Working out at home can be fun, time saving and save you a lot of money.
But...there’s always a but isn’t there?
Where do you start?
How do you stay on track?
And how do you make a plan to hit your fitness goals, whether that’s weight loss, to be in better shape or to train for an event.
Well, I’ve got the answers to all of these questions and many more you didn’t even know you wanted answered.
Here is everything you NEED to know to make your home workouts efficient, effective and fun.
There is quite a bit of information on this page. So, in case you don't want to read it all, you can jump straight to...
Do you like exercising, or do you find it a chore? Is it something that moves down your to-do list when you’re busy?
You’re not the only one. It still takes a back seat for me sometimes.
But, moving your body is really important.
It’ll improve your health, improve your mood, give you more energy, help you lose weight, etc, etc, etc.
But, I think the benefits of exercise extend beyond these. I think exercising regularly can help you feel happier and more confident.
Because it’s not just about the actual exercise, it’s about prioritising yourself. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day.
You’re saying “for these 15 minutes I matter more than anything else”, “what I want is most important at this time”.
And when you do that...
You feel better about yourself: Exercising regularly will give you a bit more energy. Your skin will start to glow. Your body is feeling a bit firmer. Your clothes are a bit looser. You’re starting to like your reflection again. How good would that feel?
You feel better about your life: You’ve worked on something you want. You’ve dedicated the time and effort and you’re starting to reap the rewards. You’re walking with your head held high, your shoulders back. Again, how good would that feel? What else could you achieve if you put your mind to it?
Enjoy what you do: Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. It doesn’t have to be something you’re made to do. It can be something you want to do. Something you look forward to doing. Find something you enjoy doing.
Want to find out more? Read the importance of exercise?
I don’t know about you, but when I’m starting at a new gym I sometimes feel a bit intimidated.
It’s a bit scary isn’t it?
New place. New people. New classes.
You don’t know what to expect, what the protocol is, and sometimes where to go.
And I’m a personal trainer. Gyms are my thing. I love them.
But I still feel a bit intimidated.
So I completely get how scary it might be for someone who isn’t used to being in a gym. Maybe has never been to a gym before. It’s called gymtimidation and it’s a real thing.
You walk in see all of those fitness bunnies. Gym goers whose fitness levels are much higher than yours.
You can get over it, if you want to...but, you don’t need an expensive gym membership to have a challenging, effective workout session.
How do you know if a home workout rather than going to the gym is for you?
Ask yourself where you're going to get motivated the most...
Whatever workout you choose to do, wherever you choose to do it, it’s not a one and done thing. It’s an ongoing thing.
It’s a consistency thing.
You’ve got to keep going.
Where is that more likely to happen for you?
Just as some people struggled to get motivated to work from home during whatever stay-at-home order you were subjected to, some people equally struggled to get motivated to be healthy.
If that’s you, there is no point in fighting it. You just need to go somewhere to get the motivation. To get that kick up the butt to do something.
If it’s not you, if you don’t NEED to be somewhere else, then make the most of it, because there are lots of advantages to working out in the comfort of your own home.
Convenience: A big plus about working out from home...you can do whatever workout you want on your schedule. Whenever it is convenient for you. You’re not tied down to anyone else’s timetable. Just yours. And, well, maybe your kids.
Time saving: Even the quickest workout in a gym is going to take longer than it will at home. Why? Well, you’ve got to get there. You’ve got to put your bag, belongings in a locker.. You’ve got to get to the studio or gym. And then you’ve got to do it in reverse. Even if the gym is at the end of your road it’s going to take another 15 mins to half an hour. If you’re working out at home you’re right there. No travel required.
Money saving: Monthly gym membership is not cheap averaging £30-£50 a month. That’s $35-$60 for visitors from across the pond. That adds up. Pretty quickly. Yeah I know if you’re working out at home you may want to invest in some equipment, but if it’s less than £600 ($700) you’re saving money.
So, you’ve decided to give it a go. You’ve decided to workout at home.
Well, you need to decide where you’re going to do your workouts.
Have you got room for a home gym?
