More people than ever before are moving from the gym to working out at home. And for
good reason. There are so many amazing benefits to fitness at home, including:
Saving money on a gym membership
Having easy access and convenience
Saving on gas money and wear and tear to your car (or avoiding public transportation)
Being able to workout any time of the day
And so many more advantages! But if you are new to this, it helps to have a few tips,
whether you are new to fitness altogether, or just to moving from a regular gym to your
- Put Your Workout Clothes on First Thing in the Morning
If you plan to do your home workouts in the morning, the best thing you can do is get
dressed into your workout clothes when you wake up. Instead of getting dressed into
daytime clothes, you will put on your legging or yoga pants, and be ready to go.
This puts into the mindset of having a healthy day, where you know you will be doing
your workout during your morning routine. If you work from home, but exercise later in
the day, this is still a good idea! You can wear your workout clothes all day if they’re
comfortable, and still be ready for your workout when the time comes.
- Get Your Home Workout Done Early
Speaking of early workouts, this is such a good idea for so many reasons. First of all,
you get it out of the way in the morning so you don’t have to worry about it all day. It is
also often quieter and cooler in the morning, so you don’t have those concerns as well.
But perhaps one of the best reasons to exercise in the morning is because it sets you
up for the rest of the day. There is this mindset shift that happens when you start your
day with something healthy and productive, where you have more energy and
motivation to continue with your healthy habits.
- Combine Different Types of Workouts
There is no reason you have to choose just one type of workout a day, or you need to
stick to the 20-minute workout and do nothing else afterward. When you get up to
wanting to workout for 45-60 minutes a day, but enjoy those shorter workouts, you can
just combine 2 or 3 of them for a nice long workout.
This helps you to exercise for longer periods of time, still do your favorite forms of
exercise, and gives you a chance to combine cardio, strength training, and other forms
- Set Up a Workout Area
While you don’t need an entire room dedicated to a home gym, it does help to have a
designated area in your home that will be your main workout space. This can just be a
little corner of your bedroom or living room with your yoga mat, weights and kettlebell,
and any workout accessories you might have.
Keeping them in one area is more convenient and makes you ready to workout once it’s
time to do so.
- Find Forms of Exercise You Love
It can be really easy to just do the workouts you think you should do or that your best
friend recommended, but these might not be the best fit for you – and that’s okay! As
you get started on your journey to regular exercise, try new workouts even if you don’t
know anybody who enjoys them.
Maybe you’re not a runner, but you would like doing sprints on your treadmill, or instead
of basic bodyweight workouts, you prefer kickboxing. You might be someone who likes
barre or Pilates, while your friends all like going to hot yoga.
- Get Some Basic Equipment
Don’t go out and spend thousands of dollars on gym-level equipment, but do have a few
items to make it easier to get started with at-home fitness. You really only need a few
things in your home to get started, and they shouldn’t cost you a lot of money. Some
accessories and equipment to consider getting are:
Yoga or exercise mat
Weights or kettlebell
Even these are optional, since if you have carpet, you might not even need a yoga mat
right away. Then you can gradually add more equipment as it fits into your budget.
- Shut Off Your Phone Notifications
While you might be using your phone to stream workouts at home, you don’t need to be
distracted constantly from your notifications. Try to remember to turn them off, both the
sound and the push notifications on your phone. You don’t need those pop-up
reminders from your calendar or notifications from Instagram when you’re trying to do a
- Eat 30-60 Minutes Beforehand
This is going to be entirely up to you and your body, but if you aren’t doing a workout
first thing in the morning, it is a good idea to eat first. You should also eat before any
strenuous workout, like HIIT, as your body will need the energy.
A good rule of thumb is to have complex carbs before your workout, like a banana or
oatmeal, and save the protein for after your workout. But of course this will always
depend on your own body.
