Despite what most men's fitness magazines sell, you do not need to spend hours working out in the weight room to get a fit physique. Rather, you can work out from the comfort of your own home to build muscle, lose weight and maintain fitness. A few pieces of equipment combined with an efficient workout can get you and keep you in shape.
Invest in a few pieces of basic equipment for an effective, varied workout. Dumbbells are available in most fitness stores and take up little space at home. Choose a weight that will cause you to fatigue after 12 repetitions. Exercises for the larger muscle groups, such as chest presses, require a heavier weight versus exercises for smaller muscles, such as triceps extensions. Exercise major muscle groups with shoulder presses, biceps curls, dumbbell squats and one-armed rows for the back. A mat will be useful for core work and stretching; use a medicine ball for med-ball throws, standing rotations and crunches with a twist; finally, skipping rope will get your heart pumping for cardiovascular benefits.
Set up a circuit routine in which you alternate eight to 12 work stations back-to-back. Incorporate upper-body, lower-body, core and cardio exercise into your circuit. A sample workout might be biceps curls, burpees, weighted lunges, shoulder presses, reverse crunches, triceps extensions, skipping rope and upright rows. Do each exercise for one minute and complete the circuit three times with a short rest between each set. Do circuits three times per week on alternate days.
Make use of the outdoors for cardiovascular exercise. Cardio increases your heart rate and burns calories for weight loss all over the body. Aim to do three to five cardio sessions per week for 30 to 45 minutes each. Running, cycling, hiking and rollerblading all work the major muscle groups in the lower body and have muscle-toning effects. If you have a pool, swim a few laps or use your skipping rope in the house for a high-intensity interval workout. For the skipping rope workout, aim to skip for two minutes, followed by a 30-second to one-minute recovery rest and repeat 10 times.
Include a five to 10-minute warm-up before all exercise sessions to increase blood flow to the muscles and decrease the risk of injury followed by a similar cooldown to decrease the heart rate and aid in recovery. Light cardio such as marching in place, jogging or walking will increase the heart rate and warm up muscles.