Will it be in your living room?
Maybe your garden?
Where you’re going to do your workouts will determine what kind of fitness equipment you get. What type of workouts you do.
Before we go any further I just want to say...don’t think you need acres of space. You don’t.
As long as you’ve got room to lie down, stand with your arms outstretched and jump, you’ve got enough space to do a workout. And a challenging workout at that.
One that gets your heart rate up. One that hits all of your muscle groups. One that will get you closer to your fitness goals.
Nope you don’t need much room at all.
Do you even need a dedicated space?
Well, I won’t lie, it does help. But, your living room will do. That’s where I do my home workouts when it’s raining.
You will need a dedicated space to store your equipment, if you’ve going to use any. Because again, you don’t need any special equipment. You might want some. But, you don’t need any. Hell, you could use simple household items if you didn’t want to fork out for equipment.
Whatever kind of workout space you’ve got, small, garden, spare room, I’ve got home workout equipment suggestions to cover it all.
Have you ever wondered when the best time to exercise is? Is it last thing at night? Is it first thing in the morning?
Would it surprise to learn there is quite a simple answer to that question?
Whenever is convenient for you.
There’s no one solution suits all.
We’re all different. We’ve got different goals. We’ve got different lives.
So how do you find out when you should exercise?
Well, ask yourself a few questions:
What type of person are you? Morning or afternoon. Because, honestly, if you’re not a morning person there is no point in trying to force yourself out of bed early to go for a run. Equally, if you are a morning person, it is a really silly idea to plan a workout after work or after the kids have gone to bed.
What are your goals? Yes, the time you exercise does have an impact on goals. For instance, if you’re trying to lose weight, burn fat, exercising first thing in the morning is ideal? Why? Because you’ll be working out in a fasted state, before you eat, so your body will turn to it’s fat stores for energy quite easily. Alternatively, if performance is your main goal, by that I mean if you’re training for an event, you’ll want to prioritise afternoon workouts. Because you’ll have eaten, you’ll be able to push that bit harder.
What is your schedule like? Do you have any regular time within your day, or week, that you can dedicate to an exercise? Are your kids at nursery, or school, or do you have any other child care options available to you? Are there any times of the day when they need less attention from you?
Hopefully, all these will mesh and you’ll find your ideal time to exercise.
If not, you might have to prioritise what you want to do.
For example, doing something is better than doing nothing, no matter what your goals are.
Remember, workouts aren’t for Christmas, they’re for life. So, find when is ideal for you.
This should be the fun bit.
The bit that gets you excited.
What are you going to do? What exercise are you going to do? What type of workout?
There are so many options out there these days.
Do you go for a standard full-body workout using bodyweight exercises? Do you go for something that needs a bit of equipment, maybe resistance bands, a jump rope or a few dumbbells? Or, do you try something completely different like a pole dancing workout, a kettlebell workout, or a bungee workout?
Whatever it is you decide to try, make sure it’s something you feel excited about.
Make sure it’s something you enjoy.
Doing exercise is one thing. But actually finding something you enjoy is quite another.
Either way you’ll be getting the physical benefits of exercise. Your fitness level will improve. Your blood pressure will lower. Your bone and muscle strength will improve. Your risk of disease will lower.
But when you add in enjoyment to all of that. Well, the benefits are just multiplied.
You’ll be start to feel happier. More accomplished. You’ll get a spring in your step, a twinkle in your eye, an overall glow. You’ll start to enjoy being with your kids, because you’ve got your time, time for just you.
It seeps into every corner of your life.
Honestly. It really does.
This is all very but, to make sure you hit your goals you do need to make these workouts into an overall, well-rounded plan.
You need to make sure you’re challenging yourself, your body and your mind, with every workout.
So, how do you do that?
Ok, there are three primary bases you want to make sure you’re covering in your plan...cardio, strength and mobility.
A well-rounded workout plan will cover all three bases. That way you know all systems of your body are being tended to.
You can cover all three in each workout. Something like a kettlebell workout, a CrossFit style workout, a pole dancing workout or any functional way of training, will, with a good cool down afterwards, cover all three in one.
