It's become noticeably colder in Manchester over the last couple of days and as winter sets in, it'll surely become colder - and wetter - still. Personally, I love training outside in the winter, you soon warm up and to be honest, it's the only thing that truly heats me to the core during the dark winter months.
But, it's not for everyone and if you've scrapped the gym membership over the summer because you decided paying for something you never use just isn't worth it, you might be wondering how you're going to motivate yourself to keep on top of your training over the next 6 months.
Perhaps you've considered exercising from home but don't think you have enough space or the right equipment? Think again.
I live in a tiny terrace; the front door opens into the lounge and the back into a tiny yard the size of a postage stamp - ok, that's a slight use of hyperbole but you get what I mean! Even still, on those days when I'm not in the park running or rolling in mud (don't ask!), I can get a full body workout which builds strength, keeps my fitness levels up and raises my heart rate and you can too.
Here are five fabulous fit-at-home workout ideas:
1. Resistance bands
Don't be deceived by the light weight nature of these. Perhaps most well-known amongst the Pilates community, resistance bands are a great way of getting a full body strength workout. They come in a variety of lengths, widths and 'weights' meaning they're great no matter your starting point. Plus, they're super-transportable so when you go to visit Great Auntie Hilda for Christmas, you can take your workout routine with you! Personally, I use these TNT bands with my clients as they're really resilient, come in 3 levels of resistance and include a door stop. In terms of exercises you can do with them, think dumbbells and cables... if you can do it with a dumbell, you can do it with a resistance band, plus using the door stop enables you to do almost any exercise you can do on the cable machine at the gym... bonus!
I LOVE kettlebells... there's so much you can do with them making them suitable for beginners and veteran fitness fanatics alike. Plus, they build strength, confidence and make you feel awesome!! If you're new to them, start with the basic skills and really drill those before you move onto anything more complex and, if you've never lifted weight before, it's advisable to get some coaching to make sure you've got the right form and technique. For some great beginner kettlebell exercises, check out this article from Girls Gone Strong.
3. Your own bodyweight
Yep, that's right, you can build a lot of strength, lose fat and get fit with no equipment what-so-ever. Here's a beginner's bodyweight workout you can try to get you started...
Warm up by jogging up and down the stairs / jogging on the spot
For each exercise, complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions:
1 squat (or squat to box)
2 squat and hold (click here for the bottom line on the squat)
3 wall press or incline press-ups
6 single leg raises
Finish with 20 seconds of jumping jacks, 20 seconds of stepping using the stairs, 20 seconds of high knees and 20 seconds of spotty dogs. Rest for 40 seconds between each exercise, 1 minute between sets and repeat for 2-3 sets.
4. Skipping rope
There's a reason you see boxers skipping, it's not just for kids, it's a great workout. Even in my teeny-tiny yard, there's just enough room for me to whirl a skipping rope around my head. Plus, once you get the hang of it, there are loads of variations you can try - check out this 10 minute jump rope workout by Popsugar on YouTube and unleash your inner child.
5. Internet workouts
Back in the day, we'd don our leotards, slip the cassette into the VCR and jump around with our favourite fitness fanatic. You can still do that, but there's so much content out there on the internet, you can try a different workout every day and still stand no chance of completing them all or getting bored. Just type 'fitness videos' into YouTube as a starting point.
6. Shameless plug!
Come along and work out in a fun, friendly and motivational environment. The circuits session is just 30 minutes and because you'll be using your own bodyweight, you'll build strength, fitness and flexibility with just the right amount of challenge for you. Stay to the end and take part in a bonus optional 15 minute core strength / stability session.
Sessions are just £4.50 PAYG or £24 for a block of 6.
AND... don't forget, you can bring the kids with you... so there you go, no excuses! ;-)