Tuesday, August 6, 2013

how to work out at home for free!

Fair warning, this is wordy :)
I am a bit of a fitness lover. It didn't happen over night! But, sometime about a year and a half ago, after many years of getting bored after using the same video for a few days and quitting, I figured out how to stay motivated and add variety and intensity to at-home workouts and it's too good not to share. My main motivation these days is the simple fact that I feel better when I exercise (and by exercise, I mean hard enough to sweat). My entire perspective on myself, my life and my circumstances becomes brighter when I work out!! It's true. It's scientific too, I promise, it's not just in my head ;) I love a quote I saw once that said, "You're only a workout away from a good mood." I agree :)

First up, I LOVE the site, FitnessBlender.com.  The married couple that runs the site have hundreds of high quality FREE workout videos, varying in length and fitness level. They have fitness plans you can download for a small price if you aren't sure where to start or how to progress. Plus, they don't include music, which is nice when you'd just rather listen to your own :) You can easily search their site for what you're wanting to tackle. Today I was doing a Crossfit workout and just went to Fitness Blender to do a 6 minute cardio warmup.

Making them even more fun, they have a really fun video for kids. My kids love it. They love to workout with me anyway, especially Layla, so having a video just for them is a fun resource.

Me and my workout buddy:

Next up, can we talk for a minute about the awesomeness of YouTube??? It's almost embarrassing how many different things we use YouTube for. Fitness just adds to the list (I first discovered Fitness Blender on YouTube, actually, by searching for "30 minute HIIT workout". You can specify any type of workout and find it on YouTube. The PopSugar Fitness channel is a fun one and has tons of ten minute workouts. Combine two or three and you can get a really great routine in. Also, if you're new to fitness, you'll want to make sure you are using correct form on certain exercises and YouTube is a great way to do this.

Right now, I am using Clean Eats in the Zoo's (awesome site, btw) 30 Day at Home Crossfit Challenge.  I've been intrigued by Crossfit and there are plenty of gyms close to me, but as a homeschooling mama, I don't get out alone more than one evening a week usually (more on weekends) so it doesn't make sense for me to join a gym. Not to mention, my thoughts on gym memberships: If you're not motivated enough to work out at home, what makes you think you will drive to a gym to work out on a daily basis?? Just food for thought. Start at home, then see if you think a gym would fit into your life. The classes sure would be fun! There are a few fitness centers on the Army post we are moving to, so I'm hoping that taking a Zumba class or something will be more feasible for me there.

I also really like an app called Sworkit Pro (find it in the app store). I have it on my phone and my ipad and sometimes I just  like to put on a Podcast and tell the app I want a 30 minute cardio circuit workout. It has yoga, upper body, lower body, cardio, or a little bit of everything. And if you're not sure of an exercise, you can pause to watch the quick how-to video. And if you aren't comfortable with an exercise, you can go to the next one (there are a few things I don't like to do because I have scoliosis, although I have had fewer problems with my back than ever since I started doing tough workouts last Spring!)

If you are willing to spend a little money, I have used and still use certain workout videos. I highly recommend Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred if you're wanting a good place to start. Her workout is tough for beginners, but builds stamina and muscle tone very quickly. I have also done Insanity and TurboFire. (I bought both used, which is the only way to go for crazy pricey workout programs like that!)  I like both, but just do not like how long the workouts get in the second half of the program. They are really fun and highly motivational, though and come with variety built right in since they come with so many discs, which is why I'm saving my pennies for Shaun T's new T25 workout--only 25 minutes, yay!

I know many mamas like me wonder how in the world they can fit a daily workout in (20 minutes is all it takes!) and believe me, I do understand. Life with kids gets crazy!! I am not a morning workout person. It takes me awhile to get going in the mornings and my kids are generally less needy in the afternoons. So I always work out sometime after lunch. It helps to make your mind up on a time too--at 3:00, I work out. Put it on the agenda. When my kids were smaller, it was much more difficult to work out every day. I have whacked toddlers in the head with weights more than once. They get under foot, I know that. Sometimes after Casey got home, I'd go into our room with my laptop and a DVD and work out then. It was a nice break for me!

I am always looking for more online workout ideas, so if you have some, please share in the comments! And if you're wanting to get started working out, YOU CAN DO IT! Exercise as unto the Lord :)

One more thing, there is a LOT of "fitness motivation" out there, particularly on Pinterest. When I decide to follow someone on Pinterest, I immediately unsubscribe to their Fitness board if they have one. Those pictures of perfection are not healthy for me to dwell on and not motivating in the right ways. I strongly encourage you not to buy into those links and pictures!


  1. Thanks for sharing! I've been looking for some good workouts and fitness blender looks awesome!

  2. Hello. I'm a fitness lover (and sewing) too. :-). Have a fitness youtube channel and a couple of fitness blogs. Fitness Blender is OFF THE CHAIN! They've grown so much. Earlier this year, I'd take my phone to the employee gym and use their workouts--plus here @ home. On the mend so I haven't been able to exercise in a few months. :-) Thanks for sharing.!

  3. Stumbled onto your blog as I was looking for crossfit info, along with Fitness Blender. I've been working out with Fitness Blender videos for almost a year too and they 're really good! Challenging enough and I like their rating system - based on length, difficulty level and target areas. I'll check out the others you mentioned. Thanks for sharing them!