That’s why I love more functional movements and ways of training. They’re just so versatile and efficient.
But if you’re not interested in any of those, then you can dedicate specific workouts to the specific areas.
If you’re doing something everyday that might look like:
If you’re doing longer workouts, but less days of the week you might do cardio on a Monday, Strength on a Thursday and stretching on a Saturday.
Just make sure you're hitting all three areas across the week.
This is a question I get asked a lot and it baffles me. How can you not love strength training?
Ha. Only joking.
I get it’s my thing, it might not be yours.
Whether it’s the actual act of lifting weights, or the DOMS you don’t like, I’m afraid to say strength training is kind of vital. Especially for women.
As you get older your bone density decreases, and once you hit menopause there is a real risk of diseases like osteoporosis.
Strength training can help to combat that. In much the same way that training with weights increases muscle mass, it also helps to increase bone density. By stressing your bones.
So, it is really important you include some strength training into your workout plan.
There are lots of workouts on Mamas that Move, but with each one it’s important to warm up and cool down.
But they’re so often overlooked.
Warming up properly prepares your body for what you’re going to be doing. It gradually increases your heart rate, the blood flow to your muscles and your body temperature.
Cooling down properly does, well, the opposite. It gradually eases your body back to it’s resting state. If you want to learn all about stretching read the importance of stretching after workout.
All of this significantly reduces your risk of injury. So, you will need to add the warm up and cool down to your workouts.
Neither have to be convoluted or time consuming.
I like to keep both simple.
Warming up I start at the top of my body and move my way down. For a cool down I have a little yoga flow that gradually eases to a full resting position.
I know how tempting it is to flop on the sofa after a hard workout. Well, to be honest I feel like this all of the time, not just after a workout.
But, you’ve worked hard, you really want to make the most of that workout. Don’t you?
So, before you flop on the sofa there are a few things you should do.
Things that will help you recover properly so you can function for the rest of the day and make sure you’re ready for your next workout.
What are they?
Stretch: I’ve covered this a bit already, that’s how important it is. It helps to get rid of lactic acid build up. It loosens up your tight muscle tissue. It improves your posture, flexibility and range of motion. It helps to prevent injury. It is really important. Don’t forget about stretching.
Eat: Well this is the best part of working out, am I right? Supporting your workouts with a healthy diet is the best way to reach your goals, especially if they’re weight loss, body composition related. Go for something healthy. Something with all of the food groups in it and something convenient.
Soothe: A foam roller. A bath with Epsom salts. A sports massage...all great ways to get ahead of those DOMS and make walking a little easier the next day.
I’ve got a few more tips for you to read. Check out Post workout recovery: how to make the most of your workout.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the last three years...when you become a mama it’s hard to find time for yourself.
It’s hard, but not impossible. It’s hard, but it’s also vital.
Just because you become a mama it doesn’t mean your life stops. It doesn’t mean your dreams or goals are no longer valid. They are still important.
And it’s still important that you dedicate your time and energy to reaching those goals.
It’s not only important for you, it’s important for you kids to see you working towards your goals and all of the trials and tribulations that entails.
So, how do you find the time to workout when you’ve got kids demanding your attention?
Getting your family members involved in your workouts is a great way to keep your workouts consistent. And fun.
It’s much nicer working out with people. Especially people you love.
If you’re stuck for ideas head over to Workout with Kids for fun and engaging games you can turn into a workout.
If there’s one thing I want you to remember it’s...workouts don’t have to be long to be effective.
In fact there is evidence that shows 12 minutes of sprint interval training just three times a week can be more effective than an hours workout five times a week. So if you’re time challenged, concentrate on HIIT workouts.
The key to making workouts effective is to make them consistent.
Work them into your everyday life. Make them a part of your weekly, daily routine.
That is when you’ll see the best results.
If that means just 15 minutes a day. Then do that.
15 minutes everyday, or even 3 times a week is better than doing an hour’s workout every now and then.
