You want to get fit. But you don’t want to join a health club — it’s too expensive, there’s no gym convenient to you, or maybe you’re just the independent type. Or perhaps you’re already a gym member, but your schedule has been too manic for you to get away.
That leaves working out at home. But can you really get a great workout without leaving the house?
Absolutely, says Kevin Steele, PhD, exercise physiologist and vice president of 24 Hour Fitness Centers.
“In today’s world, the reality of it is people don’t have time to go to a facility every day anyway,” he says. “And consistency is key.”
Believe it or not, Steele says, at 24 Hour Fitness, they encourage folks to exercise at home as much as at the gym. This way, they are more apt to adopt fitness as a lifestyle. “The key thing is that you do something, somewhere, sometime,” he says.
Steele and other fitness experts say it doesn’t take much effort or money to design an effective workout program at home. Things like fit balls, dumbbells, exercise bands or tubing, and push-up bars are an inexpensive way to create a routine that works all the major muscle groups.
But even with no props or machines, you can build muscles and burn calories.
“If someone wants to get started, they could take a brisk walk, then do abdominal exercises and push-ups,” says Richard Weil, MEd, CDE an exercise physiologist and WebMD Weight Loss clinic consultant.
The 5 Elements of Fitness
According to Steele, an effective fitness program has five components, all of which you can do at home:
- A warmup.
- A cardiovascular (aerobic) workout.
- Resistance (strength-building) exercises.
- Flexibility moves.
- A cooldown
A warm-up could be an easy walk outside or on a treadmill, or a slow pace on a stationary bike. For the cardiovascular portion, walk or pedal faster, do step aerobics with a video, or jump rope — whatever you enjoy that gets your heart rate up.
The resistance portion can be as simple as squats, push-ups and abdominal crunches. Or you could work with small dumbbells, a weight bar, bands or tubing.
Increase your flexibility with floor stretches or yoga poses. And your cooldown should be similar to the warm up, says Steele — “cardiovascular work at a low level to bring the heart rate down to a resting state.”
You can do strength work in same workout as your aerobic work, or split them up. Just be sure to warm up and cool down every time you exercise.
If you’re short on time one day, increase the intensity of your workout, says Tony Swain, MS, fitness director of East Bank Club in Chicago. Instead of your usual 45-minute ride on the stationary bike, choose a harder program for 25 minutes and really push yourself. Choose the hilly walk in your neighborhood, or jog instead of walking.
You can step up the pace of your strength workout by doing compound exercises — those that work more than one muscle group at a time.
For example, doing squats (with or without weights) works the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus, and calves. Push-ups involve the pectorals, deltoids, biceps, triceps — even the abdominals and the upper back.
If you’re not the create-your-own workout type, there are fitness videos galore — offering everything from kickboxing to belly dancing to Pilates. You can find them at local bookstores and discount stores, or on the Web. Just be sure to choose one that’s appropriate for your fitness level.
If you’re a beginner, aim for 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least three times a week, and 20 to 30 minutes of strength work three times a week. Be sure your strength workout covers all major muscle groups, in your upper body, lower body, abdominals and back. Shoot for three sets of 10-15 repetitions of each strength exercise.
No matter what type of exercise you do, be sure to start slowly and gradually increase your workout time and intensity. And don’t forget to listen to your body, says Weil.
“Focus on the muscles that you think you should be working,” he says. “See if you feel it there. If you’re working your abs and you feel it in your neck, then it’s not right. Close your eyes and start to tune in to your body.”
It’s also important to stay tuned in to what motivates you.
Working out at home has obvious advantages. But there are obstacles, too: distractions from the phone, the kids, the dog, the Internet and the refrigerator can derail a workout. And that’s if you can get started in the first place. When you’re at home, it’s easy to find something else that needs to be done.
A good way to stay motivated and avoid distractions, the experts say, is to exercise early in the day. Morning exercisers are more likely to stick with their workouts, according to American Council on Exercise spokesperson Kelli Calabrese, MS, ACE, CSCS.
“Get (the workout) over with first thing in the morning, then get on with your day,” says Weil.
Tips for home exercisers
The experts offer some other tips for home exercisers:
- Challenge yourself and avoid boredom. At home, you won’t have the variety of equipment and classes that are available at a gym. So surf the Internet and browse fitness magazines to check out new workouts and make sure you’re exercising correctly. “Pictures are everything. Use them as a guide for form and technique,” Swain says.
