As the saying goes, you can't outrun your fork, but when your food habits are in line with your goals, adding fitness to your healthy habits routine can help you sculpt your body, tone up and trim down and even shed those last few pounds! And the benefits of strength training go far beyond pretty muscles.
When you have a healthier muscular balance in the body, you're able to perform day-to-day tasks more easily, reduce pain and inflammation, lower your risk of injury and disease, and improve your overall quality of life.
But what happens if your job, lifestyle, or environment doesn't allow for traditional gym workouts? Or maybe you're not a fan of working out with others? Perhaps you need the flexibility to workout when and where it works best for you? No problem! You can get an effective workout at-home! In fact, many of my clients have a few fitness tools at home and enjoy the freedom of being able to get in their workouts when it works best for them and their schedules.
Home workouts can be a game changer! And to help you reap all the amazing benefits, here are my top 4 tips for maximizing your home workouts with my 4 favorite fitness tools too!
Four tips to help you maximize your at-home workout:
Tip #1: Create A Space
Setting up a dedicated space for your workouts is a great way to make sure they happen. First, you can have most everything you need in one location. Whether it's a small space that contains your yoga mat, set of bands and a few dumbbells or a dedicated room inside your home. You really only need room to roll out a mat, with the ability to extend out your arms and legs freely without bumping into anything or knocking it over.
Tip #2: Get Moving
Exercise, like most anything, is a habit. And the quickest way to create that healthy habit, is to start doing it! The more you do it, the more your body will crave it and it will become a natural part of your weekly routine. Create a realistic schedule of the days you'll workout, decide how many minutes you'll dedicate (10, 20, 30?) and when you'll do it (morning, afternoon, evening?). Then do it! No excuses. You don't need a lot of time or fancy equipment to get started, in fact just 10 minutes a day, 3 days a week of bodyweight exercises can deliver some pretty awesome results!
Tip #3: Set A Goal
Your goal will be personal to you. Over the years I've had clients with a wide variety of goals, from wanting to feel less winded when walking up the stairs, to being able to do their first full body push up. There is no right or wrong goal. The key is to pick something meaningful to you, that's going to remind you why showing up for your workouts is important and to help you see real measures of progress.
Tip #4: Gradually Increase The Challenge
Once you've been exercising consistently over 4-6 weeks, it's time to make a change. Your body is built to adapt. Which is a wonderful and beautiful thing! But in order to keep building muscle, endurance and see those results, you've got to mix up your routine. A good rule of thumb is once you've been able to do the same number of repetitions or use the same weight loads in a given exercise for several weeks, then it's time to make a change. That could be as simple as increasing reps, or decreasing reps and increasing weight loads or the increasing the amount of time spent in exercise. And you only need to make one small change, like moving from 8 lb. to 10 lb. dumbbells or increasing time spent in exercise from 10 minutes to 12 minutes. Remember to pace yourself, quality over quantity always!
Looking for a few simple fitness tools that won't break the bank, will meet you at your current fitness level, and continue to support you as you grow? Look no further! After decades of my own fitness training and teaching others, these are my favorite go-to items!
Coach Mindy's 4 Favorite Fitness Tools:
Not only do resistance bands offer the ease of portability and storage, but they provide versatility to a number of exercises. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and strengths to accommodate all fitness levels. Resistance bands offer the unique ability to challenge muscles by offering varied tension within an exercise movement, enabling the user to work both the weaker and stronger muscles simultaneously.
And because you're able to dictate the amount of tension placed upon the muscle, resistance bands are excellent for people rehabbing an injury or just starting a fitness routine. But don't misunderstand, they're incredibly effective for the fitness enthusiasts too! Adding resistance bands to your fitness routine will help you address underused muscles, strengthen muscles safely and promote a healthy muscular balance within the body without placing the strain of conventional weight equipment - safeguarding your muscles, tendons, joints, and bones!
Dumbbells come in a variety of weight loads, starting as low as 1 pound all the way up to 65+ pounds, so you can pick the weight that's most appropriate for your fitness level. The wonderful benefit of using free weights in your fitness routine is their ability to recruit and challenge balance and strength in ways that stationary machines cannot. And because free weights encourage the use of stabilizer muscles, you're able to more effectively build strength and make power gains, making them ideal for athletes and sport conditioning.
Adding free weights to traditional bodyweight exercises, such as squats, lunges, planks, and sit-ups, can be a great way to boost your overall fitness, challenge your core, and build fat burning muscle. It's really amazing how much you can do with just a pair of 5 and 10 pound dumbbells!
These weighted balls make a fun and versatile piece of fitness equipment that can bring breathe new life into your fitness routine!
They range from 2 to 25 pounds. And because they're designed to be thrown and take a good deal of impact they offer greater flexibility than traditional free weights and can be used in exercises from woodchops, sit-ups, and squat thrusts, to shoulder presses, plank holds and lunge tosses.
The medicine ball is a great fitness tool to challenge your core, support healthy balance, eye-hand coordination, and boost overall muscular power. They're excellent for explosive strength movements as well as flexibility exercises... and let's face it, they're just plain fun!
The Swiss ball makes a wonderfully versatile piece of fitness equipment if you have the room available to use and store it. The most common sizes are 55cm, 65cm, and 75cm. The size best for you is dependent on your height (see the chart of size recommendations below).
You can use a Swiss ball as an office chair to support proper spine alignment, for conditioning exercises like planks, sit-ups, push-ups, hamstring curls, and wall squats, and they're excellent to use in your stretching routine.
The imbalance of the ball helps you engage your core and muscles supportive of healthy balance, boosting balance, coordination and conditioning while fostering proper posture in a low impact way. It's no wonder why they're commonly found not only in gyms, but in physical therapy and chiropractic patient care.
Swiss Ball Recommendations based on height:
4'11" to 5'4" height = 55 cm ball
5'4" to 5'11" height = 65 cm ball
5'11" to 6' 7" height = 75 cm ball
Bottom line: home workouts can provide a great opportunity to workout on your terms. Whether you use a series of bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, planks and bridges to support daily functional movement while building strength and endurance, or you're ready to add some weight bearing moves to further challenge and build muscle, stoke the metabolic fire, tone and shape your body, the possibilities are endless when you have the right tools. Exercises that support cardiorespiratory, strength, balance, coordination and flexibility are essential as we age, allowing you to reduce your risk of injury and helping you feel and function your best. So now that you know, get ready, get set - let's go!
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