Have you made a resolution to be more active? If this is your year to shape up, set yourself up for success by eliminating your excuses. Is a gym membership beyond your budget? Are you short on time need and to fit your workouts in while your little ones are sleeping? Working out at home is the ideal scenario for many of us: it's inexpensive, you don't need to factor in time to travel to the gym, and you won't have the added cost of childcare.
We asked trainer Martin Street, owner of MatrixFitness in Toronto, how to create a fitness plan at home.
“Start with the basics and build from there,” he says. If you invest in a few pieces of basic equipment and have a space about 7 feet by 7 feet, you can create a home fitness routine that works your entire body. Aim to work out at home three days a week for about 20 minutes, and take a brisk walk on three other days.
Street suggests picking up some or all of the basic equipment below to get started. You might even find some hiding in the back of your closet or collecting dust in the basement. Take inventory of what you've already got to work, then add everything you plan to buy to your Flipp app shopping list to find the best deals in your area.
1) Yoga mat
At some point, you’re going to want to get down on the floor to do some ab work or stretching. Even if yoga isn’t your speed, a yoga mat is easy to find, very affordable and serves multiple purposes.
2) Skipping rope
If you’re looking for a cheap and effective cardiovascular workout but you’re not into running, try jumping rope. It’s cheap, you don’t need much space and you don’t need any fancy skills. If you’ve already mastered basic skipping, jump on YouTube to learn double unders, crossovers and discover drills that will leave you breathless and sweaty after just a few minutes.
3) Exercise ball
You’ll have all your muscles firing when you introduce a balance ball into your workout as an unstable base for many traditional movements. The ball can double as your bench for reclined exercises like the chest press and takes your planks to the next level.
4) Resistance Bands, weights or kettlebells
Don’t forget about strength training! Start with traditional bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats and lunges. Add in some exercises with resistance bands to hit all of the key muscle groups — they're inexpensive and compact, making them perfect for storing in small spaces, or for bringing along when you travel.
If you’ve got some storage space, consider a few sets of dumbbells of different weights, or some kettlebells, to challenge. Kettlebells can double as cardio equipment if you use them for kettlebell swings as well — just make sure you seek out proper instruction to swing them correctly and avoid injury.
5) Foam roller
Recovery is just as important as putting in the work! It’s normal to feel some tightness and soreness when you’re starting a new workout routine and a foam roller can really help loosen those knots. Think of it as giving yourself a deep tissue massage! Taking care of your muscles will help prevent injury and speed up recovery between sessions.
When you’re getting started, set a goal of three workouts a week at home for about 20 minutes each. Make the most of our your time by incorporating HIIT or high-intensity interval training where you do short, intense bursts of exercise like skipping or plyometrics with a rest period in between. Download a free timer app on your phone to keep track and look for some HIIT routines online.
Do you need some guidance to get your program going? There’s something for everyone online, often free or inexpensive — especially compared to studio prices. YouTube is a great place to look for fitness inspiration and exercise ideas! Check out apps like Nike+ Training Club, Studio Tone It Up, YogaGlo, Aaptiv and more to find a routine that matches your goals and training style. If you choose an activity you actually enjoy, it will be a lot easier to stick with your plan.
“Making excuses burns zero calories per hour,” says Street. So what are you waiting for?
Always remember to get clearance from your doctor before you start any new exercise routine.