- Find an exercise partner. You’ll be less likely to find excuses when you’ve arranged to work out with a friend.
- Schedule your workouts. “Have a plan,” says Calabrese. “Look at a planner and write out your exercise appointments one month in advance. If something comes up and you have to change one, reschedule it immediately.”
- Use a journal to track your progress and jot down any breakthroughs you may have. When you have a bad day, write that down, too, to help you to find patterns you can break. For example, you may find an egg-white omelet gets you through your morning workout better than a bagel.
- Set goals, like training for a race or losing 20 pounds. “A goals should be something you can’t do right now, but you know is within your reach,” Calabrese says. Give yourself mini-rewards along the way: a new fitness magazine, those workout tights you’ve been eyeing, or a new pair of sneakers.
- Perhaps most important, make exercise as integral to your life as sleeping and eating, says Swain. “You have to think of it as a lifestyle change. It doesn’t end. Get out of the mind frame that exercise is something you’re only going to do for a period of time.”
Originally published Dec. 19, 2003
Medically updated Dec. 14, 2005.
SOURCES: Kevin Steele, PhD, exercise physiologist; vice president, 24 Hour Fitness Centers, San Ramon, Calif. Richard Weil, MEd, CDE, exercise physiologist; consultant, WebMD Weight Loss Clinic. Kelli Calabrese, MS, ACE, CSCS, spokesperson, American Council on Exercise. Tony Swain, MS, director of fitness, East Bank Club, Chicago.
It’s the eternal question: How can I get fit fast? We present to you. the lazy girl’s guide to getting fit.
Because exercise sounds great and all, but when it comes to actually having to do it, that’s another story. Most of the time, if you’re lazy, you can’t be arsed. And there’s always an excuse. It’s either too cold to run outside, too hot to run outside, too windy to run outside, or you can’t afford a gym membership.
That just about covers all seasons.
When you’re just starting off your pursuit to being fit, your stamina doesn’t tend to be tip top. It takes some getting there. So here’s how to get yourself fitter, without it feeling like the most painful thing in the world.
1. Stick to 10s
Try to do just 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups every day, even if they aren’t consecutive. Because something is better than nothing, and after a while, when you feel yourself finding the sets of 10 too easy, you can up it at your own pace.
2. Stand up at least every hour
We’ve all read the reports about how sitting all day is bad for you, being hunched over a keyboard and not even getting out for lunch because we’re too busy. But enough is enough! Make a conscious effort to get up at least once an hour – go to the toilet, make a round of tea, or even just go and say hello to a colleague. Better still, buy an Apple Watch and it’ll buzz at you every time it hits ten to the hour if it hasn’t detected you standing up at all.
3. Walk for at least 20 minutes a day
Whether it’s the bleak mid-winter or not, there are no excuses to get public transport literally everywhere you go. Use the legs you were given and get moving; even just 20 minutes a day will be an improvement for your health. It’s easy to fit it into your daily schedule, and won’t have you gasping for breath. Jump on the bandwagon started by charity Living Streets, which is encouraging people to #Try20 by walking for just 20 minutes per day for a month to see how much difference it makes to both health and happiness. This is the perfect excuse to get a dog, really.
4. Don’t even leave the house
Yup, you read that right; you don’t even need to leave your house, or even the sofa, to get a solid workout in. There are many accessible exercises and home workouts you can do from your living room, that won’t require you to make the commute to the gym. Do some tricep dips and some lunges, and work those abs – all from the comfort of your own home. Check out some more ideas here:
5. Use Tabata
If you only have five minutes, download the Tabata timer app for a super speedy work out. Guiding you for 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off makes for a great high-intensity workout that has both fitness and weight-loss benefits. Run for 20 seconds and then walk for 10, or skip for 20 and lay down for 10. You can do burpees, mountain climbers or even the plank (if you’re brave enough), Tabata training will raise your metabolism and heart rate immediately and you should start seeing the benefits in no time.
6. Switch off
It’s not all about exercise – our daily lives have a real impact on our health and wellbeing. Getting enough sleep is crucial to being fit, and the 4628482 devices you own which distract you on the daily aren’t helping. So power down all the technology you’ve got coming out your ears at least an hour before going to sleep, and you should find you start to have a better rest.
