Whether you’re trapped indoors because of the weather, the pandemic, or you just need to save some money on your gym membership, here is everything you need to know to create the perfect at-home fitness routine and stay fit without going to the gym. The pandemic has made us acutely aware of how ‘germy’ the gym environment can be, and gyms in many places are still shut down. Humidity, freezing temperatures, and just plain bad weather can make outdoor workouts difficult at times.
The cost of a gym membership can be staggering. With so much working against you, maintaining a consistent fitness routine can seem overwhelming. The solution is a plan for at-home workouts. Living room workouts are free of charge, and statistics show that most adults aren’t meeting the recommended daily exercise requirements anyways. But where do you start? Without a paid membership to hold you accountable, consistently showing up and doing a workout can be challenging. With a little planning, you can set yourself up to be successful.
How to Prepare an At-Home Workout Routine
If you think you’re just going to jump into a perfect routine, you might be disappointed. You need a game plan, or you’ll be left staring at your assortment of resistance bands and old dumbbells in dismay. It is important to define what your goals are. Pick a spot with enough room for at least an exercise mat. You can change up your space depending on your workout of choice. HIIT and Tabata-style workouts may need a little more space and a solid surface to jump on, whereas yoga or Pilates can be done almost anywhere, indoors or out. Apartment dwellers will need to be careful of noise levels and jumping. Use a set of headphones so your neighbors don’t hear, and try low-impact workouts so you won’t have to worry about waking up the new baby downstairs.
Establish a schedule
Without a scheduled class time or a stop on your way home from work, you might find yourself trading out your workouts for your favorite Netflix binge-marathon. Before you know it, you’re skipping your workouts altogether. The solution is to create a consistent schedule, just like you would do if you signed up for an exercise class or were going to the gym on a daily basis. Scheduling your workouts like you would schedule an appointment is key. So is not allowing anything to disrupt the workout ‘appointment.’ No matter where you choose to workout, consistency is key to seeing results. To figure out the best way to add at-home workouts into your routine, consider asking these questions:
- What time of day do you like to work out? Are you a morning person or an evening person?
- How much time do you want to work out for?
- Are you working out alone or with a family member or roommate?
- Do you need to work around your family’s schedule in order to have space?
- If you work at home, how do you fit in workout time? (Lunchtime, after work, before work, etc.)
- Do you want video or audio guidance, or do you have your own plan? How good are you at self-motivating?
- How intense do you want your workouts to be? (This will affect the amount of time you should set aside. If you want super-intense workouts, 20 minutes won’t cut it.)
Stock up on the right gear
Before you decide that you need to spend a fortune to stock up on gear, know that you don’t need fancy equipment to have an effective at-home workout. Bodyweight resistance workouts can help you make the most of every single muscle. You also don’t need heavy dumbbells to build muscle. Resistance bands are a great option to add some variety to your routine, and there are plenty of affordable options.
Fitness Equipment and Gear for At-Home Workouts
Budget-Friendly, Basic Equipment
Determine what you want out of your at-home workouts. Are you looking to bail on the gym entirely? Or do you just want to work out at home on certain days? This will factor into the type of workouts you choose when you do them and the equipment you’ll need. Take this into consideration before spending too much on equipment.
Plan out your workout space.
The most important piece of gear you need to have on hand: an exercise or yoga mat. A mat will make floor work and core exercises much more comfortable, especially if you’re working out on hard floors, such as hardwood, tile, or your cement basement. Besides that, you can increase the intensity of bodyweight exercises with resistance bands, jump ropes, and other fitness accessories that are easy to come by.
At-Home Weight Lifting Equipment
If working out without lifting bothers you, consider investing in a set of dumbbells, so you don’t have to use your dog or cat. Aside from a proper set of weights (you’ll want a light, medium, and heavy set), you may also want to consider buying a mid-weight kettlebell.
Setting aside some time for recovery is just as important as your workout itself. Why? Because it’s the only way, you will see results. Opt for a walk instead of a run, do some stretching, or simply take a rest day once in a while. You are unlikely to make consistent progress in your fitness level if you work out every single day.
Now that you have a plan, it’s time to get started. There are an endless number of ways to get virtual instruction and pre-set workout plans, a bonus if you’re used to an instructor guiding you through a workout. There is even new “smart” workout equipment on the market, such as The Mirror or the Peloton Bike, that can help you with this if they are within your budget. However, the number of free or low-cost apps and videos available are countless and sure to motivate you. So, don’t be intimidated if you can’t buy specialized equipment.
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