Several times a year, we are encouraged to exercise for a variety of reasons, by the government; magazines and shrinking celebrities trying to sell something like leggings or their souls. Regardless of who delivers the message, many heed the call, motivated by vanity, health or both. No doubt many people will be clambering in gyms as we speak to get ready for looking on fleek over Christmas. I have nothing against that; whatever your reason for living a healthy lifestyle, as long as it keeps you healthy that is amazing.
This is really about those who want to exercise and aren't confident enough to step foot in the gym or just plain don't like the large rooms packed with people heaving and sweating. This is not a problem; there are lots of workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home, where the only heavy breathing you'll hear is your own.
From body weight to equipment, there are lots of options to suit all budgets and fitness levels. Here are my tips and some equipment that can help you get fit at home:
Set yourself up for success
Opinions vary on how often one should weigh themselves, research has shown that people who step on the scales regularly lose more weight, but I don't want to encourage any obsessive behaviour. I suggest getting accurate measurements of your body composition so you can set some goals and track your progress. Try a Tanita Body Composition Monitor (£50) and go beyond the normal realm of scales. They analyse body fat, muscle mass, water and they give you readings on basal metabolic rate, metabolic age and visceral fat. You can set up multiple user profiles that store the sex, age and height of up to 10 people. You don't have to go through all the measurements every time you step on, you can just check your weight and set a time to check your overall measurements (I check every 2 - 4 weeks).
Track your movement
Investing in a wearable tech, like a Polar Loop 2 (£95), is a really good way to start monitoring and assessing your daily activity levels. It acts as a great motivator when you can see how many calories you've burnt and how many steps and miles you've walked. What makes the Polar Loop really special is being able to link it to the MyFitnessPal App and its ability to monitor sleep. The best thing about wearable tech is that you can easily determine how much you need to do in order to achieve your desired fitness goal. For those who want to step it up, you can also get a heart rate sensor (£64.50) that links to the Polar Loop so you can track your heart rate in real time. What I like most about it is that you can sync the loop with the online app to see lots of fancy graphs and feel good about yourself.
Get Some Kit
You really don't have to invest a small fortune to reach your fitness goals. Nor do you need to fill your home with bulky equipment. There are plenty of options to suit all spaces and budgets that can be used for a resistance or cardio workout. The brand USA Pro has a great range of workout accessories such as yoga balls, skipping ropes, dumbbells and resistance bands. For the more hard-core workouts IRON Gym have a range of home gym equipment including pull up bars and push up grips. If you want to get more out of a workout, I suggest a weighted vest like the Gorilla Sports Weight Vest X-Style 5Kg (£35); the added weight and resistance from this will really ramp up your workout.
Personal trainer and WBFF Pro Mirella Ingamells says, 'If you want to add some equipment to your workouts at home, it doesn't have to be expensive. You can get a great full body workout without having to buy lots of kit. I recommend a mat, a couple of kettlebells, resistance bands, a medicine ball and a Swiss ball. All of which can be bought cheaply online.'
Use Your Body
Bodyweight workouts require no kit and can be done anywhere; they are effective for getting fit, losing fat and gaining lean muscle. Even without the aid of expensive gym equipment you can get a great full body workout. Mirella says, 'Exercise doesn't have to be expensive; all you need is some motivation and a little creativity. A simple circuit can include stair runs to warm up, followed by press-ups, squats and some bent-over rows and deadlifts using water bottles for resistance. Finish off with metabolic exercises such as burpees, star jumps or sprints on the spot followed by the plank.'
A great way to get a bodyweight workout is via free online videos and fitness apps. Sites like the Daily Hiit release free videos every day and a good scout around YouTube will unveil everything from Zumba to Tae-Bo to yoga. If you do want to invest in a good exercise at home programme, you could try cult favourite Insanity. Yep, I said it. We have all seen the ropey adverts with the sweaty people grinning maniacally about it, but it works. It's designed to be followed over a number of months, with eating plans and lots of videos so you don't lose interest. There are other programmes like it from Beachbody that are less intense and more suitable for people with beginner fitness levels. Honestly, Hip Hop Abs is the bomb.
Don't be scared to exercise, you won't regret trying to stay healthy.
Remember, before beginning any exercise programme, consult your doctor.