Sometimes it’s hard to make it to the gym. Just traveling to the gym can be time-consuming. For some people it can be hard to leave home if you have small kids or animals that needs your attention. For others the transportation itself can be a problem. Maybe there is only one car in the family, or no car at all. When it comes to me it’s all about time consumption. I live on the country side, and it takes about an hour to go back and forth to the gym. In the wintertime when it gets dark earlier at night and I might even have to shovel snow in order to be able to leave, it’s just too hard to motivate myself to go. That’s when it’s good to find a way to workout at home for the sake of your own motivation. But how? And what do you need? I’ll try to bring some clarity to these questions.
You are your own gear
So what kind of workout for home environment is there? What is the best home workout equipment to use? You really don’t need advanced gym equipment to do a good workout, and your own body weight is a good instrument to start with. First of all, every physical activity you undertake is a form of workout. Do you remember the movie Karate Kid from the 80s? Do you recall Mr Miyagi forcing “Daniel-san” to wax on and wax off (followed by sand the floor and paint the fence)? It had nothing to do with waxing a car, but rather doing the right moves and using the right muscles. Take mopping the floor for example. You can do it in two different ways. You can either just push and pull the mop back and forth over the floor, or you can tighten your muscles and use some power when mopping the floor not only moving your arm but your whole body. It seems a bit simple, but if you start using that method in every physical activity you do, you will notice a difference for sure. If you have a stairway you can walk up and down in different ways to work out different muscles. You can walk backwards, sideways, on your toes, on your heals and two steps at a time. A gallon of milk or a bottle of laundry detergent can become a weight to use for tricep overhead extension. The floor is perfect for push-ups, a chair can be used for bench dips and if you stick your feet under the couch you can easily do sit-ups. Well you get the picture.
Free workout training programs in your phone
If you own a cell phone you have a wide range of free apps to chose between when it comes to working out. I have tried a lot of them, and considering both workout quality and motivation, the best free workout app in the market right now according to me is Seven.
Seven is a 7-minute workout challenge based on scientific studies. You can use it without internet access if you want and has beautiful 3D-animations to make the exercises easier to follow. It´s developed by Perigee and available for download at Google Play, App Store and Windows Phone Store.
In the settings you can choose from 1 to 5 circuits. You can set the time for countdown, exercise and rest, as well as pause time. If you choose double time you get full exercise duration on both sides. If you like you can choose to randomize the exercise order. The 3D-animations come with both a male and a female model to choose from, and notifications are optional as well as sound. When it comes to body details – like age, sex, weight and height – you need to put them in if you want to track calories. You can customize your workout sessions, mark favorite workouts and unlock new exercises as long as you stay in the 7-month challenge. You can do a full body exercise or focus on specific parts of your body. If you want access to all workouts and over 200 exercises plus support from a certified personal trainer, you can join the 7 Club. There is a 7-day free trial and then it costs an acceptable monthly or yearly fee, but I have used the free version of the app for years and it works just fine without joining the club. I recommend you buy an exercise mat though, since a lot of the exercises take place on the floor.
Best workout equipment at home
Even if this article has it’s focus on how to workout without equipment, I know some of you people feel the need to have some tools and gears to use at home. If you have a lot of space you can of course by a treadmill or a cross trainer or even a rowing machine, but a lot of times you need to focus on the smaller items that are easily stored under your bed or in your closet.
For me there are a few items I really like to have at home for my exercise. The most important one is my exercise mat. A lot of the exercises I do take place on the floor and since I don’t have carpeted floors I would get really uncomfortable without my mat. I also use two other items – my dumbbells and my jump rope.
A while back I wanted to get a kettle bell too, but then I realized I could use a dumbbell instead. I have used my mat, dumbbells and jump rope for a long time, but I wanted something new. So last week I got myself some resistance bands. They are wonderful for balance and muscle toning workouts, and you can use them for both legs and arms. Now there are two more small things I want for my workout, and that is a workout step and a mini trampoline.
The bottom line
People seem to be very motivated to go to the gym in the beginning. And then, after a while, there are a thousand excuses NOT to go. But there isn’t really any excuse at all. The best gym in the world is your own body weight, and you carry it with you wherever you go. All you really need to do a good and beneficial workout is yourself, the floor and a bottle of water.