Sometimes we need a reality check to want to make a change. And I’m no exception.
The first 3 1/2 months of quarantine were full of me saying F -it and living my best life. I sat at home eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Which meant lots of baked desserts and eating half a Domino’s medium pizza and wings every week during movie nights.
But after those first few months of saying F-it simply because all the gyms were closed, I looked in the mirror and realized that I had really let myself go.
Don’t get me wrong, indulging can be nice every once in a while but it can also be overdone.
During those 3 months, I worked out maybe once a week and I spent most of my time on the couch. So what happened?
I gained weight.
But not in a good way. All of it was fat. Literally all of it. On top of that I was losing muscle fast because I was so inconsistent with my at home workouts.
And of course all of the weight went to places I was least happy about. My waist, my back, face, and arms. It was quite ironic. Because I did the exact opposite of what I talk about when I teach people How to Gain Weight Naturally. The only difference is that in this case I wasn’t actually trying to gain weight.
But regardless of whether it was intentional or not, it happened, and I was not a fan. And that was my reality check.
It was at that point that I decided to create a plan. A new at home workout routine (along with a separate meal plan) for me to follow to help me burn the fat that I put on, and get my muscle back.
Just to clarify, yes, this at home workout routine helped me drop 5 pounds of fat in a month and get some of my muscle back. But it can also be used if you’re looking to gain weight or just tone up. All you would need to do is cater your meals towards your goals.
My new workout routine, completely at home, with no fancy machines, consists of 5 days of workouts, a cardio day, and an active rest day. Each week is slightly different from the last but in general the weeks look like this:
- Monday: Lower Body
- Tuesday: Upper Body
- Wednesday: Active Rest Day
- Thursday: Lower Body
- Friday: Cardio/ HIIT
- Saturday: Full Body
- Sunday: Rest Day
Every week I change the specific exercises I do so that I can shock my muscles. And so I won’t get bored. But I’ve included one weeks worth of workouts to give you an idea of what a week of at home workouts look like for me.
Feel free to try out any of the workouts I’ve included. If you’re also interested in what I do when I have access to a gym, you can check out my gym workout routine here.
My Current At Home Workout Routine
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Workout Equipment I Use
Okay, so I know I said I didn’t use any fancy machines. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t use anything at all. To see the best results with changing the shape of your body, weights really come in handy. Lifting weights will help you build muscle and burn fat. And no they will not make you look manly.
Here is all of the equipment I use and recommend, along with alternatives.
I was lucky enough to have purchased dumbbells last summer in preparation for the days I didn’t feel like going to the gym. Who knew I would need them for a time like this?
You can purchase these 10 – lb coated dumbbells online while they’re still in stock. Or you can try to find some in store. Places like Walmart, Target, and Five Below are good stores to check.
If you can’t find 10 lb dumbbells you can always go lighter or slightly heavier, but I wouldn’t get anything less that 5 lbs. Anything lower than that, you’re better off saving your money and just using your body weight.
I swear by using fabric resistance bands in my workouts. They’re great because they don’t roll, they’re very strong, and they don’t break like the rubber ones. I usually buy long and short bands from companies like B_nd Store. But there are cheaper alternatives like the WOOSL Resistance bands and Gymletics Long Bands.
Since gyms are closed, I’ve been using the small barbell that was collecting dust in the corner of my apartment more often. It’s really great for compound moves like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses. And sometimes I like to take a couple plates off the bar to use them as smaller weights, since I don’t have 5 lb dumbbells.
But if you don’t have access to a barbell you can always just use dumbbells.
Monday: Lower Body
Great! So it’s the first workout of the week and I like to start it off with a bang. Since I haven’t been able to go to the gym, I’ve changed my workout routine. It now includes more leg exercises to really focus on building up my muscle again with the smaller weights.
Tri-sets have been so useful for keeping my heart rate up and making sure I’m burning a lot of calories. Doing a tri-set just means that I do 3 different exercises one after another, with no break until I’m done with the last exercise. Then I take a short rest for a minute and do it all over again.
This is the system that I’ve been following everyday for all of my workouts at home. That way I get a well rounded workout every time.
Here’s an example of a leg workout I’d do to start the week.
Tuesday: Upper Body
In the past I’ve always had 2 upper body workout days and 2 lower body workout days. With my upper body workouts, one day focused on my back and biceps and the other on my shoulders, chest, and triceps.
After 3 years of doing this, I realized that if I include a full body day into my routine to replace an upper body day, I can still work on my upper body twice a week while also getting an extra leg workout at the same time.
When it comes to fitness, it’s good to keep in mind that things change. And the routine you start with may not be the one you’ll be following 6 months from now. Make sure adjust and do what’s best for you.
So, what exactly do my upper body workouts look like now? I like to include at least one exercise for each muscle. And sometimes I mix moves together. Either way, I still use tri-sets, and do at least 3 rounds.
Wednesday: Active Rest Day
Rest days are so important to give your muscles time to recover and grow. But it’s hard for me to not do anything all day since I’m a pretty active person. So even on my rest days I like to do something small.
Usually on my active rest days I go for a walk for at least 30 minutes. Or I will do a yoga session. Which is just as good for my mental health as my physical health.
I love following Alomoves for my at home yoga classes because I can do them whenever I want and they have so many different classes to choose from. If you’re interested in trying it, they offer a 14 day free trial.
Thursday: Lower Body
My second lower body workout of the week always tends to be more glute focused. Because of this I make sure to warm up my glutes with a few banded hip abductions and banded donkey kicks before I start the actual workout.
When I warm up my glutes first, I’m able to recruit more muscle fibers and really work my booty during the workout. Which is so important since I don’t have a lot of weight to work with at home.
Here’s an example of a glute focused at home workout.
I keep my HIIT workouts relatively short but they pack a punch. I’m not a big cardio fan unless it includes walking around a lake or hiking in the mountains.
So the best way for me to get a quick cardio session in is to do a HIIT workout and include exercises that don’t make me feel like I’m doing cardio.
This is one of my HIIT workouts and it only takes about 20 minutes to do.
Saturday: Full Body
I think the biggest change in my routine is that Saturday’s are no longer my rest days. I used to leave both Saturday and Sunday to rest and hang out with friends. But I don’t go out much these days so I thought it better to use it as a day to be productive.
With the full body workouts I do my best to stick to combining multiple exercises together. This way I’m not spending hours working on different muscles.
An exercise like the squat to press is a perfect example of this because I can work my legs and shoulders at the same time. I like to include that and a few other exercises like it during my full body workouts.
Sunday: Rest Day
After all of that I leave my Sunday’s free to relax or meal prep. Really I do whatever I feel like doing that day. It doesn’t hurt to have at least one day during the week to yourself.
If nothing else, it’s a time to get prepared to start fresh. A new week with new goals.
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