- Schedule Your Workouts
When you first start working out at home, it is challenging to have the motivation to get
started. This is when scheduling in your workouts comes in handy. Write it down in your
calendar and to-do list just like you would any other appointment. Keep your
commitments to yourself when it comes to fitness, and you will soon not even need the
- Head Outside for a Walk
At-home fitness is more about just being out of the gym and doing your own thing, and
less about actually having to be in your house. You can get your cardio in simply by
taking a walk or going on a hike. Walking is easy, convenient, free, and can be done
anywhere. If you don’t want to get on the treadmill, you can go for a walk outside. It also
Getting some fresh air and vitamin D
Using as a warm up before a workout
Increasing the amount of cardio you get in a day
- Get Athletic Clothing You Love
This makes all the difference when it comes to at-home workout motivation. It might
seem like a small thing, but when you love the workout clothes you have, you’re excited
to put them on and use them. It is a good idea to aim for both comfortable and stylish,
and luckily most athletic clothing companies find that perfect balance.
Don’t worry about it being expensive; you can definitely find some budget-friendly
options. Pick up new pieces slowly, just one at a time, and soon you will have a
collection you can’t wait to use.
- Choose a Workout Time Without Distractions
It can be a little tricky working out at home when you have pets, kids, roommates, and
other distractions. The time of day you choose to workout can help minimize these
distractions and keep you on track with your fitness goals.
Think about your daily routine, schedule, and who is home at what time. Your best
workout time might be early in the morning when the house is still asleep, early
afternoons after work and when the kids are still in school, or the evening.
- Try New Styles of Workouts
Don’t be afraid to try something new! Take your time to slowly start trying new forms of
exercise that you can do from home. There are many to choose from, but here are
some to start with:
Barre and ballet
HIIT and Tabata-style
Different types of weightlifting
- Participate in a Challenge
This is a great way to try new workout routines, stick to a schedule, and get more
motivation. You can find a lot of different challenges, from doing one workout every day
for 2-3 weeks, to full programs that you challenge yourself to complete on time.
Find either a fitness YouTuber or a workout trainer with an app that has challenges
starting with 1-2 weeks, and you can try out different workouts while having some great
- Keep it Short with HIIT
Don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to your workout? No problem! Just do a quick HIIT
workout, and in 15 minutes or less, you have an awesome cardio workout done for the
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training, and is a shorter workout but with a lot
more intensity. You typically work at a very high intensity for about 30 seconds on, then
have a short break for 10-15 seconds, then do your intensity interval again.
You can find HIIT workouts to do with weights, bodyweight, dance, treadmill sprints,
stairs, and so much more.
- Fit in a Warm-Up and Cool Down
Many workouts on YouTube or streaming services come with the warm up and cool
down included, which is great. But if they don’t, you will need to get this in on your own.
Instead of going directly from sedentary to doing a high-intensity workout, the warm up
helps your body get used to your heart rate rising gradually and warms up your
muscles. The cool down does the opposite, where it slowly brings your heart rate back
You can do something as simple as walking outside or on the treadmill for 5 minutes to
get in a good warm up. Your cooldown can include the post-workout stretching to
prevent sore muscles.
- Modify Moves as Needed
If you are a beginner to exercise, don’t be afraid to modify any of the moves you are
watching, or use lighter weights if you are doing this on your own. The best fitness
trainers that stream workouts will give you alternatives, but you can do this as well.
For example, if you are doing a workout with compound moves, where it works your
upper and lower body at the same time, you cand o one or the other. Maybe you do just
the lunges without holding weights, or you lift the weights without the squats. This helps
a lot in the beginning when you are just starting to get into shape.
- Get in Your Stretch Routine
Stretching is so important for your body, not just when you are starting a new workout
routine, but in general. If you don’t add 5-10 minutes of stretching before or after your
regular workouts, then try to get it elsewhere in its own session. If you do workouts at
home 3 days a week, try to fit in 2 days with longer stretch routines. Your body will
- Enjoy Protein After Workouts
When you start adding weight training or bodyweight workouts, it is a good idea to focus
on getting your protein in after workouts. Protein not only helps to support muscle
growth, but it can also help you feel fuller throughout the day.
After a workout is a good way to remind yourself to have some extra protein, but it
doesn’t have to be immediately after, and doesn’t have to be a protein shake.
