If you’ve ever wanted to get fit but had an overloaded work schedule, a napping baby in the next room, or a stay-at-home order, you know one thing: you gotta do at-home workouts.
While live, in-person workouts are more fun, at-home workouts are the most convenient and least time consuming way to get your workout on. This has been at the front of my mind these past few weeks as the Coronavirus pandemic has rocked our worlds. We’ve had to adjust to our new stay-at-home orders literally overnight.
I’ve seen so much resilience from us all as we navigate this new life. If you’re working from home, I know you’ve felt the effects of it. Blending home life with work life isn’t easy, and we’re doing it in ways we never have before. On top of that, the stress and anxiety seem to be rising by the day.
We need at-home workouts now more than ever.
I’m grateful that I’ve been able to take 100% of my personal training sessions and circuit training classes online. My class members have been having fun workout parties together on Zoom as I coach them through it all. It’s truly the best part of everyone’s day as they release the built-up tension and move their bodies.
I also quickly learned what separates a great at-home workout from an ineffective one.
When done right, workouts are like meditation: you’re fully immersed in it, as if nothing could distract you, and it frees you from stress and worry of the day. You get more out of a great workout physically (read: a better workout), emotionally, and spiritually than you do a mediocre workout.
So before you set up shop in your living room, let’s go through a few ways to ensure your at-home workout is as good as it can be.
HAVE A PLAN
To have a successful sweat sesh in your living room, you’ll need to start with a workout plan. I want you to have a clear roadmap of what you’re going to do, from warm-up to workout to cool-down.
If you’re doing a bodyweight circuit, this means you know exactly how many rounds you’ll do, what exercises you’ll do in each round, and how long the workout will take. Like this: I’ll do a 5 minute jogging warm up, 3 rounds of 20 squats/15 sit ups/10 push ups, and a 5 minute running cool-down.
When you’re anchored to a clear plan, it’s not only more likely that you’ll finish the whole workout, you’ll also see better results.
Best of all, you’ll feel like you’ve fully checked “work out” off your list. And if you’re like me, the feeling of checking something off a list is the most gratifying thing ever.
Without a plan, you might haphazardly make it up as you go and stop when you get tired. You won’t feel the same level of accomplishment, which makes the habit harder to keep.
How about [free] clear plan for today’s workout? This circuit is 8 exercises, requires no equipment, and takes about half an hour. Easy peasy.
SILENCE THOSE ALERTS
If you’ve ever checked the ScreenTime stats on your phone, you’ve seen the shocking number of notifications you get every day. It can be in the hundreds, which means you’re getting pinged every few minutes, all day long. Eep!
Unlike workout classes, at-home workouts bring work and life closer together, so it can be tempting to check that text or email that just popped up on your screen. Workouts are most effective when you keep your heart rate up and continuously burn calories, so stopping for a text can derail the flow and effectiveness of it.
When you’re working out at home, challenge yourself to put your phone on Do not Disturb or leave it in the other room.
Bonus: you’ll also get a mental break from your phone. After years of personal training, this is one of the most underrated benefits my clients tell me about our sessions!
GRAB SOME FRIENDS
Let’s face it: working out at home by yourself isn’t always the most exhilarating experience. It takes willpower to get up off the couch (or wherever you’re working these days), put your workout clothes on, and start your workout.
At times of social distancing and not, it’s important to engage with your community, whether that’s friends across the street or across the country. Reach out and see if one of your girlfriends will join you for a shared FaceTime workout. Set your phones (on Do not Disturb!) up so you can see each other, call out what each exercise is, and give each other a virtual high five when it’s all over.
Accountability + fun.
How much better did this whole at-home workout thing just get?
CREATE YOUR SPACE
Once you’ve made a plan and grabbed a friend, it’s time to set up your workout space. This could be as simple as moving your coffee table to clear space in your living room or as complex as clearing out your garage to make a dedicated workout area. (Pro tip: if you’re feeling a little too cooped up in your home, try doing your workout in a local park.)
Then, grab a water bottle and gather your equipment. No equipment? No prob. You can do a ton of exercises with just a yoga mat (core galore!) and a coffee table or bench (step ups, tricep dips, incline push ups…). Add in a set of dumbbells and you’ll open yourself up to about a hundred more possible exercises.
That FREE workout I was talking about earlier? No equipment whatsoever.
CLOSE THE DOOR
The biggest challenge of working out at home is the lack of physical boundaries. At the gym, your kids aren’t likely to walk into your workout and your pup definitely won’t lick your face while you’re doing core work.
But when you’re getting your sweat on in the same space your family lives, it’s a lot harder to have boundaries. Clearly communicate with family members that you’re about to start a workout and then close the door, giving yourself a private little sanctuary.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, reconnect to your body, or free yourself from that nagging stress, it starts here, today. Now that you’re armed with tips to make the most of your workout, go get it started! I’m cheering you on every step of the way.