A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Fit At Home

Getting in shape and losing weight can be overwhelming to say the least. Even just becoming motivated to get off the couch and move is a challenge for some. Many choose the gym for this very reason: it’s simply just seems easier to get started.

The gym has a variety of fitness equipment to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Machines such as treadmills, stairclimbers, strengthening equipment and more.

Losing weight at home is different. You have what you have. Investing in a treadmill or a stationary bike is a good idea for some, as these are great for easy cardio. But do you really need to spend a small fortune on expensive equipment to lose weight?

Sure, you may be excited about your brand new treadmill for the first week. But what happens when you get tired of running on the machine?

There are tons of other ways to get your heart rate up without having to invest a lot of money. Keep reading and we’ll tell you exactly how to get fit at home by following these four steps!

Step 1: Prepare Yourself

You may be one of those people who like to look up videos on how to lose weight and then go all in. This is great, however, your body may not be used to the specific impact that workout has. You may end up either injuring yourself or tiring yourself out to a point where you can’t continue.

Before getting started, it’s essential to find your 'why', this will keep you going when times get tough. 

Ask yourself why you want to do this? Shrugging your shoulders and saying “well, just because,” is not going to help you in the long haul. 

You have to be ready mentally more than anything. Especially if you want to do it at home. 

Tell yourself exactly why you want to get in shape. Parents of young children often want to get in shape so they can keep up. You might be going on vacation soon and want to look your best on the beach or by the pool. Or you just want to get healthy. 

A good idea would be to write down all your reasons. Then you can always take a look at them whenever you feel tired or unmotivated.

Setting goals

Setting your goals is also vital for you to make sure you know where you’re heading. You can do this in a few different ways. 

Some choose to set their goals by weight; they want to lose 'x pounds in x weeks'. Others choose to set their target by the figure they want to have. You might want a bigger butt and smaller waistline, or you may want a six-pack that will make jaws drop. 

Other people also like to set physical goals by how much they can do. They may wish to run a 5K marathon at the end of the summer. Or want to be able to lift 150 lbs. 

Make a note of each of your goals. But remember to be realistic. Sure, losing 45 lbs over the summer would be great, but is it really possible? It’s better to set goals that you know are achievable. 

A good idea would be to set monthly, or even weekly, targets. This way it might be easier for you to stay motivated and on track.

Step 2: Make a Plan

As I mentioned above, it can be overwhelming to lose weight. It’s hard to know where to start and where to end. 

Planning out your workouts are the best way to make sure you’re sticking with it. Winging it every day will not do any good in the long run. 

You might get to a point where you don’t know what more you can do. Or if you’re like me, you might work out hardcore for what feels like an hour. Only to look at the clock and see it’s actually been 10 minutes.

Write down everything, from warm-ups to stretching at the end, for your workout plan. You should also plan out time or reps for each exercise. Knowing the duration will help you push yourself, rather than going off how much you can do until you can’t breathe.

Dedicate different areas of the body to specific days. If overall body weight loss is what you’re after, doing an hour a day of specific concentrated exercise is great. 

Monday could be your bubble-butt and leg day, Wednesday could be all-abs, and Friday upper-body. Figure something out that suits you.

Choose the exercises

Working out at home does come with a lot of advantages, one of them being that you don’t have to worry about other people watching you.

You get to use all your time. Have you ever tried counting how many minutes and hours we spent at home 'waiting around'? It’s a lot. 

You might wait for the washer or dryer to finish, or wait for your food to cook. Why not use this time to get a few more push-ups done, or squats? You can even hold a plank while waiting for the water to boil for your super healthy green tea. 

If you live in a two storey house, try to walk or run up and down the stairs a couple more times to get your heart rate up.

Use your own bodyweight. You don’t have to invest in weights just yet. Using the force of your own body to burn extra calories is easy, try following some of these exercises:

Squat jump

Start with a regular squat. Legs apart, bend down, make sure to keep your knees behind your toes. Feel the burn in the buttocks. Then as you come up, jump as high as you can. 

Make sure to land soft in the knees to prevent any injury. Go straight back to the next squat. 

This exercise is great because you can slow it down or speed it up as you like. It’s also good to incorporate into a quick cardio routine.