7. Don’t worry about how long your work out lasts
The quality of your workout doesn’t depend on how long it is, which is quite frankly music to our ears. Any exercise is great and the most important thing when first starting out is to just get moving in the first place. Don’t try and climb a mountain before you can even walk, if you know what we mean. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t do a full hour, or if you couldn’t run for as long as you wanted (ahem, only managed to run round the block once). The fact is, you’re doing something, and that’s what that matters.
8. Run for just one song
Instead of being too ambitious and then feeling awful when it doesn’t all come together, tell yourself to run just the length of one song. Make it a good one and you won’t even notice when the 3.5 minutes are over. So basically, download Ariana Grande’s album and you’ll find yourself volunteering for the marathon no problem.
9. Spend time in bed
Let’s face it; some forms of exercise can be fun and sex is one of them. Research conducted by scientists from the University of Quebec in Canada found that sexual activity can be just as effective at burning energy as moderate intensity exercises. GREAT stuff. Women can burn up 90 calories during a sex session, which is just under half the amount you would burn in a 30-minute jog. We know which one we’d rather pick.
10. Work out during the adverts
Lazy people like to watch TV. So why not combine this with exercise, and time your mini-work outs to be just as long as the ads. Unless you’re watching Netflix, of course, where there are no adverts. If you do a five minute circuit of lunges, burpees, jogging, skipping and squats during the ads, then you can reward yourself by lounging on the sofa and finding out if Britain really does have talent. Leave the Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer, though, if you want to make any kind of difference.
So you’re thinking about getting fit. For that, we commend you. Whether you’re a Mudder-to-be, a returning fan or even if you have no intention of getting muddy at all (although we hope we can change that), you’ve come to the right source. Many people will roll their eyes at the health and fitness movement that sweeps so many of us through Summer but we don’t. Every year we’re bowled over by the capacity motivation.
Before you jump straight into workouts five days a week and meal planning, take a moment to set your expectations, get realistic about what’s to come and learn the truth about getting fit. Because getting fit isn’t just for Summer, it’s for life. Three Fold Hard Seltzer believe in the power of three and have provided three things to be aware of when trying to get fit.
The Truth About Getting Fit
1. It’s Going to Be Hard
Yes we might be stating the obvious but no not everyone gets this. Some people think that the initial difficulty and discomfort of exercise will be replaced by nirvana once they get fit enough. This just isn’t the case. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a casual exerciser or a dedicated athlete – exercise is work. Working out will always raise your heart rate, make you breathless, get muscles burning and sweat pouring (if you’re doing it right). It may get easier with time as your fitness improves and you will hopefully benefit from the dopamine and endorphins that are released when we exercise BUT it will never be easy.
2. It Won’t Happen Overnight
If ‘getting fit’ is your plan then listen up. Your good intentions are just that and they won’t be anything else unless you commit to consistency. A workout here and there does not a healthy Mudder make. The sad thing about exercise (other than the previous point) is that once you stop or slow down you will lose your fitness rapidly.
But all is not lost. We know that one of the hardest parts of any fitness journey is consistency but there are lots of ways to make you sticking to your new routines more likely. For example, don’t just set a goal like ‘get fit’ because its vagueness makes it easy to fail. Smaller more easily defined goals are easier to meet and when you do smash them you’ll be motivated to keep going. Having something to work towards can also help, may we suggest Tough Mudder?
3. You’ve Got to Nail The Basics
You’ve planned your workouts, read every article there is on getting fit and you’re ready to start the work. Not so fast. If you want to see results (whether that’s fitness or weight loss or strength) you need to be starting from the best place possible. That means getting plenty of sleep, eating properly and hydrating right.
Most of the UK isn’t getting the shut eye they need, with almost half of us admitting we don’t get the recommended amount. If this sounds familiar it’s something you’ll need to tackle as part of your fitness journey because being tired will push you to eat more sugar and skip out on those all important workout sessions. For reference, an adult should be getting seven to nine hours per night.
We don’t think we need to remind you that exercise without a healthy, balanced diet isn’t going to get you very far. But just in case, it’s important to remember that eating the right food will help your body repair after workouts, give you the energy you need to train and reduce the chance of injuries. Head over to our nutrition section for tips, recipes and advice.
Finally, the all important H20. When you start exercising regularly you need to keep hydrated, making sure you replace what’s lost through sweating. Staying hydrated won’t just keep you feeling good but it will reduce the pressure on your heart and improve your circulation.