If you’re struggling to find effective and efficient workouts that only take 15 minutes then head over to Home Workout Ideas. There are tons of ideas there.
Let’s talk about goals.
Because it’s nailing down goals that can get a bit sticky. If you’re working towards unrealistic goals, you’re never going to get there. And if you never get there, well, that’s got to do something to your moral, happiness and zest for life.
So, what are some realistic body goals for women. What can you expect for your body.
That really depends on the time you have available and what you’re prepared to do to get there.
If you want a well defined, muscular looking body with very few wobbles and bumps, that means a low body fat percentage and well formed muscles.
What do you need for that?
A fitness routine that has structured cardio and strength workouts. A healthy diet that carefully balances your macronutrient requirements.
It takes time. It takes work. It takes dedication.
Yes, you can absolutely do it, but you’re not going to do it with 15 minute workouts.
You will need at least four workout sessions of about an hour each. Plus time to weigh and prepare your meals.
To get that kind of look you will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen and the gym.
Can you afford that?
Have you got that kind of time?
You may have. And if you have. I can absolutely help you get there.
But, if you haven’t got that kind of time, you might have to be a little less ambitious with your goals.
Maybe set a fitness based goal rather than a body composition goal.
Run a 5K. Increase strength. Increase flexibility. Move everyday.
Maybe set a nutrition based goal.
Each less chocolate. Find a healthier alternative to your pudding. Eat mainly home cooked and prepared meals. Limit take-aways and fast food to once a month.
These are all very well but, you really want to lose some weight. You want to get back to your pre-baby body.
The beauty with setting fitness based and nutrition based goals is that they have more far reaching results.
Once you start doing one, moving more or eating healthier, you tend to want to do the other one as well. And that is the basis for any weight loss, fat loss, body composition program.
Eat healthier and move more.
Base your goals along those lines and you will be hitting them in no time.
When you’re setting goals it’s important that you have a long term goal in mind, but, you should also plan short term fitness goals.
Why is it important?
Because you need to have a road map.
You need to have a plan to get to your ultimate goal.
You need to have a way to gage whether you’re on track.
Let’s take an example…
You want to lose weight. How much weight overall? 10 kilograms? 20 kilograms? 30 kilograms?
20 kilograms. You want to lose a total of 20 kilograms.
How long should it take?
Well, that amount of weight is going to take a little while, so let’s take 3 months. 20 kilograms over 3 months, 13 weeks. That sounds doable.
How are you going to achieve that?
Firstly you want to set an achievable weekly loss. 20 kilograms over 13 weeks is about 1.5 kilos each week. So let’s aim for 2 kilos a week.
It’s going to be easier to hit that in the first few weeks, which will give us some leeway as the months go on.
Next you need a plan of getting there.
I always advise my clients to make a small simple change and then build on that. I find it’s easier to form habits that way, and there is always room to build.
If you start with everything, you’ll have nowhere left to go. And to be honest, it will probably be too much. You’ll just get burnt out.
Increasing your movement: start with a few workouts a week and slowly move to daily workouts.
Improving your nutrition: start with home prepared and home cooked meals. Then add in things like reducing sugar, increasing your vegetable intake. After all of those maybe look at your total calorie intake.
If all of this sounds too complicated here are some goal setting coaching.
Ultimately think of your big, ultimate goal as your destination with your short term fitness goals as the journey you’re going to take to get there.
It doesn't matter how motivated you start any fitness journey, you're going to have days when you're struggling to stay motivated.
Struggling to put your needs above your families needs.
Or maybe even struggling to get off the sofa if you've got some free time.
I struggle sometimes. And I love working out.
So how do you do it?
How do you keep the motivation to workout at home? I've got 11 strategies for you.
And, if you need some words of encouragement, check out these motivation quotes. They may help.
Print them off. Stick them on your fridge. And read them. Over and over again. Until your motivated again.
If you’re going to take just one thing away from this page I’d like it to be...find a way of exercising you enjoy.
You’re going to find the time for something you enjoy. And so much of our lives is based around what we have to do.
Don’t let exercise be that. You’re worth more.