It’s that time of year again. When everyone is looking to find ways to get in shape, lose weight, or just lead a healthier lifestyle, period.
For some people it’s getting back into the routine of things after a long holiday, for others it’s about getting into the gym for the first time and really shedding the pounds.
Whatever the reason may be, anytime is always a good time to be proactive and aim to lead a healthier more active lifestyle.
For beginners, increasing your physical activity and developing healthier eating habits will take some time to adjust to.
As you progress to reach your health goals, don’t be discouraged if things aren’t working exactly as you want them to.
This is not about just losing weight, this is about changing your entire lifestyle, so don’t be surprised if it takes some getting used to.
Additionally, many newcomers to fitness routines might be confused about how to start such an amazing journey.
Should they join a gym, fitness class, or take up running? Should they invest in home fitness machines? Are free weights a good choice?
These are all valid questions, and the answer to all of them is, yes, but in time. Choosing the right fitness plan isn’t an exact science, but it’s good to be flexible and try a variety of things, especially when you first start making exercise a part of your daily life.
A good way to start incorporating exercise into your daily routine is to perform these exercises at home.
All of these are beginner workouts that you can perform at home and require absolutely no equipment.
These exercises will help you with all of your fitness goals including burning fat, building muscle, and increasing flexibility, all you need is a few minutes and open space.
It’s All About That Body Weight
While cardio is certainly helpful in burning calories, body weight training can be more efficient when it comes to burning both calories and body fat.
Not only does bodyweight training burn more calories, the “afterburn” from your workout means that your body will continue to burn more calories even hours afterward.
In fact, body weight training is so effective it not only burns calories, certain exercises have a cardio benefit in addition to their strength training properties.
With a regular bodyweight training program, you can transform your body for the better, and the best thing, it’s all without expensive gym memberships or cumbersome home equipment.
Here are just a few moves to help get your body in shape, without the use of equipment. All of these moves can be performed in lieu of a cardio routine or as a workout when combined together. Each movement should be performed for 30 to 60 seconds with 2 to 3 reps per each set.
It might sound similar to the popular dance move, but it looks nothing like it. The inchworm is an exercise that focuses on the shoulders and core, but which still increases strength and endurance throughout the body.
In order to perform this move, simply stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Make sure your core is taut and tight.
As you bend from the waist, place your hands on the ground and walk forward using your hands. Keep your legs straight, and you should find yourself in a high plank position.
Once you reach this position, quickly walk your hands back toward your feet into your initial stance.
If you want to make this move more challenging when you are in the plank position add a push-up or two.
Mountain Climber Twist
This is a fun, and great cardio/body weight workout, that many people enjoy. Well, maybe not many.
This dynamic exercise works for several muscles groups while simultaneously increasing your heart rate. Mountain climber twists boost aerobic fitness and improve agility and flexibility.
To perform this maneuver, first get into the high plank position. Holding your core tight, bring your left knee in toward your right elbow.
Return your left knee into position and now bring your right knee in toward your left elbow. Continue this motion as fast as possible for 30 to 60 seconds.
Sure, plenty of us remember this move from gym class in school and yes it hasn’t changed much at all.
That’s because what’s tried and true is effective and high knees is a tried and true exercise. High knees exercises work several different muscle groups in the body.
This exercise is able to strengthen your inner thighs and outer hip areas high knees tones the calf, quadriceps, hamstrings, and buttocks areas.
In order to perform this maneuver, stand with your feet hip-width apart. As if you’re running in place begin by pulling your right knee up high toward your chest, then repeat the same motion with your left knee. Continue this movement alternating knees as fast as you can.
One of the best ways to develop core strength and alleviate lower back pain is the plank. To keep things interesting fitness gurus have been devising new variations of this wonderful exercise to excellent results.
Here we have plank jacks, which sounds exactly like they are, a combination of plank and jumping jacks.
With the addition of the jumping jacks movement, this exercise is transformed from a simple strength training exercise into a cardio workout.
To do plank jacks, get into a high plank position. Keeping your core tight, jump your feet apart and then jump them back together. Repeat these motions as quickly as possible.
Can’t get enough of the plank, and all its core benefits? The plank-to-knee tap focuses primarily on the chest and abdominal muscles. The knee-tap motions increase the level of resistance to the traditional plank.
To perform this maneuver, begin in a high plank position, keeping your core tight. Shift your hips upward and use your right hand to tap your left shin/knee.
Return your hand to position and do the same motion with your left hand, tapping it to your right shin/knee. While attempting to maintain good form, perform this exercise as quickly as possible for the added cardio benefit.
