You only have 24 hours in the day. It’s hard enough setting aside time for actual exercise, but throw in your commute to-and-fro and it can add up to a lot of wasted time — time that you can’t afford to lose. So here’s the good news: you can still have an effective workout without ever leaving your home.
If you look in the right places, you’ll find some great at-home workout routines that you could do in your pajamas if you were so inclined. Here are some good starting points.
Where to Find Workout Routines
The Fitness Plan Generator is a simple tool that asks four questions: your fitness level, the type of workout you want, how much time you can spend, and which pieces of equipment you have available. Based on your answers, it will generate a list of workout routines that you can try.
It’s not a comprehensive tool; in fact, it’s quite basic in what it offers. However, it’s a great jump-off point for those who are still in the beginning phase of exercise. The routines are easy to understand and each exercise has an in-depth description of how to perform it.
Running. You either love it or you hate it and most of us lean towards the latter. Who wants to deal with burning lungs, aching thighs, wobbly knees and shin splints? If that describes your typical running experience, you’re probably doing it wrong. When done correctly, running can be quite enjoyable.
That’s what the Couch-to-5k program aims to address. Most newbie runners push themselves too hard on their first few runs, which is why they end up in pain and discomfort. The right approach is to ease into it even when it feels like you aren’t getting a good workout.
With this plan, any couch potato will be able to run a non-stop 5k by the end of 8 weeks and all it requires is three days per week, 20 minutes per day.
Like the Couch-to-5k program above, SimpleFit is a simple ease-into-it workout plan for newbies whose bodies aren’t exactly ready to take a beating just yet. SimpleFit only requires 3 days of exercise per week, 20 minutes per day. In fact, why not combine it with the Couch-to-5k program?
SimpleFit is divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced plans, where each one is a sequence of 8 weeks. By the end of it, you’ll be in good shape to start on some tougher challenges, such as the Tabata interval training routine.
For those who truly have no free time, your last resort might be the Nano Workout. These are individual workouts that you can perform while doing something else.
Are they as effective as tried-and-true exercises? No, not quite. However, some exercise is still better than none, and these allow you to fit them in when you have so little time that you can’t even set aside a 7-minute workout.
For example, there are bathroom workouts:
Need more examples? How about office workouts:
It’s hard to talk about fitness websites without mentioning fitness-related subreddits. As one of the largest communities on the Internet, Reddit is a treasure trove when it comes to user-driven hubs of information.
And while you can find a lot of general purpose fitness subreddits on Reddit, /r/BodyweightFitness subreddit is great for workouts that don’t require a gym membership.
On the sidebar, you’ll find a section called Bodyweight Training Info which contains links to a beginner routine, a FAQ for bodyweight training newbies, and a training guide that will get you up to speed on the theory that drives bodyweight fitness. Plus, under the Weekly Threads section, you’ll notice Training Tuesdays where you can discuss routines with other people.
Tools For Tracking Fitness Progress
Half the fun of working out is tracking your progress and seeing concrete evidence of your personal growth. Feel free to use traditional pen-and-paper, but if you want some neat bells and whistles to go along with your journal, these web apps can be nifty.
BodBot (Android, iOS, WinPhone, Chrome)
BodBot is an app that fulfills all three roles: personal trainer, nutritionist, and coach. It starts by asking you what you want to achieve by exercising (lose fat, gain muscle, improve cognitive health, etc.), where you want to work out (home or gym), and such. It lets you manage your own training schedule or it will plan one that’s tailored for you.
Over time, BodBot will adapt to your workout pace and adjust your training for optimal gains and these changes will be sensitive to your schedule. As far as nutrition is concerned, BodBot will recommend the best foods for meeting your goals and track your meals day-to-day to see how you’re doing.
JEFIT (Android, iOS, Web)
JEFIT is the premier workout tracker app. With it, you can define your own routines and track your progress with every completed session. The best part is that it doesn’t just record how often you complete your exercises, but also the changes in your workout intensity, body mass distribution, and how many personal records you break.
JEFIT can be accessed by app or by web and it will stay synchronized between the two.
Fitocracy (Android, iOS, Web)
Fitocracy is one of the best gamification tools for improving your life. While exercise is often an individual activity, this app turns it into a social activity by offering allowing users to follow the progress of other users. The other big feature is a gamified goal-and-reward system (called “quests”) that keeps you motivated and on track.
Not only can you use Fitocracy to record progress, it can also be used for workout routine recommendations. Its database is packed with hundreds of different exercises, but if you don’t have time for that, there are also full routines that are hand-designed by Fitocracy’s fitness experts.
Do you workout without going to the gym? Which resources do you use for finding new workouts? Which tools do you use to help you track progress? Share with us in the comments below!