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Low Tech Home Workout – Part 2: Getting Started

(NOTE: This post is Part 2 of a series that begins with Low Tech Home Workout – Part 1: Getting Ready)

lacing up the shoes

Hopefully you have got your workout shoes ready, because we are going to hit the ground running (or at least walking at a brisk pace!) This post is going to help you get started with a beginner fitness plan. In the past if exercise to you was getting up to find the remote, or if you have been away from a consistent fitness program for 6 months or longer, then this plan is for you.

In the last post we discussed getting ready for a full body home work out. The three things that you needed are:

  1. the right motivation,
  2. a few pieces of gear, and
  3. a little bit of knowledge.

Workout Goals

We covered the first two items in detail in that post, and now we are going to focus on providing you with the knowledge necessary to start your home based workout. Our goals for this program are simple:

  1. To establish fitness as a routine, and
  2. To build your heart, lungs, bones and connective tissues so that they can support the higher intensity physical activity to follow.

now or later

Although this program will result in all the benefits of exercise that are mentioned here, this is not a specific plan for fat burning, muscle building or a couch-to-5k sort of plan. This plan is to establish a fitness base. Once you have done this you can try all types of new, high intensity activities to reach your fitness goals, but now is the time to build that base with the basics.

Workout Details

The duration for this part of the plan is 6-8 weeks, after which you will be ready to go wild! This plan is a 5 day program; 3 days of which are for a HR-based cardiovascular workout and 2 days are for a full body resistance workout. Each workout should be easily done within one hour.

Weekly Workout Schedule:

  • Day 1 – Cardiovascular
  • Day 2 – Resistance
  • Day 3 – Cardiovascular
  • Day 4 – Rest
  • Day 5 – Resistance
  • Day 6 – Cardiovascular
  • Day 7 – Rest

Cardiovascular Exercise

The cardiovascular workout follows The Maffetone Method to establish a heart rate goal. The point of the workout is to stay as close to the HR goal (without going over) for the duration of the workout. Any activity can be used as long as the intensity can be steadily maintained; some good ideas for beginners are:

rollerblading

  • Walking/Treadmill
  • Elliptical Trainer
  • Biking/Cycling
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Rollerblading

Cardiovascular Workout Guidelines:

  • Warm-up – 10-12 minutes (slowly work up to your goal heart rate, walking is a great choice)
  • Heart Rate Zone Training (any exercise) – 20 minutes (work up to 30 minutes duration)
  • Cool Down – 5 minutes
  • Stretching – 10 minutes

Resistance Exercise

The resistance workout emphasizes the basic moves and core stabilization. The times listed for core moves are starting points and you should feel free to increase them as you are able. Exercises with repetitions should use a 4/2 count. For example: body weight squats – count to 4 while lowering, and count to 2 on the way up (with minimal rest between reps). Sample Resistance Workout:

To begin, run through each set two times. Perform each exercise for the listed amount of time, giving yourself 1 minute between each exercise.  You can increase the intensity of the workout by adding another set, or increasing the time of each exercise, or you can reduce the rest time between exercises.

Recommendations to minimize risk of injury:

  • Always consult your physician before starting any exercise program.workout_buddy
  • Start out slowly – it takes 6 weeks to rebuild your bones, and up to 9 months to remodel ligaments. Working out too hard, too fast is the best way to damage joints and give you chronic pain. Once you have achieved a certain level of fitness, high intensity workouts are a great way to burn fat and create big strength gains.
  • Warm up appropriately – your body needs 12-15 minutes of warm up before you are ready to push it to 100%.
  • Stretch only AFTER your workout.
  • Workout with a buddy. They can provide motivation and you can make sure each other stay safe.
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Low Tech Home Workout – Part 1: Getting Ready

happywoman

In our last blog post we gave you encouragement to begin increasing your fitness level and support your health goals. We countered the limiting beliefs related to physical activity and fitness, provided an antidote to negativity, and supported you in all positive lifestyle choices. This post will build on that base and give you some ideas you can implement to increase your fitness today!

