how to workout at home, start by trying a simple jump rope routine: 100 standard two-feet jumps, 100 sprint jumps (double speed), then 50 and 50, 25 and 25, down to 10 and 10. Work your way back up to 100 if you have any stamina left in you.
Aerobic exercise alone has been shown to be an effective method of weight loss,2 but it’s not the only tool you have available in your kit. As much as we wish there were a miracle weight loss method, the truth is that all healthy physical improvements require a well-rounded approach to fitness.
#2 Interval Training
This high-intensity, fast-paced workout relies on a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
As an aerobic workout, it gets your heart beating, blood circulating, and lungs pumping, but it also has an anaerobic component, which relies on energy from within the muscles. Certain studies have identified decreased body mass index associated with aerobic routines that are followed by anaerobic workouts, in comparison to aerobic workouts on their own.3
Interval training is often cited as the gold standard for weight loss because of its full-body, high-intensity, fat-burning benefits. In fact, it’s one of the best workouts to lose belly fat at home because it requires no equipment and very little space.
These home-based interval training programs are an ideal place to start as you figure out the routines and exercises that work best for you:
- HIIT – High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a circuit-based home workout consisting of explosive exercises for brief intervals. You’ll then cycle through each station several times in a 15 to 30-minute period—a short resistance training session that packs a major punch.
- Tabata – This uniquely fast-paced workout involves 20 seconds of all-out intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times for a total of four minutes. As your body adapts to this interval, you’ll have to up the intensity or length to make a noticeable dent in your weight loss goal.4 Increase your workout to two, then three, and eventually four back-to-back exercises with a one-minute break between each.
- CrossFit – Under the umbrella of HIIT, this increasingly popular fitness trend focuses on strengthening and conditioning exercises with real-world functionality—squatting, throwing, pushing and pulling, etc. CrossFit applies to every age group because it can easily be varied based on skill and strength; for example, squatting slower to focus on control, but squatting nonetheless.
You can also create your own interval circuit with your favorite (read: most challenging) exercises. Here are some solid options to include in your DIY home workout plan that can be done in the living room, garage, or even hallway:
- Squat jumps
- Mountain climbers
- Kettlebell swings (equipment permitting)
- Jumping lunges
- Sprints (on a treadmill or in place)
- Jumping jacks
#3 Bodyweight Strengthening
For easy at home workouts to lose weight, all you need is yourself (and the right fitness regime). Bodyweight exercises use the resistance of your own body to build muscle instead of relying on external loads like barbells and medicine balls.
You might immediately assume that strength training without picking up a weight is the “Workout Lite” version, meant for beginners with little to no upper body strength. However, certain studies have shown muscle growth with and without external load, as long as you’re pushing yourself enough for your body to repair and replace the damaged cells post-workout.
When searching for at home workouts for beginners or athletes, bodyweight training is accessible to all, even from your living room. Because muscle burns more calories than fat does, strength training can help you lose weight both during and after your session. For peak results, work your way up to high reps and short rest periods. With limited break time, your heart rate stays elevated, and the number of calories you burn increases.
In basic terms, the harder you work, the more weight you’ll lose.
These bodyweight exercises can be a fantastic addition to your at-home routine:
- Push-ups – With this classic exercise (and its many variations), you’re using a substantial portion of your body weight as resistance while engaging your chest, arm, and core muscles. Stimulating several key muscle groups simultaneously increases your fat-burning power. One study concluded that push-ups and bench presses can be equally effective for building muscle.
- Spider crawl – This push-up evolution starts in the plank position with straight arms. As you bend your arms, you also engage your core and bring one knee towards your elbow. Hold this position for a moment before resuming to neutral and repeating on the other side, alternating with each rep.
- Pistol squat – This quad-burner is effectively a one-legged squat, with one free leg and both arms stretched straight out in front of you as you lower your body as close to the ground as you can. The stability required simultaneously engages your core muscles, as well as your legs.
- Squats – Free standing squats are a staple of leg-day, but if you’re looking for an additional challenge, swap them out with isometric squats. Instead of using your full range of motion with each rep, you’ll lower into a squat, thighs parallel to the floor, and hold this bottom-most position. If you really want to feel the burn, bounce ever so slightly for at least 30 seconds.
If you do own a kettlebell or set of dumbbells, you can easily incorporate external load into any of these bodyweight exercises by holding the handheld weights as you squat, lunge, and so on. For additional weight training workouts, add these simple exercises to your program:
- Renegade row – Start in a push-up position with a weight in each hand. Pull one arm back at the elbow, lifting the weight alongside your body while engaging your core to keep the rest of the body still.
- Squat to overhead press – Your arms and legs work in tandem here. When your legs are bent in the squat position, your arms are bent with the weights near your shoulders. As you straighten your legs, press the weights directly overhead.
- Dumbbell overhead press – Simply eliminate the squat component to work your arms exclusively.
- Kettlebell thrust – This workout has a serious aerobic effect as well, killing two birds with one stone. Squat with the kettlebell hanging towards the ground, then straighten your legs, thrust your hips forward, engage your core, and swing the kettlebell so it’s straight out in front of you, parallel to the ground.
- Kettlebell goblet squat – Squat with the kettlebell held upside down (weight on top), close to your chest. You can also do pistol squats with the kettlebell held like this.
Choose four or five of these bodyweight exercises that target different primary muscle groups to create a well-rounded workout. For example, you might combine push-ups, pistol squats, dumbbell overhead presses, and kettlebell thrusts.
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By engaging in various workout programs—from bodyweight strengthening to aerobic exercise to interval training—you’ll be setting yourself up for success in your weight loss journey. But if you really want to put your best foot forward, Bio-K+’s probiotic products are a great addition to your wellness regimen. If you are looking for a probiotic supplement to add to your workout and diet plan, add one of our probiotic products to your daily routine. Supplement your wellness routine, knock out those reps, and reach your fitness goal.
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- Your lungs and exercise. Breathe (Sheff). 2016;12(1):97-100. doi:10.1183/20734735.ELF121
- Donnelly, J. E., Honas, J. J., Smith, B. K., Mayo, M. S., Gibson, C. A., Sullivan, D. K., Lee, J., Herrmann, S. D., Lambourne, K., & Washburn, R. A. (2013). Aerobic exercise alone results in clinically significant weight loss for men and women: midwest exercise trial 2. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 21(3), E219–E228. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.20145
- Patel, H., Alkhawam, H., Madanieh, R., Shah, N., Kosmas, C. E., & Vittorio, T. J. (2017). Aerobic vs anaerobic exercise training effects on the cardiovascular system. World journal of cardiology, 9(2), 134–138. https://doi.org/10.4330/wjc.v9.i2.134
- Lefave S. 10 of the Best Workouts for Weight Loss. SELF. https://www.self.com/story/10-insanely-effective-workouts-for-weight-loss. Published January 2, 2018. Accessed January 18, 2021.