While I love my group exercise classes, sometimes the gym isn’t in the cards. If you struggle with finding motivation to workout at home, I’m sharing home workout ideas and 5 ways I am making the best of it.
I’m 100% back to home workouts
Before the virus rocked our world, I was back at the gym regularly and not needing home workouts as much as I used to – but things sure changed quickly! Luckily I got in a groove over my maternity leave and have some go-tos to fall back on.
All or nothing mindset does no good
Pandemics aside, working out at home can be one of the most efficient ways to fit in fitness. No travel involved. What I struggle with the most is an “all or nothing” mindset – thinking if I don’t get in an intense sweaty cardio sesh for a solid 45 minutes, it doesn’t count.
In order to change my mindset, I created a short list of mindset tips to help motivate me make the most out of working out at home.
If you’re wanting to increase your home workouts with a goal to boost your heart rate, build muscle, lose weight, or just get into a great workout routine, I hope this post will motivate you to get moving in and around your home – with what you have on hand!
5 home workout ideas that help motivate me to get moving:
1) You don’t have to do it all at once
My daily goal is to close the green exercise ring on my Apple Watch by moving my body for 30 minutes. And while I prefer to get it done all in one go, I have to remind myself that it’s okay if it’s broken up throughout my day.
I can just go into my mudroom and pick up my 15 lb. dumbbells for a few reps. Later, I can do some air squats or bodyweight exercises in the living room while I’m playing with the boys.
The best part – I don’t even need to be wearing a sports bra for this! (Although if I wear one all day I’m more likely to get activity in!)
2) One set of dumbbells will get you far
Bodyweight workouts are a great place to start. Just hold a side plank for 2 minutes, get into a single leg glute bridge , do some jumping lunges or 100 jumping squats and you’ll be asking for a break.
But a single heavy kettlebell or set of medium-to-heavy dumbbells can really help keep your strength at home. I bought a set of 15 lb dumbbells on maternity leave and they are challenging for both upper body and lower body. Add some extra resistance bands for lighter weight workouts that you can travel with too.
Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how many rounds you can do of the following:
- 20 jumping squats (optional: add dumbbells)
- 15 alternating lunges (optional: add dumbbells)
- 10 bicep curls
- 10 shoulder presses
- 5 burpees
- 10 pushups
- 1 minute plank
- r e p e a t and return to the starting position
I like to do a mix of high intensity cardio and strength workouts, alternating between the two to keep my heart rate high and get the benefits of strength training at the same time. I could go for walks ALL DAY LONG but that’s not a great amount of diversity for my body. So I do my best to try to hit all the major muscle groups in a single workout.
3) Turn down the volume (utilize audio workouts)
If you can’t crank the volume or jump around because you have a sleeping baby or you’re in an apartment, put in Airpods and listen to a workout. Workout resources like Aaptiv, Yoga Download, and Dave Farmar (yoga podcasts) that you can do sans screens.
Plank down, legs straight!
4) Your home is bigger than you think
All it takes is me carrying laundry (or Birch!) up the two flight of stairs from our basement to our top floor bedroom to realize how good stairs are for stealing my breath.
Wherever you live – house, condo, city apartment – you probably have more to use than you realize. Utilize stairs, chairs, coffee tables, you name it. You can do walking lunges down a hallway, run up and down the stairs inside your house or back deck, do weighted step-ups with a sturdy chair, and do overhead squats with a full water bottle.
If you are lucky to have a yard, use that too. Mazen asked me the other day if I thought I could beat him in a foot race (“I think I will win” I said!) and we found ourselves sprinting with high intensity through the alley behind our house.
5) There are some great video workouts out there!
There are endless workout programs available and the great thing is that SO many of them are absolutely free. There are lots of personal trainers on YouTube with great tutorial videos too.
While there are some great ones that are paid, I think the free ones are 99% as good. I did this 30-Minute Calorie-Torching HIIT Workout with Weights via PopSugar the other day, and it left me red in the face and sweaty (as evidenced by these photos). My sister has a list of her favorite PopSugar workouts on her blog – check them out here. The Tone It Up app is also a fun place to start, and I believe they made their paid section free this month.
I am grateful to have a treadmill at home as well and am trying to alternate between TV, outdoor, and treadmill workouts as the weather and time allows.
Great tips, Kath! I had just gotten into a great regular gym routine when the gyms closed (as they should, as you point out!), but now my daughter and I are walking together a few times a day and challenging friends and family with our step counts. We are all in this together, so we all have to do the right things to prevent the spread. Thanks for helping your audience see this!
Louise RD says
OMG – Just finished the 30 minute Pop Sugar HIIT class you recommended. You weren’t kidding! I’m used to HOT HIIT classes @ my hot yoga studio but this was a killer! I esp liked the countdown clock on top of screen. Please tell me you didn’t use 15lb wts for it. I used 5’s and could barely manage. Definitely earned my shower! 😉
Kath Younger says
Yay glad you tried it!! I have been so impressed with some of the Popsugar workouts! I did use the 15s because I don’t have anything smaller but I modified/slow down some!!
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says
Great ideas! All the gyms are closed here – just when I found a gym I liked, ugh! Guess it’ll be home workouts for the foreseeable future…
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
Thank you for the great suggestions, Kath! I am definitely a group fitness and gym workout lover so last week was challenging. I just keep reminding myself that movement brings me joy, helps alleviate my anxiety, and keeps my spirits lifted — all motivations for moving at home. I actually ordered a set of dumbbells to use after the gym closures; but I had to laugh because everyone in America had the same idea and all the stores have dumbbells on backorder. Thank you for some home workout inspiration! 🙂
Kath Younger says
Haha I’m not surprised! I would love a kettlebell at home, but for now I will have to lift Birch, who is about the same weight!
Wonderful post! My go-to online workouts are Unmeasured by Simi Botic (unmeasured.simibotic.com) and Barre3. Whenever the weather is nice, you better believe I’ll be out on a walk too. It helps to calm my thoughts and work out any built up energy. I hope you all are well!
Peyton Hargrove says
Thanks for the tips! I love going to Barre3. Its my church. I miss it more than my kids being in school. I am not motivated to work out alone but today your post made me check myself. I procrastinated all day but at 5:30 I rolled out my mat and did an online class. I will do it again tomorrow for sure. Also, I normally make my big kids get/take things up and downstairs for me but now I am doing it myself because every bit counts!
Kath Younger says
Glad you squeezed it in!!
No matter how fit I am, stairs always do me in! I always work out from home – getting to the gym just doesn’t work with my schedule. I have a home gym (grateful!) – spin bike, Treadmill, bench, mats, free weights. I’ll alternate days between spinning, wogging (walk/jog) and recently started doing strength videos. I would swim at our rec Center once every 1-2 weeks prior to the virus but that’s not an option now. I should check out pop sugar!
You have got to check out Sydney Cummings on YouTube! She posts a brand new workout every single day at 5AM, and she just has such an amazing outlook on life.
Kath Younger says