Going to the gym isn’t for everyone. Some people hate the crowds, are intimidated, or can’t afford a gym membership. If you are looking to get in shape but dread gyms, I have an alternative workout to the gym that will help you reach your goals!
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Can you get in shape without a gym?
For many years I felt I had to go to the gym in order to stay in shape. When my work schedule changed I was forced to change up my routine to do more workouts from home. Soon I realized all of the great benefits. Not only does this help me utilize my time wisely, I have fun working out with my husband and stepdaughter. Most importantly, I felt that my new routine was just as good as the gym! With just a few tips and a little equipment, anyone can get in shape without the gym.
Let’s strategize how you can workout from home, gather the minimal equipment you’ll need, and how to fit the most into a 25-minute routine so you’ll maximize your time!
What equipment do I need to workout at home?
Let’s look at the equipment needed for a home workout. I would never suggest someone spend lots of money on expensive gym equipment. I never have! There’s lots of gadgets out there that claim they will tone you, but at the end of the day it’s all up to you to work hard and sweat!
At-home workout equipment:
You can see I kept this very minimal and affordable. We can do a lot with just a lightweight set of dumbbells. If you are a total newbie and need to build muscle strength I recommend starting with a 5-8 pound set of weights. This will still be a great starting point and work for many exercises. Of course if you have been working out for a while you can certainly use a heavier set.
Alternative workout to the gym
I know you want me to get to the good part, the actual workout! Our target is to get our heart-rate up while doing a total body workout. So we are going to do a combo of cardio and resistance exercises. The key is to keep moving but at your pace. You know your body and what you are capable of. Remember, I promised you a great workout in 25 minutes so we are getting the most out of every second!
Here’s your guide
Every Cardio Movement=20 reps
(cardio is jumping jacks, burpees, jump rope, and mountain climbers)
Every Resistance Exercise=10 reps
(resistance is exercise using your body weight or dumbbells)
(Reps are the amount of times you repeat each exercise)
Ok start your timer!
Jumping Jacks – jump with legs spread wide while moving arms overhead, back to resting position repeat.
Bicep Curls-weights at the side, palms facing side, curl the weight towards body keeping elbows at side.
Concentration Curls– in a seated position, hold weight in one hand. Place elbow on thigh to keep stationary with palm facing up. Curl arm up towards you squeezing bicep. Repeat with the other arm.
Tricep Overhead Press. Standing with weight in each hand, extend overhead. Keep elbows in, lower weights behind head and repeat.
Tricep Kick Backs– bend slightly at the waist, holding a weight in each hand, engage your triceps as you slowly bring your arms back behind you. Do not swing, use your tricep.
Chair Dips– sit on the very edge of the chair. Put arms down by side on edge of chair with palms supporting body slide off the chair and dip body up and down using only your arms.
Mountain Climbers-While holding the body up with palms of hands-on floor (similar to a push-up position), bring one knee in towards chest. Repeat with other knee while increasing speed.
*Repeat all arm exercises
Imaginary Jump Rope– pretending you have a jump rope move arms and skip your feet like you are jumping a rope.
Lateral Shoulder Raise– holding weights at side bring arms up to shoulder height lower repeat.
Front Raise– holding weights at side bring straight in front of you to shoulder height lower repeat slowly.
Overhead Press– holding weights with an overhand grip at the shoulders press weights overhead, lower back to shoulders and repeat.
*repeat all shoulder exercises
Imaginary Jump Rope- *see above.
Chest Press– laying with back on a mat with weights in hands press weights above the body at chest level, bringing back down to form a 90-degree angle.
Chest Fly– lying with back on mat bring weights together at chest level and lower arms in an arc formation.
Pushups- (regular or modified)- regular is lying on stomach, put arms at shoulder-width apart with palms on the ground push up keeping back flat using just arms to move the body. Modified push up is keeping your arms at the same position but keeping knees on mat.
Bent Over Rows– standing slightly bent over at hip hold dumbbells with an overhand grip. Then row the weights towards the center off your chest, lower and repeat.
Rear Delt Fly- while holding weights bend forward at hip keeping back flat. Extend arms in front of body, then arch arms back to sides squeezing back and shoulder muscles. Lower arms returning to starting position.
Mountain Climbers-* see above.
*repeat chest and back exercises
Jumping Jacks-*see above.
Squats– while holding weights at side sit back as if sitting in a chair being careful not to allow knees to go out further than feet.
Alternating Lunges– standing holding weights at the side, legs together start with extending right leg forward as you lower body until your front knee forms a 90-degree angle, your left knee will be just above the floor. Repeat move with the opposite leg. Perform 10 reps per leg.
Dead Lifts– stand with feet hip-width apart, weights at feet in front, bend over at waist without bending knee. Keep back flat and lower to pick up weights. Straighten back to starting position continuing to lower weight to the floor.
Plie Squat– holding one weight in front of you, with feet spread wide squat as if sitting in a chair, return to starting position and repeat.
Calf Raise– standing straight with feet together while holding weights at side raise up and down on balls of feet feeling stretch in the calf.
Imaginary Jump Rope– *see above.
*repeat all leg exercise
Mountain Climbers- *see above.
Plank– balance body on forearm and toes keeping back flat. Holding position completely still for 20 seconds
Sit-Ups– lying on back with knees up and feet flat on the floor, while holding weight against the chest, bend up slowly using abdominal muscles repeat 20 times.
Alternating Floor Oblique Twist– while lying on back with knees up and feet flat on the floor, bend up while twisting torso to the right. Lower and repeat to other side. 20 reps.
Jumping Jacks– *see above.
*repeat all abdominal exercises
Burpees to Failure– start in a standing position, drop to the floor and kick legs back behind you. Quickly pull legs back to crouching position and jump back up. Repeat.
Yay! You did it! I know this workout makes me sweat so I hope you got a lot from it too!
How Often Should I Workout?
To really start to tone and lose weight you will need to repeat this 2- 3 times a week. Then if you really need to challenge yourself add either an extra round to the workout or an extra day. I want you to push yourself but not to injure yourself so please go at your pace! If you need to start a little slower and just do 1 round of this to start that is perfectly fine. Add a little the next time and keep increasing until you master this!
What are some fun ways to exercise?
Here are other creative ideas for exercise that may help get your family get active together! Finding an alternative workout to the gym is sometimes easier than you think!
If you have kids, go to the park and play with them instead of watching from a bench. I’ve actually taken my workout gloves so I could do pull-ups from the monkey bars and use the balance bar for tricep dips. It makes your workout fun while still playing with your kids.
Play tag with the kids in your yard. It’s a great way to get them outside on a nice day, away from TV and tablets. Plus you’ll burn calories in the process.
Buy a set of 1 pound weights for your kids, crank up the music and get everyone working out together! It actually helps me stay motivated because Mia will remind me that we need to exercise!
Go to a park and enjoy the scenery while running or walking. This is my favorite activity to do with my husband. We have found beautiful places near our house to run. We help challenge each other to increase our speed or distance. The best benefit is feeling more connected as a couple!
I hope these tips start you on your fitness journey! I promise that if you give this a few weeks you will definitely look and feel better. Just remember that this is a lifestyle not a quick fix.
I’d love to hear if you have any other ideas for gym alternatives. Working out should be fun and enjoyable so find an activity you love!
I am not a personal trainer, only going by my years of experience. Please consult your doctor before starting a new workout!