Saturday, October 16, 2010

Working Out at Home

You would never know it by looking at me now, but I used to be a serious fitness addict. Back in the day, I drooled over the newest fitness gadgets the same way I do prepping supplies today. I hadn't even left the delivery room with newborn Mini Me before I started badgering my doctor for permission to exercise. I even asked for (and received) a profesional barbell set one Christmas and considered becoming a personal trainer.

Yep, my physique might resemble a gumdrop nowadays, but inside me beats the heart of an exercise fanatic. You just have to work a little bit to find her.

It's easy to agree that physical fitness is an essential part of any preparedness plan. Actually getting started on that goal is another story. Like you, I'm busy 24-7. I have a lot on my hands: taking care of four young children, homeschooling, housekeeping, and husbandly maintenance. What, then, is a harried homemaker to do?

Workout at home.
That's an easy choice for me. For one thing, there are no gyms to join in our area. I would also have to drive a bit just to find a safe place to walk. An evening stroll on our hilly, gravel road could be suicidal. Trucks pulling livestock-laden trailers pass by at an alarming speed.

The best part about working out at home? I can fit a workout in whenever I have a spare moment. I don't have to worry what my hair looks like or if my outfit matches. I simply throw on a pair of good shoes and get going.

No cheesy leotards here! Home workouts can be fun and challenging.

A big myth that many people believe is that home workouts or workout videos are inferior or a waste of time.

You don't have to go to the gym to get a good workout. Trust me and see my recommendations below.

If you need the motivation of going to a gym and interacting with real, live people, go for it. You obviously live somewhere with options and do not share my agoraphobia. :) The object is to get fit, however you may go about it.

Here are some tips to help you get started with a home workout plan:

  1. Think used. You might have heard the motto "Buy used and save the difference." I haven't always been the best about this, but I certainly believe it to be true with fitness equipment. How many people make a resolution to get fit, buy a bunch of exercise equipment and then end up never using them? My treadmill cost me all of $50, delivery and set-up included. I bought it used at an estate sale. It isn't a fancy treadmill, but it gets the job done. If I get super excited about running or walking, I can upgrade later. If not, I'm only out $50. I can probably sell it to somebody else for about that much.  
  2. Find something you like to do. Don't torture yourself! If the thought of walking on a treadmill makes you want to beat your head against the wall, don't do it! Find something you do like. Try pilates, yoga, kickboxing, circuit training, step aerobics, dance, bootcamp-type classes, etc. Or simply go outside and play with the kids.
  3. Add in variety. I love pizza, but if I ate it everyday for a week, I'd soon get tired of it. Mix up your fitness routine to keep things fresh and to maintain your interest. If you get bored, you're likely to quit.
  4. Start small and build. You can't expect to go from couch potato to super woman in one fell swoop. Back in the day, I worked out 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours per day, 5-6 days a week. If I tried to do that now, I'd kill myself. I'm aiming for 20-30 minutes per day, 3 days a week. Once I build up some stamina and get in a good routine, I'll start increasing the duration and frequency of my exercise.  
  5. Don't neglect all areas of fitness. There are four main components of fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. You need to address each area to be truly fit and ready to handle anything in a post-TEOTWAWKI world.

Here are my favorite activities/videos for each of these components, for a wide variety of fitness levels. I have a strong preference for step aerobics, kickboxing, and athletic-type training and that is reflected in my list.


Couch Potato/Beginner  -
  1. Walking - on a treadmill or around the block, whatever floats your boat. Try the Couch-to-5K Program (C25K).
  2. Gardening - useful and a workout at the same time!
  3. Anything by Leslie Sansone - Her walking-based workout videos are completely unintimidating and encouraging. 
  4. Cathe Friedrich is my absolute favorite workout instructor. Beware: most of her videos are intended for advanced exercisers. That chick doesn't play. These videos, however, are a good introduction for beginning exercisers, particularly the Low Impact Step + Total Body Sculpting.
Intermediate -

  • The Firm - I haven't used their latest videos/gadgets, but I have had results with Body Sculpting System 2, Body Sculpting System 3, and the TransFirmer series. These are definitely a notch above the beginner videos and yet aren't too difficult to follow. You can easily find their videos and equipment used. Yes, The Firm might have an infomercial, but the workouts do work.
Advanced -

    My girl, Cathe
  • Cathe Friedrich- She's my vote for a real-life super hero! She has a wide variety of DVDs in different workout genres. Some of my favorites include: Kick, Punch and Crunch, Rhythmic Step, Low Impact Circuit, Low Max, Imax 2 and so on. I have too many favorites to name. Did I mention that I love Cathe? And that I own a lot of workout DVDs? (Don't ask how many. Hubby Dear doesn't know ;)


Beginner -
  1. Tamilee Webb's I Want That Body. This is an oldie but a goodie. You can get a great workout for your arms, abs, or derriere in just 15 minutes.    
  2. Jari Love's Get Ripped. This is the first of Jari's videos. A weight workout that shows lots of modifications for varying fitness levels. My only quibble with this video is that I hate the music. I can tune it out, though.
Int/Advanced -

Yoga is a bit of a controversial topic, at least in the circles I run in. Yoga was originally designed as part of the Hindu religion, and some people feel that to practice Yoga is akin to idolatry. I understand where they are coming from and would feel uncomfortable in an overtly Eastern spiritual/New Age-y yoga class.

I prefer a more athletic-style stretch workout, such as Cathe Friedrich's Stretch Max. I also have some balance ball workouts based on Pilates that I enjoy.


If you have Netflix, they actually have a decent selection of exercise videos. It can be a good way to try some different kinds of videos and see what you like to do.

Another fabulous resource is Collage Video. They have extremely detailed descriptions of the workouts they carry, both in their catalog and on their website. They also have video clips available. I can testify that it's a good company to do business with and has great customer service.

I hope you have made fitness part of your personal prepping plan. If you workout, what kind of things do you like to do? Do you have any favorite workout videos you would like to suggest?

1 comment:

  1. I am blessed to have a decent amount of workout equipment in my home, both cardio machines and strength training equipment. But sometimes I just don't feel like going down to my dingy basement to workout! Or I only have 10-15 minutes for a quick workout. In those cases, I love to do a cardio/strength circuit. I'll do 1 minute each of jumping jacks, pushups, shadow boxing, squats, running in place, crunches, etc., rotating through them over and over and moving quickly from exercise to exercise without rest between. It's a great way to get a cardio and strength workout in a short period of time, and I find bodyweight exercises like pushups can be really effective.