In the aftermath of a global pandemic that isn’t even fully over, many people are learning the hyper-importance of self-care. Isolation and dramatic lifestyle changes have taken their toll on just about everyone. And where health and wellness often stood to fall by the wayside, it has since become even more difficult to upkeep.
This is especially true when it comes to exercise. Some people always preferred to work out from home, but the pandemic added challenges to the equation. Not only were many gyms closed, but equipment became scarce, and prices on items like weights, barbells, home gyms, even yoga mats soared. How could you get in a quality workout, whether for weight maintenance, muscle building or sanity, while being so limited?
It’s a question nearly every fitness enthusiast grappled with, including pro athletes. And that’s saying something. We’re talking about people with means—lucrative contracts and income generated from team and individual partnerships with brands and even sports betting apps. Many of these pro athletes documented their struggles and, in some cases, copped to being out of shape or having to get incredibly creative to stay in it.
Just as they found a way, we all can, too.
Sure, the pandemic appears to be winding down. But the appeal of working out from home will always persist. We can all be short on time. Getting to the gym is often not an option. And in instances like those, we shouldn’t feel like we can’t be in tip-top condition.
With this in mind, here are some tips to help make sure that you can find the motivation, technique and means to crush at-home workouts like a world-class athlete.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
First and foremost, don’t be so hard on yourself!
Squeezing in workouts can be hard on your schedule. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to carve out two hours everyday to exercise. And definitely don’t criticize yourself if you miss a day.
Rest is good, and life is hard. Exercise should be something you enjoy, not an activity that causes you extra stress.
Try Some Caffeine Prior To Working Out
Getting amped up for a workout can be difficult. If you’re doing it early in the morning, when you first wake up, you might be groggy or merely stressing out about your busy day ahead. If you’re doing it late at night, you might be tired from work or errands or whatever.
Caffeine can be useful in these instances. Consuming some 15 to 30 minutes before exercise should give you that extra push to get started.
You don’t have to buy some fancy or expensive pre-workout, either. Many are definitely effective, but something as simple as having a cup of black coffee can do the job.
Feel free to consume (a lower) amount of caffeine while you’re working out, too. You may not need it if you’re doing a 30-minute session, but if you’re someone who likes to go for 60 to 90 minutes or more, an intra-workout beverage with a little caffeine can go a long way.
Body Weight Exercises Are Your Friend
Perfectly replicating your gym workout while at home can be difficult, if impossible. There aren’t always substitutes for the fancy machines, particularly when it comes to training legs.
Body-weight exercises can still make you feel the burn. They are your best friend at home. Here are some body-weight exercises that should become staples in your at-home workouts:
- Walking lunges
- Wall squats
- Parallel squats
- Standing oblique crunches
- High knees
- Plank jacks
This is just the beginning. There are tons of body-weight exercises you can (and should) incorporate into your routine.
Speed Is An Asset
Lots of people think workouts, whether at home or at the gym, need to last forever. They don’t.
Quality is more important than length. If you maintain a high intensity over a shorter period of time, you will reap the full benefits of someone dragging their way through a 90-minute workout.
Consider giving circuit training a try. To do this, choose any number of exercises you please. For our purposes, let’s say you’re doing five different ones. Do one exercise for 60 seconds, then progress to the other one for another 60 seconds without resting. Repeat this process until you’ve completed all five exercises.
After those five sets, give yourself a brief rest—something like 45 to 60 seconds. Then repeat that entire five-exercise circuit again. Rinse, lather and repeat three to five times, and you’ll be feeling the burn.
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash