At the beginning of every year, women and men alike sign up for gym memberships in droves. Unfortunately, a couple of months later, promises of being a fitter, better you have fallen by the wayside. This is not surprising considering all of the obstacles preventing you from actually going to the gym.
First, you have to find a way to keep up with your gym membership. Depending on where you live and the kind of money you are making, this can be an expense that you simply can’t afford. Even if you do have enough in your bank account to make these payments, there is the small matter of actually getting yourself to the gym on a regular basis. Most people don’t really want to start off or end their day by driving to the gym.
Now, if you are a guy looking to make some serious gains, you can make an argument for hitting up the gym every day. However, if you are a woman who wants to burn fat, tone muscle, and get fit, then working out at home is something you can do. Of course, you are only going to be able to see results if you follow a good regime and a proper schedule. So, here is what you need to know:
What Equipment Do You Need?
You don’t have to erect a home gym for you be able to get a good workout at your house. That being said, you can’t exactly rely on your own body weight for all exercises. So, the first thing that you are going to need is to stock up on some much-needed equipment.
When choosing equipment, you need to keep in mind the three types of physical activity that are crucial to every workout. These are cardio, strength training, and balance and flexibility. This will ensure that you get a complete, full-body workout.
When it comes to cardiovascular fitness, many women prefer treadmills since they are easy to use and burn calories. If you really want to take things up a notch, though, you will find that rowing machines are a much better option. Not only do they make it easier for you to burn more calories, it also uses more muscles than many other machines. This includes your glutes, quads, hamstring, arms, shoulders, and back!
Now, moving onto strength training, it is all about how serious you are about building muscle. If you have a significant goal in mind, then you will find that adjustable barbells and a weight training bench are a must. Of course, you should keep in mind that this is going to cost you more as well. In case, you are just looking to get and stay toned, you will find free weights and resistance bands are a more affordable option.
Last but not least, you have to focus on your balance and flexibility. This is important for your health, regardless of the results that you are trying to achieve. The good news is that you can pick up most of this equipment for quite cheap and they are available in most fitness stores. Here, a good foam roller, stability ball, and foam roller will be more than enough.
While exercising at home does make things easier for you, it does come with a major drawback – a lack of motivation. It is simple to put off or skip workouts because you are not in the right frame of mind or are feeling lazy and tired. So, how do you go about motivating yourself?
Well, the first thing that you need to do is to create a space where you can exercise. If you have a limited amount of room in your home then make it a point to move around furniture and set up the equipment before you are due to work out. This makes it less inconvenient for you.
Interestingly enough, actually getting into your workout clothes maybe enough to give you a little boost as well. Scientists have found that by wearing certain types of clothes – in this case, your exercise gear – you are more likely to embody the traits associated with that particular style. This phenomenon has been termed enclothed cognition.
The other thing that you can do is to make your workout more social, which means getting other people involved. Thanks to the digital age, you no longer have to invite a couple of friends over to experience this benefit. Instead online communities and simply tweeting or posting about your workout may persuade you to actually continue with it.
Rewards can also help, provided that they are healthy and will not undo all of the hard work that you put in. It is up to you to decide how to treat yourself for getting a work out in. Some people settle for a favorite meal while others like to go shopping or indulge in a similar manner. This will help to create a positive perception of your daily exercise, making it seem more attainable.
Planning Out Your Workout
The way that you exercise should reflect the goals that you hope to achieve. As such, it is important to figure out what your main objective is and customize your workout as such. For instance, if you are all about losing weight, then you may want to increase how much cardio you do – at least twenty minutes a day, five days a week.
So, what should your cardiovascular workout look like at home? Well, if you do have a rowing machine on hand, you can simply hop on and keep that up for about twenty minutes. If not, there are several other exercises that you can try for one minute each, with as many reps as you can manage in that time:
- Lunge skips
- Side leg raises
- Toe tap jumps
- Squat jumps
- Jumping jacks
- High knee runs
- Mountain climbers
Repeat these exercises again and you have your twenty-minute cardio workout complete.
