In today’s era of physical distancing, having a home workout routine has become the new normal. However, to those of you without much experience, starting a home workout routine may not seem as simple as it sounds.

Is it effective to workout at home?

A home workout routine is just as effective as a gym routine, as long as you’re consistently working out. In fact, there are definite advantages to working out at home, the main ones being:

Cost — A gym membership costs about $50 a month on average. However, if you factor in commute time and transportation costs, you might be looking at a higher monthly figure. In contrast, apart from the exercise equipment you might decide to purchase, working out at home is absolutely free.

Convenience Since you don’t have to factor in the commute, working out at home is very convenient. It’s simple to fit your workout into any schedule, that is, unless there are too many distractions and interruptions at home.

Privacy When you work out at home, you feel less self-conscious and are less likely to compare yourself to those around you. This is especially relevant for those of us that feel insecure about our weight and shape. 

Pace Another advantage of working out at home is that you can do so at your own pace. Whereas at the gym, you may feel pressured to use a particular piece of equipment quickly, at home, you can take your time with it and not rush. 

Despite the benefits of working out at home, many people are motivated by a gym atmosphere. They enjoy having a different setting for their workout and appreciate an onsite physical fitness trainer’s guidance. It all comes down to personal preference.

It might be less effective to work out at home if you lack the discipline to work out consistently and if you’re unable to exercise without interruptions.

How can a beginner start working out at home?

If it’s your first time doing a home workout routine, here are a few recommendations:

Create a fitness plan and follow it. You’ll want to make certain that you have well-defined goals and track your progress (fitness journal, fitness app, before and after pictures). Figure out how many calories you burn per day and how many more you’d like to burn. 

Your plan should be compatible with your schedule, level of fitness, and recovery time. If you don’t know where to start, use the 30-minute Fat-burning Home Workout or 28-day Workout Challenge in the sections below.

Designate a workout space. You can work out anywhere, but it helps to designate a space in your home or yard that facilitates your workout routine. It’s good to have a quick setup, for instance, a mat or a place to set up your computer to follow along with virtual instruction.

Incorporate your workout into your daily routine in a consistent manner. That might look like a yoga session in the morning or a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout before dinner. Generally speaking, aim for 20–30 minutes of exercise a day for 3–5 days a week. If you’re having a hectic day, try to complete a 10-minute workout, at least. Here are other workout routine ideas for weight loss.

Plan for recovery days. If you haven’t worked out before, you might not know about the importance of recovery days. On recovery days, your body repairs muscle tissue (thereby building muscle) and replenishes energy stores. Working out every single day can actually be counterproductive, depending on the types of exercises you do.

Try using an app. There are apps on the market that will create an entire customized fitness plan based on your body mass index (BMI), preferences, and schedule. They’re also great for tracking progress and providing you with personal accountability. 

Invest in only essential equipment. When you first start working out, it’s tempting to purchase fancy equipment—but you don’t need it for a beginner home-workout routine. Invest in a mat, a resistance band or two, and possibly a few dumbbells. Some of the best home workouts only use bodyweight. This also means you can move your workout outside without having to relocate your equipment.

Work out with a friend. Even if you don’t work out simultaneously or in the same space, you can hold each other accountable and keep one another motivated. Social support during weight loss is crucial.

Create a good workout playlist. There’s nothing like music to get you moving. Choose some of your favorite upbeat or relaxing songs, depending on your workout. 

Variety. If you’re getting bored with your workout routine, don’t be afraid to change it up and add variety; change it up with different cardio, strength, or flexibility exercises. 

30-minute Fat-burning Home Workout for Beginners

Here’s a 30–35 minute home workout routine to get you started. It’s a circuit of sixteen 30-second exercises. One circuit takes approximately 10 minutes and includes three or four 30-second breaks, where needed. After each circuit, you can also take a 30-second to 1-minute break. Conduct the entire sequence three times to complete 30 minutes. 

Feel free to replace exercises or use modified versions based on your preferences and physical condition. Try this every up to 5 times a week. (We’ve included links to video examples of these exercises, many of which offer modifications for obese and overweight practitioners.)

  1. Squats / 30 seconds
  2. Jumping Jacks / 30 seconds
  3. Lunges / 30 seconds
  4. High Knees / 30 seconds

[30-second BREAK]

  1. Skiers / 30 seconds
  2. Plank / 30 seconds
  3. March in place / 30 seconds
  4. Inchworms / 30 seconds

[30-second BREAK]

  1. Reverse Lunge / 30 seconds
  2. March in Place / 30 seconds
  3. Knee to Elbow / 30 seconds
  4. Arm Circles / 30 seconds

[30-second BREAK]

  1. Plank Shoulder Taps (link to a standing variation with hand taps)/ 30 seconds
  2. Russian Twists / 30 seconds
  3. Glute Bridge / 30 seconds
  4. Flutter Kicks / 30 seconds (15 seconds per side)

28-day workout challenge for beginners

Looking for a challenge? Here’s a home workout routine that will keep you on your toes for your first month. 

On each day, complete 2–3 rounds, depending on your physical condition. Every week you’ll start a new set of exercises and for every passing day that week, add five repetitions to each activity (or 5 seconds, depending on the exercise). 

For instance, if you start with 20 squats on day one, you’ll do 25 squats on day two. Or, if you start with a 20-second plank on day 1, you’ll do a 25-second plank on day two and a 30-second plank on day three.

Work out for six consecutive days and take a rest on day seven. Alternatively, if you prefer sticking to one circuit, follow the above 30-minute workout for a full month with one rest day every 4–5 days.

Week 1

20 Squats

10 Up-and-down Planks

12 Lunges (6 per leg)

10 seconds of Inchworms

Week 2

15 Sumo Squats

10 Bicycles

10 seconds of Mountain Climbers

6 Shoulder Taps

Week 3

20 In-and-out Jump Squats

20 seconds of Flutter Kicks

12 Side Lunges (6 per leg)

20-second Plank

Week 4

10 Glute Bridges

 8 Leg Lifts

12 Skiers (6 per leg)

20-second Side Plank (10 seconds each side)

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