After months of fitness center closures and restrictions throughout the country, chances are you’re used to working out at home or thinking of getting started. That said, for many of us, our living spaces are far from ideal workout spaces—but the reality is that at-home workouts likely aren’t going anywhere soon. Luckily, with a few simple adjustments, you can supercharge your home workouts to be more effective and more enjoyable. Here are some expert tips and tricks:
Move in a way that works for you
If you find yourself dragging through the same exercises every day or feeling intimidated by the thought of hour-long sessions, remember this: The best type of activity is one you enjoy, because that’s what you’re more likely to do consistently.
In need of some inspiration? Physical therapist, Tim Fraticelli offers this workout idea that delivers both variety and efficiency. His go-to circuit: 20 squats in a minute, followed by 15 lunges the next minute, 15 pushups during the third minute, and 15 sit-ups in the fourth. “Repeat this sequence four or five times for 20 minutes of consistent high-intensity exercise,” he says. Yes, your movement can be short and sweet—and effective. Research links high-intensity training to a slew of benefits, including stress reduction, improved heart health, and more. If weight loss is your goal, this type of movement may also help you see progress in less time.
Once you know that, you might find yourself sneaking in activity throughout the day—in the car, between video calls at your desk, or even while you’re brushing your teeth. Bonus: WW members can access over 100 workouts from FitOn in the WW app that range from five to 30 minutes.
Even with the proper equipment, clothes, and routine, working out at home can be challenging. Unlike our homes, which have become de facto workplaces, schools, movie theaters, restaurants, and more over the past few months, gyms and fitness studios exist for one purpose: Exercise. “The best thing about going to a gym is that it is not home, where there are a million distractions, like kids and pets running around,” Zumba instructor Audrey Del Prete, CGFI, CHWC says.
So, the next time you’re really trying to focus on a class or circuit (and not sneak in a few jumps between making dinner), act like you’re at a gym. Try eliminating distractions as much as possible by switching off your email or social media notifications and letting household members know you’re leaving to work out—even if that’s just in the other room. The best part? You won’t have to wait for anyone to finish using a pair of weights or the treadmill.
Wear workout clothes you love
You may not be locking eyes with fellow gym-goers or sweating alongside your workout buddy but putting on apparel that you love can help fuel your activity. “I know you’re probably not trying to impress people while you’re working out at home, but didn’t you love putting on a workout outfit that made you feel great before heading to the gym?” asks Del Prete. “If it makes you feel good, then do it! Every little bit of motivation helps.”
And by “workout clothes,” we don't necessarily mean fancy, expensive performance gear. If your ratty college softball shirt makes you feel unstoppable—and you can move comfortably in it—make that your look.
Pump up the jams
Whether you’re going for a spin on your home bike or doing an at-home strength training session, high-energy music can make all the difference. “Music can turn an unmotivated mood into a workout-crushing mood in no time,” explains Carrie A Groff, CPT, a trainer with ClassPass. “When you hear a song that gets your head bobbing, it makes you want to push for one more rep.” It also takes your mind off the muscle burn, she adds. So, the next time you’re tempted to bail on that sweat, turn on one of the many workout playlists on an app like Spotify and see if it impacts how you feel.
Carve out a designated workout space
Even in the smallest of spaces (like city apartments), it may be helpful to designate a specific space as your home fitness area. Doing this can mentally psych you up for your workout. “The best thing you can do is make your space functional and convenient,” says trainer Kekua Kobashigawa, CPT. “If you feel cramped or it’s a hassle to bring equipment out or move furniture, you’re less likely to work out.”
You don’t have to go wild—a little goes a long way in creating a workout nook you love. Simply placing a nice towel or yoga mat lined with your weights and resistance bands in the corner of your bedroom will do. For a little extra, you can add an aromatherapy diffuser or a vision board with inspirational quotes to help you feel more excited to limber up in your home fitness “studio.”