For many of us, at-home workouts are the ultimate fitness dream: Gyms have their advantages, sure, but the idea of being able to focus solely on your body and exercise routine from the comfort of your own home — and not worry about what you're wearing, what you look like in the mirror next to other sweaty strangers or what equipment you'll use if the stuff you need is already taken — is the ideal workout scenario.
But where to begin? Finding the space and time for home workouts can be challenging. "While home workouts are convenient, there is also the possibility to blow them off because, well, you can always to it 'later,'" says Kathryn Schmitz, PhD, president of the American College of Sports Medicine. "As such, plan for a home workout as if it's a spinning class and you need to arrive in time to get your favorite [bike]," she says, or block that tempting TV remote with your workout clothes.
Then there's the issue of finding the actual regimen that meets your personal fitness needs. "There are so many options for working out at home now, with more technology and equipment available to more people," Schmitz says. "There is value to a great cardio workout, strength training, HIIT training, balance, yoga and more. Think about what your goals are and design your workouts accordingly."
To help you do just that, we've compiled this start-to-finish guide to at-home workouts; from the home-gym equipment you'll need (or not need — body-weight exercises are perfect for home fitness) to every workout type and target you could ever imagine, we've got you covered.
So get ready to lose weight, boost your metabolism, build muscle or accomplish whatever personal fitness goal you've set for yourself right from your living room (or basement, or garage, or hallway, or... well, you get the picture!).
How to Get Started With At-Home Workouts
While it can be tempting to go straight to the fun part — picking which at-home workout plan you're going to try first — as is the case when starting any new habit, it's important to first nail down the basics to ensure you're set up to succeed with your home exercise plan. With that in mind, here are the steps to follow to create the best at-home workout for you:
Step 1: Define your fitness goals. This step is often overlooked, but it's crucial because figuring out your exercise and overall wellness routine is about as personal as it gets. It's literally deciding what you want for and from your body, after all! Determining what you are hoping to accomplish — be it losing weight, toning your arms for swimsuit season, running a 5k, maintaining your strength as you get older, or just trying to move more — will make the next steps of this process much easier.
Step 2: Create your workout space. It's one thing to plan to set up a home gym, it's entirely another to actually know where that home gym is going to exist in your house. If the amount of space you need for a workout area doesn't align with the amount of space you actually have, it might be time to go back to the drawing board — or get creative! For example: Want to do a morning yoga routine but don't have enough space for a mat? Try yoga moves you can do from your bed instead.
Step 3: Choose your workout equipment. This step depends largely on the steps before it, as the best home-gym equipment for you is going to vary widely based on your particular fitness goal as well as the amount of space you have to actually store and use that equipment. Alternatively, if you don't have the space or money for lots of exercise equipment, there are tons of ways to work out at home without equipment, so don't let that stop you from achieving your at-home workout goals.
Step 4: Get moving. Now that you know what you want to accomplish with your workouts at home, where you will do said workouts and have the equipment you need to do them, it's time for the main event: working out!
If you're new to working out, it can be a bit overwhelming knowing where to start. In general, it's best to start with full-body, body-weight workouts that let you get used to the proper form of an exercise before adding weight, but it also depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Lucky for you, we've gathered all that knowledge into one helpful article for you so you can get started.
Losing Weight at Home
There are many reasons to start an exercise plan at home, but one of the most common reasons is to lose weight. The ability to work out in the privacy of your own home can be especially nice when you're feeling less-than-confident about your body and don't want to go to a gym. When it comes to weight-loss workouts at home, you've got plenty of options, and we've collected the best of those options into an easy-to-follow guide.
Types of At-Home Workouts
Have you recently fallen in love with Pilates? Can't live without CrossFit? Don't get discouraged or think that at-home exercises aren't possible for you because you prefer a fitness style that's typically done in a studio or gym class. With a few easy modifications, most popular workouts can be done in the comfort of your own home. For instance, you can easily do this HIIT workout at home because it features body-weight exercises, which means you don't need to go buy any special equipment before you can start sweating.
You don't need expensive gear when it comes to strength training at home, either. Basic tools, such as kettlebells, dumbbells and doorway pull-up bars, can be just as effective as the pricey machines you see at the gym.
Workouts for Women
Though exercises themselves don't discriminate between men and women, there can be big differences between men's and women's fitness and body goals. So while men are more than welcome to give these moves a try, they are geared more toward targeting women's most common fitness goals and challenges.
Workouts for Men
Again, fitness isn't about gender, but the physique that some men are looking to develop does require a different exercise approach. So guys, whether you're looking to get shredded, lose the man boobs or even have better sex, look no further. (But take note, ladies: There's nothing stopping you from doing them, either!)
Workouts for Seniors
Regular exercise is good for you at any age. But if you're entering into the golden years of retirement and beyond, staying fit is even more critical, especially if you want to keep doing all the things you enjoy. You'll want to incorporate cardio exercise, balance training and muscle strengthening into your routine — all of which can be done from the comfort of your own home.
The Best Workout DVDs
Enjoy working out at home but still want some expert guidance and support during your sweat sessions? Fitness videos are the perfect way to get the best of both worlds. Here at LIVESTRONG.com, we're all about workout videos (check out our YouTube page for a treasure trove), which is why we created this list of our favorite fitness DVDs that are particularly useful for people who want to exercise at home.