Tips for keeping your at-home workout simple and effective

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You don’t need an expensive gym membership to stay in shape. With a little planning and self-discipline, you can workout effectively at home. 

If you’re starting from scratch, here are some handy tips to help you get the most from your at-home workout:

● Start with guided 10-minute workouts

If you’re new to home workouts, consider hitting the internet for guided video workouts by trained instructors. They’ll guide you through a series of exercises to work out your chosen muscle group, offering advice on posture as well as some much-needed motivation. This can be an excellent way to start getting used to working out, before you branch out on your own. You don’t need to plan routines or think about what to do next - you’ll just follow instructions.


● Spend some time designing your fitness programme - and write it down

In order to stick to a fitness routine permanently, it’s a smart idea to get it in writing. Come up with a plan, based on what you want to achieve and the time you have available. Set a time each day to exercise, vary the programme and make sure your plans are actually realistic. When your plan is finalised, stick it on the fridge or in another prominent spot so that you can’t miss it.


● Create a designated workout space in your home

Just as important as having a workout plan is having the right space to exercise in. A spare room is ideal, but any corner where you can set up a ‘mini gym’ will do. Ideally, you’ll have everything you need in one place. For example, your mat, music player, water bottles and any other equipment. It’s ready to go at a moment’s notice, so there’s no excuse not to get cracking right away.


● Work out at the same time every day

If you want to stick to your plans and achieve your goals, setting a regular daily time for your workouts can really help. If you pledge to workout immediately before work, or at 5pm when work is over, there are no excuses. You’ll get used to the routine, which can make it easier.


● Switch things up every now and again

It’s really easy to get stuck in a rut when you workout at home. You do the same routine everyday until it no longer feels challenging. It can also become boring, which can lead to a real drop in your levels of motivation and enthusiasm.

This is why part of your longer-term fitness plan should include a step up in intensity or different routines that work different muscle groups. So, you can focus on abs one day, then give those muscles a rest while you do cardio or legs the following day. This keeps it interesting for you, works the whole body and ensures that you’re continually pushing yourself.


● Make use of workout apps

It can be tough to know where to start with home workouts, but apps can help. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of fitness apps to choose from, including activity trackers and apps providing full workouts. Choose one that’s right for you, perhaps looking at online reviews or asking friends for recommendations if you need to narrow it down. It can be satisfying to track your achievements using a fitness app, which can help to keep you motivated.


● Set goals - but make sure they’re realistic

A clear goal can keep you on track with your new at-home fitness regime. For example, a pledge to exercise for at least 15 minutes a day, or to walk 8,000 steps a day. Knowing you have a goal to hit will spur you on, as well as getting your body more used to daily exercise.

The key to success is to challenge yourself, but keep goals realistic. If you set overly ambitious or even physically impossible goals, you’ll only feel like a failure when you can’t meet them. Needless to say, this can have a devastating effect on your motivation.


● Short on time? Memorise quick exercises and routines

It’s a complete myth that you need at least an hour sweating it out in the gym to make a difference to your fitness. You can get fit, improve your heart health and lose weight just by committing to around 20 minutes or more a day. Varying the length of your workouts is a great idea, but don’t skip it altogether just because you don’t have a clear hour to spare.


● Take time to learn the correct form, and to warm up and cool down

One of the benefits of exercise classes and instructors in the gym is that they can help you with your form. This means doing exercises correctly, using the right posture so that you are less likely to accidentally injure yourself. Form can easily slip while working out at home, so it’s crucial to take the time to learn it properly for each exercise. Just because no one is watching or correcting you, it doesn’t mean that form doesn’t matter.

Just as important as form are the warm ups and cool downs you do. Set a couple of exercises in place to warm your body and muscles up before a workout and to cool down gradually afterwards. This could be a key factor in preventing injury.


● Get into the habit of exercising before you buy lots of specialist kit

It’s tempting to hit the internet and order all kinds of weights, cross trainers and other gear when you’re starting a new at-home workout plan. But you may find that you don’t use half of this expensive new kit.

It’s a good idea to get your body and mind used to exercising before going shopping. You’ll figure out which kinds of exercises suit you, the levels of intensity you can handle and what you need in order to progress. Only then should you think about equipment. However, for many people, all that is needed for home workouts is a good mat, suitable clothing and enough space to move.

You may wish to consult your doctor before you begin any new exercise routine, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions. Listen to your body too – if something hurts, be cautious and get a medical opinion if necessary.