The other day I was talking to a friend about our gym routines and another of our friends commented on how we manage to fit it in. And I totally ‘got’ what she was saying. If I were still in a full-time job, I’d also find it difficult to incorporate a fitness routine to my day. But that’s not to say that I didn’t or couldn’t. Something that I’m a complete advocate for is to find some time for fitness and wellness every day.
Right now, I head to the gym 4-5 times a week. It sounds like a LOT but each of these sessions last about an hour including warm-up and cool down, which I find to be the most effective for me. This means there’s no time for me to faff around, I focus on just one or two areas of my body, and can aim to go in with heavier weights. One of these sessions is often a class, and I also head to the Barre studio once a week too.
Before I had a gym membership though, I was still able to incorporate small doses of fitness and wellness to my everyday routine. Today I thought I’d share a more achievable way of making steps towards improving your fitness sans gym membership or access to a swish albeit expensive Barre studio.
A mini at-home gym
Easy ways to challenge your body can come in the form of sun salutations, adding resistant band workouts to your evenings or even wearing small weights. For the majority of us, we’re already established in routines that include 9-5 jobs, cooking dinner and cleaning up, writing a blog, spending time with loved ones. Routines that take up, well, the majority of our days, leaving scarce time for getting your sweat on.
I really like Velcro-fastening weights that you can pick up from places like Argos or TK Maxx. Mine are leftovers from my stage school dance training days (we’d wear them on our wrists and ankles), but they’re incredible worn on your ankles throughout the day/evening too. A few times up and down the stairs and you’ll already feel the benefits. You can also use them on workout moves like donkey kickbacks, etc. to add resistance and further the intensity.
Another of my essentials is a resistance band, ideal for upping your game with squats, leg extensions, leg curls, glute/shoulder bridges and plenty more. I really like using mine to do bicep curls whilst I Netflix these days, as well as using it with the doorframe attachment to work against my bodyweight.
Aside from these, my other at-home essentials are my 8kg kettlebell, yoga mat and yoga block (self-explanatory). Simple. This way, should I be unable to get out for the gym due to lack of time or petrol, I can still do something at home with the added bonus of Netflix at my disposal and a shower just steps away.
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My go-to online workouts
These days, I’m quite a self-starter with my exercises but prior to joining the gym, I really enjoyed working out at home because of the convenience. Here are my top recommended apps/workouts:
I downloaded this app ages and ages ago and it is still a firm favourite in my repertoire. The idea is that each yoga workout takes around 15 minutes, making it an ideal way to wake up in the mornings or to close down a day. I tend to use these as cool downs for the at-home HIIT sessions I do. The interface is aesthetically pleasing and tracks the time you spend working out, plus there are great free options. I don’t pay for any packages and find I get plenty out of it.
Nike Run+ Club
I wax lyrical about this app, but it was genuinely a lifesaver when I trained for my 5k a few years ago and it’s since improved with shorter training sessions for those getting into running.
Quick-paced, elegant and so fun, this YouTube series is totally one for the budding ballerina. I tried it right after I began Barre classes, and although they’re nowhere near the same, I do enjoy the BB workouts for targeted zones (arms particularly!).
If you’re desperate to try Barre classes but you can’t bear to part with the money, then this YouTube series from Sweaty Betty will soon become your most-played video. You’ll need a relatively spacious room, some patience and a little coordination (they’re SO fast), but this is probably as close to my own Barre class as you’ll find online for free.
Finally, I know, I know, it’s a huge cliche, but walking will do wonders for those that lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle. My days spent working in an office from 9-5 and then on trains and Tubes for 2 hours afterwards were some of my most sedentary. I began to make small changes like getting off a stop or two earlier on the Tube/bus and walking, taking the stairs, and overall trying to hit 10,000 steps a day and found my entire body felt better. Not necessarily in a toned way, but my back felt great, I was getting more fresh air and I just felt more mobile.