During the coronavirus pandemic, working out from home became something of a craze. With gyms and fitness institutions closed, many turned to YouTube fitness tutorials and tailor-made workouts by celebrities or personal trainers. Now, gyms are tentatively starting to reopen across much of the world, but if you’ve decided not to go back to the gym and to keep working on your fitness from the comfort of your own home, you’re not alone. Here are 10 of our best tips to help you achieve success when you’re working out at home.
1. Create a dedicated workout space
The first and most important thing to have when you’re working out from home is space. You’ll need to be able to move around, and it’s not fun to constantly collide with things while you’re trying to do squats or jumping jacks. Before you begin your workout, try to find a place in your home that’s free of clutter. It might also be a good idea to ensure that space is as isolated as possible so that people don’t constantly walk through it and disturb you while you’re in the zone.
2. Don’t neglect your kitchen
This might seem a little out of left field, but your kitchen is actually one of the most important components of your workout space. After a grueling session, the first thing you should do is fix yourself a healthy post-workout snack, and the best way to do that is with a great kitchen that feels good to work in. We’d recommend checking out DIYHomeFit for some excellent custom kitchen options; that way, you can construct your kitchen exactly the way you want it so that preparing post-workout meals isn’t a nightmare.
3. Don’t rely on equipment
A home workout can begin with absolutely no equipment whatsoever. It’s more important to have the correct mindset than to surround yourself with paraphernalia you’ll never actually use. If you constantly stock up on new gym equipment for your home workout space, you’ll never end up actually doing anything, because you’ll always be waiting for that next piece. Instead, try doing cardio workouts that don’t require equipment to get yourself in the right headspace.
4. Set aside time, but don’t overdo it
A successful home workout can take as little as 15-20 minutes. Don’t think that because you don’t have an hour to perform a full body weights and cardio routine, you don’t have time to work out at all. Even intensive workouts like HIIT can be done in shorter periods of time; in fact, a shorter session is better for fat burning, because you can raise the intensity without risking injury. Remember that a longer workout isn’t always better, and that there’s almost always time to slot a workout in.
5. Find a good YouTube workout to follow
The age of the celebrity fitness DVD is over. Long live the age of the celebrity YouTube workout. In all seriousness, YouTube’s cup runneth over with fitness-based channels and video series, so browse until you find one you like. If you can’t gel with the host, you’re more likely to feel distracted or like you don’t want to follow instructions, and it’s not like you’re limited in your options. Keep looking until you find one that’s perfect for you, then work your way through that channel’s different workouts.
6. Warm up and cool down properly
If you select the right YouTube workout, it’ll almost certainly include a proper warmup and cooldown session to bookend whatever you’re doing. However, if you’re not following along with YouTube and you’re using instructions instead, make sure to get yourself ready with some stretches and to do some gentle stretching and moving around when you’re finished. Warming up and cooling down can help to prevent injury and can also mean you’re not wiped out when it’s time for the next workout.
7. Dress for the occasion
When you hit the gym, you’re obviously going to be wearing your workout clothes. However, if you’re at home, the temptation is there to just slum it in your pyjamas, even if you’re engaging in physical exercise. This would be a mistake, though. Wearing the right workout gear is conducive to a more successful workout for a number of reasons; it gets you motivated, it’s more ergonomic for your body, and it makes you feel better about yourself as well.
8. Enlist your friends and family
For extra motivation, try enlisting the help of your friends and family when you work out. Exercising alongside someone else has tangible benefits. You’ll be accountable to them if you skip a workout (and vice versa), you’ll have a conversation partner when the workout gets tough, and you can support one another during positions or exercises you can’t quite achieve on your own. A fitness video is great for instruction, but it can’t replace a workout partner.
9. Stop when it gets too intense
At the gym, you’d be surrounded by people who would be able to support you if things got too intense. However, when you’re following a fitness video, the instructor doesn’t know how you’re actually feeling. It’s important to pay attention to your body and to stop if you start feeling faint, short of breath, or in physical pain (beyond regular muscle ache, of course). Working out should be intense and should get your muscles moving, but it shouldn’t cause sharp pains or dizziness.
10. Don’t spot-focus
If you want tight abs (and don’t we all), it might be tempting just to blaze through sit up after sit up or to hold plank for longer than is necessary. However, focusing on a single muscle group isn’t necessarily the best way to build that group, even though it might seem that way. Instead, focus on areas of the body (upper body, lower body, et cetera). This way, you’re using muscles in tandem, which can help them all to grow stronger and can reduce the risk of tearing or injury.