How to workout at home without equipment?
We’ve all heard the excuses before. I’m too busy to drive to the gym. I don’t have transportation. I’m a fulltime parent and can’t leave home. I can’t afford the monthly membership. The gym is intimidating. Other people will judge me.
While at home workouts can pose their own challenges (we’ll cover how to tackle those down below), they also eliminate some common excuses trainers hear. With access to basic technology, trainers have the ability to adapt to different environments and monitor the success of their clients remotely. Whether it’s training in the gym or doing at home workouts, trainers can help clients navigate and achieve their health and fitness goals through exercise and proper nutrition. Here are a few ways to get clients to started working out at home with or without equipment.
How to Design an At-Home Workout Routine?
Creating an at home workout program that benefits your client requires the same initial steps as building a program in the gym. Determine the goals of the client – are they looking to lose weight, build muscle, or maintain a healthy lifestyle? Do they have equipment available to them or do they need an at home workout with no equipment? Gaining a basic understanding of the client’s home environment and what tools they have available will help you to build a program that’s accessible.
Don’t forget to evaluate where the client is currently at in their fitness journey. If the client is just starting out, sticking with body weight exercises will be more helpful than pushing them to purchase expensive equipment that may never get used. If they are new to exercising, it may be advantageous to schedule an in-person walkthrough of exercises so that the client can understand proper form and technique. If your client is located far away or unable to meet, try scheduling time for a video conference!
How to do cardio workouts from home?
The beauty of cardio is its simplicity and versatility – it can truly be done just about anywhere. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that all adults get a minimum of 150-minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week along with 2 days of muscle strengthening activity.1 Trainers can help their clients maximize their fitness efforts by getting in a minimum of a few days of cardio during the week. On top of improving cardiovascular function, cardio also benefits the mind – helping to decrease feelings of depression, stress and anxiety while also boosting cognitive brain function.
When limited to an indoor space, cardio can be built around a circuit routine. Cardio workouts can be performed following a muscle building workout or on a day in between strength training. Moves like burpees, lunges with knee drives, 180 squat jumps, skaters, and fast feet with punches can create a well-rounded (and heart pumping!) routine. If an option, we recommend practicing these moves with your clients ahead of time to ensure they are keeping their core/abs tight, back straight, and, as always, keeping good form.
If the outdoors is accessible and weather permits, encourage clients to get their cardio in with jogging, hiking, and running. For a small investment, clients can add to their options with biking, kayaking, SUP’ing, or if space is limited, jump roping.
How to do muscle building workouts from home?
To get the most out of any strength workout, it’s important for clients to push their muscles to fatigue. Dumbbells and resistance bands can help clients achieve muscle fatigue easier, but it’s still possible to do without these tools.
If the client doesn’t have equipment at home, you’ll need to use a bit more imagination when creating a muscle building program – and a return to the basics of movement. Exercises such as lunges, pushups, dips and glute bridges will become the cornerstone of their workouts. Here are a handful of exercises that can be performed to target specific muscle groups:
- Legs – lunges, squats, glute bridges, wall squats, sumo squats, donkey kicks
- Core/Abs – sit-ups, Russian twists, scissor kicks, windshield wiper, lying leg lifts, planks
- Chest/Back/Arms – push-ups, pull-ups, side-to-side push-ups, superman, bird dog, dolphin kicks, tricep dips
Here’s an all-around beginner routine that will strengthen most of the major muscle groups (especially the heart) using some of the exercises from above. This routine should be done in six rounds at maximum pace with minimum rest in-between sets:
- 10x Tuck Jumps
- 10x Push-Ups
- 10x (for each leg) Forward to Reverse Lunges
- 10x Prone Y Raise
- 10x (for each leg) Lunge Jumps
YouTube is a great resource for at-home workouts that can be done with little to no equipment (check out the Evolution Nutrition YouTube channel for example). Create a list of suggested exercise videos that your clients can follow along with, or even better, start filming your own video content and building a library of resources to deliver to clients!
With small, gradual investments, clients can pickup equipment pieces as they advance from bodyweight exercises to needing more of a challenge. A set of bands can provide a variety of resistance levels that can easily be switched out depending on the exercise. Alternatively, household items can be used to create extra weight. For example, a backpack filled with books could be used to provide extra weight for squats or lunges, or a gallon of water could be used for bicep curls.
How to stay motivated while working out at home?
Helping clients establish a routine workout schedule can help them to stay motivated. Start by identifying what time of day works best for your client, whether that’s morning, afternoon or the evening. If the client is unable to block off 30-60 minutes for a workout, design the program into 10-to-15-minute mini workouts that can be spread out over the course of the day.
The next step is to try to designate an area specific to exercise – a sacred space to strengthen and hone the body and mind. Creating a space just for exercise helps to establish a clear mindset as your client enters the area and helps to keep distractions from intruding on this time.
Just like in the gym, mixing up workout routines can also keep clients motivated and prevent things from feeling too routine and stale. For example, if your client is looking to build strength, build in a day every week or two that is a random workout day. Take a deck of cards, assign each suit a different full body exercise (i.e., jumping jacks, bear crawls, burpees, box jumps, mountain climbers, etc.). The number denotes the amount of reps.
The Path to Long-Term Success
The key to long-term client success is consistency by finding activities clients enjoy and pairing it with a healthy eating pattern. Need help developing a custom meal plan for your clients? Evolution Nutrition makes eating right simple by providing trainers access to 4,200+ meal plans covering 21 dietary category types. Use one of the generated meal plans based on your client’s stats or tailor it to their specific dietary tastes.
Finally, make sure to schedule a regular time to check in with your client! Just because they are working out at home doesn’t mean they are an island. Earn some trainer bonus points by scheduling outdoor meetups in public spaces like a park or the beach and workout alongside the client.
1. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018 (https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf)