I have been exercising in my living room since I was 15 years old. It’s convenient, cost-effective, and time-efficient. After the birth of my twins, I didn’t set foot in a gym until they were 5, but I managed to lose weight and get back in shape.
Finding the time or money to get to the gym isn’t always easy for mothers of small children. I was recently asked a good question by one of my Twitter followers: “My husband is gone a lot, and I have a toddler and an infant at home and can’t get to the gym very often. Any tips for getting an effective workout from home?” Here’s what I did to create my own inexpensive home-gym, drop pounds, and get fit after the birth of twins:
1. Walk, Jog, or Run Outdoors. I began incorporating my kids into my workouts when they were just infants. Even if you don’t have the luxury of owning a jog stroller, you can walk with your baby in a baby carrier or regular stroller. Ideally, I suggest finding time to jog or fast walk (3.5-4.3 mph) when the baby is sleeping. Even if you can only find a 15 or 20 minute window of time, this is enough to get you back in shape. I worked out in increments of 20 minutes for years. See how many mini sessions you can squeeze into a day, and before you know it, you’ll be exercising for several hours a week.
2. DVD’s and Workouts On Demand. Build a library of fitness DVD’s, and experience the luxury of having a personal trainer in your own home. I also suggest getting an inexpensive full-length mirror and using it during the workout to look at your own form in comparison to the video instructor’s. Making self-corrections in posture and technique will ensure that you’re maximizing the exercises, while minimizing the likelihood of injury. You won’t have to worry about whether or not you are getting a full body workout. The experts ensure that you are working the most optimal muscle groups at the right pace. Home workout videos have come a long way since the ‘80s. You can have 24 hour access to an incredible, challenging and effective workout at a reasonable cost. Tip: Visit your local library and sample a workout DVD prior to building your own collection. Some of my favorites include: Tae Bo, Karen Voight, and The Firm.
3. Equipment. You can create your own mini home-gym with just a few simple items. Here’s what I recommend you start with: An aerobic step, hand weights (2 pair: 1 heavy, 1 light), yoga mat, flexaball, and a jumprope. This will serve as the foundation for most of your workout needs. Each time you purchase or rent a DVD, check the back of the case for required equipment and build up gradually.
4. Calisthenics. Put yourself in boot camp! Calisthenics are exercises that use only your body weight as resistance. These are the traditional, old-school workouts that are done in the military and in school gymnasiums. These exercises will never become obsolete, because they really work. Get back to the basics by performing: sit-ups, jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, toe-touches and mountain-climbers. These exercises will get your heart rate up and increase your strength. For a fat-blasting, total body workout, alternate sets of calisthenics with jumping rope and/or weight-training, for one or two minutes per set.
Incorporate each of these suggestions into a regular exercise routine (4-6 total hours per week), and you will see and feel the benefits in just a few weeks. Good luck!