2021 Wellness: How to Workout at Home
If you’re looking to skip the gym commute, avoid big crowds, and save yourself some time and money—all while keeping up with or getting started on a solid fitness routine—then it might be time to embrace the at-home workout lifestyle.
Fitness from home has its distinct benefits, but it also comes with a few challenges.
And what do you do when you’re not sure how to start your workout routine? You ask your personal (in this case, virtual) trainer for a quick how-to. Let’s get started!
#1 Gather Your Equipment
Technically, you don’t need a single thing to workout from home. But having a few key items can drastically improve your exercise options. Take inventory to see what kind of equipment you already own—and which types of workouts are available to you:
- Free weights – The two most important handheld weights for basic at-home workouts are dumbbells and kettlebells.
- Yoga mat – Despite the name, it’s good for more than just yoga. Yoga mats are ideal for post and pre-workout stretches, exercises like sit ups that require you to lie down, and so much more.
- Resistance bands – These versatile bands work for most body parts and are easy to pack if you take your workout on the road.
- Slider discs – These can be used for various strengthening exercises like sliding lunges.
But “equipment” doesn’t just apply in the traditional sense. To make it work at home, sometimes you have to get a little creative.
How to Workout at Home Without Equipment
Instead of limiting your options to bodyweight exercises only, use this makeshift equipment to enhance your at-home workout:
- Full milk jugs for one-handed kettlebell exercises
- Soup cans, water bottles, or hand tools like hammers as dumbbells
- Paper plates or dish towels as sliding discs
- Bungee cords instead of resistance bands
- Throw pillows to stand on for balancing exercises
- A chair or ottoman for tricep dips and the like
- Stairs as a step-up bench
Conduct a quick scavenger hunt to see what workout equipment you can find around the house.
#2 Create a Workout Schedule
If the work from home era has taught us anything, it’s that we have to create structure for ourselves where it doesn’t otherwise exist. The same is true for working out from home.
First, carve out some time to dedicate to fitness. Start small, if that helps, whether it’s just 15 minutes a day or only a few days a week.
Second, plan out your weekly fitness regime to safely work the entire body without overdoing it. You should give each muscle group at least a day of rest, but luckily, you don’t have to take the day off altogether. Instead, you might work your way up to a home workout plan like this:
- Strength training (legs and abs)
- Strength training (arms, chest, and back) + cardio
- Rest day
- Strength training (legs)
- Cardio + yoga and stretching
- Strength training (arms and abs) + cardio
- Rest day
If you’re a novice workout enthusiast, it’s always best to start slow and determine how much you can handle. Otherwise, you might end up with injuries that completely derail your fitness journey. Even in peak condition, overtraining without adequate rest can disrupt several bodily systems, whereas hard work coupled with a rest day can increase overall performance.1
How to Get Motivated to Workout at Home
If you’re not an avid gym-goer or fitness aficionado already, getting into the workout groove can feel like an uphill battle, especially when you’re trying to self-motivate from the comfort of your couch or bed.
There’s so much else you could be doing, so how do you convince yourself to do this?
- Create a reward system – This may seem elementary, but if it worked in kindergarten, it could work again. Pair your goal (workout completion) with a small reward (something fun you want to do with your time). For example, that might look like this: “if I do this workout for the next half hour, I can spend the following hour watching my favorite show.” If necessary, enlist a roommate or partner to keep you honest.
- Associate hard work with concrete benefits – Why have you decided to work out? Continuously repeat your mantra: these 20 minutes of sweat will eventually result in whatever my goal is—physical strength, the stamina to go hiking with friends, the body I want, general health and wellness.
- Give yourself some tough love – Using self-imposed scare tactics doesn’t work for everyone, but some people might be more motivated by thinking about the lack of benefits of not doing the hard work.
- Start small – Habits take time to form. If you can commit to doing one push-up or one minute of cardio a day, soon that will become a part of your routine. Then, it’s much easier to add nine more push-ups or another five minutes of cardio to your workout routine, and so on.
#3 Pick Effective Workouts You Enjoy
To some, the very idea of working out brings apprehension and aversion. You might be interested in getting fitter and stronger, but exercising, as a concept, just doesn’t inspire excitement in you.
The easiest way to motivate yourself to workout is by convincing yourself it’s not a workout.
