Sunday, July 19, 2009

Workout at Home

Working out at home is one of the cheapest, easiest, and fun ways to get back into shape. So many people are out of shape in America today, and the obesity rate is climbing, especially in our children. Far too often I hear excuses and reasons why people simply cannot workout at home. I am here to remedy that outlook, but I can only show you the way. You must take it upon yourself to follow through if your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, and make fitness a part of your daily life.

Last December, I looked at myself in the mirror and was disgusted. I was 20 lbs heavier than I was 2 years ago. Once upon a time, I was very fit, with very little fat on my body. But two years of video games and bumming around the house, a la married life, had me on the fringe of overweight for someone my age and height. No more!

Where I live, the nearest gym is at least 20 minutes away, and it would not be my first choice of gyms. Who wants to do a 40-minute round trip drive to the gym? Plus, gym memberships are getting outrageously expensive. So what was my solution? I did some pretty extensive research on how I could combine everything I needed into my home, so working out meant never having to leave my house!


Finding motivation is crucial to successfully working out at home. The most common excuse I hear from people is that the only way they are motivated is when they go to a gym to workout. The logic behind this is understandable, but the bottom line is if you are serious about getting a better body, you will do it however is necessary.

The second excuse I hear most often is that it is impossible to workout at home because of all the things people feel they have to do around the house, or errands they have to run. Again, it is a valid reason, but there are always alternatives. Try getting up in the morning before work, or before the kids get up. You can also workout at night, which is what I do, right as my little one is off to sleep. If the kids happen to be at school, make time during the day while there is free time to exercise. I also try to sneak a workout in right as my daughter is going down for a nap. As soon as I put her in her crib, I'm off to the next room to exercise hard.

If you truly find yourself crunched for time during the day, remember your motivation. Burning fat, losing weight, gaining confidence, building muscle, toning up...whatever your focus is, make that your priority for one hour a day. I tend to workout most often at night because that is when I have the most free time after my daughter is in bed.

It is all a matter of willpower and placing your fitness and health at the top of your priority list. Once you have your motivation, and set your mind to it, you start forming daily routines. If these routines become consistent, then the routines become habits. And exercising is a great habit to form.

How to Workout at Home

Now we get to what is available for complete workouts at home.

Bodyweight Training

Bodyweight training is exercises done with no machines or weights. It is just the body itself lifting its own weight. This is great for people just starting out, as it will condition your body for harder workouts in the future. Here is a list of bodyweight exercises you can do:

  1. Push-ups - If these cannot be done on your toes, try starting them from your knees.
  2. Squats
  3. Lunges
  4. Plank
  5. Burpees
  6. Jumping Jacks
  7. Chair Dips
  8. Superman
  9. Crunches
  10. Box jumps - Can use a chair or bench (I actually use my stairs in my home)

Currently, I do not have any video demonstrations of these simple exercises, but I plan to in the near future. For now, you can Google them and see many demonstrations.

Weight Training and Resistance Training

After bodyweight training, the next step up is to add weights, or resistance. Here is where you have to invest a small amount of money in a few items. I did it, and it was well worth the money. I am not endorsing any specific products here, just telling you what can be used if you lack any heavy machines are weight sets.

  1. Fitness Ball - We all know what these are, they run around $10 for a decent one.
  2. Resistance Bands - These are GREAT for burning fat and toning your body. This is what I am currently using the most to lose weight. They run anywhere from $8 individual to $60 for sets. There are many products out there, so invest in a good set, they will last you a long time.
  3. Free Weights - Also known as dumbbells, there are sets with adjustable weights for as low as $25. I have a set of these, but actually use the individual plates for some core training.

So what can you do with this equipment? Well, I researched for several months before finding a site through YouTube. This site is free, and provides a great deal of information, including video demonstrations. There is also good information on dieting and why it is crucial to losing weight and burning fat.

I simply point you in this direction because it has helped me. The site is IWantSixPackAbs by Arnel Ricafranca. I know the site name is a bit cheesy, but go ahead and give it a read. I do not follow his program exactly, because there are certain things that are too difficult, and certain things that are too easy for me. I incorporate some of my own exercises and routines to round it all out.

Interval Training

Interval training is something that can easily be done at home. It is great for boosting metabolism in far superior ways than normal cardio workouts. The concept is to do high intensity exercises for short periods of time, followed by a brief period of rest, then rinse and repeat. For more information, go here Interval Training. The idea is to do activities that use as many muscle groups as possible. Here are just a few:

  1. Running (sprinting)
  2. Jump Rope
  3. Biking

My interval training of choice is sprinting. I run in my neighborhood, warming up with a 3 minute jog after 5 minutes of stretching. I then do 30 seconds of sprinting as hard and fast as I can, followed by a 1 minute walk. I do this 4 times, then jog back home. All told, I probably spend 15 minutes doing this. And guess what? I burn more calories and fat than someone doing a 30 minute or 40 minute cardio workout. Because muscles are working to their max, your metabolism spikes, and stays at high levels for extended periods of time. Even while you sleep!

One thing to keep in mind about interval training is that my max intensity may be more than someone who hasn't been working out, just like someone in great shape will have a higher max intensity than I will. Be the judge of what you can do, and know your limits. Be careful, and don't hesitate to stop or slow down the pace if you need to.

Working out at home is easy!

My hope is that this little bit of reading can inspire you to take the next step towards getting in shape, burning fat, and getting the body you've always wanted. Not only that, fitness equals health, and I know I want to be around for along time to see my daughter grow to become a mature, beautiful woman. I want to meet my grandkids, and let nothing hold me back from being a part of their lives for a long, long time.

Saying you want to workout is one thing, but actually following through is another. No more excuses. You can do it. You'll find it is amazing being able to do everything you thought you could only do in a gym right in your own home. And it's fun! Once you start seeing results, it will be all the more encouraging for you to push harder.

From me to you, for a better quality life, and to the betterment of our health, I hope we can set good examples to our kids by working out, staying active, and promoting strong fitness values.

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