Tricep-dip

The tricep muscle can be difficult to hit. But you don’t need any expensive machines to train it. The tricep-dip is easy, and all you need is a chair, and yourself. 

Start by sitting on the chair with your legs extended in front of you. Fingers should be facing outwards on the edge of the chair. 

When you’re ready, lift yourself off the chair and then down as close as you can get to the floor. Then lift yourself back up. Remember to keep your elbows close to the body. Keeping your abs tight will also help to train that area as well.

Burpee

No workout is complete without the favorite burpee. This move combines two exercises; push-up and squat. It sounds quite complicated, but it’s easier than it looks.

You simply squat down and then put your hands on the ground. Extend your legs behind you, do a push-up, and then push yourself up again.

For extra impact, when you get up again, jump as high as you can, try clapping your hands over your head. 

Wall-sit

A wall-sit can easily be worked into everyday activities such as watching TV. Why sit on the couch when you can sit against the wall burning calories?

This is very simple; choose the right spot, then lean your back against the wall while squatting down. The further down your butt can come, the more it will burn. 

Try to hold it for a few seconds to start with. As you progress, hold it longer. This is also great for the abs, so make sure you’re holding them tight!

Workouts On Youtube

Another great thing about working out at home is that you can basically do whatever you want. Why wait for Tuesday’s Zumba class when you can just find one online?  

Short, long, high and low impact, you can find videos on YouTube which will suit you the best. Working out along with a high energized man or woman who compliments your form, even though they can’t see you, is so much fun.

You don’t have to worry about others looking at your goofy moves, it takes a few tries to get into the groove. Unless you’re a trained dancer. You don’t have to worry about that at home. As long as you’re moving, getting your heart rate up, breaking a sweat and having fun.

It’s not only Zumba or dancing you can find online. There are great workouts to be found, such as cardio kickboxing, crossfit, HIIT workouts and more. 

Standing ab workouts are also very popular. Don’t expect to do one round and get amazing abs, but it’s a good place to start. You may also use them as a warm up. Most of the standing abs routines are around five to ten minutes.

You might want to try this '5-minute standing flat belly workout':

Jump ropes

Investing in a jump rope is something you may thank yourself for for the rest of your life. A jump rope is such an easy warm-up, or high-intensity workout. It’s also a fun way to challenge yourself. 

You might not be so good at first, but practice makes perfect. Before you know it you will be jumping the rope like Rocky. Doing five minutes of jump ropes, you can burn around fifty calories.

Shadow boxing

Take some more boxing inspiration, or should we call it “box-piration?” Maybe not. But that shouldn’t stop you from doing some shadow boxing in your routine. It makes an awesome warm up. 

You stand with your feet at hips width, bend a little in the knees, keeping them soft. Put one foot a little more in front of the other (if you’re right-handed, keep the left foot in front). Put your hands up in a guard, and go for it.

Imagine you’re cornering your opponent, use upper-cuts to hit them where it hurts. Alternate between jabs and hooks. Take advantage of the space you might have and move around. When hitting, make sure to keep your arms tight. 

If you have small weights, or bottles of water could also work fine as weights, hold them in your hands to give a little more impact.

Make sure you time your rounds. A good place to start would be around three minutes. Then take half the time to “slow down,” let your hands loose, shake them up a bit to make the blood flow normal again. Don’t stop. Try to skip around a little before starting another three minutes.

Tabata

Tabata is another very good way to work out at home. You can find videos that are easy to follow on YouTube.

Tabata is a form of HIIT, but in much less time. Traditionally you should only focus on one exercise at a time. For example, if you choose a burpee, you will do it as hard as your body lets you until the time is up.

The workout usually consists of 20-second high-intensity exercise, and then 10 seconds of interval where you will slow down a little. It will then be repeated. The whole workout usually takes four minutes, from start to end. 

It won’t take long before you’re sweating like you’ve never done before. You have to really push the body to the max. That’s why this exercise is one of my favorites. 

If you’re not sure if you’re doing it right, just ask yourself at the end; “can I do any more?”. If the answer to that question is no, then you have done it right.

Mix it up a little

Make a list of your favorite workouts, then throw in a few difficult ones that will push you a little. Create your own routine, mixed with core exercises, legs and arms. 

