There are different reasons why it’s not always possible to go to a gym. Sometimes it’s a financial issue, sometimes it’s lack of time or the gym being too far from home and it’s just easier to work out at home. Some of us might feel self-conscious to share the private moments of working out with a bunch of strangers. All these points are totally understandable, but they do not need to be the excuse as to why we don’t lift our butts off the sofa 😉
When I started my strength training journey, I found it a lot more comfortable to start at home, probably because I preferred my privacy for the beginning stages. Nowadays, I’ve enrolled to a gym as I wanted to use heavier weights than I had at home.
I’d like to compile a few exercises that resonate with me, which I think are super fun. The exercises which I find fun are a combination of cardio, body weight exercises and high intensity interval training (HIIT). If you happen to have any form of weights at home, those would be fun too!
So let’s begin!
These 2 videos have been helping me on my fitness journey for around 3 years now, instructed by Jillian Michaels (fitness expert best known for her role as trainer, wellness expert and life coach on the TV show “The Biggest Loser”). I like these two videos because: a) They don’t require any equipment b) One is short and one is long, which caters for different situations c) They are effective for overall body work.
1. Cardio kickbox with Jillian Michael, a short 25 minute workout which gets my whole body pumping.
2. “Banish Fat Boost Metabolism Complete Workout” with Jillian Michaels, a 50 minute workout which kicks my butt! Caution: If you’re just beginning your fitness journey, try doing the modified version which is shown by one of the background trainers in the video and be prepared that you might not be able to finish the whole video the first few times.
I love body weight exercises because they can be done at home, they strengthen muscles and increase health and boost my self confidence 😛 The advantage of body weight exercises as opposed to using certain machines in the gym is that we can choose exercises which engage more muscle groups at once and challenge the body to strengthen itself wholly rather than work mainly in isolation techniques. More working muscles = more fat loss and more overall strength.
I love Howcast videos! They demonstrate how to perform all the main exercises. All you need to do is type in the name of the exercise you’re looking for together with the word “howcast” in the youtube seach box. Here are a few top exercises which I found very helpful for getting as many body parts engaged as possible.
1. PLANKS | Great for strengthening the core muscles. I try to plank for 60 seconds each time and repeat it around 3 times in one session.
2. PUSH UPS | I love these because they work on lots of muscle groups; the core muscle group, chest pecs, anterior delts (the front of the shoulders) and triceps. I try to do either 3 sets of 10 push-ups with a little break in between ( = 30 push-ups altogether) or I time myself for 3 sets of 45-60 seconds and do max reps (as many as I can fit in the time frame). It’s also a great exercise to record my progress with. I began doing knee push ups and now I can already do full push-ups. The more push ups I can do in a minute or the more push-ups I can do in one session, the more progress I’ve made in strength and edurance.
3. SQUATS | One of the most important exercises!!! Can be done with body weight alone (i.e. air squats) which is what I did so that I could learn the proper form until I started squatting with weights (even a watermelon or a water bottle or a backpack filled with heavy stuff will do). This exercise will target all the major muscles of your lower body (quads, hamstrings and glutes) for a sexy and defined booty and thighs, getting those desired curves, definition and strength.
4. DEAD LIFTS | Great for working the posterior chain (all the muscles at the back of your body, glutes & hamstrings). When you feel ready you can add weights in your hands. I’d try to do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
5. OVERHEAD PRESS | If you don’t have dumbbells at home you could always try using water bottles.
6. CHEST & BACK BAND EXERCISES | Another channel which has inspired me is the Sarah Grace Fitness channel. This workout requires a resistance band which is a fun investment to be made for home workouts. (Click here to see Black Mountain Products Resistance Band Set)
Dance Cardio & Tone
I love dancing!!! I love combining fitness with music and a good beat to keep it interesting. I very much enjoyed Keara Lashae’s Superherofitnesstv channel. She’s a super fun, full of positive vibes, upbeat woman. Very inspiring in her fitness journey after giving birth to her sweet baby and sharing her fun dance, fitness and tone videos. I recommend browsing through her channel and just picking any video that resonates with you.
How to Put Together a Fitness Routine
I find that on my fitness journey, as I grow and learn and take an interest in more and more aspects of it, I discover new things I want to try and I keep changing and mixing it up. It’s important to choose a routine which will be enjoyable and fun for you and to be consistent and stick to what you’ve taken on for a while. Only when I feel I’ve gotten the best out of it do I change to something new. This way I give my body the best chance to benefit from the programme.
Some suggestions from the info I’ve given:
- You could try to put together a 6 day workout + 1 day rest routine, or a 3 days of workout + 1 day of rest routine ( = 5 days a week).
- You can try alternating between the cardio, the body weight exercises and the dance (do a different type of workout each day) or pick one that you like and stick to it. It’s important that it’s fun for you and that you enjoy it so you can stick to it.
- For the body weight exercises you can try a TABATA form of training. You can download a TABATA app on your phone and use it. Set it to 8 rounds with 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for each exercise. An advantage using TABATA form is it helps elevate heart rate and lower it intermittently in intervals. Begin with the 1st exercise completing all 8 rounds and then continue to the next exercise completing all 8 rounds etc. Here is an example:
- Another approach is to do 3 sets of each exercise, consisting of 10-12 repetitions in each set (i.e. 10-12 push-ups, break for 30-60 seconds and then another 10-12 reps, 30-60 secs break and then another 10-12 reps). Apply this on all the exercises (except the plank which has to be held for a time frame, not done in reps).
I started my strength training journey with the inspiration of Emily Skye. Through her FIT phase 1 programme, I introduced myself to weight training. Her programme offers a vegan meal plan which is fitted for fitness goals.
My current inspiration and fitness & health role-model is Karina Inkster. She’s a vegan health & fitness coach, based in Vancouver, BC, with an educational background in health and aging (Master’s degree in Gerontology). She offers in-person and online personal training, plant-based nutrition counselling, and healthy living coaching and has helped me customize and personalise a training programme that aligns with my needs and desires. I’ve learnt a tonne from her, also a lot through my participation in her free The Vancouver Women’s Weight Lifting Meetup Group, where we go through different topics in weight training. (click here for meetup details). I love Karina’s attitude, where her coaching focuses on long term health rather than immediate visual results alone and emphasizes correct form and correct training etiquette to make fitness healthy and invigorating rather than a cause of injury. A huge thank you to Karina! 😀
Last Few Tips:
1. As you progress in your fitness journey, I would highly recommend finding a health & fitness coach who can get to know you and help you build a customized fitness plan that will resonate with your goals and your personality and will watch you as you do the exercises to tweak your individual form.
2. Be consistent. How? Choose something you like and is fun for you to engage in. Even if there’s a day where you don’t feel like doing any of the workouts in your “workout inventory”, go for a walk, do some biking, climb some stairs… The point is–move your body.
3. Don’t forget those rest days once or twice a week. They can help keep you consistent long term.
4. Keep asking people, reading about fitness, finding out more information and taking an active interest in it; really love it and connect to the activities you’ve chosen because then you’re more sure to implement them in your life fully.
5. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you and vice versa. Be inspired by other people’s journey but keep in mind that it’s just a suggestion and you should find your own individual path.
6. Stick to a whole foods plant based vegan meal plan to make sure your body is and will be in its utmost optimal health and help you train it to its best physical capabilities.
Note: If you have any injuries, health issues, chronic pain or any other reason to believe working out might harm you, you should consult a physician before beginning. My post is me sharing my own personal journey as an idea or inspiration only.