Fit That Workout In

A person doing a pushup in their living room.

No time for the gym? 5 Steps to a Successful Home Workout

Have you ever felt like making the trek to the gym is often harder than your actual workout? Fighting the clock (and traffic) is often the dealbreaker that causes would-be exercisers to fall off the bandwagon. Good news! A tight schedule doesn't mean you need to ditch your workout regimen. Optimize the time you do have by getting into an exercise routine at home.

1. Make an Appointment with Yourself.

If you're going to wait until you have time to exercise, that time may never come. Block out time on your calendar to give your full attention to working out. Treat it like your other weekly commitments. “People get comfortable when they get home so they tend to not take their workout seriously,” explains personal trainer Darrell Bradshaw. “This is where self-discipline comes into play. We need to learn how to motivate ourselves. Self motivation is a big part of your in house workout.”

2. Make a Plan.

If you start out aimlessly, you'll probably work out aimlessly, and are more likely to call it quits after a set of push-ups. Think ahead about what areas you want to focus on, and what exercises will help you get there. Set weekly goals that are ambitious, yet attainable (yes- they can be both!), and hold yourself accountable.

3. Get Creative.

We're not suggesting you furnish an entire home gym (but that's a great idea too!). Take advantage of the many uses of common household items.

  • Hand Towels: Sub them in for sliders for an amazing core workout.
  • Water Jugs: They double as weights for bicep curls.
  • Stairs: It's like a StairMaster, but free! Run up and down the steps and you'll break a sweat in no time.
  • Chairs: These are the MVP of the home workout. Use them for squats, tricep dips, leg-overs, modified mountain climbers or push-ups, the possibilities are endless!

Oh, and those adorable toddlers you have running around? Did you know they double as sandbags and kettlebells? Hoist them up for squats and arm presses.

4. Make It a Household Affair.

Have your significant other, your roommate, even your neighbor down the street join in as your workout buddy. “If you have someone else in your house that works out with you, that will make it more fun— and easier,” says Bradshaw. “Achieve your goals quicker by pushing each other to work harder.” It's all about accountability, right?

5. Don't Forget This One Exercise.

Whatever your routine, says Bradshaw, there is one exercise that needs to be a part of it: Squats. “This is a movement we all use in our everyday life,” the Pittsburgh-based trainer says. So grab some weights (or a water jug, or a small child), engage your core, bend at the knee, and feel the burn!

When the weather allows, get outside and add running, walking, biking, or other cardio activities into your routine. Whatever your home workout, don't put your commitment to yourself on the back burner. The tools you need to take care of your body will be ready and waiting when you get home.

The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. It is recommended that you see your doctor or registered dietician before making any changes to your diet.