Simple Ideas for Getting Started!
If you are like hundreds of other people who don’t like buying a gym membership or working out around a bunch of strangers, you are in luck! You do not have to do either if you don’t want to! Working out at home is a simple and effective way to lose weight and get yourself into the best shape of your life! The hardest part is figuring out where to start which is probably why you are reading this article. Well, don’t you fret, because getting started is exactly what this article intends to help you do!
The first thing you are going to want to think about when starting an at-home workout program is whether or not you want to purchase any exercise equipment. If you decide you want to get some equipment to help you out, here are some items you may want to consider:
- A home gym
- Resistance bands
- Swiss Balls
- An Adjustable Bench
- A jump rope
- A heart rate monitor
- A treadmill
- An elliptical
- A stationary Bike
It would be wise to pick out a few of these items because they can increase the amount of exercises you can perform drastically! Having a number of options when it comes to exercising is very beneficial because it will help give you a variety of different ways to lose weight! It will also keep things exciting and fresh to help stave off boredom!
The Best Home Gyms!
Having a home gym will make your life easier if you are planning on working out from home! It takes a lot of the guess work out of what to do! Most home gyms come with a variety of machine exercises you can do, such as chest presses, shoulder presses, leg extensions, and lat pull-downs! Most of them also come with some sort of cable component and accessories which allow for exercises such as bicep curls, triceps extension, abduction, adduction, etc. The benefit to having a home gym is that using machines for exercise is considered safe, they offer a ton of exercises to choose from, and they allow for the ability to increase resistance. The top manufacturers include:
- Bowflex Blaze Home Gym
- Powerline BSG10X Home Gym, Short Assembly, 160lb Weight Stack
- Body Solid EXM1500S Single Stack Home Gym
- Body-Solid StrengthTech EXM 2500S Home Gym
- Weider Max Ultra Home Gym System
The main drawback of the home gym is the cost as they can be quite expensive, but having one will save you on having to purchase a gym membership which can also get pricey. When deciding on whether or not to purchase a home gym, remember that a little research can go a long way!
The Best Resistance Bands Exercises
Resistance bands are a cheap and effective route to go if you don’t want to make the financial commitment involved with a home gym but they are also great in conjunction with one as well! Resistance bands normally come in a group of colors ranging in difficulty. These include:
- Yellow (Thin)
- Red (Medium)
- Green (Heavy)
- Blue (Extra Heavy)
- Black (Special Heavy)
- Silver (Super Heavy)
Remember that the meanings behind the colors in regards to difficulty can vary from company to company, but this is the most commonly used color coding. Like home gyms, resistance bands offer a variety of exercises to choose from! The best exercises that can be done from home include:
- Resistance Band Squats
- Resistance Band Lateral Rows
- Resistance Band Bent Rows
- Resistance Band Biceps Curls
- Resistance Band Triceps Extension
The Best Swiss Ball Exercises!
Swiss Balls are a great way to add some challenge and difficulty to your workouts! They provide an excellent opportunity to challenge the all important core and can also be used with a ton of exercises! They are heavy duty and durable balls that range in size anywhere from 45 to 75 cm. Make sure to find a size that you are comfortable with as they can either be too big or too small depending on your specific requirements. As far as exercises go, the best ones to perform with a Swiss Ball include:
- Basic Abdominal Crunches
- Elevated Push-Ups
- Balanced Push-Ups
- Seated Wall Roll
A number of other exercises can be done using both Swiss Balls and Dumbbells such as shoulder presses, bent rows, lateral raises, biceps curls, and triceps extensions! It doesn’t hurt to mix and match every once in a while!
The Best Dumbbell Exercises!
Buying a set of dumbbells is an excellent way to add some free weight exercises to your repertoire! Free weight movements offer something that machine based exercises don’t and that’s free range of motion which allows the stabilizer muscles a chance to get strengthened. You can find dumbbells in many forms such as:
Some factors to consider when purchasing dumbbells include cost, comfort, durability, and the amount of weight desired. The best exercises for dumbbells are:
- Dumbbell Chest Press
- Dumbbell Squats
- Dumbbell Lunges
- Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Dumbbell Lateral Raises
- Dumbbell Bicep Curls
- Dumbbell Triceps Extensions
You can also get a greater number of exercises out of your dumbbells if you purchase an adjustable workout bench and use them all together!
The Best Adjustable Benches!
Adjustable workout benches can enhance your at-home workout experience and they are fairly cheap! Most benches fall in the range of anywhere from $50 to $250. Obviously, the higher end benches offer wider bases, better balance, better weights and bars, and some additional exercise tools such as leg extensions or hamstring curls. Figuring out which bench to choose really comes down to your goals as well as what exercises you plan on using one for. Some top rated workout benches include:
- Powertec Fitness P-UB Utility Bench
- Best Fitness FID Bench BFFID10
- Nautilus Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Bench Series 5.1
The Best Jump Ropes!
Why a jump rope you might be asking? Have you ever tried jump roping continuously for three minutes? Try jump roping for three minutes, taking a minute off, and then repeating the cycle five times in a row. The workout you will get, not to mention the calorie burn, is intense! Jump ropes offer a great challenge at an extremely cheap price. Here is a list of some of the best:
- Everlast Plastic Speed Rope
- TRX Buddy Lee's Master Jump Rope
- Lifeline USA Heavy-Weighted Speed Rope
- Bell Leather Jump Rope
- GoFit Beaded Jump Rope
The Best Heart Rate Monitors!