This looks different for everyone, but these at home workouts for beginners might capture your attention in a way that lifting weights or going for a run simply doesn’t:
- Online dance class – If you’re a natural mover and shaker, virtual dance classes are an amazing source of cardio. Check out YouTube tutorials, STEEZY, or CLI studios for classes of all levels, dance-based fitness workouts, and strengthening routines.
- Yoga or pilates – With minimal space, you can still manage to do a full workout. Pilates is more focused on conditioning and strengthening, but both can improve flexibility, posture, and joint mobility.
- Kickboxing – Luckily, you don’t really need punching bags to box. The same routine you’d do at a gym can easily be recreated in your living room, just without the cathartic element of hitting a dummy in the face. You can follow along to a tutorial online or on a fitness app for a structured approach to the sport.
Now, if you’re already a fitness fan who’s trying to recreate the gym experience at home, these traditional workout routes might interest you more:
- High-intensity interval training – If finding at home workouts to lose weight and increase endurance are at the top of your priority list, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) will be right up your alley. HIIT is a circuit program done in 20-30 second bursts of all-out exertion, followed by 10 seconds of rest between exercises. Rotate through the sequence about five times. These include explosive exercises like burpees, mountain climbers, squat jumps, and jump rope, which serve as great workouts to do at home to lose belly fat.
- Abdominal workout routines – When creating your core workout, choose one or two exercises from each varied type for a well-rounded routine:
- Upper abs – Toe reach sit-ups (legs straight up in the air), V-sits or V-ups, standard crunches, flutter kicks (laying on your back with your legs straight up, lowering one leg to the ground at a time)
- Lower abs – Reverse crunches, forearm plank rock (push forward on the toes then rock back into flexed feet, like a sawing motion), heel tap crunches (hold a crunch position and reach left then right to touch the outside of your heels with your hands)
- Obliques – Plank with twists from side to side, bicycle crunches, windshield wipers (laying on your back with knees up, dropping legs toward one side, back to center, then down to the other)
- Abdominal control – Side plank to thread the needle, forward lunges with dumbbell twist over the front leg, renegade rows (start in plank position with a dumbbell in each hand, lift one arm at a time by pulling back at the elbow)
- Arm strengthening routines with weights – If you have dumbbells at home, incorporate them into your arm workouts with 15 or so reps of the following exercises:
- Bicep curls
- Overhead triceps extension
- Overhead press
- Bent-over rowing
- Bent-over triceps kickback
- Wrist curls
- Hammer curls
- Bodyweight arm strengthening routines – If you don’t have the right workout equipment, you can try this circuit instead:
- 20 pushups
- 15 up-and-down planks (from push-up position into forearm plank, then back up)
- 15 tricep pushups (fingers in a diamond position)
- 30 plank shoulder taps (left arm taps right shoulder and vice versa)
- 15 tricep dips
- Arm pulse sequence: with arms out to side, 30 seconds of pulsing up and down with palms up, then 30 seconds with palms down, followed by 30 seconds of pulsing forward and back with palms forward, then 30 seconds with palms back
- Leg workouts – To raise your heart rate and increase the difficulty of many of these exercises, you can incorporate your free weights as you work out:
- Goblet squats (holding kettlebell to chest)
- Jumping lunges
- Forward and backward lunges (holding kettlebell to chest)
- Sliding pendulum lunges (using slider discs)
- Squats (combining with overhead press)
- Jump squats
- Pistol squats (holding dumbbells straight out)
- Romanian deadlift
- Hip bridges (with resistance band around lower quads)
- Step-ups (combining with bicep curls)
- Calf raises, double or single-leg
Bio-K+®: The Best Addition to Your At-Home Workout
The ability to work out at home can be a real gift, especially when your life is jam-packed with other responsibilities and commitments. At the end of the day, your top priority is your commitment to yourself—with home workouts, you don’t have to sacrifice any of the above!
If you’re looking to level up your daily exercise as well as supplement your overall health, Bio-K+’s probiotics can help support a healthy gut, one that is less prone to bloating. With milk-based beverages, dairy-free alternatives, and delayed-release capsules to choose from, your daily probiotics can be as varied and enjoyable as your at-home workout routine.
Working out at home is a great first step towards a healthier, stronger you. Why not take the second step with Bio-K+’s uniquely effective and delicious probiotic products?
- Kreher JB, Schwartz JB. Overtraining syndrome: a practical guide. Sports Health. 2012;4(2):128-138. doi:10.1177/1941738111434406