A good workout routine is like a healthy, well-balanced plate. You need green vegetables, mixed with a little healthy fat, and protein. Just like your dinner, the workout routine has to be balanced with a little bit of everything.

Please note: you shouldn’t go all out in the beginning, because you may risk injury or overworking your body. Just try to push yourself a little bit more every time.

Step 3: Get Started

Once you have prepared yourself and made a plan, it’s time to get started. This next advice might make you laugh just a little, but bear with me. Before you start, take a nice full-body selfie in the mirror. Keep it with you. Every time you step on the scale, take a new one. 

This is a very good way of tracking your progress, it might also be fun to look at when you’re done. You can also use it as motivation on the days you’re feeling down.

Create a Habit

If you’re not ready for a full lifestyle change, you may not keep the weight off later. Your routine should become part of your day, not the thing you’re dreading the most. 

Although, there will be days where you’ll feel tired and not motivated at all. But you have to get yourself up and started.

If you want to create a healthy habit it’s essential to set your time. For example, tell yourself to work out between 10 am and 12 pm. 

Taking an hour to work out in the evening can also help you lose extra weight. Setting the times for your exercise will make it easier for you to get yourself started.

You could even set an alarm on your phone, or make a little note on the fridge reminding yourself of today’s tasks.

Make the routine enjoyable 

By making it an activity you enjoy, it will become easier to get motivated everyday. 

Finding the workout routines that you like is essential. If you feel stuck doing something hard, or it seems like a chore, you should consider changing something. 

At the end of the day, exercise is exercise. The important thing is that you sweat. If you do that by dancing or by boxing, it doesn’t make a difference.

Have your gear ready

Preparing yourself the night before by laying out your gear or equipment will help save time in the morning, and it will help you to get a good start. Nothing ruins a morning more than running around looking for your shorts.

Start small

Remember to start small and progress as you go. Going in hard can make it difficult for the activity to become a habit. It’s better to start with something you know you can achieve. After a while you can begin to challenge yourself.

Warming up and Stretching

Making time to warm up properly and stretch is vital for the body. The warm-up should be done by gradually raising the heart rate. This will make the joints loose and the blood flow to the muscles with ease. 

Stretching should be done to prepare the muscles for the physical activity that’s about to happen. This is essential in order to avoid injuries.

How much time should you spend warming up? This is a good question, and an important one for that matter. It all comes down to the specific exercise or activity you’re going to perform. 

Intricate activities like gymnastics or ballet will need a long warm-up to make sure all joints and muscles are ready. 

In general though, three to five minutes is the recommended time to warm up, after which you do some slow stretching. This does vary depending on what exercise you’re doing and if you have any soreness from previous workouts.

Step 4: Diet and Nutrition

You cannot think you’re going to lose weight if your diet is not on the same side. Diet and exercise go hand in hand. 

Make sure you get all the nutrition your body needs to keep up with the new healthy habit. When we exercise, the body goes through something called metabolic stress. 

Metabolic stress is not a bad thing. It actually helps our muscles to grow as we put them under pressure when exercising.

Maintaining the muscles is easy, but they need to be stressed a little in order to grow. When this happens, we need to make sure we are helping the body grow. We do this by compensating what we eat. 

Muscles need protein and healthy fats to grow. We get this from lean meats like chicken and fish, as well as beans and nuts. Different vegetables also provide the body with essential nutrients. 

Vitamins and minerals are only some of the good stuff you’ll get from a balanced diet. 

It is important to choose good calories over empty calories. Sure, a granola bar makes a quick snack. But wouldn’t it be better to eat a piece of whole wheat toast with scrambled eggs? 

Before eating anything, think to yourself; “what does this provide me with?”. If the answer is beneficial nutrients, go ahead. You always have to think about what will give you the most. ChooseMyPlate.gov is an awesome source to help you.

Keep a food diary to aid your healthy eating. Writing down everything you consume and the calories is important to make sure your diet isn’t keeping you from your weight loss goal. By writing it all down, you can go back and see where you went wrong.

Conclusion

Choosing to get fit at home has its advantages, such as more freedom, and it’s a lot cheaper. It also has its disadvantages such as not having access to as much equipment and doing it alone. So it's important to make a plan for your 'home fitness journey'. Set realistic goals and go for it!

If you have any questions about exercising at home, feel free to leave a comment below! 

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