Not having a gym membership or any home gym equipment isn’t an excuse to skip out on daily exercise. Exercise offers countless benefits, including boosting energy levels, lowering risk of disease, boosting immune system function, improving your mood and much more. As a beginner, you can start working out at home and begin losing weight before you know it -- the key is simply getting started. You don’t need any special equipment, just the motivation and dedication to reach your goals.
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Make a Plan
Beginners might feel overwhelmed, but a well-constructed plan will alleviate much of this stress. Write down a plan of action, including your designated workout days, times, type of exercise, workout duration and weight-loss goal. Keep it somewhere in plain sight, and use it as a motivational tool. Include both aerobic workout days and resistance training days to get the weight-loss and muscle-building benefits collectively offered by both.
Alternate Resistance and Cardio Days
When it comes to losing weight, resistance training somehow tends to get lost in the mix. However, resistance exercise is a powerful tool for getting rid of excess body fat. The most effective and longest lasting fat-loss method is combining aerobic and resistance training exercise. Ideally, schedule your workouts to alternate resistance and aerobic days. For example, walking on Monday, bodyweight resistance exercises on Tuesday, jogging in place on Wednesday, and so on. Use a variety of aerobic and resistance exercises instead of using the same workouts every session. Be creative with using what you have at home to create a workout that gets you heart rate elevated and works up a sweat. For instance, if you have stairs in your home use them to run stairs on one of your aerobic exercise days. Sprint up the stairs, slowly walk back down and rest for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat.
As a beginner, stick to moderate-intensity cardio workouts, such as walking at a brisk pace, low-impact aerobics, jogging in place or playing outside with the kids. Aim for 60 minutes per session. The goal is to get your heart pumping, breathing rate elevated and work up a sweat. It doesn’t take much to start burning calories. For instance, a 200-pound person burns nearly 400 calories walking at a moderate pace -- about 3 mph -- for 60 minutes. Step up the pace to a brisk 4 mph and burn about 468 calories. You can monitor your speed when walking outside by downloading a free speedometer app for your smartphone or by tracking your time and distance traveled. A 20-minute-mile pace is 3 mph, while a 4 mph pace would put you at a 15-minute-mile pace; adjust your speed up or down accordingly. This workout done three times per week would burn the equivalent of more than 1.5 pounds of bodyweight per month.
Building lean muscle mass helps your body become more efficient at burning calories, even while you’re at rest. Burning more calories means you have the potential to lose more weight. You can lift weights, if you have some, using a full-body workout plan. Otherwise, use bodyweight resistance exercises, such as pushups, tricep dips, calf raises, leap-ups, squats, lunges, crunches and back extensions. You can also fill two empty 1-gallon milk jugs with equal parts water or sand to create a pair of makeshift dumbbells. With these, you can do bicep curls, bent-over rows, shoulder press, military press and bent-over reverse flyes. These exercises will target every muscle in your body. Be sure to vary the exercises you use and feel free to find others to add to your repertoire. Be sure to keep each workout under 60 minutes, ideally in the 30 to 45 minute range.
Sample At-Home Plan
Exercise six days per week -- three aerobic and three resistance training sessions done on alternating days. Shoot for 60-minute aerobic sessions, but if that’s too difficult in the beginning, start at 30 minutes and work your way up. Try a different aerobic exercise each time to keep it from getting boring. For resistance training days, complete a full-body workout by doing one to three sets of each exercise in your bag. A sample plan may include pushups, lunges, crunches, calf raises, bicep curls, tricep dips, supermans and shoulder press; complete in that order. Rest about 60 seconds between sets.