Heart rate monitors are an excellent way to establish realistic exercise goals and judge your intensity during workouts! Knowing your own target heart rate is important so that you know how hard to push yourself but also where your upper limits lie so that you don’t overexert yourself while exercising. To find your maximal heart rate, simply take your age and subtract it from 220. An ideal intensity range for your heart rate while exercising is between 65% to 85% of your maximal heart rate, so after you have found your maximal heart rate, take that number times 0.65 and 0.85 to figure out your range! Here is an example for you:
220 – 50 (age) = 170 (maximal heart rate) then take 170 x 0.65 = 110.5 (low intensity) and 170 x 0.85 = 144.5 (high intensity)
If you are 50 years of age, now you know that your target heart rate range is between 110 to 144 bpm! Try to stay somewhere between there while you work out, sticking to the lower end if you are beginning and the higher end if you are more conditioned and looking to challenge yourself! Here are the best heart rate monitors:
The Best Treadmills!
Treadmills are a perfect way to burn some extra calories so that you can lose weight and strengthen your heart and lungs! They are great for people who would rather stay inside and work out, especially if the weather isn’t very conducive to exercising outside! Treadmills can be placed in front of a television (or you can even buy them with their own televisions built on them) so that you can watch your favorite TV program while you exercise. Treadmills allow for extra challenge with different programs that change up the speed and incline while you exercise which will increase your heart rate (which we just talked about)! The only drawbacks are that treadmills are rather expensive and can be difficult on people with bad knees, so take that into consideration when potentially buying one. Some of the best treadmills on the market are:
- Sole F80 Treadmill (2011 Model)
- Bowflex Series 7 Treadmill
- Nautilus T514 Treadmill
- Sole F80 Treadmill (2009-2010 Model)
- ProForm 675 E Treadmill
The Best Ellipticals!
Ellipticals are also very beneficial and are an excellent way to challenge your cardiovascular system and burn those extra holiday calories! Unlike treadmills, ellipticals are less strenuous on the knees and utilize both your arms and legs in a circular motion, thus involving the whole body into the movement! Like treadmills, they also have different programs that can change up the intensity to further tax you during your workout! Ellipticals can also come with built in TV’s or can be strategically placed near your own television set! They can also be quite expensive though and for people just starting out, they can be pretty challenging as well. Here is a list of some of the best ellipticals on the market:
- Schwinn 430 Elliptical Trainer
- Sole E35 Elliptical Trainer (2011 Model)
- Spirit Esprit EL-455 20-Inch Stride Elliptical
- Life Fitness Club Series Elliptical Cross-Trainer
- Sole E95 Elliptical Trainer (2009-2010 Model)
The Best Stationary Bikes!
Stationary bikes are great for bikers who want to avoid bad weather conditions or for people who want a switch up from the treadmill or the elliptical! Like the other two, they offer programs that change up intensity and can also come with tv's attached! They can be pricey as well and if you are not used to their seats, they can be unfriendly to your buttocks (just like a real bike). When using a stationary bike, it is important to practice good posture as bending and slouching can be detrimental to your back. It is also important to make sure you adjust the seat height and for recumbent stationary bikes, the distance of the seat from the pedals. Recumbent stationary bikes can be much more pleasant on your back so they have that advantage over their counterparts. Here are some of the best stationary bikes:
- Schwinn A10 Upright Bike
- Schwinn Active 20 Series Recumbent Exercise Bike
- Stamina 1300 Magnetic Resistance Upright Bike
- Nautilus U514 Upright Exercise Bike
- ProForm 290 SPX Indoor Cycle Trainer
The Best Body-Weight Exercises!
For those of you who would rather save the money and still work out at home without equipment, all is not lost! There are some very good body-weight exercises that can be done without any expense at all! Body-weight exercises are perfect for people who have not yet started working with weights because they only use your own body-weight rather than added resistance from dumbbells and barbells. It is important to note that while these exercises are a good alternative, after a while you will want to progress either to machines, free weights, or resistance bands in order to challenge your body further and burn more calories to lose more weight. These are the best body-weight exercises that you can start with right away:
- Push-ups (either on your feet or on your knees)
- Abdominal Crunches
- Side Lunges
The Best Home-Made Exercise Equipment!
If you really don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on exercise equipment, how about making your own from everyday items in y
our household? Using things like milk jugs and soup cans can make for effective and easy to use equipment! Here are some things you can make:
- Milk Jug Filled with Water/Sand Dumbbells
- Soup Can Dumbbells
- Pipes used for Pull-Up bars
- Blocks of wood for Calf Raises
Time to Get Started!
If you’ve made it this far, now you have a lot of ideas and tools at your fingertips to get started! Whether you want to buy your own home gym or cardio machines, invest in your own equipment, make your own equipment, or use your own body-weight for exercises, this article has you covered! It’s time to figure out which way you want to go, and once you have your plan, it’s time to get started and watch those pounds melt off! Also, remember that proper nutrition is just as important as the exercises you do, but that's a topic for another day! Good luck and enjoy!