Don't have a gym membership?
Afraid to go to the gym? Embarrassed about how you look at the gym? Intimidated because you don't know what exercises to do? Here are seven exercises you can do at home to help you stay in shape!
You’ve heard me say it plenty of times but I highly encourage sprinting above long, slow cardio. It’s one of the few training modalities that will help you burn fat and increase lean muscle at the same time. Jogging or long slow distance cardio actually burns lean muscle mass off. If you are not going to the gym, you cannot afford to lose any more lean muscle than you already have. Remember your lean muscle is your metabolism. The more you have, the more calories you will burn every single day. Do sprints to retain your lean muscle mass and even increase it. It is also better for the heart and lungs!
The Tabata protocol is performed typically with bodyweight exercises. It is very basic in structure yet can be a very imposing workout guideline. The protocol simply states to work as hard as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and repeat. That's it. The goal should be eight sets. So each set consists of one 20 second work bout and one 10 second rest interval. So 8 sets will take you four minutes. Exercises like squats, all the various lunch patterns planks and push-ups can be done with absolutely no equipment except for a clock, stopwatch, or timer.
Make sure you are warmed up and then attempt your first Tabata. If you're out of shape you might want to inverts the work and rest intervals so you would work for 10 seconds and rest for 20. If that is too easy then you can work for 15 and rest for 15. Work your way up to 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for eight full sets. For a very short yet exhausting workout, put 3 to 5 exercises together and cycle through them in the Tabata protocol. The workout will total only 12 to 20 minutes yet it will be probably one of the most intense workouts you've done in a while.
Having strong core musculature is critical for optimal health. The best exercises for the core are deadlifts, chin-ups & squats. If you cannot do these things we need to work on the core in another way. The primary reason for the core is to stabilize the spine. What you can do at home without any equipment necessary are planks, side planks and bridges to focus on strengthening the abdominals. Do a Google search and you'll get dozens of variations of these three exercises. I recommend that you draw the navel in while performing these to make sure the transverse abdominus is activated. My favorites are the upper plank from the hands, side plank from the hand with legs apart and one-legged glute bridge.
Buy the Perfect Chin-Up
Chin-ups are some of the best exercises you can do. Most people do not work the back enough and their posture shows it with their rounded shoulders and other structural imbalances. Besides dead lifts, the chin-up is arguably the best exercise for the back. Like I've mentioned in previous posts, if can't do a chin-up you should start by jumping up and holding your chest to the barb for up to 30 seconds. Once you can hold yourself up for 30 seconds jump up and practice slowly lowering yourself down for a duration of 30 seconds. Once you can slowly lower yourself 30 seconds from the top you should be able to do one chin up.
Subscribe to a Yoga Podcast.
Many of these podcasts are free. When I travel I will do this and transform my hotel room into a yoga studio. “Chaz of Yogamazing Podcast” is my personal favorite. Many people lack the proper flexibility in many joints to move and function optimally. Yoga can help you elongate the muscles improved range of motion and even eliminate pain that you could be experiencing. Know where your body is and listen to it.
Have a Friend or Neighbor Train with You.
If you have a training/sprinting partner you will be less likely to miss workouts, your success rate will increase, as well as your enjoyment from the workouts. Finding a good workout partner could be what you need to get out of your exercise rut and take your health of the next level.
Do Your Household Chores Yourself
Many people pay for their house to be cleaned and their lawns mowed. By doing these activities yourself, you will help burn hundreds of calories by staying active for up to a couple hours at a time. Not to mention the uplifting hormonal response you'll get by accomplishing a task knowing you worked hard and feeling that sense of accomplishment. There been plenty of studies done to show that hard work promotes positive hormonal balance.
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About Phil Gephart:
Phil Gephart is a certified personal trainer with a Master's Degree (MS) in Exercise Science with a focus in Coaching & Athletic Administration, received in 2009 from Concordia University in beautiful Irvine, California. Phil’s passion for fitness is reflected in his involvement in sports throughout his life—in high school, he played basketball, baseball and soccer, in college he continued playing basketball and soccer. Phil also played basketball professionally for five years.
Phil Gephart is currently a professor in the exercise science department at Concordia University, where he teaches an Advanced Personal Training course to undergraduate students.