How to get the most out of your home workout
The rise of the home workout has been stratospheric during the recent lockdown, with gym bunnies having to get creative with how they stay in shape! Now that many gyms have reopened again, it may be tempting to jump straight back into the weights section of your beloved gym. However following these simple steps, you can make your home workout just as effective, intense and enjoyable, as any gym session!
- Set up your dedicated workout space
Working out in the same space every time will help you get ‘in the zone’ when you’re ready to start your workout! Most workouts can be done on a yoga mat so find a space where you can roll one out. Stand in the middle of the mat and spread your arms out to make sure you won't knock anything over as you move around.
Whilst it can be surprising how little floor space you actually need in order to smash a killer workout, it’s essential to ensure the space you do have is free from clutter and trip hazards! Make sure equipment like your weights, resistance bands and water bottle are all in one spot, away from your mat, where you’re not going to trip over them (trust me... been there, done it!)
- Only buy key equipment
Once you have found a routine that works for you, it's time to invest in some kit! Using weights or resistance bands instantly raises the intensity of your workout and will increase the amount of calories you burn. You don’t need to buy everything that a gym has though; a yoga mat, a pair of dumbells and a resistance band is all you’ll need!
A yoga mat is essential for protecting your back when doing core exercises on the floor. It’s important that you concentrate on building a strong core, as this will help you maintain correct form and technique. A mat also provides a soft landing when jumping, which protects your knees and joints.
Some form of weight, whether it’s dumbbells or a kettlebell, is essential to ensure you are continually challenging yourself. Most kettlebell exercises can be done with a dumbbell, so one pair of medium weight dumbbells is great for any home workouts.
Personally, I notice the biggest change in my body when using a resistance band during my home workouts! They are perfect for defining your quads, hamstrings and glutes without the need for bulky gym machines or heavy weights. Plus they are inexpensive to buy and don’t take up much room.
- Remove distractions
If you are struggling to find the motivation to start your workout, removing distractions can really help you get into the right frame of mind.
Mute notifications on your phone, or better yet put your phone on airplane mode so that you aren’t distracted by calls or emails during your workout. If you live with others, try putting a sign on your door asking flat mates or family members not to disturb you for the next 30 minutes, or however long you have allocated for your workout.
Remember, every minute you spend working out is a minute that you are dedicating to yourself, so never cut it short as you are only selling yourself short of the progress you want!
- Dress for success
You don’t have to feel guilty for splashing the cash on expensive workout gear again; science says you’re doing it right! Studies have shown that wearing gym clothes that you feel good in creates a mental shift, making you much more likely to be active and feel energised. Clothing carries a symbolic meaning, and so wearing your vibrant, patterned leggings from your favourite brand will subconsciously change the way you act, even making you feel noticeably happier and upbeat!
Not only do good quality gym clothes get you in the mood to move; they also ensure you stay supported and comfortable doing your workout too. Make sure your sports bra is snug to prevent back pain, and always replace your gym trainers whenever they start to feel worn to protect your ankles and feet.
A great idea is to lay your chosen active wear out the night before, and make sure it is the first thing you put on as soon as you get out of bed, including your workout trainers! This will mean you are totally ready for action as soon as your time to workout approaches. No excuses!
- It’s not just what you do, but when you do it
Doing an early morning workout can help you to stay motivated and make it easier for fitness to become part of your daily routine. If you have followed step 4 and already have your funky new gym wear on, it will make getting that workout done first thing much easier!
Simply getting out of bed 30 minutes earlier than normal will give you time for an effective HITT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout. You will have already achieved something within the first hour of getting out of bed, which is a great way to start the day!
Training in the morning also gives you the opportunity to try out fasted workouts, which can increase the amount of fat you burn due to your body not using glucose from food to fuel your workout. Fasted workouts aren’t recommended for beginners, so make sure you have a well established workout routine before trying fasted sessions. Having a healthy breakfast prepared for after your morning workout will also make your new morning routine productive and less time-consuming!
Try whipping up some homemade breakfast bars or making a batch of overnight oats the night before to save time. Geko Ambassador @londonbruncher has an amazing recipe for overnight raspberry and coconut chai pudding right here!
- Stretch before and after
Many studies prove that preparing your body for a workout boosts your muscle strength and power, so never skip a warm up just because you're at home. Your warm up should include gentle movements such as jogging and star jumps to increase your heart rate, mobility exercises such as shoulder rolls and hip circles, and static stretches like touching your toes and lunges. Preparing your body correctly will significantly reduce the risk of injury too!
Not only do warm-ups and cool downs help you perform better in your workout, they also help your muscles recover quicker. Make sure you always finish a workout with at least 5 minutes of stretching to prevent lactic acid build up. This means less pain when trying to walk down the stairs the day after leg day!
- Prioritise hydration
Just because you're not in the gym, doesn't mean hydration isn’t still key! Ensuring you’re hydrated is especially important if you are following step 5 and working out first thing in the morning. Make sure you drink a pint of water before you start and at least another pint during your workout. This will stop your muscles cramping up, reduce DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and help keep your skin clear after sweating.
To be even more effective in your battle against DOMS, try adding a scoop of BCAA powder to your morning glass of H2O. BCAA’s help protect your muscles by reducing the amount your body breaks them down during your workout. The body will break down fat instead, helping you feel less sore the next day, and also look leaner long term.
- Maintain correct form
Alone, in the comfort of your own home, it might be easy to let your form slip as there is no one around to correct you. Eventually, this could lead to injury so make sure you focus on doing each exercise correctly and in a controlled way. If you’re trying something new, do it in front of the mirror to check your technique is on point. Sticking your phone to the mirror using the Geko Case will mean you can record yourself, check your form, and compare your progress.
Posture is key to good form, so always use your Geko Case to have your phone at eye level, rather than propped up on the floor. Your form is not going to be correct if you are looking down whilst following your virtual trainer.
Geko Ambassador @sophie_does_squats has some brilliant ‘How To’ tutorials on YouTube that will show you the correct form if you’re ever unsure. Sophie shows you how to do the perfect lunge right here.
- Follow people who motivate you on social media
YouTube, Instagram and Facebook have become the virtual fitness studios for thousands of personal trainers and gym coaches during lockdown. These talented and knowledgeable people are sharing their skills on free Instagram Live sessions, or offering detailed and personalised training guides for a fraction of the cost of your own personal trainer.
For only £15 per month, you can join the pocket rocket herself @courtneydblack in real time workouts on the Courtney Black App. For this price you also get a personalised diet breakdown, hundreds of healthy recipes and a home workout schedule that changes every week.
Following the advice of a qualified coach will ensure you are working out correctly, keep you inspired by varying your exercises, and also means you’ll be joining a community of other home workout fans, which is sure to keep you motivated!
- Plan your weekly workout schedule
Whilst working out from home is super convenient as you don’t have to step out of the comfort of your own home, this convenience can make it easy to unnecessarily miss sessions. To keep yourself committed and accountable, schedule your workouts in your diary or calendar.
Unfortunately, doing one long workout doesn't balance out 5 days of no activity. So write down a plan of action for your training days, time and duration of your sessions that you can actually stick to.
Top tip - Make sure your workout schedule is realistic otherwise you could feel overwhelmed and more likely to give up. Consistently working hard for a half an hour session three times a week is a great place to begin if you are new to working out.
What do you think?! Are you ready to ditch the gym membership and get your sweat on at home? Or are you making a bee line back to the leg press and pull down machines you’ve missed so much? Either way, here at the Geko Case we think the home workout craze is here to stay!