You know what stinks? Getting in your car and having to drive to the gym to get your workout in – in fact, it’s a pretty convenient excuse for not exercising! But if not wanting to join and commute to a gym is an excuse you’ve been using not to move your body, we’re here to tell you the time for making excuses is over (but we’ll let you decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing). You CAN overcome that little voice in your head saying you’re too tired, or you don’t have time or the right equipment, or exercise is just a big ol’ chore, and get a great workout in the comfort of your own home. And you know what’s great about working out at home? You’re already there! Let’s get down to busting through those excuses, and finding creative ways to get a great workout without getting in the car!
We’ve all got them, and we’ve all heard them: the excuses why we’re just not getting the exercise we should be getting. If the following sounds familiar to you, try thinking about things in a different way:
- I’m too tired to exercise – Feeling fatigued? It’s ok to skip your workout and let your body recover if you’re sick or had a rough night, but if the problem is that you’re always tired, the reason might actually be that you’re not moving your body enough; lack of exercise and sluggishness can actually become a vicious cycle. Sitting too much means you’ll have less oxygen moving through your body, making you lethargic, so try fitting in workouts when you have the most energy during the day, even if it’s only for 10 minutes at a time in the beginning. Once you get those endorphins flowing, you’ll start to feel more energized, and you’ll probably even want to keep it up!
- I don’t have the time – Studies actually show that breaking up your exercise into smaller chunks throughout the day can be as effective as a longer workout, so if you’re one of the 42% of people who use lack of time as an excuse for not exercising, you might want to rethink things. In fact, think of it this way: what is really important to you? Is your health a priority? If yes, those 10 minutes here or there, or time spent taking the stairs or even running around with or having a dance party with your kids, is time well spent!
- Exercise is such a chore! – This is where you really have to do some reframing. If you think of exercise as a punishment, as many people do, it’s no wonder that you’re trying to avoid it! Try instead to find things that are good for your body AND that you enjoy; even if you do just have to just knuckle down and do some strength training and cardio, think of it as something that will allow you to do the things in life that you do enjoy, like playing your favorite sport, or hiking with your family. And remember, if you’re lucky enough to have a body that allows you to work out, don’t take it for granted!
So there you go: excuses dispatched – and now we’re going to prove that the last possible excuses, “I don’t want to/can’t go to the gym” or “I don’t have any equipment” are not problems at all, and that you can get a solid workout in, no matter where you are, how much time you have, or what you have on hand.
No Such Thing As No Equipment
We could probably add to the list of above excuses: “I would exercise at home, but I don’t have any equipment.” Really? What do you call that fabulous body of yours? While there aren’t a ton of studies on the subject, what there is seems to point pretty solidly to the fact that doing what’s known as bodyweight workouts (or workouts that don’t require any equipment) is just as effective as doing other types of workouts. In fact, one study found that bodyweight exercises will develop your fitness in most areas, including strength, strength endurance, flexibility, and aerobic capacity just as much as other types of workouts.
So what type of exercises can you do at home with just your body? Consider the following categories of bodyweight exercises:
- Calisthenics – These are the basic bodyweight exercises that are most people’s go-to and include things like jumping jacks, push ups, squats, pullups, lunges, dips, and planks.
- Plyometrics – If you’re up for something more intense, and that will get both feet off the ground with high impact movements, plyometrics like burpees, squat jumps, jumping lunges, broad jumps, and explosive push ups will really get your heart pumping and work your entire body.
Bodyweight exercises will burn calories (and if your workout is intense enough, you’ll continue to burn extra calories even after your workout is over), and you’ll work on functional movements that can help you in your everyday life, improve your posture, gain better coordination and balance, and work on your cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength. Not too shabby.
And if you’re worried that you’ll outgrow bodyweight workouts, you can always step them up by:
- Making movements more dynamic – Make squats or lunges into plyo moves, or add claps or explosive jumps into your push ups, for example.
- Making it one-armed or one-legged – Try pistol squats (one-legged squats) or one-handed push-ups, and get a great core workout.
- Decreasing your rest times
- Doing exercises in a circuit with minimal rest
Use What You’ve Got
Another way to intensify your at-home workouts other than by stepping up your bodyweight routine is by adding some everyday objects to increase resistance. No equipment at home? No problem! Try the following everyday household swaps for gym equipment:
- A filled backpack for a weighted vest – Some people add a weighted vest to their workouts to increase intensity and resistance; as long as it feels comfortable and not painful to you, you can replicate this with a filled backpack.
- Tied pantyhose for resistance bands – Use tied pantyhose to add tension to exercises like hip thrusts, donkey kicks, or even bicep curls if you leave them longer and step on one end.
- A jug of laundry detergent or kitty litter for a kettlebell – Use a heavy container for things like swings, Russian twists, or overhead sit-ups.
- A large bag of pet food or grain for a barbell or sandbag – Big ol’ bags can help you to do some heavier weighted exercises like curls, bench presses, deadlifts, squats and presses.
- Paper or plastic plates, magazine covers, or tea towels for sliders – Sliders can step up core exercises, and can easily be replaced by anything that will slide on either carpet (plates or magazine covers) or hardwood (tea towels).
- Your couch or ottoman for a plyo box – Your living room furniture can really add a lot to your workouts: try doing incline (hand on the couch or ottoman) or decline pushups (feet elevated on the furniture), tricep dips, box squats, step-ups, or rocket step-ups.
Making excuses not to exercise is easy, but you know what? So is getting a great workout at home, whether you’re using just that incredibly useful body of yours, or grabbing some everyday household objects to ramp things up. All you need to do is find a few extra minutes every day, or even just a few days a week in your own living room (or basement, or bedroom, or wherever), no commute necessary, and you’ll be on your way to a more energetic and healthy you. Now, grab your toddler and start bench pressing! (Ok, not really, but maybe bang out a few pushups…).