Find more about Three Fold Hard Seltzer and if you feel fit enough to take on the mighty Everest, secure your spot at a Tough Mudder event now.
Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.
1. Exercise Daily
It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.
If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.
Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.
If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.
2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity
Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.
One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”  .
This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.
3. Acknowledge Your Limits
Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.
Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.
Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results  . When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.
4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy
Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.
The basic nutritional advice includes:
- Eat unprocessed foods
- Eat more veggies
- Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
- Eat whole grains, not refined grains 
5. Watch Out for Travel
Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.
This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.
If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go  , and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.
6. Start Slow
Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.
If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.
7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner
Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.
My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.
If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.
I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.
Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.
Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.
Don’t have time for the gym? You’re probably not the only one. Lack of time is one of the top reasons most individuals skip out on their sweat session. Despite the numerous benefits like reduced stress and improved mood, workouts often get moved to the backburner, replaced by chores and errands. Between packing a bag, driving to the gym, and actually getting moving, workouts seem to take a large chunk of time. But with the proper tactics, it’s more than possible to get an effective workout in a short amount of time.
In fact, according to CeCe Marizu, a trainer for Daily Burn’s new DB10 program, short-but-intense workouts “are essential for cardiovascular strength.” So rather than skipping out on a workout when running short on time, use the following tips to get in and out of the gym in 45 minutes or less.
7 Time-Saving Workout Tips to Get Fit Fast
1. Superset exercises.
Supersets are one of the oldest tricks in the book — because they work. By performing two exercises back-to-back, lifters can not only get a workout done in a shorter amount of time, but they can also bump up the amount of calories they burn. To maintain a high intensity and get the most out of pairing exercises back-to-back, alternate between upper and lower body movements. That way, one muscle group is always recovering while the other is working.
2. Time your rest periods.
With so many distractions in the gym — including television, friends and cell phones — it can be hard to stay on task. Try bringing a timer to your next session and start it during rest periods. Typically, most gym-goers will want to limit rest periods to 90 seconds or less, though times should be adjusted up or down depending on specific goals. Determine the appropriate rest time for you and stick to it. When the timer goes off, it’s time to get back to work — no excuses!
3. Keep it moving.
A rest period doesn’t have to mean sitting idly on a machine. If you’re not supersetting exercises, stretching and foam rolling — often-neglected aspects in most workout routines — are perfect to include in between sets. When incorporating stretching, focus on targeting areas not incorporated in the current workout. For instance, during an upper body workout routine, stretch the hamstrings and hip flexors during short breaks. Foam rolling is also a great mid-set activity — provided there’s adequate space to roll out.
4. Try high-intensity interval training.
Interval training has seen a huge surge in popularity with workouts like the Tabata protocol, which has users working all-out for 20 seconds with only a 10-second rest in between sets. Although these workouts may be shorter than usual, don’t mistake them for a walk in the park. By ramping up intensity, they promise huge improvements in cardiovascular health. To get started with interval training, begin incorporating some short, intense bursts during a normal cardio session. Push the pace for 20 to 30 seconds before recovering for the same amount of time at a lower intensity. Start by repeating that sequence three to four times and build up as you get comfortable with the high intensity!
5. Plan your workout ahead of time.
Of all the distractions in the gym that compete for attention after a set, perhaps the biggest time-waster is simply wondering what to do next. Not having a workout planned out can kill efficiency. To solve this problem, jot down a workout in advance. Or, screenshot it on your phone (if you promise not to text!). If the workout requires special equipment like TRX straps or a stability ball, try snatching them up ahead of time to speed up transition time.
6. Have a back-up plan in case machines are taken.
Particularly during busy hours after work, finding an open machine can be difficult, especially in a smaller gym. Instead of waiting on a fellow gym member to finish up, have a back-up plan in mind for each exercise. (Also, keep in mind not all workout machines deliver results!) If the squat racks are busy, substitute with dumbbell goblet squats or walking lunges. Both work the same muscle groups but in a slightly different way. The key is to keep moving rather than stand around waiting!
7. Ditch technology.
Although apps and music can be a key companion when it comes to tracking workouts and pushing through hard sets, technology can also be a major distraction in the gym. Instead of carrying a phone or tablet throughout a workout, consider wearing a simple watch to time sets, and bring along an iPod or music player that doesn’t have Internet access. That way, there’s little temptation to check Facebook (or post a selfie to Instagram!) in between sets. Still want to track sets and reps? Try using a pen and paper or switch electronics to airplane mode if they have to come along for the ride.
