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Tips For Working Out At Home — How To Stay Motivated & Not Get Distracted

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There are plenty of perks to doing your fitness routine in the privacy of your own home (like not worrying about what anyone else is doing, wearing leggings with holes, etc.) but it also can be a bit of a challenge for some who are used to the structured setting of a gym or studio. Without anyone telling you what to do, and without the machines you're used to, getting motivated and staying on track can take some getting used to — but it can be done. By implementing some tips for working out at home from experts in the industry, not only will you get the hang of it, but you'll probably actually start to look forward to your at-home sweat sessions. At least when you can't make it to your gym or class, that is.

What's been stopping you from working out from home in the past? Is it the fact that you can't take your mind of the dirty dishes in the sink or what's on TV? Is it not knowing how to tone and strengthen your muscles without your go-to equipment? Or maybe it's the fact that you typically think of your home base as a place to decompress — not break a sweat. Regardless of what excuse you have, the best in the business can offer suggestions that help you turn off, tune in, and tone up (even if you hate working out). From household items that double as props to making the experience more interactive and supported, the tips ahead should at least temporarily motivate you to get off the couch and get your heart pumping — without having to set foot outside your house.

Go Digital

Good news for those of you who need a little direction when you're working out: Online platforms are more accessible than ever before. If you're having trouble figuring out which one is best for you, Micah Golden-Grant, celebrity trainer and Head Coach of Ascend 21 Day Fitstart, has a suggestion. "Find an online workout program that is based on some kind of progression in the sense that the workouts and exercises get more intense or more advanced as you get stronger through the days," he says. "Not only will this type of progression deliver results since it is never letting your body get too comfortable, it will also keep your motivation alive in anticipation of what is coming next and what you'll prove to yourself that you can handle!"

Besides his program, obé is another digital platform that offers a ton of options to get and keep you on track. Trying to save some cash? Erica Hood, CEO and creator of HoodFit, suggests hitting up YouTube (her channel has some stellar routines to follow along with) and the social media pages of your favorite instructions for a few quickie — and free — fitness routines.

Start Early

"Take your workout first thing in the morning," suggests Juliet Kaska, a celebrity trainer and Vionic Innovation Lab member. "Some studies have shown that participants have marginally better results when they exercised in the morning versus later in the day. I have found that when my clients schedule a self-workout early they [actually] work out — when they schedule a self-workout later in the day it can easily get pushed aside or forgotten."

Dress The Part

Obé instructor Sarah Grooms suggests throwing on your fave fitness gear first thing to get you in right mindset. "Whether I’m choosing to work or workout from home, I dress for the occasion," she says. "Set an alarm for your preferred workout time, and pick an outfit to wear the night before. This way, you have no excuses not to show up for yourself when it’s go-time."

Set The Mood

Besides dressing the part, Leah Schlackman, yoga instructor at Love Yoga and co-creator of Home For the Weekend retreats has a few other ideas for setting a mood that's actually conducive to working out — no matter your living situation. "Clean the room, make it smell good, put your phone on Do Not Disturb, and listen to great music," she advises.

And music is also a key factor for Kaska. "Curate your personal playlist to keep the body moving for your workout," she says. "Choose the last song to be something that makes you really happy so you can celebrate reaching your finish line."

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Set A Timer

For Schlackman, setting a timer is a game-changer for at-home workout success — even if you can only squeeze in a small window. "Stick to that time, even if it's just for 15 minutes," she says.

Jump Into High Intensity

For some, starting with a slow warm up will feel better, but if you're game to kick it up a notch, follow Kaska's advice and get some HIIT moves going early on in your workout to feel a rush. "A way to trick your body into getting joy is with endorphins, so rather than starting light try to make your workout high intensity right off the bat," she explains. "Jumping jacks are great because they're not complex, you can do them anywhere, and they'll get your heart rate up and your endorphins going right away."

Mix It Up

To keep you from feeling bored, and to challenge you body, Golden-Grant recommends switching things up during your at-home routine. "Choosing four or five exercises with mix of strength and cardio, and even a mix of muscle groups can spice up the workout because it is a quantifiable personal challenge," he says.

Pair Up (Even Digitally)

You can still implement the buddy system when you're working out from home alone. "If you are doing a workout video, call a friend and do it at the same time," suggests Schlackman. And Grooms agrees. "Just because you're not physically together doesn’t mean you can’t do activities with friends," she says, noting that obé offers options you and your friend can do simultaneously. "You’ve got an accountability partner and a sweaty selfie to share post class."

Use What You've Got

No equipment? No problem. "If you decide to level up with weights but don’t have any, grab a can of soup or a water bottle and use that instead," shares Grooms. "Fold a towel twice to have an extra cushion for any floor work. You’d be surprised just how crafty you can get using the things you already have at home."

Keep Track

"Create a fitness-wellness journal," suggests Kaska. "Take time each day to jot down how you feel, your energy, happiness, strength, and whatever changes you see in your body. This will be motivational, especially as you progress."

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support.