Scheduling a workout before a meal makes it easy to then have a protein-rich meal, and
skip the shakes and bars altogether.
- Have an Ideal Indoor Environment for Exercise
There is more to change in your home than just having the right equipment for
workouts. The environment itself can either help or hurt your fitness goals. The trick to
making a new habit stick is to make sure your environment makes it easier for you.
If you have a cluttered home and never enough room to do a workout in your living
room, you aren’t going to clean just to do it. Keep your house clean and tidy as often as
you can, have a designated workout space, and make sure you have temperature
control like with air conditioning, so your workout is as comfortable as possible.
- Experiment With Your Routine
Your daily routine is probably pretty consistent most days, but it is okay to adjust it in
order to make exercising at home a little easier. You might find that in the beginning,
you chose to do your yoga workout in the morning, but over time discovered this wasn’t
the best fit for you.
- Involve Your Family or Friends
Make working out at home fun by getting your spouse or partner involved, or inviting
friends over. Many people prefer working out with someone instead of alone, so
whatever motivates you best is what you should do.
Here are a few ideas:
Do a dance workout video with your family in the evenings after dinner.
Have your teens do yoga with you.
Invite friends over on the weekend to do a cardio workout before you go lunch.
- Start with Only a Few Minutes a Day
Whether you are brand new to exercise or coming back to it after a long break, you
should never jump into it at the advanced level. This will only leave you feeling burnt out
and not want to continue. If you intend to make exercise a regular part of your healthy
lifestyle, you should start small.
It can feel like you’re not doing enough, but if you still feel challenged and are out of
breath after a workout, the amount of time or intensity is still at a good pace. When it
starts feeling too short or too easy for you, that’s when it’s time to move on.
- Increase Weight Gradually Over Time
Similar to how long you choose to exercise, the amount of weight you use should also
start small and increase slowly over time. If you have never lifted weights before, you
will probably be at around 3-6 lbs to start with using dumbbells. For kettlebells, it is
about twice the weight of one of your dumbbells, so use a 12-lb kettlebell if you typically
use 6-lb dumbbells.
- Don’t Try to do it All
It can be overwhelming when you see how many forms of exercise there are to do at
home, but don’t worry – you don’t have to do them all! This is a common trap people fall
into when they feel like they need to do all the workouts and try to fit them all in so they
don’t feel left out.
Start with one style of workout you really enjoy, then you can build up from there. But if
you don’t have time for more workouts, don’t do them. Be realistic with your lifestyle and
- Avoid Working Out Every Single Day
Your body needs rest, so try not to feel pressured into working out every single day, just
because you’re doing it at home. You probably weren’t going to in-person workout
classes or the gym every day, so there is no reason you should be working out at home
every single day either.
Give yourself at least one day a week of rest, even if it’s just active rest where you go
for a nice walk, but don’t do anything more strenuous than that.
- Use Apps for Ease and Convenience
While you can definitely stream workouts on your computer and YouTube, there are
also some great apps that help keep you on track and even have their own workout
calendars. Some workout apps to try include:
Alive by Whitney Simmons
Tone it Up
Nike Training Club
If you have a fitness influencer you follow on YouTube or social media, check if they
have an app, since many of them do now.
- Bring Your Water
Don’t forget to hydrate! It is a natural impulse to bring water with you to the gym or a
class, but people often forget to fill up their water bottle for home workouts. No matter
what, you are going to sweat and need to hydrate. Always have a water bottle next to
you just in case.
- Have a Goal in Mind
It can be really motivating to have a goal in mind when it comes to your fitness or at-
home workouts. This doesn’t have to be as strict as achieving a very specific body
composition goal or losing an unrealistic amount of weight. Instead, choose goals that
are easier to accomplish, like:
Exercising for 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week
Exercising consistently for 3 months
Trying a new workout every week
- Track Your Workouts
Keep track of the workouts you do and for how long whether you use a planner, journal,
or app. If you are a pen and paper person, use a journal or printed planner that you can
write down your workouts in. You can also use a health app to track which workouts you