The days of having to join a gym to get fit are long gone!
With the absolute wealth of information on the internet about the “best” way to get fit, I’m here to clear a few things up and hopefully give you some insight into the most effective ways to work out at home.
First, I’ll give you a little bit of my background info. When my oldest was born in 2007 and I did not come home with a 60-pound baby, I had to figure out how in the world to lose a massive amount of weight from my 5’5” frame while breastfeeding. I’d never exercised before, the only “dieting” I’d ever done was starving myself until the number on the scale moved, and I didn’t have the resources for a gym membership or personal trainer. Thankfully, I had a good friend who was a group fitness instructor willing to help me along.
In those days, social media was still in its infancy. I had my little group of girlfriends along with me in my journey, but there certainly weren’t trainers posting videos on the ‘gram to give me ideas for what to do at home. I had a Wii fit, some DVDs, and actual human people to whip me into shape. I started running and competing in road races and in 2013, I finally joined a gym.
The support I found with the fitness community was incredible.
After moving to Chattanooga in 2016, I decided to dig deeper into the fitness world. I’d spent nearly a decade learning about fitness and nutrition, so why not at least get a free gym membership out of it? Since then, I’ve been certified in Group Exercise, Personal Training, Les Mills Bodypump, Active Aging, Pedaling for Parkinson’s, Rock Steady Boxing, and Indoor Cycle. I’ve launched my own fitness brand, focusing on helping busy people in all stages of life get healthy and strong. In addition to raising and homeschooling my four boys, fitness is my passion. I do not recommend anything I haven’t tried and/or use regularly. If I wouldn’t do it, I’m not going to tell you to do it. Fair enough?
Here are the basics: eat well, get your heart rate up, and build muscle.
Eating well is a different post (or several) for a different day, but I will say that I have been trying out Noom for the last eight weeks and I highly recommend it. Noom isn’t just another diet plan, but instead teaches you the whys and the hows of eating well to fit your lifestyle. Click here to check it out!
Get your heart rate up. Yes, that means cardio. Whether it’s walking, running, jumping up and down, or shaking your booty to the beat, increasing your heart rate on the regular is key to being healthy, losing weight, and keeping up with your growing children. Find something you enjoy and do it regularly. Over the years I’ve pushed a jogging stroller, run on my own, done Insanity, tabata, boot camp, run goat trails, and cycled indoors, outdoors, and while pulling a double trailer with kids strapped in it. Whatever season you’re in, you can find a way to make it work!
I am an instructor for a company (based here in Chattanooga!) called Echelon Fit. I can say without hesitation that, even if I didn’t teach for Echelon, I would own an Echelon bike. The best thing about this platform — and it’s something I would have loved when I was at home with tiny babies — is the online community. You can take cycle classes live or on demand from the privacy of your own home, but you are connected to a leaderboard with participants from all over the world. There are online groups of moms who plan to work out “together,” despite living thousands of miles apart. Remember how I mentioned the importance of the community and support I received when I joined a gym? Now you can get that and not have to leave the house. I run downstairs and ride a 20-minute class while dinner is in the oven!
Echelon also offers Fitpass classes including Boot Camps, HIIT, Barre, and Yoga, which leads me to my final point:
Build muscle. Lift heavy things, even if that heavy thing is just your own body weight. This is, in my opinion, the easiest type of exercise to do at home! There are countless Instagram workout videos that you can pull up and complete during nap time. Of course I want you to try some of mine (@jama_oliver_fitness), but my absolute go-to is @deliciouslyfitnhealthy. Andrea is a mom to four girls and her videos are what I do when I want someone else making the plan for me. She has several workouts for those of you who are postpartum and I trust her to take good care of you!
What does this look like in real life? Here is a sample week for a beginner or for someone just getting back to regular exercise:
Monday: 20 minutes of cardio (try this workout!)
Tuesday: 20 minutes strength training (try this!)
Wednesday: Go for a walk with the kids
Thursday: BodyWeight HIIT (this counts as strength and cardio)
Friday: Have a 10-minute dance party while cooking dinner. Extra points if you are actually holding a child while you dance.