EACH January, millions of people make goals to live healthier and get in shape. But trying to hit the gym each day can feel like more effort than it’s worth, especially when it’s so hot, you’re worried about how you look in those workout clothes, and the price of a monthly membership hits hard after the holidays.
If you miss one workout, and then two, morale and motivation can start circling the drain. That’s why you always need a backup plan, or even just a short-term plan to get you through. Working out in your living room might seem less effective than using all that fancy equipment in the gym across town, but you might be surprised how well a workout using just your body weight as resistance does the trick.
In fact, you may be able to reach all your goals at home. “What you can achieve with body weight is unbelievable,” says Christie Cash, certified personal trainer and co-founder of BikiniBOD.com, adding that it takes time and consistency for any fitness plan to work. For this reason, Cash strongly recommends setting small, attainable targets each week to get you to your larger goals.
A comprehensive routine includes resistance training to strengthen your muscles and cardiovascular exercise that gets your heart pumping. At first, any amount is good, but you’ll want to work up to strength training twice per week and at least 30 minutes of moderate cardio activity five times a week. Here’s how you can get started and work out at home without spending a lot of money.
If you’re just starting your fitness journey, body weight workouts are a perfect way to begin. Cash suggests the following 35- to 40-minute starter regimen:
1. 5 minutes of moderate steady state cardio, such as jogging in place or shadow boxing.
2. 5 minutes of dynamic stretching, such as arm circles, standing hip flexor stretches or rotating hamstring stretches.
3. 10 minutes of functional body weight exercises, such as squats, walking lunges, push-ups and sit-ups.
4. 10-15 minutes of focused isolated movements, such as lying leg raises, hip raises, bridges and seated Russian twists.
5. 5 minutes of cool-down static stretching.