One of my new year’s resolutions was to work out regularly. I’m great at doing this…when it’s beautiful outside. I went for a few runs in January, did some agility and body weight exercises, and had a grand old time watching the waves roll in on the Lake Michigan beach. Then the Chicago weather gods remembered that it is still winter and thoughtfully proceeded to dump a ton of snow on everything in celebration.
Exercising outdoors is appealing because it feels purposeful. I’m running on the trail next to the beach because I enjoy being in nature, soaking up the sun, and smelling grass and flowers in the air. A workout in a gym or on a machine makes me feel disconnected, going through the motions with an abstract goal of fitness in mind rather than doing an activity that is relevant to my life.
At the same time, “winter” is a really horrible excuse for avoiding any exercise for three months. With that in mind, I wanted to share four of my favorite free, at-home workouts. Shelling out for a gym or box membership is absolutely not necessary to get in shape or stay fit. What is? Motivation, variety, and a little sweat.
1. Crossfit is a huge fitness trend, and it’s easy to see why people love it: short, intense workouts with fast, intense results. You can try it at home with 30 days of Crossfit workouts from Clean Eats in the Zoo. Here are a few at-home workouts from the first week of her level one challenge:
Day 1: 10 push-ups, 10 sit-ups, 10 air squats (5 rounds)
Day 3: 20 lunges, 10 push-ups (5 rounds)
Day 6: 50-100 jumping jacks, 25 air squats, 20 push-ups, for time (keep a record of your time. I have THIS app for my iPhone, but you could just use plain pen and paper and do just fine!)
2. Proving that anyone can get fit anywhere, Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness developed the 20-minute Hotel Room Workout. This complete full-body routine includes four types of exercises and requires no special equipment–for weight, you can use a suitcase, a gallon jug of water or sand, or whatever you have on hand. Follow his advice to avoid T-rex arms.
3. This yoga-inspired circuit from Shape Magazine is fast, fun, and challenging! It’s easy to get excited about a workout that includes a “flipping crunch” and uses only your bodyweight. Read through all the exercises before beginning so that you can keep moving when you’re actually working out.
4. If you played a sport in high school or college, which cutely-named exercise was your nemesis: jumpies, burpees, or maybe mountain climbers? Get ready for MCs in this 30 minute no-equipment workout from iVillage. Check out the slideshow for photos and an explanation of each exercise. You do need a chair or sturdy piece of furniture for tricep dips, but hopefully you have one of those at home!
1. Warm up for eight minutes. You can do whatever you like to get your heart rate up. Do some jumping jacks, jog in place or dance to your favorite song.
2. Do one minute of jungle squats. (Lower body)
3. Do one minute of push ups. (Upper body)
4. Do one minute of reverse V lunges. (Lower body)
5. Do one minute of modified chair dips. (Upper body)
6. Do two minutes of cardio. (Whole body)
7. Do one minute of abs exercises. (Whole body)
8. Take a 30 second break.
Repeat steps 2 through 8, three times.
Bonus: I’ve mentioned the Yoga Journal 21-Day Challenge before, but I’m really into these short videos for beginner and intermediate level practicers. The videos range from 10-20 minutes long and are a quick addition to the beginning or end of a workout.
Do you have a favorite at-home exercise routine to stay fit while beating the winter weather? I would love new recommendations!