Workouts shouldn’t have to gobble up hours of time in order to be effective. With the right methods in place, lifters can get in and out of the gym in record time so they can tackle the rest of their to-do list feeling refreshed and invigorated!
Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution, because your cloths are a bit tighter than you’d like or simply because you want to feel better and be healthier, we’ve all declared that we’re going to get in shape at one point or another.
Then comes the hard part of actually following through. Starting your healthy lifestyle journey isn’t always easy, but these seven tips for getting in shape can help you establish a sustainable routine to achieve you fitness goals.
Be Honest With Yourself
Some people are committed to getting up early and working out in the morning, others prefer to work out after work. One isn’t better than the other, it’s all about what works best for you. You know yourself best, so be honest with yourself when making your workout plans. If you’re not naturally a morning person, you’re not really going to get up early to work out, especially if you’re not particularly fond of working out.
The same goes for revamping your eating habits. If you have a major sweet tooth you’ll be miserable if you try to cut out sweets entirely. You’re also not likely to succeed with a strict “no sweets” rule.
You’re trying to establish new, healthy habits, and establishing habits isn’t exactly easy. Don’t make it harder on yourself by setting workout routine or healthy eating goals that don’t align with your personality.
Set Realistic Goals
When you’re new to working out and getting in shape, setting large goals can be daunting. Instead, start with smaller, more attainable goals like committing to 30 minutes of physical activity a day or working out three times a week.
If you’re not sure where to start, hire a personal trainer and discuss your goals; he or she will be able to help you create a plan to achieve those goals. When addressing your eating habits, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist to make sure the changes you make are healthy and in line with your desired results.
Treat Your Workout like a Meeting
You wouldn’t skip a work meeting or a doctor’s appointment, so treat your workout with the same commitment. When working out isn’t your favorite activity, it’s very easy to find excuses to skip it. Your friends want to meet up, you didn’t sleep well and could really use that extra 30 minutes – there are a million reasons to not work out.
Set your workout schedule and stick to it. If something comes up that interrupts one of your pre-planned workouts don’t just skip it, reschedule it.
Find a Workout You Love
It’s simple, you’re not going to be motivated to do something that you don’t like, but if there’s an exercise, workout or class you genuinely enjoy, you’ll be excited to do it.
If you hate running, find something else – don’t let that be the reason you stop trying to get in shape. Talk to your trainer about trying different machines, methods and exercises and look into taking a class. There are so many different types of workout classes now, from yoga and Pilates to spin and dance. Try out different ones and see if there’s something you really like.
You can also start playing a sport. If you loved soccer or basketball when you were younger, look into recreational teams or regular pickup games you can join. If there’s a sport you’ve always wanted to try, get out there and give it a go!
When you truly enjoy what you’re doing it won’t feel like work anymore.
Find Your Motivation
Everyone has different motivators and one the keys to sticking to your commitment to get in shape is to find yours.
If you work better when someone else holds you accountable, find a workout buddy to keep each other motivated and on track. If you need words of encouragement and accountability without a workout buddy, turn to your social media profiles and post about your progress. If your goal is to start playing a sport, run a marathon or get stronger, keep that goal in mind when you need a motivation boost. Reminding yourself that you’re working towards something that’s meaningful and important to you will help push you through the rough patches.
Don’t Ignore Your Eating Habits
If you have unhealthy eating habits, getting in shape will be exponentially harder – no matter how much you work out. While fad diets and quick-fix cleanses are tempting, they don’t lay the ground work for a sustainably healthy lifestyle.
Instead, commit to eating better and limiting your vices. Start with simple changes. If you’re an avid soda drinker, cut it out entirely or limit yourself to one can a day. If you find yourself at the fast food drive thru more often than not, go only once a week or commit to cooking at home at least five nights a week. Push yourself so that you make substantial changes, but don’t go so extreme that you won’t consistently follow through.
When it comes to working out and getting in shape, something is always better than nothing. When you feel like you’re going to slip, push yourself to do just a little bit. Do a quick 10-20 minute workout or order the healthiest option from the drive thru (and skip the fries). We’re not perfect but pushing just a little bit when you don’t want to will help keep you on track and make you feel good that you stuck to your commitment. (Just don’t make the bare minimum a habit!)
