At home fitness is here to stay, so it would seem… as it always should have been.
The world is still getting ramrodded by an out of control virus and a total lack of understanding about how best to handle it. People are getting sick again, and it looks like we might be heading for another COVID lockdown.
I sure hope I’m wrong, but we’ve seen all of this before. Some restaurants are closing down, hospitals are filling up, people are panicking, elected officials are trying to look as shiny and flawless as possible. This is March 2020 all over again.
“Well thanks for ruining my day, asshole,” you might say. “You’re welcome,” I would reply. Denying the truth is not going to help. It’s better to be cautiously pessimistic than over-the-wall exploding with optimism and/or denial.
I keep seeing questions pop up on the internet about how to start an at home fitness routine. I think it’s beginning to sink in that gyms may not be back to the way they were any time soon. Lucky for the internet, this is my specialty.
At Home Fitness: The Easy Part
Let’s take care of the easy part first. “What to do?” Sure, chasing your cat around the house for 20 minutes a day is good exercise, but eventually it gets boring and your cat will hate you for it.
The physical challenge of at home fitness is, of course, that equipment is limited and it takes a little know-how to make it all work well.
Your bread and butter (depending on your goals) will probably be bodyweight exercises, core exercises, and cardio. These generally require 0 equipment.
Examples of bodyweight exercises would be squats, pushups, pullups, crunches, and double backflips that end in a you-shaped indentation in the wall.
String a bunch of these together in a format that goes something like “X reps of exercise 1, X reps of exercise 2, etc”, and you have a decent at home fitness routine. I want to go over exact exercise formats in another post because this can be a much larger topic. I’ll leave it at that for now.
HOWEVER, I would strongly recommend investment in a few, inexpensive items that will greatly improve how much you can do at home.
The NAHB Home-Gym Short List
- Kettlebell. A great little weight that you can do a buttload of exercises with. You ever seen how much a buttload is? If not, check Instagram and search “Fitness model”. Get one probably between 15 and 30lbs depending on your fitness level. It should be a weight that you can press over your head about 10-15 times before fatiguing.
- Resistance Bands. Specifically, get ones that have a door anchor. Personally, I use these for a lot of core and upper body work. They are great for working back muscles and obliques.
- Pullup Bar. If you can’t do a pull up yet, use those bands to train your back muscles and practice hanging from the bar. This will begin to develop your back muscles to the point that you’ll be able to do one pull up. This is one of the most important exercises you can do for building upper body strength at home.
Those three things will get you started and really open up your options. Of course there are other things you can get like floor sliders, foam rollers, bosu balls, TRX, etc. But those are my top 3.
The Hard Part of At Home Fitness
Here’s a secret: At home fitness is a matter of commitment and self-discipline more than anything else.
It is all about showing up. The main disadvantage you’re at when you’re trying to get fit at home is that you are accountable to no one but yourself. For some people, that works perfectly. Other people get benefit from being accountable to someone or something to stay fit. That’s one reason personal trainers exist.
Showing up every day, or 5 days a week, or 3 days a week (whatever your goal) is what you need to get used to doing at home. How do you do this? Different things work for different people. But here are some things to try.
- Write a daily checklist of exactly what exercises you will do, how many, and when. Want to make it easier? Find an at home workout video on the internet and put that on the checklist. Post the list somewhere where you’ll see it every day and do not go to bed until it is checked off.
- Set a specific time in the day for workouts. For me it’s 7am. I didn’t used to be a morning exerciser. I always thought that was only for annoying people (maybe it is and I’m just annoying, who knows).
- Do it with someone. And by “it” I mean exercise, you perv. Do you know someone who is interested in exercising with you? Get them involved. Then you can be accountable to each other. If one of you slacks off, the other should try to be motivating.
- Set a reminder. It’s easy to forget, especially in the beginning. This is the case with all new habits. Set an alarm or train a squrill to run up your pant leg at a specific time as a reminder to exercise.
Emphasize Showing Up At First
Whatever the case, practice showing up before you practice killing yourself with crazy handstand pushup workouts. I always recommend starting at 10 minutes every single day. No breaks. No BS. Just show up.
It doesn’t have to be intense every day. Even if you’re just going through the motions, at least show up 10 minutes every day.
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