The Secrets To A Successful At-Home Workout

April 22, 2020

So how do you make an at-home workout work for you? How do you make it burn like it burns at the gym? And how do you not just sack it off, put your slippers back on and pour yourself a brew instead? As I don’t tend to run every day but I always want to move (ideally first thing, or else I’m in a restless funk all day) I’ve really taken to the at-home workouts. And whether it’s yoga via Zoom, an IGTV class, or just 15-minutes HIIT on my own (seriously, my lounge has never seen so much action), there are lots of ways to make it work for you, and the main thing is making it count, giving it your all, and knowing that you’re guaranteed to feel SO MUCH better for it. Seriously, when did you ever regret a workout? Here are my top tips for working out well at home. 

Get yourself a mat

First thing’s first, you need a mat. You kinda do. I’ve tried with a towel on the floor, a blanket, even a cushion under my hips to stop it being sore on the wood floor, but there’s nothing quite as a good as a mat. If you’re able to, I’d recommend investing in a good one. Especially if you’re doing yoga or else you’ll just slip and slide all over the place. HOT POD YOGA did actually very kindly sent me one of theirs which I really rate. It’s slip-free and £20 cheaper than the rest I’ve found, but other highly recommended ones are YOGI BARE MATS (which are sustainable and overall very highly rated) and LULULEMON 5MM REVERSIBLE MAT (which is super non-slip). 

Carve out time in your diary

So you want to properly carve out time in your diary for your art-home workout, like you would to factor in a gym session or class. If you’re following a live IGTV or scheduled Zoom yoga class, give yourself a 10 minute buffer to get ready and get in the zone so you don’t just skip it or half-heartedly join 30 minutes late. If you’re following a workout or yoga class on YouTube that’s not a fixed time, put it in your diary or work your day around it so you don’t let it slide or have to be cut short. I’m the queen of putting mundane small tasks in my diary so at-home workouts definitely go in my iPhone calendar! Only got 15 minutes to spare? Put on a loud upbeat soundtrack, and just work through some HIIT moves for 10 minutes. Plank, lunges, squats, sit-ups, mountain-climbers and glute bridges are all easy to do by yourself. 

Wear proper workout kit

Along with carving out time for a proper session, you want to make sure you’re wearing proper kit too so you feel like you’re genuinely DOING A WORKOUT. That means changing out of your PJs to workout. And ‘cos you’re gonna get sweaty (oh yes you are going to workout hard enough at home to break a sweat) you’re going to want to shower afterwards too. 

Find a workout that works for you

Finding a workout that works for you is essential. If you don’t like it, you’re not going to stick to it. End of. So if yoga isn’t your thing, try a YouTube dance routine that’s a full-body workout and FUN. If you like the burn, try barre. If you’re more short and sharp, do 15-minutes of HIIT each day on your mat instead. And maybe it’s not moving your body but working your mind, so try a meditation class if you need to calm your anxiety or stress levels a bit. I like exercises that support my running training, so I find yoga great for stretching everything and I love Psycle’s IGTV barre classes which really burn and build strong, lean leg muscles. 

Blast music that makes you want to move

One of the things I love about great gym classes is the upbeat, beat-heavy music that you can’t help but just groove to. So that’s what you want to recreate at home. Whilst I recommend listening to podcasts for running, it’s all about music for at-home workouts, and you wanna blast it loud (sorry neighbours!). I link Spotify to our SONOS, but headphones are just as good — I love my BOSE QC35II. I’m sure you’ve all got your favourite playlists but if you’re looking for something new, I always go to Resident Advisor’s playlists on Spotify and there’s a Chicago House/Uplifting House playlist I love too.

Neggy neighbours? Not much space?

We live on the top floor of our building, our walls are pretty thin, and we also don’t have that much space. I’d always kind of thought at-home workouts wouldn’t work for me but actually, you can easily make space and you really don’t have to be bouncing around and annoying the neighbours to get a good workout in. In fact, that’s why I love Barre so much — it’s very quiet, controlled, and you don’t need a lot of space. Even for a little at-home HIIT, you don’t need to be doing tuck jumps to get your heart rate up. Keep it small and controlled, you’ll get just as much from it. I workout in the lounge, moving all of the furniture to the sides of the room to give me a mat-sized space on the floor, that’s all you need.

Focus (aka, move your phone out of arm’s reach)

Getting in the zone is what’s gonna be the difference between a good at-home workout and one you kind of half-heartedly do and don’t end up feeling that great about, and to do that you want to limit the distractions. Aka, turn off the TV and move your phone out of reach. No scrolling through Instagram between circuits! And WhatsApp replies can wait ‘til after! Get in the zone, give it your best shot, and then chill/ reply to texts/ scroll after. 

Track your activity for extra feel-good factor

For the extra feel-good factor, it’s nice to know exactly HOW hard you worked. I’m not personally so bothered about calorie burn, but I always use my APPLE WATCH to track my workouts (including daily walks) to hit my overall Move goal, and generally compare different days and workouts against each other. I find my Apple Watch and the Move Goal function really keeps me motivated (I hate not hitting it!), but you can also use apps and other fitness trackers to record workouts. I do think it gives you a bit of a buzz! 

No space indoors? Get a skipping rope

If working out in your living room really isn’t an option, get yourself a skipping rope and get out on the street. Skipping insanely good cardio and a serious workout you can do from your driveway or pavement. I’m a total novice but my gosh, it makes your calves ache so it MUST be doing good stuff for your pins! I’d say do it without headphones as it’s helpful to hear the rope hit the floor (unless you’re a pro) but maybe use a speaker or your phone for a soundtrack. Or rope your partner/ housemate in for some moral support. CROSSROPE is a good app for trying out different ideas when you get to grips with it.