5 tips for working out from home if you really can’t find the time to hit the gym

Our busy lifestyles may hinder us from making time for the gym or a swim. But it shouldn’t hold our fitness plans back, considering it is still possible to squeeze in a short workout at home – as long as you’re determined to make it happen.

As a mother-of-two with a nine-month-old baby, who is also holding a very demanding job and does my own household chores, I have honestly allowed my fitness routine to take a backseat for a long time.

But being inactive has taken a toll on me; I started feeling lethargic more easily and am finding it tougher to keep up with carrying my baby who is getting heavier by the day.

I’ve just started to squeeze in a few minutes of workout at home and while my fitness plan is still a work-in-progress for now, here are some tips that I’ve picked up that those of you who are also looking to restart your fitness routine may appreciate.

1. Dedicate a space for your workout

find a workout space

To help you stay committed to your fitness routine, find a space at home and mark it specifically as the go-to spot for your workouts.

This helps set a routine, which can help give you momentum and make you feel more ready for your workout.

For me, I work out when my kids are in school or in bed. So I convert their play area into a workout space by moving their playmat away, swapping it with a yoga mat.

2. Schedule the workout in your calendar

schedule workout

When it comes to working out at home, I find that the toughest part is having the discipline to dedicate time for it. It’s easy to get carried away with another activity or task that seems more interesting or important. For instance, it’s tempting to want to wash up the dishes instead of doing sit-ups.

I find that when I schedule workout time in my calendar, I become more inclined to stick to the plan.

Extra tip: Be realistic and schedule a slot you know you can certainly get away. Also consider if you’re more of a morning workout person or an evening workout person.

3. Curate a good workout playlist

workout playlist

A good playlist can help take your mind off the fatigue from working out and motivate you to keep moving.

For me, I have two playlists: one filled with energetic beats (such as dance music and K-pop hits) that I play when I’m working out, and one with my favourite ballads to wind down during cooling down exercises and stretches.

My tip is to go with songs that you enjoy and to put it to shuffle mode so you won’t really be very conscious about the amount of time you’ve spent working out. The idea is to let time go by effortlessly so that before you know it, you’re done with your set.

Get this: Running Kalenji Wireless Music Headband HB 500.

bluetooth headband

This is a headband with Bluetooth-enabled built-in speakers that allows you to listen to music without wearing earphones. I love this because it’s super functional. The headband is made of fabric that can keep my hair away from my face while wicking away perspiration.

Compared to earphones, it’s also a lot more stable and more comfortable to wear during a workout.

I find it great for jogs, but even when I’m just working out at home, it’s still an amazing item to have; my husband definitely appreciates that I’m not blasting music while he’s trying to read.

Bonus? It looks good and goes well with practically any sportswear too.

Running Kalenji Wireless Music Headband HB 500 retails for S$30 am is available at Decathlon.

4. Go light with equipment

use light equipment

Most of us have little space at home, and it seems unrealistic to equip your workout area with multiple hand weights or machines.

When in doubt, I suggest using the yoga mat as measurement. Are you able to fit your equipment into a yoga mat and still have space for you to move around?

I find skipping ropes and resistance bands great because they’re easy to use and don’t take up a lot of space. I also do body weight exercises because they don’t require any equipment.

Get this: Adjustable 2kg Soft Fitness Dumbbells Tone SoftBell Two-Pack

ankle and wrist weights

These dumbbells are really a great investment and I recommend it to everyone. They take up very little space and are very versatile.

I like that I could attach them to my wrists or ankles (or both) depending on the workout I choose to do, to add to its difficulty. As they are attached to me, it also means that I could be hands-free during training and compared to regular weights, which can sometimes roughen up my hands, these don’t pose a concern at all.

It’s also great that there’s flexibility because you can adjust the weights according to your ability by slotting in or removing the individual weights to the pack. (It’s available in: 2 x 250g to 1kg and 2 x 500g to 2kg)

Finally, these can be washed easily to keep them clean and odour-free

Adjustable 2kg Soft Fitness Dumbbells Tone SoftBell Two-Pack retails for S$25 and is available at Decathlon.

5. Track your progress

track fitness progress

It’s okay to start slow because you’re just starting out; what’s important is that there’s progress. Progress can be increasing the intensity or the duration of your workout – as long as you’re doing better this week than the last.

I find it important to track progress because it also serves as a form of motivation: I tend to be more enthusiastic to do more when I see that I’m improving, and even during times when I’m lapsing, the tracking serves as a wake-up call so I know it’s time to bounce back.

You can consider investing in a fitness tracker to help you or simply jot it down in a journal, as long as you can refer to your notes easily.