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Freedom of the At-Home Workout

If you’ve been reading my articles for any amount of time, you know I’m a no-excuses workout taskmaster, thus making me a huge fan of the at-home workout. The benefits of the at-home workout are tremendous. Convenience, efficiency, privacy, comfort, etc. However, with that freedom, comes a certain responsibility. That responsibility is to actually DO your workout and not get caught up in the distractions!

 Let’s level on this. If you’re at the gym, you’re not going to just sit down in the middle of the workout and start watching TV. You’re not going to put your laundry out to dry on the treadmill, rendering it useless. You’re not going to have a seat on a bench in the middle of the weight room and chat on your cell. You’re not going to mosey over to the fridge and make a sandwich in between sets. At HOME, all of these circumstances are possible.  I know this because I’ve done some version of them over the years while trying to create my own effective at-home workouts. So, while working out at home offers a bevy of conveniences, you have to be disciplined in order for your exercise session to be effective.


 When training at-home clients or working out in my own home I follow these guidelines to make sure the workout isn’t a waste of time:

 1.                           Create a space in your home that is dedicated to fitness. It doesn’t have to be a large area at all. It can be a miniature corner, a spot in the garage or just in front of the TV in your living room.

 2.                          Place all of your workout equipment in an easily accessible area right next to your workout space. It can go under the couch or in a small plastic bin or even in a kitchen cabinet. If you pack it away, you’ll never make the time to go unpack it for your workout. The point is for it to be convenient, so make sure the set-up time is minimal.

 3.                          Turn off your phone, or only take emergency calls. Use the same rules for the phone as you would if you were in a group fitness class or exercising with other people.

 4.                          Turn off your computer, skype, facebook, or anything else that would pique your interest and disturb your workout.

 5.                          Set yourself a time limit. For example, if you’re doing a 30 minute workout, check the time and commit yourself to sticking with it for 30 minutes without doing any other household chores or projects. Then when the 30 minutes is up, put away your equipment, pat yourself on the back and move on with life!

 6.                          Take a cup of water or a water bottle to the area you’ll be exercising in, so you’re not tempted to go to other areas of your home and can stay focused on your routine.

 7.                          Create a calm atmosphere if possible. Watch TV or listen to music if you want to, but try to keep overall distractions to a minimum. If the kids are home, ask them to join you or set them up with a project while you exercise.

 At my house I have an extremely tiny workout corner that I use at least once a week, mixed into my other training sessions at the gym or outside. Here is one of my favorite routines for you to try! It is extremely simple and only involves two pieces of equipment. It will take you about 20-30 minutes depending on how many sets you do.


Equipment Needed:

*Exercise mat or towel

*Exercise ball (Swiss Ball/Physioball)

*Jump rope

 Warm up for 5 minutes with the jump rope or jog in place.

 Complete 2-3 sets per exercise, resting 30 seconds in between sets.

 *Ball pushups: With your feet on the ball, get in a pushup position and lower your chest to the ground to complete your pushup. To modify this exercise, start with your knees on the ball, or do it without the ball. 8-12 reps.


*Ball lunges: Place one foot on top of the ball behind you. Slowly bend your front knee into a lunge position, while letting the leg on top of the ball move backwards. 12-15 reps per leg.


*Ball side crunches: Place your feet against the wall, resting the side of your hip against the ball. Lower your body down over the top of the ball, then crunch up. 15-20 reps per side.


*Ball triceps dip: Place the ball against the wall. Use the ball as if it was a bench. Place your hands on the ball with your feet in front. Bend your elbows down to a 90 degree angle in a triceps dip, then press back up. 12-15 reps.


*Single leg ball squat: Place the ball against the wall, holding it up with your back. Position your feet in front of your body so that if you went into a squat you’d still be able to see your feet. Squat down, lifting one leg up as you squat. Repeat 10-12 times, then switch legs.


*Ball back extension: Place your feet against the wall and lean forward on the ball with your rib cage touching the front edge of it. With your hands at your sides or at your head, lower your body around the ball. Slowly straighten your back so your body is in a straight line. 12-15 reps.


Take 5 minutes to stretch, rehydrate, put away your exercise ball and bask in the glory of your workout!


*Always consult a physician before beginning any new workout program.

Jenny Anchondo is a certified personal trainer though the American Council on Exercise. She is also a journalist and morning news anchor for WXIN, the FOX  affiliate  in Indianapolis. Combining her two passions of writing and educating people about fitness, Jenny is a perfect fit into the Connections for Women family.  


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