These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free
I used to be somewhat of a gym rat. And by that, I mean I used to have a lot more expendable income and free time on my hands. These days, I have to be more creative because these things — time and money — are at a premium.
I haven't had a gym membership in a while and fully admit working out at home can be difficult motivation-wise. I still have my struggles. However, with some planning and a few handy tips, you can enjoy gym-quality workouts for free — often without leaving the comfort of your living room! (See also: 10 Exercises to Do at Work)
Make a Plan
When I used to frequent the gym, I'd have days I'd focus on cardio and others I'd do strength. This same approach applies at home and can keep your mind and body guessing in a great way. What you do is up to you, but as an example, I try to do around 5-6 days of between 30 minutes to an hour of cardio and then 2-3 days of strength with one day of stretching.
Here are some ideas to get you started that are either cardio, strength, or a blend of the two.
Simple, Effective Circuit
This awesome Body Weight Cardio Circuit consists of about every bodyweight exercise I can think of. There are ample burpees, squats, push-ups, dips, and jumping jacks to keep even the most fit person entertained. Still have energy? Repeat the sequence again! (See also: Great Body Weight Exercises)
If you're looking to get in some cardio, try this 37-Minute Fat-Burning Workout (Video). There's no equipment required, and I love the metrics on the video which detail information about time left per move as well as approximate calories burned.
Running low on time? This No-Running At-Home Cardio takes only 20 minutes to complete. Simply do each exercise at a steady pace and resist resting in-between for the best impact.
The Couch to 5K running plan is a favorite of mine because it gives non-runners a major boost of confidence. Sure you might not have jogged in years (or ever!), but we all have to start somewhere. If you've ever dreamed of running a 5K, this plan's got you covered with the basics.
Outside the Box
Think you've seen them all? Think again. These 105 Bodyweight Exercises using Zero Equipment (Video) give even seasoned athletes some new moves to try at home. I like the "Spiderman Climb With Reach" around minute 2:55.
Super Challenge I
One of the very first workouts I tried at home? This 100 Pushups Challenge. It's great to have a lofty goal in mind, and I loved seeing my strength progress over the weeks until my final challenge. (And — yes! I did complete 100 pushups!)
Super Challenge II
This one's new to me, but it's the same concept as above. Try the 200 Squats Challenge. It targets your lower half in a challenging way. Over time, those squats will lift and strengthen your best assets.
Don't be fooled! This 10-Minute Fat Burning Circuit, in the words of its hosts, is "very brutal [and] very effective." You don't need lots of time or fancy equipment to see some major results. (See also: Fight Fat With These 5 Foods)
If you quit the gym, that also means you aren't working with a certified trainer. So, take some time to correct your form for popular bodyweight moves. You could be making some simple mistakes. Little tweaks will make you less prone to injury — all while showing you the best results for your time investment.
I absolutely love yoga, but I don't have the budget right now to keep me in regular practice at a studio. So, I turn to YouTube channels like At-Home Yoga. This channel features videos with specific moves to entire full-length classes — all free. And there's super soothing music to boot! (See also: Yoga Tricks to Help You Relax)
I suggested this Zumba in Your Living Room to my mother. She's getting back into shape and loves to dance, but doesn't have the time or desire to go to Zumba classes at the local gym. It's a great way to try out this workout if you're new to it without feeling self-conscious!
If you're looking for the whole package, check out these Total Body Blasting Workouts (videos). The channel is divided by target area, including abs, lower body, arm and shoulder, quick workouts, and many more.
And if you're looking for more inspiration, YouTube and Pinterest are your new best friends. Use search terms like "at-home," "zero equipment," "bodyweight," or even "free workout" to find some creative moves to try. If you're doing more than basic moves, give more weight to those sequences designed by certified trainers rather than random bloggers. Always ease into new stuff slowly to avoid injury.
Basically, you need to treat your workouts at home just as seriously as you would if you were at the gym. Since the equipment isn't laid out in front of you, it requires a little imagination. But having a goal and roughing out a plan for yourself will help you decide if it's a night to take a walk around the block, do some challenging bodyweight strength moves, or stretch out with yoga.
Set the Stage
Another thing that's difficult in my house is finding the right mental space. Going away to a gym where everyone else is concentrated on working out is much easier than dodging toys on a cluttered floor while you listen to your toddler scream. I even found myself once in a downward facing dog and then one of my cats jumped on my back. That was interesting.
Find a quiet time when the members of your household will respect your workout. It might mean getting up earlier in the morning than you're accustomed to or fitting it in later at night. It might mean you swap childcare duties with a neighbor a couple times a week.
A little cleaning can go a long way, even if it means stashing a laundry basket nearby to toss in rogue items that clutter the carpet. If you live in a small space, moving furniture temporarily can free up floor space for wider range of motion moves like jumping jacks. And if you're really stuck, you can always head outside — just make sure you dress for the weather.
Have you quit the gym? How do you keep fit at home on a budget?