Finding the motivation to go to a gym is often the biggest challenge when it comes to exercising regularly. But with the wealth of information available online and the accessibility of inexpensive fitness equipment, there's no reason why you can't master your workouts from the comfort of your home. All you need is the right motivation and some simple steps to guide you.
Before you start exercising, write down your goals. These might be as simple as wanting to lose weight, increase strength or stamina, or even boost your mental health. Get a journal, write down your ultimate goal, and choose a realistic date you'd like to reach it. Then work backward from that date to create smaller, achievable steps to get you to your end goal.
Create a fitness program to follow for each day you plan to exercise. There are plenty of resources online to help you, or you can keep it simple and plan for full-body workouts that change just enough to keep you interested.
If you're more advanced, write down the muscle groups you want to work on each workout day. For example, you might work glutes on Mondays, the back and shoulders on Wednesdays, and the quads and calves on Fridays.
You don't need to spend a fortune on gym equipment and accessories to master home workouts. All you need is some essential equipment, such as:
There are tons of other tools you could invest in, like a workout bench, a squat bar, or weights. But if you're tight on space or budget, you don't need all that bulky equipment.
The beauty of working out from home is that you don't need fancy equipment to get the job done. If you don't have the budget or the space for a pair of dumbbells, use what you already have in your home.
Instead of a yoga mat, workout on the carpet or use pads for knee support. Use books or cans of food as dumbbells. For carries and similar exercises, put the books or cans into a bag or small suitcase.
Unless you're working toward a major bodybuilding goal, a few 15- or 20-minute workouts throughout the day are just as good for you as a full hour-long sweat session. Consider splitting your exercises so you do a set before breakfast, another right before lunch, and one in the late afternoon, before dinner.
If you don't work from home, you can still split your workout up into two sessions and do it in the morning before you leave and in the evening when you get home.
Eating fuels your workout. But if you eat too close to your session, it can have the opposite effect on your performance. When your body is busy digesting a large meal, it can be harder to intensify your workouts.
Try to schedule your workout 90 minutes to two hours after your last meal so you still have that energy but aren't feeling heavy from it.
Even if you have a work deadline, you can still master your home workouts from your home office. Look for exercises that focus on increasing your mobility, flexibility, balance, and strength. Air squats, wall sits, and lunges are all simple exercises you can do to strengthen your lower body. Holding your ankle on top of the opposite knee while seated can help release tight hips. Shoulder and arm stretches are easy to perform while at your desk and help ease stiff shoulders. You can even use a Swiss Ball as an office chair to help maintain your core.
Tracking your steps is a fantastic way to stay motivated and help you master your workouts. Increase your steps by parking your car further from work and walking, taking the long route for lunch, or using a standing desk and walking on the spot. You probably already own a fitness or Apple Watch, but even if you don't, there are plenty of standalone pedometers to help you track your steps.
One of the best ways to get results and boost your motivation is to increase the intensity of your workouts. You could try increasing the weight or resistance of your equipment or increasing the number of reps. Try ramping up the incline on a treadmill. When you squat, modify the movement from a standard down-up motion and slow the pace right down, pausing at the bottom and pulsing for a count of two to ten.
If you're a fan of a quick, sweaty workout, look up HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts on YouTube that increase your heart rate and build stamina (just note that a true HIIT workout only lasts about 20 minutes; you can't give it your all for 45 minutes to an hour).
If you still need help mastering your home workouts or reaching your goals, try downloading a fitness app. There are many apps available, some sponsored by fitness professionals. Using an app can help you stay consistent as they have programs you can join and goals you need to reach regularly. This helps you stay accountable, and it keeps you motivated.
Choose from various workout programs and let the app keep you on track to reach your goals while you focus on doing your work.