When most people hear the word “workout,” they instantly think of the gym. While exercising in that type of environment offers a lot of benefits—like access to a variety of exercise machines, various exercise classes, and expert personal trainers—not everyone likes the idea of getting fit outside the home.
5 Tips for Creating an Effective Home Workout
Some people find it difficult to fit time in at the gym in between getting kids to and from their events, family gatherings, and all of their other obligations. Others feel intimidated by all of the thin and muscular people there, fearing that they’re going to be judged.
It’s reasons like these that make working out at home a great option to consider. So, if this is you and you want to create an effective home-based workout program, one that gets you the results you desire, here are five tips that will help.
1. Know Your Goals
The reason this tip is so important is that different goals require different exercise programs. For instance, if your primary goal is to lose weight, then you likely want to focus on cardio. However, if your goal is to gain muscle mass, then strength training will play a big part in your routine. And if you want both, creating a workout program which incorporates cardio and weights is critical to your success.
2. Know Your “Why”
Losing weight and getting in better physical shape top the list of New Year’s resolutions annually. Yet, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that more than one out of every three adult Americans are obese. This means that, clearly, just setting a goal isn’t enough. You also need to know your “why.”
Your “why” are all of the reasons you want to reach that goal. Is it because you want to no longer take certain health-related medications? Maybe you want to be able to play with your kids or grandkids more easily? These are the things that will keep you doing your home workout when all you want to do is sit on the couch and give up.
3. Think Outside the Box
Just because you don’t want to work out at the gym doesn’t mean that you have to give up access to exercise equipment. In fact, if you can get yourself to think outside the box, it’s likely you already have items around your home you can use to help you get into better shape.
For instance, a 10 pound sack of potatoes works great as a medicine ball. You can even wrap it in cellophane to make it more round (just don’t forget to unwrap it when you’re done so the potatoes don’t spoil). Or if you have an old cement block or tire in your backyard, these work great for CrossFit-type workouts where you move a heavier item from one location to another.
If it’s cardio you’re after, regular stairs can stand in for stair-stepper machines, a large backyard can double as a track, and you can always turn on your favorite music and dance. There are endless possibilities to the exercises you can do at home, so use your imagination and find ways to incorporate everyday things into your workout routines.
4. Bring In Outside Help
Even if you work out at home, that doesn’t mean that you can’t bring in outside help. One option is to hire a personal trainer to come to your home and provide guidance based your surroundings. If money’s tight, have some of your friends join you as some trainers will give deals for group instruction. To find one in your area, use online searches provided by reputable agencies like IDEA Health & Fitness Association and American Council on Exercise (ACE).
Another option is to workout from home using an online fitness class. When you choose this route, you can work out at 2 AM or 2 PM; it doesn’t matter because you always have access to their exercise library. Plus, you don’t have to worry about anyone else watching because your workouts are between you and your TV, and that’s it.
5. Keep Track of Your Progress
The only way to really know whether your home exercise program is working is to measure your progress along the way. While most people do this by stepping on the scale, using this method alone can leave you frustrated because scales measure more than just fat. They also measure water weight, muscle, organs, and everything else in the human body.
That’s why it’s advised that you also track your progress using other methods like taking measurements of key body areas (waist, hips, thighs) or having your body fat measured. Place them on a graph and watch them go down. This will help inspire you to keep working out at home which means that, in due time, you’ll definitely hit your goal.
*This is a guest post in partnership with Les Mills. All opinions are those of the author.