Entering yet another new year, many people are focused on new goals, commitments, resolutions, changes, and more. At least for now. However, as the year starts to move along and weeks & months pass, that same resolve can start to waiver.. Life happens, distractions, unexpected challenges try to damper that excitement and focus. I’ve stated in previous posts how not just creating a commitment list, but also reading & reviewing it minimally weekly to ensure you stay on track is just one thing that helps to keep people committed to one’s goals.
Particularly for those seeking to make health and fitness changes or goals a priority, everything from work, family, weather, sickness, and other distractions will try to impede your progress. Living in Chicago, the cold weather and early dark days can be a hindrance to getting outside or going to the gym. Already yesterday morning, my a.m. training was delayed, which made me decide to go to work earlier so I can get a full session in this evening. Having a solid workout or training plan is great at maintaining one’s focus (ie. Training Peaks, Nike Run Plans). However, worst case scenario, no matter if you are a serious athlete, someone training to do your first 5K, adventure/obstacle race, or marathon, or trying to exercise to stay active or healthy, there are always things you can do in the comfort of your own home so you don’t have any excuse.
Whether it’s the first 30 minutes of your morning, something you do while food is cooking in the kitchen, or an evening workout in front of the tv with music, below I share with you some of my favorite exercises that you can do no matter your activity level and most do not require weights or equipment. Try these out and see how you like them:
Squats (Legs & glutes): The best form for squats, especially without weights is making sure when you bend down your knees don’t go past/more forward than your toes. You should feel like you are about to sit in a chair and then at the last minute decide to stand back up. Sometimes actually using a chair behind you but not sitting in it is a good way to get use to a proper squat. Also, focus on keeping your torso upright versus bent over.
Donkey kicks (Glutes): Getting on all fours with one leg bent back and then raise it in up to air, doing multiple reps will allow you to feel a nice burn in your butt.
Calf raises (Calves): If you have stairs or a step, placing your feet on a stair/step with just the ball of your feet & toes on the edge of it and your heels hanging off the step allows you to have a larger range of motion to extend and really work the full calf muscle.
Leg lifts: Lay down on the floor in front of your couch. Raise your arms over your head to grab under the bottom of the couch (your arms should be bent with elbows point up to ceiling. With the rest of your body fully extended, (keeping legs straight & together), lift you legs up bending at the hip. You should be in an almost ‘L’ shape. Then lower your legs back down. You can also do this where as you lift your legs up, you bend your knees up toward your chest. Do various reps of this to feel a nice burn in your lower abdomen. You can also vary this exercise by twisting slightly to the left or right to work the oblique muscles.
Bicycle crunches (Cardio, Abdominals & obliques): One minute cycling crunches then 30 seconds break and repeat.
Push-ups (Back, shoulders & triceps): Your basic pushup is great for defining shoulders and arms.
Bicep/Arm Curls (Biceps): If you have weights, that is great. If not you can use 16 oz water bottles, water jugs, workout bands, or anything that gives some resistance. Even with less resistance, the more repetitions you do, you will start to feel it.
Chair dips (Triceps): Stand in front of a stable chair. Bend down so you can grab the edge of the seat of the chair facing away from the chair. You can choose to keep your legs bent or straighten your leg (for more resistance) while balancing your weight with your arms. For each dip, bend your elbows lowering you weight so your buttocks and body lowers towards the floor but you stop just short of touching or sitting on the floor and then lift pushing back up with your arms.
Dance (Cardio): Turn on 3 of your favorite songs that get you pumped or turnt up and start dancing…hard!! That’s 12-15 minutes of cardio right there. Feel free to put a whole 30 minute playlist together and have fun with it incorporating new & old school dances (the running man, da butt, the wobble, any shuffle (Cupid, Cleveland, Harlem), whatever you’d do in the club..lol