Why work out at home? It’s free. Convenient. Time-saving. Excuse-proof. Comfortable. And you can wear whatever you want. A gym rat for decades, I’ve recently discovered the joy of doing my workouts at home. My love affair with working out began when I was a teenager and I’ve a gym membership for as long as I can remember. That is, until a hectic and erratic work schedule meant no more gym and I started dabbling in home workouts.
As a former news presenter, I had to do my fair share of night shifts and fitness took a backseat. One evening, I noticed one of our broadcast journalists’ arms looking so toned and she sporting firmer guns. She told me she had been doing Jillian Michaels’ The 30-day Shred. I immediately started doing it at home and I found the idea of working out for no longer than 30 minutes incredibly motivating. I was drenched in sweat after each workout and by the next morning, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) would have me walking like a duck. But by day 3, there was no more post-workout pain, I felt noticeably stronger and thanks to better food choices, I was also starting to see the outline of my ab muscles. JM’s 30-day Shred became my go-to workout routine when I wanted a full-body session in 20 minutes. Remember, longer workouts don’t necessarily mean they’re better or more effective. Some PTs recommend not spending more than an hour doing intense exercises.
A couple of years later, I came across Bodyrock, a site with hundreds of free workout videos on YouTube. I got hooked when I discovered one of their trainers, Lisa Marie, and her real-time workout videos. She did every exercise with you, and each time I felt like giving up, I’d see her on screen with her 6-kg vest on and think, “If she can do it, then I can, too.” Lisa has a slender, athletic frame, but she’s incredibly strong. In fact, it’s her strength and endurance that will push you. How can so much strength come from such a small frame? I shake my head, and do another 10 burpees. Another thing I like about Bodyrock’s workout is that they’re structured using high-intensity training intervals. 45 to 50 seconds on, 10 to 15 seconds rest. It’s a truly effective way to get your heart rate up and your muscles toned with compound weighted movements.
Then came 2015, a year after I went through a serious illness and also a time when I started spending more time on Instagram. I wanted to get serious about working out at home and taking back control of my health. A friend had mentioned Kayla Itsines and after scrolling through hundreds of before and after photos of women who are doing her BBG programme, I decided to give it a try. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I cleaned up my eating as well and within 4 weeks, I started seeing changes. Week after week, I gained strength, endurance and mental clarity. I felt in control, happy, motivated. The BBG community was a big factor in helping me stay on track and change my perspective on what it really means to be fit, healthy and have a good relationship with food.
Staying fit doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. While I would still go to gyms and fitness studios for specific classes (i.e. F45 functional training, yoga, body pump, body combat, French boxing, etc.) whenever I can, my day is not complete without some form of home workout or a quick run in the park. I even skip at home when I need to get in a 15-minute high-intensity training session (HIIT).
These days, I still do BBG resistance training 3 times a week and I do a yoga class everyday if I can. I alternate intensive yoga classes with stretching, recovery or meditation classes, so I do get 1-2 rest days a week. Find a programme that you can stick to, that works well with your schedule and lifestyle, and that keeps you motivated for the right reasons.