After I had kids, going to a gym isn’t what I wanted to do with my time. I was tired, worked all day, my house was (and still is) in constant disarray, and I wanted to hang out with my family. My physical health wasn’t a priority and it took a while to find a groove of working out from home.
My boys are now seven and ten. Could I go to a gym every day? Yes. The kids aren’t nearly as sleep-depriving as they once were. But, joining a gym just isn’t something I want to do right now.
Working out at home
Here are a few tips if you’re trying to develop a workout from home routine.
Find one indoor workout you like doing
The pandemic caused me to finally invest in a piece of home gym equipment I’d actually use (a spin bike). No matter what, there’s always 10 to 30 minutes of cardio waiting for me when I want it. I use a generic spin bike with the Peloton app on Roku as a set up. Living in Iowa, I can’t always be outside and it has been really helpful to have an indoor option to fall back on when walks aren’t possible.
Your thing might be dumb bells, body weight exercises, a treadmill, jumping jacks, yoga – whatever it is, find an easy go-to that you enjoy.
Try new things
Once you have a go-to workout, mix in something else. I am more than guilty of all spin and nothing else. That wasn’t great for my body so I gradually started working in walks, light weights, and short online barre classes. I even attempted the one thing I’ve hated since middle school and it’s running. No, I am not going to run a marathon but I have found I actually like short intervals of running and walking because I’d rather be outside while I can.
Play the long game
We are inundated with workouts promising to make us be better as fast as possible and none of them are probably sustainable. You’re building your body for your life, for your ability to keep up with your kids, for your mental health and for all of the other reasons that have nothing to do with how you look. When you move your body, focus on how it makes you feel, not how how it’s going to make you look. Over time, changing my mindset really changed how I look at moving my body.
Make small changes
Be realistic about where your health journey is and where you want it to be by making small changes gradually. For example, start with committing to three 20-minute walks a week for three weeks. Take the dog, a stroller, your headphones, or nothing at all. After every walk, take a minute to reflect on how the walk made you feel. The next three weeks, add 20 sit ups, 20 pushups, and 20 squats to the end of your walks. How did that feel different? There are a million different workout plans online that can help start you down a path of gradually building habits.
Dress for the workout
I have a love-hate with Peloton instructors. They’re all stupidly in shape, extremely good looking, and have killer workout clothes. I have to remind myself helping others workout is their job. Personally, I am not motivated enough in my life to do what it takes to look like that – and I’m good with my decisions.
But, I absolutely like to wear clothes that make me feel good when I workout. Rather than going for my circa 2005 paint-stained Champion shorts and my oversized cotton t-shirt, I workout in clothes that are a bit more put together. For me, it feels like I am preparing for something (going to a gym…it’s just in my basement) and empowers me to do whatever it is I set out to do in the 20 minutes I carve out for myself a few times a week.