Getting fit and healthy doesn’t mean you have to go out and invest in an expensive gym membership. While the gym is a great place to get fit, all it really represents is a place that has all the right equipment and classes to help motivate you.
You can get fit at home just as effectively, provided you have the motivation, desire and a bit of creativity. Exercise also takes many forms - so some activities will be easier to do without the gym than others.
It’s practically impossible to list all of the ways you can keep fit without gym memberships. There are so many different exercises you can add to your routine that trying to cover everything would be silly.
Instead, we’re going to focus on two core areas: how to improve your cardio (which may also help you slim down) and how to build muscle at home. Some of the activities we’ll list take place outdoors, but as we know the reality of British winter, we’ll cover plenty of indoor work too.
How to build cardio through exercise at home
Performing cardiovascular-focused exercise is ideal for those looking to lose weight or just build general wellbeing. Cardio exercise helps burn excess calories, which also means you can pair it with calorie control to promote weight loss. Some great cardio exercises you can do without any gym access includes:
Running: Yeah, we know - it sounds cliché, but hey, running is one of the oldest and most effective exercises. Provided your joints are in good condition, heading outside for a jog or run can help massively increase your body’s natural calorie burn rate and will help reinforce your general cardiovascular health. Running is such a beginner-friendly and naturally healthy exercise that the NHS has an official app to help encourage new runners called Couch to 5k.
Cycling: While you’ll need a bicycle to do this, cycling is a great way to enjoy similar benefits to running without the same burden on your joints. Cycling generally requires you to cover further distances than running for the same calorie burn - but it is also a great way to do ‘passive’ exercise by replacing your standard vehicle-based commute with a cycling route.
HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) is a training system perfect for those who want to keep fit without a gym. It’s a free way to work out at home and you can do it both indoors or outdoors. All HIIT means is an exercise system focused on high-intensity bursts of cardio followed by equal rest periods. They take many different forms and could be as simple as one minute of sprinting on the spot followed by one minute of rest, repeated for 10 minutes.
HIIT is the best way for people who feel they haven’t got much time on their hands and has been scientifically proven to have the same benefits as long-term aerobic exercise. Considering our company specialises in convenience-based protein snacks, HIIT suits our philosophy. Here’s an example workout we’ve created to get you started.
The Oatein HIIT Workout
This short workout focuses on your cardio health and also incorporates some strength training - specifically in large muscle groups that provide the maximum benefit. Change rest periods to suit your fitness levels and repeat the whole workout for sets to add difficulty.
All you need is space and motivation. If you need a kickstart, try our Succeed Energy pre-workout powder for a boost.
Ready? Let’s go. Remember, ‘rest’ is up to you - we’d advise at least 30 seconds at a time.
● 30 secs of high knees - bring each knee up to your chest quickly, then place it back down and lift the other leg. Aim for explosiveness.
● 30 secs of squats - go for as many as you can do in the timeslot. Aim to squat with your knees at a 45-degree angle to the floor.
● 1-minute bicycle abs - lie down on your back with your hands behind your head, lift your legs into the air and then ‘cycle’ your feet so that your knees come to your chest. Touch your knee with your opposite elbow.
● 30-secs front plank
● 30 secs of star jumps
● 30 secs of press-ups - feel free to do these from your knees if you struggle with full press-ups.
● 30 seconds of burpees - there’s no way around it, burpees are the worst. But they’re also incredible for cardio and worth doing. Grit your teeth and get it done.
Strength training at home
So we’ve covered cardio and some elements of strength training - but most of us still consider the idea of building muscle as something reserved for the gym. You might be surprised to learn that not only can you build strength at home, but you can also build muscle too.
What are callisthenics?
Callisthenics are exercises that target multiple muscle groups and utilise your own bodyweight to increase strength. Exercises like pull-ups, press-ups, dips, squats and more all fall under this grouping - but the more extravagant bodyweight exercises like handstands and muscle-ups are also part of it.
A simple strength training routine at home might look something like this, where you move on to a different exercise when you finish the other and take a rest at the end of each set.
● 3 x 10 Press-ups
● 3 x 10 Squats
● 3 x 10 Chin-ups
● 3 x 10 Tricep Dips - sit on a chair, ‘scoot’ your bum off it and hold yourself up with your hands, then dip down in front of the chair. See it here.
However, if you want to build muscle, you may need to add ‘progressive overload’ as you can with weight training. While bodyweight technically has a ‘maximum’ in that you can only lift your own weight, you can add to it with simple additions such as wearing a rucksack when doing press-ups and pull-ups.
Ultimately, working out at home is all about creativity. You won’t have the equipment, but you will have plenty of opportunities around your home. Sprint up your staircase for reps, use a towel on your pull-up bar to train your forearms and grip strength or do jump squats to add more resistance.
Get creative and enjoy yourself. Whether you’re building cardio or muscle, you can do both at home. Remember to replenish your body and keep up your protein intake. Shop our protein bar range to fuel your workouts wherever they take place.