There is nothing quite like laying on the couch on a weekend morning and flipping through the channels only to find that 75 percent of them have infomercials running. Of course, over half of them are guaranteed ways to lose weight or get a kick butt workout from the comfort of your own living room. You start to feel guilty, are tempted to call the 1-800 number before the end of the program to get the special deal and decide its time to make a change. But before handing your credit card number over to a stranger, you decide a gym might be better.
Problem. You hate the idea of joining a gym, you cant seem to find the time, or you just dont have the dough to fork out for a membership. Even worsethe thought of a sitting on the same piece of equipment that the guy with the visibly sweaty butt just sat on sends a full body shiver down your spine. Alas, there is still hope! Infomercials aside, there are a ton of things you can do, all from the four walls of your own home or the space of your backyard.
Opting for a work out from home has its perks. You get to work on a schedule that is best fit for you rather than the gyms, you save money not only on gas but also membership fees/dues and you can cast those fears of looking like you dont belong. More importantly, you are doing something rather nothing.
DO THESE SHORTS MAKE ME LOOK FAT?
So why exactly do women choose a home workout instead of the gym? Jeannine Roth, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Jazzercise Instructor/Franchisee, says there are several reasons. First of all, its convenient and they can workout whenever they can squeeze it in. Second, there are the fears that and lack of self-confidence come along with attending a gym. What is this thing for? Am I doing this right? Are they making fun of me? Im too fat to be in here with everyone else! I look like a hobo in this outfit! How many of us are guilty of buying new clothes just so they can look fashionable in that huge wall length mirror? Another reason is there possibly isnt much income, and many women put their needs lower than others when it comes to their family.
If any of these reasons so far have you nodding your head in agreement, or ypu just want to try something new, check out what you can do, and what you should avoid.
THE FREE WORKOUT
Roth emphasizes that a good workout consists of three exercises; cardio, resistance and flexibility. Of course all three dont have to be done everyday, but you should get 3-5 days of cardio, and 2-3 days of both resistance and flexibility per week. Here are some easy (and free) ideas she gives for each:
For cardio, all you need to do is anything that raises your heart rate and keep doing that 20-30 minutes.
- Put some upbeat music on and dance, dance, dance! (editors note: to eliminate humility, close curtains)
- Walk up and down a staircase at home, your apartment or office building. For an added kick, use the bottom step for a modified version of step aerobics.
- Got kids? Grab a jump rope, hula hoop or get on the backyard trampoline. How about a dog? Throw a ball or chase them around the yard. Actively playing with your kids or pets adds up, plus it is great for bonding and just having fun!
- Dig through your garage or storage unit and break out the old bike or skates. Roth says that these offer both a great cardio workout and a lower body workout.
- In another month pools will be open or yours will be functioning. Take a dip and do laps or stationary movements. Water aerobics isnt just for arthritis anymore!
- Escape your home for a little while and enjoy nature with a hike. Even though this technically isnt staying in," its not the gym and it can very peaceful and serene.
Use your own body or items around the house. There are a lot of things you can do with no equipment.
- Push-ups, abdominal crunches/planks, squats, lunges and leg lifts can all be done equipment free. For a modified version of a push-up when its hard to do them off the ground, lean on a wall or counter and push yourself up using your arms (not your legs).
- No hand weights? Use milk jugs or water bottles filled with liquid or sand and adjust to desired weight. Canned goods are a good alternative to hand weights too. Use your cans of spinach to lift and then eatyoull look like Popeye in no time!
- Are crunches literally a pain in the neck and back? Roth gives this handy tip: roll up a small towel and place it under the small of your back for support.
- While you have that towel out, toss it on the floor, sit in a chair and try grabbing it with your bare toes. This helps strengthen muscles in your feet!
Flexibility training is easy, free when doing traditional stretches and it really feels good. Any activity that focuses on lengthening muscles is great when working on flexibility, as well as anything that safely moves your joints through their full range of motion.
- Traditional stretches are self explanatory, but keep in mind not to bounce or strain. Stretching out those muscles should be a smooth and relieving feeling.
- Heres another use Roth gives for a towel: Let a longer towel assist you in a number of stretches such as a hamstring stretch in which you hold the towel with one hand at each end, loop it underneath the foot and allow the towel to give you leverage as you pull your toes toward you.
- For a good stretch session, hold each single stretch for 20 seconds or longer, or 10-30 seconds for each static stretch.
A WORKOUT UNDER $20
For those of you that want to have that added kick, there are a ton of videos and tools for under $20. Resistance bands are great for resistance training, and you can even find them in adjustable strength sets. These little numbers provide numerous ways to tone up without the use of free-weights or machinery (check out the websites given at the end for great ways to use these too). Yoga mats are inexpensive as well, and are great for a bit of cushioning when doing any kind of floor routine.
Then, of course, there are the videos. I think its fair to say that there are thousands of them out there. Roth says that these are great for those who needs extra motivation and/or instruction as to what do and how to do it correctly, and that a good exercise video can be a useful substitute for a group class with a live instructor. With such a vast selection, Roth does want to stress the importance of finding a worthy exercise video.
Here are some tips she suggests:
- Find a video led by a knowledgeable instructor who not only motivates you, but makes your safety their first priority.
- The instructor should be demonstrating the exercises at different levels with modifications. You should be able to adjust the intensity to suit your own needs.
- Find a video where the music and setting appeals to you so you will want to play it again and again.
AS SEEN ON TV
How tempting is it not to call within the next 30 minutes when Daisy Fuentes or Chuck Norris is showing how easy it is to get a full body workout in no time? And the dealswho can resist the equipment, two free videos and a food guide tailored to your body typeall with a full 30-day money back guarantee? A slimmer waist in 10 days, all by doing (insert product here) just 2 minutes a day! But wait, theres more! You can get all of this for not $200, not $100, not even $50, but for one easy payment of $19.95!
Sounds way too good to be true, and the truth of the matter isit probably is. Roths opinion when it comes to as seen on TV items is you get what you pay for. A five-minute workout is not going to get you the proper results, much less the ones the infomercials claim youll get. Roth states, There is no substitute for consistent exercise at the appropriate intensity for the proper duration. However, she does say there is decent home exercise equipment that is sold on TV, but you need to be able to separate the good from the bad.
- Does the item interest me?
- Does it seem to be good quality and priced accordingly?
- "Will I actually use it?
When it comes to purchasing equipment, Roth emphasizes not wasting your money. If you dont think youll use it every day then its a waste of your money, and youre better off skipping the purchase. She feels that women are better off going in person to a store that specializes in such equipment so they can ask questions and try it out before making a purchase.
Are you now motivated to start an at-home-workout? Roth list these websites as the best for finding correct and informative routines (and they are free):
- www.acefitness.org This site provides lists of local certified trainers.
- www.collagevideo.com This site actually tests the videos they sell and rates them!
Last but not least, Roth says to remember safety. Be sure to get clearance from your doctor, and if you are alone, keep a phone near you in case of injury or illness. Choose safe exercises that you enjoy, and change up your workout periodically to prevent not only boredom, but overuse injuries.
Now all thats left is to check the batteries in your smoke detector, because you are on your way to being one healthy, hot momma!