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Ditch the Gym and Work Out at Home: A Beginner's Guide

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Alyssa has a passion for fitness and sharing her favorite tips and tricks with the world. Alyssa is a wife, mom, and coffee enthusiast.


Fitness is a growing industry. People are becoming increasingly interested in exercise, diet, and overall wellness. The rise of social media platforms like Instagram have many flocking to the gym in order to attain an ideal body. Gyms can be great, depending on your personal fitness goals. If you want to participate in body building or bikini competitions, a coach and the gym will be among your best resources. If you have never exercised and want to start, you may want to seek out advice from your family doctor and a personal trainer. There is a lot of fitness information to sift through and it can get confusing. *I always recommend seeing your doctor before starting any fitness and exercise program.*

However, gyms can be expensive. Some people may not have extra money in their budget to spend on a gym membership, even if it's only $20 a month. Gym culture can be overwhelming. Maybe you're worried about being judged or belittled. Many people are busy and don't have time to go to the gym to workout.

The good news is going to the gym is not the only way to get fit.

When I was in college, I took advantage of the gym membership that came along with it. I would meet a friend twice a week and use the machines. It was a lot of fun, but it also took time away from my family. After I graduated, I didn't have time to go to a gym, nor did I have the extra money in my budget to purchase a gym membership.

I had already started building up a fitness DVD library. It started before I got pregnant with a simple Pilates DVD (that I would pop in and complete everyday after work.) While pregnant, I always felt sick and working out was not an option. But, I would watch TV and see all of those fancy, inspiring infomercials promising thin, sexy thighs and six pack abs. And so started my passion for fitness.

But you don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive fitness programs to workout. All you need is the right attitude and a little innovation.

I've been working out at home for six years. In that time, I have tried many different fitness programs and most of the diet supplements that are on the market. It's taken some time for me to understand what works for my body and what I enjoy doing. Let's face it, if you absolutely despise what you're doing, you won't be sticking with it. That's what makes working out at home such a success. Plus, if you want, you can wear your pajamas or nothing at all!

So let's get into the good stuff.

Disclaimer: You should always consult your physician before beginning any fitness or nutrition program.

A Basic Kit

You will need a few supplies to get started. The materials will vary depending on the type of exercise or method you will be engaging in. In general, it's good to have:

  • A yoga mat *I love the Zon brand.
  • A set of hand weights. *This causes a lot of debate. I recommend starting out at 2-3lbs. for women and 5-8lbs. for men, but it varies depending on your goals.
  • A balance ball.
  • A good pair of shoes. *Visiting a specialty shop, like Dave's Running Shop or The Good Feet Store, can really be advantageous. They will watch you walk and recommend shoes based on what you will be doing.
  • An internet connection.
  • A Blu-ray or DVD player.
  • A library card.
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3 Great YouTube Workouts

I use YouTube everyday! It is such a good resource for everything including fitness! There is a variety of amazing channels for many types of exercise and they are all free!

Here are my favorite channels:

  1. Yoga with Adriene Adriene is my favorite yogi. She is quirky, kind, and has an amazing energy that makes you feel welcome and at ease. Her yoga videos are for everyone and she posts new yoga videos every Wednesday. You can also find her at
  2. Tracy Campoli Tracy's workouts are for women who want to tone up and have long, lean muscles. (Think dancer inspired body.) She has a variety of workout videos on her channel - arms, abs, legs, HIIT, and more! She posts new videos every Thursday. She also has a streaming subscription available for full length workouts. You can find more information about that on her website.
  3. Tone it Up Tone it Up is a popular fitness brand for women created by Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott. These girls will feel like your best friends! It is really fun to workout with them! They have a variety of workouts available and run a few fitness programs every year - The Bikini Series -Fit for Fall -Love Your Body. They offer free workouts online and have DVD's, a nutrition program, and merchandise for purchase. You can learn more on their website

These are my favorites, but you can do a search to find any fitness method that would interest you.

Six Workouts From the Library

I think the library is often an underestimated or forgotten resource. You can find many different fitness DVD's and books at the library to try out. It's a great approach to try out a fitness program before you invest in it.

I recommend looking into these programs.

  1. Tracy Anderson Method This is the method that I used to get in shape for my wedding. I still follow this method today. Tracy targets the accessory muscles to get you lean and toned, without bulking. I love it! She has a book, 30 Day Method, that explains her program. It comes with a DVD. I also love her Perfect Design Series.
  2. Zumba Zumba is a latin dance inspired workout. It is a lot of fun! It boosts your mood and you don't even realize you're working out!
  3. Walk at Home with Leslie Sansone This is a great low impact workout. It's easy on the joints and Leslie is really fun to walk with. She has many different DVD's available.
  4. Pilates with Mari Winsor Mari is the creator of Winsor-Pilates. She offers many different DVD's. Pilates is great to target and strengthen the core, while working your entire body.
  5. Bellydance with Suhalia Salimpour This is a great program for women who love dancing and want to try out different styles while getting in a good workout! Suhalia offers many different Bellydance fusion DVD's.
  6. You can also search for popular BeachBody programs at your local library. Often, they won't have the entire program, but will have a DVD or two to try out. I love Chalene Johnson's programs, Shaun T., P90X, and Brazil Butt Lift.

Well, there you have it. Everything you need to get started on working out at home. Do you have a favorite YouTube fitness channel or favorite fitness program? Share it below! Make sure to also let me know what your thoughts are on working out at home or if you have any advice or tips you would like to share. I look forward to hearing from you!

Your Thoughts


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Alyssa


Cecil Kenmill from Osaka, Japan on October 18, 2018:

Great point! When I was in the Army, there was a gym on post. I went only once because it was so much easier and more fun to break a sweat outside.

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