For some people exercise is a social activity; they see it as another opportunity to be with friends and to some people it serves as an external motivator.  This is great if it gets you to the gym, however to many beginners having someone else watch them start from ground zero is the last thing they want when exercising. The natural remedy to this fear is to begin with a home workout.

If you were to believe the slick marketing and infomercials, you can only be fit and healthy if you have access to the latest club-based fitness equipment, expensive home gym setups, or the newest gadget [that they will tell you] “replaces all of those”. The fact is that you can build a strong, flexible, healthy body in the privacy of our own home with little or no equipment. This week we will help you get prepared to take control of your fitness destiny from the comfort of your living room.

To begin, all you will need is:

  1. the right motivation,
  2. a few pieces of gear, and
  3. a little bit of knowledge.

Motivation
ImageLet’s begin by talking about why you desire to improve your fitness. There are short term goals like:

  • looking good for your wedding
  • getting ready for swimsuit season
  • doing your best at that next race

While these goals are very well defined (a trait all effective goals must share) and highly motivating, they also have one distinct disadvantage: they all have a final end point. This requires you to have the next goal lined up or you will be vulnerable to the dangers that go along with not having a new one ready at that vital time.

However a benefit to this type of goal is that you know exactly once you have achieved it and when you can reward yourself. Rewards are very important and powerful to create the habit of goal achievement. Always follow through with your rewards and make sure that they do not counteract your hard work! (i.e. do not reward achieving your weight loss goal by eating a giant dessert!)

Long-term goals are fantastic for sustained motivation, as well as giving fuel to use fitness to improve your overall health. Some examples are:

  • Reducing risk of heart disease
  • Delaying or reversing diabetes
  • Minimizing cancer risk
  • Maintaining your goal weight

These are the best for creating habits that result in long standing fitness, but they can be difficult to measure. The best recipe for health improvement is to use a combination of both types of goals. This way you are able to keep up the drive to hit that [home] gym, so that you can receive that short term reward and continue to improve not just your fitness but your health as well!

Equipment
Next let’s discuss equipment. The one thing that you absolutely have to have in order to really workout is a pair of comfortable, reliable, supportive shoes. There are people who swear by the benefits of barefoot running or 5 finger shoes, but those require a considerable ramp-up period and for the beginner-to-moderate exerciser they are not appropriate.

It’s important to understand that once you are outfitted with the right footwear, you can get an amazing full-body cardio and resistance workout using only your body as resistance. However there are a few pieces of gear that can add variety to your workouts and allow you to achieve specific, expanded exercise goals.  The list that follows is the most important equipment for a beginner to start a home workout (in order) beginning with the most important.

  1. Shoes – provide you secure footing when doing any activity and they are a must for cardiovascular workouts.
  2. bosu balanceNon-cotton workout clothes – helps moderate body temp better than cotton and doesn’t feel sticky and heavy when wet.
  3. Stability ball – useful for core work and resistance training, inexpensive.
  4. Heart Rate Monitor – very important to track heart rate and know where your boundaries are when beginning to exercise.
  5. Elastic bands – variable resistance for a wide variety of moves.
  6. Dumbbells – great for adding more resistance and still utilize your stabilizing muscles.
  7. Bosu ball – great for many moves especially creating stability in the lower body.
  8. Jump rope – more advanced, but few activities create bigger results than jumping rope.
  9. Exercise videos – can really help with motivation and keep variety in your workout when you don’t want to come up with your own program.
  10. Other home gym equipment – cost and space required goes up big time. For most a membership to a fitness club would work too.

Knowledge
Your final need for an effective home workout is the proper knowledge on how to begin the journey. Depending on your fitness/health goals, where to begin will vary. In Part 2: Getting Started, we will go into detail about what you need to know to be a more fit and more healthy you!