Remind yourself that you’re doing all of this for a reason, and it’s a good one. Start using these tips for getting fit!
B etween work commitments, family obligations and social events, it may seem daunting — and downright impossible — to add anything else to your plate. As a result, people tend to sacrifice the one thing they might enjoy doing the least — exercise.
Perhaps it started with a busy week, and then one week turned into two and then before you knew it, you hadn’t visited the gym in a series of months. Whatever the culprit, there are ways to pull yourself out of a workout rut and create a lasting routine.
Here, health and wellness experts provide five strategies that will get you back on track.
Find your motivation, then talk to a doctor
The thing about fitness is, you have to want it for yourself. Finding the motivation to get back to the gym and get healthy must come from within, says Jonathan Leary, founder of Remedy Place, a social wellness club. And it’s not just about finding the motivation, but about having the right kind of motivation to get in shape. Forget external motivators like looking nice in an outfit and dig a little deeper, Leary says.
“Too often people focus on the common [motivators] in terms of weight, or they have a health scare, or they want it for someone else,” says Cedric Bryant, president and chief science officer at the American Council on Exercise. “You have to start examining why. Ask, ‘why do I want to make, this switch?’ It really has to be focused on things that are really meaningful for you as the individual and finding your right why.”
Once you figure out why you want to get healthy, your first stop shouldn’t be at the gym. Rather, it should be at your doctor’s office, according to Karen Litzy, a physical therapist and spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association.
“It’s a good idea to see your physician or your physical therapist before going back to the gym,” she says. Your doctor will likely perform a quick evaluation of where you’re at in terms of strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health, she adds. In doing so, a doctor can ensure you’re healthy enough for physical activity and can guide you on how to remain safe at the gym.
“It’s a reassurance that everything is okay,” she says. “Getting that physical evaluation and allowing people to feel strong in their bodies is the first step.”
Take your time getting back into a routine
Just a short amount of time off from the gym can undo some of the health gains you’ve made, according to Bryant.
“A week of full inactivity is going to cause some detriment in your physical performance,” he says. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, for example, found that taking a break from physical activity for just two weeks can result in a rather substantial reduction of muscle strength and mass — and it can take even longer to gain it back.
In other words, if you were diligent about your routine a month or two ago, don’t expect to hop back into it right away like nothing has changed. Instead, health professionals suggest taking it one step at a time. “When reentering the gym, remember the point is to fix the body, not break it,” says Leary. “Really analyze each type of workout because some of them could increase your risk for injury.”
It’s about taking a metered approach, experts suggest, starting with just a few minutes a day of cardio, then working up to longer workouts, incorporating weights and even hiring a health coach or personal trainer. Ultimately, a healthy adult should be working their way toward 150 minutes of exercise a week, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Don’t change everything at once
When getting back into a fitness routine, you may be tempted to overhaul your eating habits, too. Oftentimes, people tend to fixate on making too many changes at once, says Bryant. Instead, “focus on one thing at a time,” he says. “Focus on just trying to re-establish an activity habit. The reason why I tell people to focus on how they feel is that too often people are focused on the wrong metric.”
Just like those metered workouts, health professionals suggest slowly changing your nutrition patterns over time so you don’t feel overwhelmed and then give up out of frustration. But if you do want to make some changes to your diet, Leary says to start adding more water to your daily routine to ensure you’re hydrated as a first step.
“The more active you are, the more you sweat,” he says, so replenishing your water levels will ensure your body isn’t depleted of key minerals, and in turn, can help you recover faster.
Take a holistic approach to your workouts
Rather than logging a certain number of miles and then calling it a day, it’s crucial to start thinking about your workouts holistically — that includes your cool down, stretching and recovery, too, experts say.
“You want to be functional and pain-free,” Leary says. “Unless you are a professional athlete who has to be strong and powerful, your number one focus should be mobility and flexibility.”
A recovery routine is vital, says Leary. That should include daily stretching and adequate cool down time after workouts. And, if you can, try to incorporate regular massages or an occasional visit to a physical therapist to ensure every part of your body is working just the way it should, he adds. These tactics will help mitigate injury risk, so you won’t have to take weeks off from your workout routine again.
