Ten Ways To Start an At-Home Workout Routine
Updated: Sep 4, 2020
Your guide to an at-home fitness routine awaits.
Ready to start making the most of your training at home? There are so many ways to start or spice up your routine by shifting your perspective and making full use of what you have at home. As many gyms and studios remain closed, a solid at-home workout regimen can bring some normalcy and relief to your daily schedule.
By committing yourself to engaging in regular physical activity, you are setting yourself up for overall improved physical and mental health. The benefits of this commitment last for the long-term, playing a role in preventing chronic disease, improving longevity, and helping you feel happier and more fulfilled.
A consistent workout routine will help you build strength, feel more energized, and increase your focus throughout your day.
Here are 10 ways to kick-start your fitness goals at home today:
1) Find an activity that you enjoy.
Let’s reframe how we feel about working out. Oftentimes, it’s met begrudgingly as something you have to “get over with” as you go about your day. But there are so many fun and intentional ways to transform your relationship with fitness so that it becomes a welcome, engaging, and inspiring part of your routine. The key to developing a consistent workout habit is to find an activity that you enjoy so that it doesn’t feel like work.
You may find yourself bored with repetitive jumps and squats, so think outside the box when it comes to choosing physical activity. Love the way music makes you feel? A dance cardio session could be the way to go. Turn on your favorite dance music, set a timer for 15 minutes, and dance away. Looking for something more hands-on? Try breaking out a volleyball or jump rope to get your heart pumping.
These activities are effective ways to integrate cardio and strength training while also keeping it fresh and fun!
2) Schedule a time slot in the day for your workout.
If you have a daily calendar or schedule, pencil in your workout and stick to it. Plan your workouts as if you were attending a group fitness class or making it to the gym at a certain time. This will help create that same urgency and commitment to sticking to your scheduled workout.
Try to schedule your workout for the same time each day – preferably in the morning or afternoon – to maintain your internal body clock and ensure peak performance levels. A study published in the journal Obesity found that a consistent exercise time helped participants form a physical activity habit as well as engage in higher levels of activity. Those who consistently exercised at the same time of day logged more minutes exercising per week.
That mark on your calendar also serves as preparation for your mind and body, encouraging you to show up for your workout with a can-do attitude and mind-set. This is a great example of how to set effective goals for yourself and begin implementing the tools to stick to them.
3) Get dressed for success.
The workout clothes you wear can play a role in preparing for an exercise session, both mentally and physically.
Mentally, your choice of clothing can help put you in an exercise mind-set. A pair of leggings or shorts that fit you well may help you feel more confident and motivated to give your workout your all. Physically, durable and comfortable clothing will promote effective movement, improved range of motion, and even protection from any falls or injuries. For example, long, loose-fitting pants may increase your risk of tripping while running or jumping rope.
If you’re able, invest in sweat-wicking, breathable clothing that will keep you from wanting to quit a workout because you’re physically uncomfortable.
4) Pace yourself.
If you’re attempting a new exercise regimen, remember to pace yourself. When it comes to strength training, resistance, or high-intensity cardio, your body needs consistency and ample recovery time to create muscle memory and build stamina.
Maybe you’d like to lift heavier weights, do more reps, or improve your mile time – these are goals that you can work up to by pacing yourself and giving your muscles the time to rest and build strength. For beginners, it may be best to start with 2–3 days of 30-minute work each day to keep yourself from burning out too early on.
Shorter bursts of physical activity are known to be more effective for weight loss. Shorter and more impactful movement is the concept behind HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, a type of workout that switches between low- and high-intensity exercises for 20–30 minutes.
HIIT workouts often work multiple muscle groups at once, maximizing benefits in a short amount of time. These workouts can be highly effective, especially when you train your body to lower your heart rate between intervals, providing mini recoveries throughout the duration of the workout.
The name says it all, and it’s crucial to give your body the time it needs to recover completely after high-intensity workouts. Rest days are definitely required, no matter what kind of activity you’re doing!
5) Find support online.
