Did you know that the average gym member only darkens the door of their chosen gym 2 times or less per week? Did you also know that at least half of all gym members stop going entirely by month 6 after they sign up?
Based on some of these statistics, it seems that getting fit without a gym membership is a better option. This is great news for those who can’t afford expensive gym memberships or who don’t get motivated by getting sweaty with strangers.
Instead of putting your fitness routine into a (gym) box, why not create a fun and fit home workout routine? This can save you lots of money while also ensuring you drop the excuses for why you don’t make it to the gym regularly.
After all, most of us spend at least part of our day at home, so may as well make the most of it!
Before we launch into why a home fitness routine is superior to a gym routine, let me introduce myself. My name is Jenn, and I was once a morbidly obese girl from Wisconsin. In my senior year of college, I realized that topping the scales at 285 pounds was not serving me, or my goals to be a long-lived role model for future generations. Within one year, I dropped 100 pounds using all the low-cost tools I had at my disposal as a broke college student.
Now, I am a 40-year old marathon runner and mom to two beautiful girls and wife to a man from India. I also help other women create their own personal path to body bliss through my company Weightless, using the same process I used over 18 years ago.
Back in my college days, I used the free rec center pass I had at the University of Minnesota. Once I graduated, I knew that gym workouts were just not for me. If you find yourself reluctant to hit the gym, they may not be for you, either. Or, in the case of my fellow blogger friend, Meghan, by the time she got her 6 kids ready to hit the gym, she was already exhausted!
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Here Are 3 Immediate Benefits To Creating A Home Fitness Routine:
- Cost effective– you do not need to purchase ANY equipment in order to get fit at home. In fact, you often have equipment around your house you can use to get to that next fitness level (think milk cartons, canned foods, or even your young kids)
- Time efficient– it takes approximately 2 years to get ready to go the gym, between packing your clothes, water bottle, driving to the location, changing, waiting for your preferred machine(s), showering, and driving to your next destination. Home workouts can be completed in less than 40 minutes (including warm up/cool down). Bonus! No group shower situations.
- Role modelling– when your kids see you work out, they do one of two things: a) they join you or b) they learn that exercise is a priority- not just for you, but for the household.
Now That We Know The Benefits Of Creating A Home Workout Routine, Let’s Get Into Setting The Right Stage For It.
According to Charles Duhigg, who authored “The Power of Habit”, the best way to make any habit “sticky” is to create the right environmental cue to trigger the habit.
Here are simple ways to set the right environmental cues for your home “gym”:
- Create a dedicated workout space, and keep your tools (if you use them) visible. It is extremely important to make sure this area is uncluttered, clean, and always ready for you to get your sweat on. If you have tools, keep them visible instead of tucked away.
- Keep a fitness journal/calendar in the space- and note down the date/time/workout you do. This is just as important as tracking what you eat. Not only will it help you identify your current fitness level, but it gives you a chance to celebrate your progress.
- Make sure you have at least 2-3 appropriate fitness outfits you can wear to workout at home, including a supportive exercise bra and breathable fabrics. There’s no need to buy super high-end workout clothes- I purchased several sets of awesome plus-size workout gear at consignment stores. If you struggle with motivation, wear the workout clothes to bed before a morning workout, or put them on as soon as you decide to workout. Shoes are optional for home workouts!
Remember, bodyweight exercises are completely fine for the beginner workout enthusiast, and even into intermediate level. However, I recommend the use of basic fitness tools that are less than $20 at many local retailers. Some of my favorite basic tools include:
- resistance bands (without handles)
- ankle weights
- cardio core ball
- adjustable dumbbell set
- medicine ball.
These tools add an additional 2-30 pounds of weight for your muscle development, or as well as additional range of motion.
Now, it’s time to choose your preferred exercise. Generally, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises are the easiest and most effective workouts to start with. These are the workouts that really get your heart rate up and the sweat pouring, even in as little as 7 minutes (speaking of 7 minutes, have you tried the J&J 7 minute app?
They also tend to be repetitive exercises that are easy to do without being susceptible to injury, and may even take you back to your elementary days. Once you establish a few core moves, you simply repeat the sets as long as you can maintain- or in 15-minute segments.
These include exercises such as high knees, figure skaters, mountain climbers, burpees, jumping jacks, jump squats, push-ups, tricep dips, lunges, crunches, and bridges.
There are plenty of HIIT workouts you can find on Pinterest, YouTube or similar websites. No need to buy a program- many of these are completely free resources!
What if that feels a bit too intense for your current activity level? That is when dance might be a great option for you! When I was at my highest weight, the high intensity was not a good fit for me, as it put a lot of pressure on my knees and back. However, dance is a full body workout that can help you slim and sculpt while jamming to your favourite tunes!
You can find plenty of dance DVDs- even at your local library (which might be a fun walk down memory lane for some). I really enjoy the 10 Minute Solutions series, especially with Jenifer Galardi.
If you want to follow certain choreography, you might want to use a ClassPass to try out some options within your local community. I have found great studios nearby using this route, or you can try your local Community Education centers, many of which have drop-in days.
With a drop-in day, you just show up for one class before deciding to try to the series. Once you find an option you like, check out Groupon for any discounted pass options.
If cardio is a challenge for you, don’t hesitate to try a weight lifting routine at home. Women over the age of 35 tend to lose bone density as we age, and weight lifting is a great way to counteract that.
In fact, because women traditionally focus more on cardio, we are more susceptible to having tight hips, bad backs, and poor posture. At least, that is what my chiropractic friends say.
Before starting with a weight lifting routine at home, please familiarize yourself with proper form. Again, Pinterest or Youtube will be your friend here. A good rule of thumb with weight training is to do either arms or legs (you can choose whether abs are part of arms or legs) and alternate the days you do those. You should aim to lift until failure (i.e. you cannot lift one more), and leave at least 48 hours between subsequent workouts. Never work through pain or injury- but soreness is a sign you are doing well!
Home fitness routines have many benefits over gym routines. Whether you are a dedicated gym rat, or someone who hasn’t ever consistently exercised before, you can create a home fitness routine towards your best health in less time with even less money.
If you are curious about whether home fitness is for you, check out my free Workout Style quiz, and find out how to workout smarter (not harder). Not only does the Workout Style quiz help you find the right type of training for you, but I also provide a free guide to get started.