Redefine what exercise means
Perhaps the best news of all: you don’t necessarily have to join a gym or spend hours a day running outside to get a good workout. Rather, you can do it all in the comfort of your own home.
“Let’s say your schedule is packed, and you’ve got family responsibilities. Just find something you can do for five or 10 minutes,” says Bryant. “That’ll help reduce the amount of workout decline that you may experience.”
There are simple ways to start thinking outside the box when it comes to workouts, according to Bryant.
“Look into how you can incorporate more activity into your normal day,” he says, suggesting to avoid taking elevators and escalators when possible, and trying to log as many steps as you can each day. It could also be as simple as getting up and walking to a coworker’s desk to chat instead of sending them an email, or taking a five-minute break to stretch your legs, he adds.
“Think in terms of incorporating activity into your family life too,” Bryant suggests, whether that’s doing squats with your relatives during the commercials of television shows, taking family walks, or playing soccer with your kids rather than sitting on the sidelines. “Try to make moving your new mission,” he says.
With warmer days fast-approaching, there’s plenty we can do to get physically fit in time for summer. Remember: the perfect body is where a happy person lives.
It’s happening again. The same happened last year and the year before that. Summer.
One minute it’s Christmas with all the calorific indulgence that comes with it and before we know it, Valentine’s Day wraps it’s loving little wings around us, adding more inches onto our waistline. And that’s not to mention Easter and everything else that lies between.
So here we are with only a couple of months to spare before we run headlong into our poolside vacation. How do we get fit in time for summer fun? Fear not, these three steps will make the merge towards warmer weather more of an enjoyable paddle than a swim against the tide.
Best ways to get fit in time for summer.
1. Examine your calorie intake
Weight loss is the number one goal for most people before summer. The winter has had us hibernating and comfort-eating, while the weather has given us an alibi for skipping the gym. Others may not see the inches we’ve gained but we know it’s happened.
In order to lose weight we need to consider our calorie intake. The average calorie intake for men is 2500 while women should consume no more than 2000 calories per day. However, individual requirements can vary quite a bit.
Calorie-counting may seem boring and time-consuming, but if you want to lose those inches, you must take control of what you eat. If the old paper-and pen style of logging is something you left behind in the school museum trip, then try downloading a calorie-counting app such as My Fitness Pal, which simplifies logging.
2. Eat a balanced, wholesome diet
We are what we eat. If we eat junk all the time, we’re going to feel like junk. Make instant changes to your diet by making sure you’re eating a nutritious, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetable, fibre, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
For those with a sweet tooth, cut out the excess sugars and instead try Earth’s natural sweetener – honey. These healthy desserts are ideal to whip up when you’re hankering for a treat.
3. Stay hydrated
Make sure to drink two to three litres of water to flush away toxins in your body, hydrate the body and help expel excess waste. Studies have linked increased water intake to weight loss, with hydration key to factors such as digestion, muscle function and lipolysis (fat-metabolising).
Here are some delicious flavoured water ideas and their benefits.
4. Exercise regularly
Drum roll please. We all knew this one was coming. The man who got to the top of the mountain didn’t just land there – the same goes for getting fit in time for summer. In order to reach our fitness goals, we must exercise regularly.
For those with busy lives who don’t have time to squeeze in a full gym workout everyday, try adding small bursts of walking into your lunch break or journey home, or attend speedy half-hour classes at your local club a few times a week. It all counts.
There are so many forms of exercise now that we’re never stuck for interesting ideas to get us motivated. Whether you’re a Yogi or a track-treader, there’s something for everyone.
If you want to get fit in time for summer and have fun at the same time, inject something different into your routine, such as Holmes Place Aerial yoga. Our gravity-defying classes help you build strength and increase more flexibility – and are totally addictive. Members also love our new FloatFit class: 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise while standing on a floating ‘mattress’ in the pool.
Posted in Lifestyle , Fitness and tagged Summer, Weight, Beach , Body, Calories, Hydration .
Why not try adding your dog to your training routine? Exercising together not only benefits your health, but your dog’s as well. But remember, before beginning any exercise routine with your four-legged friend, consult your veterinarian to ensure your dog is in good physical condition for the exercise you’re envisioning.
Health Benefits of Exercising With Your Dog
The simplest way to incorporate your dog into your fitness regime is through walking. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of walking a week for general human health — a simple goal to set for your dog walks. AKC makes it even easier, and more fun, through the AKC FIT DOG program. Participants in FIT DOG commit to walking their dog for at least 150 minutes a week.