There’s strength in numbers. An online community or fitness program may be the motivation you need to kick-start a new fitness routine. Enlist a “virtual buddy” and take advantage of online group fitness classes or training sessions.
A buddy can give you a sense of accountability, motivating you to show up and give an extra push when you feel like skipping out on that last rep. Similarly, a strong community can provide amazing support for your health goals, creating a sense of togetherness during stressful times.
6) Make use of your surroundings and common items you have at home.
No equipment? No problem.
An empty wall or kitchen chair is your new best friend! Practice your push-ups and sit-ups against an elevated surface, or use a bottle of wine or laundry detergent as your weights (safely, of course!). A paper plate or hand towel can substitute for a slider disc during your Pilates session. This is your chance to get creative and use the items you have on hand!
As we approach warmer days, the outdoors can provide some other “gym equipment” if you’re looking to change things up. Practice your step-ups on an outdoor stoop, use a railing as a barre, or head to a local outdoor track to run – while making sure to stay respectful of others using outdoor space.
7) Invest in equipment, if you have the means to do so.
A long-term investment can help ensure long-term results! If you have the means, we encourage you to create an environment that enhances your workout routine. This could mean purchasing a yoga mat, a pair of dumbbells, resistance bands, or a pair of indoor-friendly sneakers.
Most of these items are available for purchase online and can make a world of difference as you commit to an at-home fitness routine. Make a list of the types of workouts you are interested in and the equipment you may need to perform them more efficiently. This can help you prioritize investing in the equipment that will best serve your fitness goals.
8) Embrace bodyweight exercises.
You can get a great workout with no equipment whatsoever! Bodyweight exercises are ideal for increasing flexibility, balance, and full-body strength. You can still get variety and full range of motion by using just your bodyweight. Your posture may also improve, helping you avoid many exercise-related injuries.
From push-ups and pull-ups to planks and squats, bodyweight training is an extremely effective way to reduce body fat and improve spatial awareness – better understanding the placement of your body in relation to the exercise you’re doing and focusing on proper form to maximize results.
Bodyweight exercises require cooperation by all your muscles to create a kinetic chain movement. Bestselling author and athlete Mark Sisson notes that this cooperation in bodyweight exercises is important because it “provides an arguably more complete stimulus of the musculature,” meaning that by relying on your bodyweight, you can hone your technique and form.
As a bonus, bodyweight exercises can be done just about anywhere, leaving you more flexibility if you do not have the space for equipment at home.
9) Don’t think of it as “all or nothing.”
You may not feel 100% every day when you approach your workout. You may feel fatigued, overworked, sore, or unable to put your all into that day’s planned exercise session. In these moments, remember that even your “worst” days contribute to the bigger picture.
A consistent exercise routine requires sustained effort over time, and you are doing your best by simply showing up. Instead of viewing these days as a burden or waste, try to reframe your perspective and remember the overarching goal. By doing this, you can start shifting your workout regimen from a task you “have to” get done to a practice you “want” to work on.
10) Reward yourself and acknowledge your accomplishments.
You’re right on track toward building a consistent and healthy workout routine at home – be proud of that! Celebrate with a relaxing bubble bath, that homemade chocolate dessert, or a glass of wine. You can also take a day off when you’re feeling worn out or watch an extra episode of your favorite TV show.
By allowing yourself to indulge a little, you can recharge and refuel yourself to continue putting in hard work each day. This is the beauty of living with a holistic and balanced mind-set where you allow yourself to experience the joys and pleasures in life. As you put in the time and effort to care for your body with physical activity, you may find that keeping your mind and body healthy is a reward in itself.
Wherever you are in your fitness journey is right where you should be.
Today’s the perfect day to get started. Now that you have some recommendations and maybe even the equipment and tools, it’s time to start investing in yourself! Get creative and find the activities and schedule that work best for you. Remember, just as there’s no one-size-fits-all diet for everyone, the same goes for your physical activity. You are the expert in you, and moving your body to improve your physical and mental health is an incredible way to honor that knowledge.