Working Out at Home
I’m trying to live healthy. I go to the gym three times a week, I meditate almost daily, I’m vegetarian, I go running. A lot of my friends and colleagues can’t work out as much as I can. They complain that they don’t have the time, or energy, or equipment. I can’t fix problems 1 and 2 in this post, but every once in a while, the gym annoys me too. And then I just work out at home. Some trainers might say it’s “less efficient”, but that is not entirely true. If you’re going for an Arnold look, it probably is less efficient. If you just want to train your body and feel less stressed out, it does the job quite well. But I digress.
This is, by far, not a "get a ripped body exercise plan". I’m not a trainer. This is just a collection of some exercises I found easy to start with and which work at home.
First, I would recommend to warm up. Go running for about 10 minutes or do some light exercises. Anything, really, but warm up before you exercise!
There are a ton of apps on the iOS App Store with databases of exercises. Every app you find will claim to have more exercises than the other. Each update adds, hold it, even more exercises. Who has the time to fiddle around with all these apps for so long? Almost all contain only gym exercises too. So that’s not helpful.
Working out at home is a real problem, because the fitness industry is only targeting the gym people. If you want to work out, you have to go to the gym. That’s not true. You can work out from home very well.
Most likely you don’t have their equipment (or the money to buy it). That’s not a problem either. An upcoming fitness trend is called “bodyweight exercise”. A fancy way of saying you’re doing exercises without weights. I recommend you do some research on bodyweight exercises on Google. I’m sure you’ll find plenty.
Another downside of working out in the gym is that movement sequences are unnatural or monotone. Bodyweight exercises don’t have this problem (generally).
In some cases it’s difficult to use your own bodyweight to get enough weight on the muscle though. In these cases you can use some light weights. Filled bottles, backpacks, bags, etc. You have to make little to no financial investment to get started. Bottles are a cheap replacement for a dumbbell.
With these two limitations set, you should find much fewer exercises now in an app. I like flies. They can be done with a lot of variety and work the upper chest, back and shoulders. Push ups are good too. I tend to do more advanced ones where my feet are on a Pezzi ball. This shows you that even as you get more advanced with your exercises that you can still do them at home. The Latissimus, or lat, is hard to work. You can do pullovers, dumbbell rows (also inverted) or do some good old chin ups or pull ups. Close grip chin ups work the biceps more, wide grip pull ups work the back. I got something like this here just for this exercise. Search for chin up bar on Amazon.
Also: Watch Scooby. He looks crazy, but his advice is spot on.
If you just get started, you don’t need fancy equipment though. You need to make your new “habit” stick.
How to form a habit
In order to make your new fitness plan a habit, it needs to stick. From what I’ve learned from all the motivation books and presentation talks I’ve read and heard, here are some of the best tips:
- Make it a 30-Day-Challenge: Matt Cutts talks about doing his challenges in this, rather inspiring, TED talk. Make your exercise plan a 30DC. 30 days later you’ve learned something, decide where to go next. (No one has become a master in 30 days by the way, and sweat is part of the program. Your body “learns” to sweat better the more you exercise.) There are also a ton of iPhone apps that can help you with this:
- Gamify: Jane McGonigal gave an, again inspiring, TED talk The game that can give you 10 extra years of life on this. All that she’s basically saying is that you can change everything in your life through games. And that is very true. All those little monster in you that keep telling you you’re not good enough, or something similarly bad, can be fought. With games (too). This also has an app or platform named SuperBetter. I’m there too. They also have an iPhone app.
- Find an Ally: Find someone who works out with you. Through technology this person doesn’t even have to be at the same place as you. Find someone somewhere. Connect through tweets, messages. You read this blog, you probably know how that stuff works. Use it. I would recommend to choose a partner that is at the same fitness level as you to keep you motivated. When you are exercising with someone who is always “better” than you, you can become frustrated, because you are always behind. The same is true if the other person is less exercised than you, because now you have to pull the other person with you. Also frustrating. Find the sweet spot between both extremes.
The average person does about one exercise (singular; not exercises) per week. So if you do more than that, you are above the average already. Congratulations.