Another twist on the hit classic, the plank-to-shoulder tap, focuses on your core, arms, glutes, wrists, and shoulders.
So many muscles groups targeted in so little time. Much like the plank-to-knee tap, this exercise is executed using similar movements except the focus is on your shoulders.
Beginning in a high plank position, make sure your wrists are positioned directly under your shoulders. Plant your feet hip-width apart.
Now, touch your left shoulder with your right hand, return to plank position and repeat the move with your left hand. Continue doing this exercise for 15 to 20 reps.
A classic move that elevates the heart rate and burns calories. Jumping jacks are an amazing way to warm up before a workout.
For those unfamiliar with a jumping jack, here’s how you perform this age-old move. Standing straight with your feet together and your hands at your side, beginning jumping your legs apart while bringing your arms overhead.
Keep your core tight and knees bent during this exercise. Repeat this motion as quickly as possible.
Boxer Squat Punch
Here’s a great way to make you feel as if your training like the champs. Boxer squat punches are an amazing way to strengthen your glutes, quads, abs, hamstrings, and calves, in addition to being a wonderful full body workout. This exercise is also a great cardio workout that works well as a warm-up routine.
To perform the boxer squat punch, begin in the squat position. Keep your feet shoulder width apart with toes pointing forward.
As you stand up, shift your weight to your right leg and punch forward with your left arm. Return to squat position and repeat the same movement with your left leg and right arm.
Be sure to keep your hips back and your chest up. Never let your knees extend beyond your toes with this exercise.
Perhaps the best workout for calves, glutes, and hips, squat also provide benefits to several other different muscle groups. Squats are great at strengthening the knee muscles while also improving flexibility and balance.
To do a proper squat be sure to maintain the alignment of your back. In order to do this, keep your chest up and your hips back.
Standing straight, place your feet shoulder width apart. Pressing your hips back, bend your knees and stop moving downward once your hips are slightly lower than your knees.
Again, never let your knees extend beyond your toes, you don’t want to put added pressure on the heels of your feet.
Now pressing your heels into the floor, return to your initial standing position. Remember to breathe in as you perform the squat and breathe out as you start to move upward.
Similar to tricep dips, butterfly dips have an additional benefit, it not only strengthens your triceps and upper body, but it also works on your inner thighs and glutes as well. It’s an amazing full body workout.
In order to execute this move, sit on a mat with your feet together. Now place your hands behind you, but keep your fingers facing forward.
Now bend your knees and let your thighs fall open. As you straighten your arms, raise your hips up and bring both knees together. Now bend your elbows and begin lowering your body back to the starting position.
Remember to breathe out as you press your hips up and extend your arms. 2 or 3 sets of 10-15 reps is a great way to add this exercise to your fitness routine.
It doesn’t take a fancy gym membership or expensive at-home fitness equipment to have an effective workout routine.
In fact, it’s perfectly possible to reach your fitness goals without the use of either. Is it great to have those options, sure, especially for variety within your routine.
But working out at home is a great way for beginners to gain footing in a world that can often feel intimidating.
Engaging in some of these exercise moves to create a wonderful fitness routine will help you build up endurance, strength, and stamina, while also helping you feel comfortable getting your body active and keeping it that way.
In fact, many of these exercises incorporate a cardio component that will help you burn fat, shed pounds and tone up with better results than traditional cardio workouts.
Remember that as a beginner it’s important not to push yourself too far too soon. The last thing you want when embarking on this life-changing journey is to suffer fatigue or discouragement.
When you push yourself too far too soon, it’s easy to give up, because you haven’t made the gains you hoped to accomplish.
The best way to do this is to be sure that you are setting realistic expectations about your health goals.
Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t meet your goals at first, the key is to first find a fitness routine that you can enjoy.
A routine that is enjoyable and doesn’t feel like a chore is a routine that you’ll be more willing to stick with. Lots of these at-home exercises are not only great for the body, but they’re also interesting and fun.
Getting in shape doesn’t have to be all work and no play, in fact, with the right moves working out can be downright enjoyable.
Pushing yourself to the limit physically is rewarding in itself but pushing yourself and achieving success is the ultimate reward.
Give a few of these exercise routines a try, mix-and-match moves or try them all together. The key is to find a great way to incorporate bodyweight exercises into your routine that will help you reach every fitness goal possible.
Achieving a healthy lifestyle isn’t an easy task, and it certainly isn’t impossible. With dedication, hard work, and discipline, you’ll find yourself a pro at fitness before you know it. Good luck on your fitness journey!