The benefits of regular walking are already well-known, including improved muscular strength, circulation, memory, and sleep, as well as increased energy and reduced stress. Some FIT DOG devotees say they’ve also lost weight, while others note that they’re experiencing less depression since starting the program. There are social benefits too, with 350 FIT DOG clubs now meeting regularly to walk with dogs.
Setting a fitness goal that includes your dog can have far-reaching health and social benefits. It can also be hugely motivating, as Leash Your Fitness owner Dawn Celapino has discovered in her 11 years of organizing exercise classes for humans and dogs. Celapino founded her San Diego–based fitness training center because she didn’t want to leave her Cairn Terrier, Jack, at home while leading fitness classes. She soon found that including clients’ dogs in her classes added a whole new level of excitement and commitment.
“Most people hire a personal trainer because they don’t know what to do, or they aren’t inspired to work out,” she says. “Adding their dogs really inspired them, and made it more fun.”
Participants also found it easier to step outside their comfort zones with their dogs by their sides. That might mean braving a new fitness class full of strangers or even trying out a new sport.
How Dogs Benefit From Fitness & Exercise
Beyond the physical, mental, motivational, and social benefits for humans, Celapino notes that the physical and mental stimulation of fitness training is also great for dogs. During her classes — which include hiking, surfing, kayaking, camping, yoga, trail running, upper- and lower-body training, and boot-camp training — dogs participate throughout, for instance heeling beside their owner during a lunge-walk, running a weave-poll course, or taking a ride in a kayak. Because they require dogs to remain alert throughout, these classes can happily exhaust dogs who usually run six miles without tiring.
“We’re making them think,” she says. “That’s what tires them out even faster, the mental side.”
Bonding With Your Dog Through Yoga
Exercise is also a fantastic opportunity to bond with your dog. Annie Appleby, a yoga expert with 25 years’ experience, started offering doga (dog yoga) classes from her San Francisco Bay Area yoga practice, YogaForce, 10 years ago. In dog yoga, humans incorporate their dogs into classic yoga poses. For instance, holding them as a weight during a side bend. Or, balancing the dog on their leg in Warrior Two pose.
Doga can be just as calming for dogs as yoga is for humans. Even the most hyperactive dogs end up very chilled out by the end of the class. Appleby also notes that both dogs and humans are closely engaged throughout classes, often looking into each other’s eyes.
“They really benefit from eye contact, the dogs,” Appleby says. “In our classes, it’s one hour of complete and utter communication with your dog the whole time. And the dogs like that a lot.”
How To Start Exercising With Your Dog
So you want to spend some quality time with your pup while improving both of your health. But new exercise regimes can be daunting. What’s the best way to get started? AKC FIT DOG is a great way to get moving together. For dogs and people in good shape, the FIT DOG commitment is three months of walking for at least 30 minutes, five times per week. People and dogs (such as senior pups) who would benefit from shorter walks, commit to three months of more frequent, shorter walks — at least 10 walks of minimum 15 minutes each, per week.
If you plan to start jogging with your dog, Celapino stresses that it’s essential to increase the distance appropriately.
“You have to build them up to it just like you build yourself up to it,” she says. “You have to get their paws acclimated, their heart, everything.”
When taking your dog out to exercise, always check the weather to ensure it’s not too hot for your dog. Also always make sure to have water. Use a sturdy, non-retractable leash to give you more control, as well as a harness instead of a collar, to avoid pulling on your dog’s neck. Lastly, make sure your pup is on preventative flea and tick medication if you’re planning on hiking, and learn how to properly remove ticks just in case.
If you and your pup are ready to try some new fitness techniques, Leash Your Fitness offers video tutorials on exercises that you can sprinkle into dog walks, such as lunge-walks, brief sprinting, and squats — all of which will require your dog to pay close attention and mind your commands.
Finding the Right Activity For Your Dog
Before you begin, remember that all dogs are different. So it’s important to find a form of exercise that works for both you and your dog. However, Celapino encourages all dog owners to explore what exercise might be best for their pups.
“For instance, a Bulldog isn’t necessarily going to love a running class,” she notes. “They might prefer hanging out on a paddleboard. Either way, don’t discount your dog. Dogs are capable of so much more than people think if we just give them a chance.”
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