It’s January, we’re getting warning’s, that The Beast from the East is making a return, plus we’re in lockdown 3.0, so that leaves you with two options. Exercise outdoors or grab your mat and fit it in your living room next to your coffee table, come office desk.
Before you go thinking, I haven’t got a gym, I can’t train, think about your weaknesses, think about the things you ‘don’t have time for’, when you can train everything you like to. Utilise this time as an opportunity to build and when it’s safe and legal to return to the gym environment, you’re in a better position than you were originally. This is a message I’ve given to all of my athletes and clients!
Realistically, if you have enough space to lie down then you’ve got enough space to have a good workout in your home. Roll out your yoga mat and you can pretty much do everything you need to within those dimensions.
Let’s jump straight into my top tips to maximising your home workouts.
- Structure your workout into rounds built of 6 – 10 exercises and unlike gym workouts, emphasise every component of your body, the upper body, legs, abs and a particular favourite of mine, cardiovascular fitness. My clients have found a sense of satisfaction, to incorporate moves that make them sweat and get out of breathe when training at home.
- Each round should include a staple exercise, or a variation of one. These are bigger movements like press-ups, squats, lunges or planks. Now you may immediately shudder at the thought of performing one of those exercises. Don’t. The reason is because they offer the greatest, ‘bang for your buck’! Struggle with press ups, do just the downwards (eccentric) part of the movement, you’ll get stronger, faster by performing it in this way and soon, you’ll find them more manageable!
- Set a timer. This is one I am using myself for my home training sessions. We’re not working in a dedicated space, that makes us susceptible to procrastinate, so set a stop watch or a timer for your workout. You have to get everything done, within this time period.
- Alternatively, many of my workouts are programmed onto my fitness app and it keeps me on track with automatic timers per exercise, telling me when to start, when to rest and how my progress is. This has been an excellent way to stay accountable!
- If you want to boost your cardio but you’re not interested in running and you don’t have a bike, that’s not a problem. Star Jumps, squat star jumps, mountain climbers, squat thrusts, spotty dogs, step-ups and the almighty burpees are all excellent exercises to increase that heart rate. I am a big fan of movements that you can perform to keep the tempo high, that you don’t fear and you can perform repeatedly during your workout like star jumps and spotty dogs. Burpees are great, but they aren’t for everyone and for that reason we will often avoid doing them, so instead choose something you’re likely going to do and do lots of it!
- Finally, make sure you’re focussed during your workout, if you have 10 minutes make it count, likewise, if you have an hour, keep busy during that hour, don’t scroll through newsfeeds or text’s, instead follow your routine. This works for individual exercises too, look for a quality 20 seconds of intensity on an exercise performed correctly, rather than 60 seconds that is poor.
I have seen so many high intensity workouts that last sixty minutes, that’s not a thing. High intensity workouts, to be truly effective should be a maximum of 30 minutes if you’re really focussed on the exercises and applying yourself to the greatest of your ability.
If you’re braving the outdoors…and I would encourage you to do so, I’ve got some tips on preparing for the cold! It’s important to note, if you can get outside, there have been multiple studies into the impact outdoor activity and nature exposure has on well-being (Lawton et al., 2017) and that’s vital during this pandemic!
Aim for a 5 minute pulse raiser, some of those cardiovascular exercises I mentioned above is a great option! In addition to this, high knee walks and runs, bum flicks and leg swings will certainly start warming you up pretty quickly. Before you step out of the door, it is probably worthwhile doing a glute activation warm-up, you can check out the sequence we use with our athletes here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1okNz819lU&t
Just before I let you get ready for your workout, remember clothing will make a difference to your temperature outside, as silly as it sounds, it’s a fundamental floor I see every day. If it’s below 8ºC get yourself a beanie hat and if it’s below 5ºC , make sure you’ve got leggings, gloves and a hat and you may even want a long sleeve top, start off slower in your run, give yourself a couple of km’s to warm up and then, you’ll be ready to go for it!
Remember, it’s always important to ensure you’ve got the go ahead to exercise or start a new programme. We always recommend speaking with a health professional to get the green light and make sure your choices comply with your local COVID-19 guidelines.