Life looks a little different this year. Everyday tasks have been both overcomplicated and oversimplified, just as routines have become simultaneously convenient and difficult. To look on the brighter side (which we’re hoping still exists), we’ve done a great job at figuring out how to live life from home.
Many have had to make both physical and mental adjustments to their living spaces. In the past year, homes have transformed to become schools, universities, day cares, offices, boardrooms, hair salons… just to name a few off the top of our heads. More and more people, however, have turned parts of their homes into makeshift gyms! While creating a workout space may sound just as daunting as the workout itself, designating a space for fitness within your home is actually much easier than you might think. Depending on your favourite workout, you might not need anything more than a few feet of space! Before we breakdown the “How”, let’s get into the amazing reasons behind the “Why” you’d want to make workouts a regular in your household!
The most popular reason for working out is an obvious one: physical health and fitness. Many people work out to lose weight, to feel more confident, to be stronger, etc. Health and fitness look different to everyone, which is why it’s important to define your goals and create a plan to achieve them. Working out, however, is not just about seeing physical results. Exercise has a direct correlation to happiness. As most people are experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety than ever before, making time to move daily is proven to help improve these dark moods through the release of those much-needed endorphins. Additionally, exercise is an amazing energizer. While an intense workout can have you gasping for breath, after a proper cool down you’ll find yourself more ready to take on the rest of your day. Exercise has also shown to improve the quality of sleep, sharpen memory and critical thinking abilities, relieve levels of exhaustion, and contribute to higher levels of self-confidence and self-love. It’s also a great way to be selfish. It’s important to take some time out of your day and completely focus on yourself. Instead of bingeing Love Island from the couch, however, why not have it playing as you do some pushups?
We’ve all heard the expression, “The hardest part about going to the gym is the going” but what happens when there’s nowhere to go to? While it’s the much more convenient option, moving your workout routine from the gym floor to your living room floor can be a tough mental transition. Typically, the first thing we want to do after a long day at work is relax. Just like the first thing we want to do in the morning is snooze our alarm for five more minutes. Finding the motivation to get up early, carve out a few minutes in the afternoon, or roll out your yoga mat before bed is the most difficult part of creating an at home workout routine. If making fitness a priority is important to you, it’s imperative that you incorporate it into the nonnegotiable section of your daily schedule. For the twenty, thirty, or even forty minutes you set aside for your workouts, make sure you’re similarly setting aside the array of distractions that might call you away. Put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’, turn off the TV, blast your favourite songs, and focus on yourself and the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits of working out at home is the cost: there isn’t one. Thanks to Youtube and Instagram, we have a world of workouts at our fingertips. While gym memberships and class prices can add up overtime, working out at home saves you the cost of commuting in addition to the cost of attending sessions that you can easily replicate.
Getting fresh air seems like an obvious form of self-care, but it’s also one of the most overlooked. If you’re really short on time, why not combine the two? If you live in a milder climate, move your workouts outside! If you prefer to stay in your own space, your backyard or balcony are perfect places to set up your fitness studio. If you’re looking to get out of the house for a little while, however, going for a quick walk or a long run is a great way to get your cardio in and a change of scenery. If you’re not a runner but are looking for a bit more of a challenge, try adding ankle or hand weights to your strolls. You can check out your local fitness shops for curb-side pickup options, or Amazon Prime some to your door by the morning! Here are some of our favourites:
Before we dive deeper into stocking up on equipment for your home gym, you might want to consider the types of workouts you’ll be doing there. To some it may feel impossible to get a high-quality workout in at home without the machinery and equipment offered by a traditional gym, but we promise — you absolutely can. The best part? Depending on what you have lying around the house, you can get a Barry’s Bootcamp kind of sweat in without spending a dime! Here’s a breakdown of the very long list of possibilities that can make up your home workout routine!
Yoga focuses on exercising both the mind and the body. Classes varying in difficulty and experience consist of stationary and fluid stretching and posing, with the goals to strengthen and tone. Available at all levels of intensity, you can expect to burn a decent amount of calories after an hour-long session.
Yoga pretty much only requires a mat. However, if you’re looking for a bit more of an in-class experience, or even more of a challenge, you can purchase a small set of studio essentials from sites like Alo Yoga, Lululemon, and Everlast!
While there are an insane amount of virtual instructors waiting to be discovered, Yoga by Adrienne on YouTube has nearly 10 million subscribers and close to 600 videos detailing step-by-step instructions for completing her classes.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “ Pilates is a method of exercise that consists of low-impact flexibility and muscular strength and endurance movements. It emphasizes proper postural alignment, core strength and muscle balance.”
Zip, zilch, zero!
Similarly, if you type “Move With Nicole” into the YouTube search bar, you’ll find tons of videos for beginners to experts looking to get a Pilates class in. With no professional equipment needed, Nicole uses household items, like kitchen chairs, to add to her workouts.
Just a mat and your own bodyweight!
HIIT is the fast way of saying, “High Intensity Interval Training.” It’s a fitness program designed around short but intense bursts of exercise with recovery periods scattered throughout. If you’re looking to get some cardio in and burn your fair share of calories, this one’s for you! The best thing about HIIT is that it gives you the maximum benefit for the shortest time as long as you can take the high intensity. There are plenty of free HIIT videos out there and we highly recommend “Healthy Fit with Ty” on Youtube. The instructor has hundreds of sessions ranging from 20 to 60 minutes, both with and without dumbbells.
A big, shiny goose egg.
A mat, some weights (you can substitute these with cans or water bottles), and a mop for your sweat.
While the lack of cost is an amazing incentive to switch to home workouts, some of us used our membership fees as motivation to actually get out there and use them. If that was you, or even if you’re looking for a bit more of a regimented fitness routine, trainers and studios alike are offering access to their classes for fees still at a fraction of in-person prices. Melissa Wood Health is a great example! Melissa’s workouts offer a combination of yoga and pilates with the option for a free trial period before you commit. The membership also includes full access to her vault of healthy recipes and meal plans!
Even though you might miss listening to your favourite podcasts on the way to your workout, or catching up with your crew in the locker room, you can still be an active part of a fitness community doing a workout for one! Some fitness studios have done their best to keep things as normal as they possibly can for their members. Take the popular global HIIT chain Orange Theory, for example. Known for their heart-rate based workouts, Orange Theory has taken its in-person classes and turned them into live virtual ones. Members can sign up and enjoy working out in a fast-paced, community setting from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
With all these options, making the time and space to work out at home couldn’t be easier. Move a chair or two out of the way and take a class, use an app to track your runs, or watch a quick “10-Minute Abs” tutorial! Whatever you decide, be proud that you’re continuing to put yourself first. Don’t forget to stretch!