For the first three years of motherhood, I was either pregnant, recovering from a delivery, or convincing myself that chasing toddlers was my workout. Guess what’s a great way to gain weight and never have energy? Using toddler chasing as your sole method of fitness. Turns out, I needed some guidance and a little more intentionality. Since we’re on a budget, I dug in and found some free at-home workouts.
I’m all for you working out at the gym, if you can manage it. There is power in accountability. However, if you’re home with little ones or don’t have the budget for a membership, then don’t do like I did and use “keeping my kids fed, clean, and out of mortal danger” as your fitness routine.
Those are excellent things to be in the habit of doing. But let’s dig into some you-time. These exercises can all be done with everyday things in your home, but they may be easier if you already have some simple exercise equipment like dumbbells or a yoga mat.
Doing leg lifts on a blanket and arm curls with jars of spaghetti sauce work in a pinch, though!
1. 5-min. Equipment-Free Workout
Equipment Needed: You
Women’s Health Magazine produced a stellar, full-body workout that requires nothing but five minutes of your time. Be prepared to raise your heart rate and challenge your core by doing lunges, push-ups, side hurdles, and more.
2. 15-Day Fit Challenge
Equipment Needed: Dumbbells or items of equivalent weight (bricks, canned goods, your kid...)
I recently discovered professional fitness trainer, Lindsey Matthews. The reason I signed up for her 15-day challenge was because she offers the following benefits in her training FOR FREE:
Teaching proper form
Toning and fat-burning
Healthy meal planning
For 20 minutes a day over the course of 15 days, you can reboot your fitness routine, learn some great techniques, and establish healthier eating habits.
3. At-Home Zumba for Weight Loss
Equipment Needed: You, the courage to unleash your inner Shakira
Over the last year, I’ve watched a friend of mine lose tons of weight doing Zumba classes. She posts selfies on social media of her progress and it inspires me every time. So, I decided to try it in my own living room. After a quick search on YouTube, I hit play and was panting and sweaty in less than five minutes.
These exercise routines are seriously so fun. Even my 4-year-old jumped around the room, pumping her arms and kicking her feet. That was a great bonus (and also helped me feel less ridiculous). Go Shakira, go.
Here is a 4-minute Zumba Workout for Weight Loss
4. Fat-Burning Cardio
Equipment Needed: You
This 37-minute workout provides a full equipment-free, weight-loss workout you can do at home. It includes a warm up, cardio routine, and cool down designed to help you meet your fitness and weight loss goals.
Watch the Fat-Burning Cardio Workout:
5. Pilates Core Training
Equipment Needed: a mat, rug, or blanket
For more than a decade, I’ve enjoyed doing Pilates. Much of the workouts target my core and help tone my abs, glutes, and thighs. They may look like glorified stretches, but when you lie down on a mat and try out a few Pilates teasers for the first time, you’ll understand why the rest of us grunt and groan (that might just be me).
DailyBurn.com came up with a great 7-step Pilates workout for the beginners. This tutorial is specifically designed to target your core.
6. 10-Step Full-Body toning
Equipment needed: dumbbells, step or box
Shape.com has an awesome 10-minute workout for women who want to target every area of their body. Volleyball player, Rebecca Kennedy, walks you through each workout that targets your glutes, thighs, abs, shoulders, hamstrings, etc. in a video, then includes step-by-step photos of each exercise.
7. Zumba for Body Toning
Equipment Needed: You
I run on the treadmill each week, but nothing kicked up my toning workouts, particularly in my legs, like this Zumba for Body Toning video:
It’s entirely possible that I’m a complete wimp, but the day after doing this workout for the first time, I could barely climb our stairs. This stuff works.
Alternative Sources for Free At-Home Workouts
Pinterest - There are thousands of workout ideas on Pinterest - all for free.
Library - Got a specific workout or trainer in mind? See if their video is available at your local library.
Hoopla - This app allows you to borrow books and videos with your library card and stream them for free (See below when I searched “Pilates” on Hoopla)
Despite some soreness, I can definitely tell these free at-home workouts had a positive impact on my body - and my wallet. Take a look through these different exercise routines, bookmark them on your computer, and get moving.
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