The past several years have taught me how to work out at home. I used to be a total gym rat. I was there every day, lifting weights, doing a little cardio here and there (long-time cardio hater here, y’all), meeting new people, and putting all the time and energy into it that I would put into any hobby. The gym I had a membership at was five minutes away from my apartment and right across the street from work.
My routine came to a screeching halt when I moved to a different part of the city, got a new job, and had to go to another gym because it was closer and free with my new husband’s job. The gym was brand new and quite the masterpiece, but it wasn’t “home.” So I stopped going.
Then I went down a long (LONG) road of home workouts. A lot of them were jokes. For years, jokes. Some were okay, but they all felt inferior to gym workouts. For the record, I didn’t try Beachbody for a long time, even though I’m sure people were getting wonderful results from P90X while I was doing step aerobics and “toning” moves with horrible form in my living room.
Home fitness has come a long way, baby.
Workout and Nutrition Plans
Not all of these have a workout and nutrition component. Some are only workouts, but you can always experiment and find the diet style that’s right for you, whether it’s counting macros, food pairing, vegan/vegetarian, clean eating, Paleo, keto, or something else.
Alexia Clark: I just discovered her workouts and they are tough. I wouldn’t start with these. I’ve never taken a Crossfit class, but I imagine they’re a lot like these (though I’ve never seen running or rowing as part of a workout). She offers five brand new home and gym workouts per week for a subscription fee of $29.99/month. With that fee, you get access to home and gym options.
Sometimes she does specials. I’m hoping to see one in March or April because I’m taking a break from this and doing something else that’s pretty demanding for about three months. I would totally sign up for six months if the deal fit my budget at the time, no hesitation. There is some equipment involved here.
Things you may need (you can always sub things in for what you don’t have or modify the movement):
- Resistance loops (large and small)
- Slam ball
- Medicine ball
There’s no meal plan for Alexia Clark’s program, but she’s said in interviews she just tries to eat clean.
Lauren Gleisberg: I love Lauren’s personality. She’s always been responsive and helpful when I’ve had questions, too. She focuses a lot on lifting weights but throws in some cardio, too. She tends to target certain body parts each day instead of going for complicated moves that incorporate the whole body at one time.
Her guides vary in price but they’re always inexpensive, and she frequently offers specials as well. You won’t need much more than dumbbells, maybe a barbell, and some resistance bands to do these programs. Her challenges are fun, too.
Lauren does have a meal plan. I’ve never really followed the guidelines of it but the recipes are quick, easy, and delicious. They’re things a family would eat and don’t really call for any special or “weird” ingredients.
Tone It Up
Tone It Up: Karena and Katrina reignited my passion for fitness back in 2008 or 2009. I followed their workouts for months and felt great but didn’t see the dramatic changes people were getting from the nutrition plan.
When I jumped on the nutrition plan train, I quickly found myself in the best shape of my life. I remember trying on clothes and getting frustrated back in March one year. I asked for the plan as an early Mother’s Day gift and by my birthday in July, I was about 20 lbs lighter and fit into all my cute clothes again. Gone were the days of dreading getting dressed in anything nicer than yoga pants and a tank top.
I’ve drifted away over the past few years because I don’t feel the same connection to them and the brand that I did when they were first starting out, but I still keep up with them, try their new recipes, use their workouts at times, and keep their nutrition guidelines in the back of my mind when I’m trying to clean my diet back up.
This plan has a lot more cardio than some of the others and the ingredients are a little more “out there” overall, but my family and I thought it was fun to try new things. And there are plenty of recipes that don’t call for anything crazy, too.
The nutrition plan is a whopping $150.00, which sounds insane for a PDF, but it’s packed full of information and you get updates (challenge documents, recipes, updates, etc) for life. The YouTube and blog videos are free, but they also have DVDs and an app you can use if you want something different or longer workouts in general.
Beachbody on Demand
Beachbody on Demand: I think the marketing makes this whole thing seem a little reminiscent of those old-school workout programs I mentioned earlier. I’m not really a fan of the infomercial/coach thing even though I used to be a coach, but hey, it works and it definitely gets the word out. Who hasn’t heard of Beachbody?
These are so not cheesy little workouts that will barely make you break a sweat, and $99.00 for a year of access to everything they’ve got, plus new releases and meal plans, is an incredible deal. I actually tried to stay away when my subscription expired but then I turned it back on a few months later. I didn’t expect to miss it so much, but I love Cize for a quick cardio session, PiYo for flexibility, and can’t wait to try the upcoming 80 Day Obsession (which is why I’m pausing my Alexia Clark subscription).
Each workout plan has its own nutrition guide so you’ll be eating to appropriately fuel your workouts based on your body. No cookie cutter plans that give everybody the same number of calories across the board. I really love the variety here. There are plans for strength, cardio, and flexibility, and you can narrow them down by how much time you have to devote to your workout.
Each program has different equipment recommendations, but you should be able to get by with just dumbbells for a while. There are plenty that use body weight only. Eventually, you may want to get a bench, resistance bands, a pull-up bar, and a few other things, but you don’t need them to work out with BOD.
Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide
Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide: This is my least favorite, but mostly because I’m past my 20s and my knees, feet, and back can’t take a lot of jumping anymore. I’ve seen so many before and after comparisons that blew me away.
I got halfway through and the pain in my foot (which later turned into a broken sesamoid bone caused by overuse…but I’m NOT saying that this program broke my foot on its own, Lol) decided six weeks was enough. I had to move on to something else. If you’re fine with jumping around, you may love this one. It’s quick, too. You get 12 weeks of 28-minute workouts.
There’s a nutrition plan as well, but I didn’t buy that one and can’t comment on its guidelines or effectiveness. I’ve read that it seems pretty close to the food pyramid, but I can’t confirm it. The workout and nutrition e-books are around $50.00 each and the bundle is about $90.00.
If you would prefer an app, there is one available. I haven’t tried it because I find it a little expensive, but it’s a more engaging option than just following along on a PDF. It’s probably more motivating. Plus the Strong portion looks pretty good.
Apps and YouTube Videos
There are some apps and YouTube videos you can use for very little per month or free:
- Cristina Capron’s App, CCFit: If you have a good understanding of how to modify gym movements to make home workouts and have a decent amount of equipment, you’ll be able to do most of the workouts in this app. If you don’t feel comfortable modifying movements to do them at home, you can still use it. There are at-home workouts there and she’s always adding more workouts. I feel like Cristina really listens to what her customers want and communicates with them well. This app is free with the option to purchase a subscription and access more content for $7.99/month.
- Nike Training Club: Free, and it has a great mix of workouts and trainers. I used to use this every morning in combination with the Tone It Up plan. It played a big part in getting me in shape. I can’t believe it’s free! Seriously, the quality is wonderful.
- Yoga with Adriene on YouTube: I’m loving these 30 days of yoga I’m doing with her channel. If you don’t need every yoga routine to be fast-paced to feel like it was worth the time, you’ll love this. She has some routines that will raise your heart rate, but this is for mental and emotional health, not just physical.
Mix and Match for Your Needs
There’s no reason you have to leave the house to get in the best shape of your life. I still like going to the gym when I want to use a nicer piece of cardio equipment or I’m itching to use an actual cable machine instead of resistance bands. If I can’t go for whatever reason–low on time, too many deadlines, can only go during rush hour, my kid’s sick or out of school–these do not make me feel like I slacked off.
(Photos from IvoryMix.com, used under licensing agreement)