Monday, September 9, 2019

At-Home Workouts: Options Aplenty!


Did you know a gym is not a requirement for a good workout?

Easy for me to say, right? After all, I am a runner, and 98.999% of my runs happen in a non-gym setting (and, most of those runs also happen outdoors, in all kinds of extreme temps and weather conditions).

Granted, I do have a treadmill, but it's no secret that I seldom use it. I also have an elliptical, but that's reserved more for the colder months when it's too cold or dangerous to safely be outside. I don't have a gym membership, nor do I have a viable space in my house for a home gym. I do manage to work out almost every day, though, in some capacity.

I believe if I can find a way to make the workouts happen, anyone else can too.


Here are some of the things I do to stay active and keep my fitness in check, all with very minimal expense:

Invest in a few "small" pieces of exercise equipment. I currently have three sets of hand weights...2-pound, 8-pound, and 12-pound dumb bells. The 2-pounders are so light, they don't get much use (unless I'm doing slow-motion side arm raises, in which case I can easily hold both of the 2-pound weights in one hand at a time). I use the 8 and 12-pound weights almost exclusively, though, depending on the number of reps and what kind of lift(s). I also have a 15-pound kettle bell and a variety of resistance bands. I probably have less than $100 invested in these few items, but they get used all the time.
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Utilize your own body weight as resistance. You have probably heard of push-ups? How about squats, or lunges? These all can be done with nothing other than YOU as your main resistance. Of course, you can increase the intensity by adding some extra weight...by way of hand weights or a kettle bell.

Planking for the win! I do a lot of core work, by way of planking. I have no idea how long my daily planking streak has been going, but it's been several years (it started when I got the idea to do a forearm plank for the 2-1/2 minutes it took for my morning chai latte' to heat up...and it became a daily ritual). Planking can be done on your forearms, or with straight arms. You can be on your toes, on both feet or balanced on just one foot. You also can turn and do a sideways plank (with just one arm or hand on the floor). You can start with both hands (and feet) on the floor and alternate lifting opposite hands and feet. The possibilities are endless, and you'll be rewarded with a stronger core for your efforts.
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Create your own HIIT workouts. I like variety, so I am constantly creating new workouts, or mixing in segments from different ones. Some of my favorite high-intensity moves are burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks and jump squats. I usually mix in either a set of push-ups, a wall-sit, or a short plank as a "recovery" move in between sets of faster exercises.
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Basic calisthenics can be done anywhere. Often when I travel, I just opt to do basic calisthenics in my hotel room. Not all hotels have workout rooms, after all, but that's no excuse to sit idle. Crunches, jumping jacks, leg lifts, walking lunges, wall sits, push-ups...all can be done in a relatively small space.

How about taking the stairs? (Big surprise, right?) I not only do a lot of stair workouts in my house, but often times in hotels or other public buildings. Stair climbing very closely simulates hill running, but usually at a steeper incline. Stair running incorporates balance moves (since you're only stepping with one foot at a time), coordination (as you alternate feet while stepping up) and crazy cardio (as you fight gravity on a relatively steep incline). You can run the stairs fast (preferably in shoes), or choose to go barefoot (your calves will feel this!). Take the stairs by singles or doubles. I sometimes take the stairs by threes...which is a done much slower, due to the length of stride it requires, but it really works the glutes as a slow-motion strength move. Not only will you get a great cardio workout from stair climbing, everything from the waist-down will get worked over as well.
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Yoga...it does a body good. Unfortunately, I don't make yoga a daily habit, but I should. The simple act of flexing your certain muscle groups, while holding various poses, builds a lot of strength and balance. Yoga can be done in a relatively small space as well. A yoga mat is ideal (for padding and also for your feet to grip), but is not mandatory
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Some other things to consider:
***Exercising at home does require a special kind of self discipline. Going to a gym usually requires a bit of an effort to get there, but that also aids in the commitment to getting the workouts done.

***Working out at a gym will give you a lot of options in regards to equipment, exercise classes, one-on-one instruction from fitness trainers, as well as a broader experience in terms of socializing with fellow like-minded people.

***Assembling your own home gym may take time and a substantial financial investment, but you will have access 24/7 without needing to worry about extra travel time.

***I have not even touched on the vast array of online workouts available today...many of which don't require excess equipment to utilize.

Bottom line, I believe it all comes down to your passion to honor and take care of your body. Staying active and keeping fit can happen whenever you make the time, and it can happen without ever leaving your house.

So, talk to me! What do you prefer...going to a gym or working out at home? Ever worked with a trainer, or just done your own thing? What's your favorite at-home piece of fitness equipment?

***Some of this text (and images) first appeared on a previous post, No Gym? No Excuses!

I'm linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up


**I'm also linking this with Debbie and Marc  for the Running Coaches' Corner

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19 comments:

  1. This is great and I'm sharing it with my running friends who don't have time for a gym membership!

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    1. awwwww, thanks!! It's amazing what one can do within the confines of one's dwelling ;-)

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  2. You always have such creative at home workouts! You're so right - just invest in a few pieces like free weights, etc, and you can make up so many different workouts.

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    1. They work for me anyways ;-) I've never been much interested in the gym scene...

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  3. Preach! My biggest tip is that going to your home gym needs to be fun. I have dedicated TV shows that I can only watch if I'm working out. I go back and forth between doing my own routines and workout videos for those times when I need someone to tell me what to do.

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    1. I agree...I don't have much of a dedicated "workout space," so I just make do with some random floor space by the fireplace (or in the hallway that's pictured). LOL I try to do a lot of my workouts outdoors, if possible, when the weather is warm, too.

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  4. You do a great job of working out at home when you can't get outside. I love my at home workouts and I am always looking for fun ways to mix it up. As you say, where there is a will there is a way!

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    1. Right! I think workouts can happen anywhere if one has the right mindset for it ;-) (But, your workout area is nice!! #jealous)

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  5. I am always so impressed by your at home workouts. You do so much more than just running, you are an inspiration to me. I do a lot of planking and some push ups at home along with stretching every day, but not too much else. I used to watch yoga videos but haven't done that lately. I think that would be a good addition to my workout routine. Something else I could do in a few minutes in my own living room.

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    1. Thank you, Laurie! As you know, I try to do something "active" every day, even on designated rest days. I think it's good to keep the muscles moving ;-)

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  6. You always have such great workout ideas! And you’re so dedicated, I really admire that. I love working out at home but my space is limited so I try to do workouts at my fitness center that are functional and fun, and not depend on equipment all the time.

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    1. The space at home is a challenge (for many of us). We have a good-sized house, but the layout of the rooms is tricky...that's why you see me in that hallway so often LOL

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  7. You are the queen of the at-home workouts! You are always able to make something fun and active out of what you have laying around and I adore that about you!

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    1. I think my #artgeek brain allows me to see outside the box...it forces me to make do with what's available ;-)

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  8. Nice post Kim! I am a huge fan of using at home equipment to get in really good workouts. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks! I have nothing against going to a gym, I just think that's not an viable option for everyone. Fortunately, as we know, a gym is not a requirement for fitness ;-)

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  9. Thanks Kim! I knew you would definitely have great tips/ideas for home workouts.

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    1. Awww, thanks! Gyms are great, but a lot of what happens there can also be done without leaving one's house...at least that's what has worked well for me.

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  10. A very good solution! Great idea for a fruitful workout.
    Interesting post.

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