To Your Health
December, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 12)
The At-Home Athlete
By Perry Nickleston, DC
Getting in shape doesn't have to be expensive if you learn the tricks of the exercise trade. Why spend the time and money to go to a gym and then end up waiting in line to use the equipment? Here are 10 easy ways to get in shape fast without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.
When it comes to getting in shape, there are several Golden Rules: train smart, not hard; rest and recovery are critical; intensity is more important than duration; and proper nutrition is vital. Notice what's not on the list: expensive gym memberships, fancy pieces of equipment and time.
It's possible to sculpt a better body with simple, inexpensive equipment, smart training and fast-paced, intensity-focused routines that take minimal time. The problem for most people embarking on a home fitness routine is learning where to begin, how often to work out and what equipment to use.
Where to start? Every great journey starts with a single step. Keep it simple at first and increase training intensity once you begin to see changes in your body and your endurance improves. A lot of people feel overwhelmed with the commitment it takes to follow a regular exercise plan, so they keep putting it off. It's the classic story: Oh, I'll start exercising next month. But that month never seems to arrive. Motivate yourself to exercise for just 30 days. Why 30? Because it takes 30 days to form a new habit. After a month, it will be an activity you truly enjoy doing. Imagine that.
So, how often should you exercise? That depends on your level of experience, endurance, and the type of exercise program. It is recommended that you exercise a minimum of three, but no more than five days per week. Your body needs time to recover after a strenuous workout. No program should exceed one hour or you risk overtraining and possible injury. A full-body circuit routine, when performed correctly, should be completed in a maximum of 30 minutes. Additional cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise may be added if desired.
What type of equipment can you use at home? Below are the top 10 recommended tools for an all-inclusive full-body workout. Some are inexpensive pieces of equipment; others are simple methods of training. Remember, the goal is to take that first step - don't think you need all 10 before starting. Choose one and slowly build your fitness foundation.
A set of dumbbells is the "king" of any home fitness program, with virtually unlimited uses. The key is using high repetitions and compound exercises to reduce the need for going heavy. Compound exercise means moving from one body part to the next without rest. For example, do 15 repetitions for a biceps (front upper arm) curl and move immediately into 15 reps on a triceps (back upper arm) extension. It decreases the time needed for an effective workout and you feel the burn faster. This is a slang term used in the fitness world for the burning sensation felt in
a muscle when exercised correctly.