Now, moving onto strength training. Depending on what kind of muscle you want to build, you are going to want to strength train at least three times a week. Some of the things that you can do include:
- Dumbbell deadlifts
- Overhead tricep extensions
- Sumo squat with bicep curls
- Bicep curl and overhead press
- Reverse lunge and press
- Lateral arm raise
If you are looking to only rely on your body weight, there are some things that you can do as well. At the top of the list are planks – the current new favorite trend of exercise enthusiasts everywhere, and with good reason. What you should do here, though, is switch up a traditional plank and try out some of these alternatives:
Here, you begin with a regular plank and then move to a straight-arm plank and then back again into the typical plank position.
You start off with a straight-arm plank position. Then, you will need to cross your right hand over your left while moving your left leg farther to the left at the same time. After this, you will need to move your left hand over your right hand while also moving your right leg to the left. This will have you planking in your original position.
This is basically a plank-version of a jumping jack. Pull yourself into a straight-arm plank position. Then, jump your legs apart and bring them back together. It is up to you do this as quickly as you want.
With this exercise, you start with a straight-arm plank. Then, with your right arm firmly planted, you lift your left arm off the mat and turn your body so that your left arm is reaching towards the sky. Your left foot should be on top of your right foot. Try to hold this position for about a minute.
There are a lot of exercises that can be combined with your stability ball, including planks. So, if you want to improve your balance while working out, try doing crunches on top of the ball. You can also use it instead of a bench to do lunges.
Tailoring Your Workouts
Each woman’s body is unique and different. Due to this, it can be difficult to approach your fitness with a one-fits-all mentality. With this in mind, one of the first things you may want to do is to identify your body type and then figure out the areas that you need to work on.
Pear-shaped women are those that are heavier on the bottom and tend to pile on the pounds more easily in this area. Most women make the mistake of focusing on only toning their glutes and thighs in an effort to look leaner. However, it is just as important to work on your upper body. So focus on increasing muscle in your arms and working on your shoulders. This will help to create a more balanced look for you.
If you tend to carry most of your weight around your middle, you may fall into the category of apple-shaped. The main thing here is to work on your cardio as this will help you to lose the weight. Then, it is a matter of toning and sculpting your stomach.
An hourglass figure is one of the most sought-after body types. Here, you have a generous bust, smaller waist, and curved hips. The key here is to tone up, without losing any of your curves. Focus on creating definition in your arms and waist while ensuring that your glutes remain firm and perky.
There are some women who have the opposite problem – they have straight or athletic builds and lack curves. So, your job would be to create the illusion of these. One way could be to work on your stomach and waist so that a little dip is created (this makes it seem as though your chest and hips are wider in comparison). Working on gluteal muscle will also help to provide you with an oomph factor.
Getting Some Help
If you have been a gym junkie for a while, there is no doubt that you will be able to manage these exercises by yourself. Better yet, you may even be able to plan your workouts with very little assistance. However, what if you are only just getting started or have been in a workout rut for a few years? Well, in this case, it is a good idea to get yourself some assistance. At the very least, you will be able to avoid hurting yourself while working out.
One of the best things that you could try is hiring a personal trainer to come to your home. Of course, this can get quite pricey and isn’t an option available to most. Fortunately, there are lots of videos that you can find online and even DVDs that will give you a better idea of figuring out how you should be exercising.
Create a Balance between Indoor and Outdoor Workouts
Sure, there are lots of benefits to staying at home and working out. Despite this, there is also the chance of going a little stir-crazy from being cooped up indoors. This is why you should head out for a run whenever the weather allows it. Also, it certainly can’t hurt to pop into a nearby gym every now and then. It will add some much-needed variety to your routine and help to keep things fresh.
So, there it is – a guide for gals who want to get in shape in the comfort of their homes!
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