The gym is a pricey, but effective tool in transforming your physique into tip-top shape. The various equipment, classes, personal trainers, and pool (if you’re lucky) make health clubs the perfect setting to shred the fat – for some. For others, the gym is not an option, nor is it ideal. Maybe monthly gym fees, or the yearlong contractual commitment is a bit much for you. For some, joining a gym may be inconvenient due to its distance from their home or job – or maybe they’re adverse to the whole gym scene. Fortunately gym memberships aren’t a necessity in getting in great physical shape. You can get an effective workout at home by implementing the following steps:

Create Realistic Goals:

Whether it’s a long-term, or a series of short-term goals, setting clear expectations at the onset of a fitness program really helps to kick motivation into high gear. Are you looking to drop a specific amount of weight, target & tone, or enhance your vitality? Regardless of the end game, Fitness gurus always warn us to take it slow and ease into our routine – hence the term ‘realistic.’ Too many make the mistake of expecting too much too soon. To reach the goals you’ve set, be easy on yourself, as well as consistent. Slow and steady yields results.


Now that you’ve created your goals, you can develop an exercise schedule to reach them. The process of getting physically fit is hard work, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the process of attaining it. What works for you? Dance, weights, swimming, Zumba, kickboxing, Pilates, interval training, yoga? There are tons of ways to get fit within the comfort of your own home, so feel free to explore. There are DVD’s a plenty, or workouts you can follow on YouTube, Hulu or various fitness sites. If you want to start by using a blend of exercises of your choosing, software such as FitnessBliss allows you to create, print, track and chart your own fitness routine online. Just turn up your fitness playlist and get to work.

Duration & Intensity:

Fitness experts recommend beginners start by walking, jogging, cycling, light weight workouts or beginner’s level fitness classes. It’s best to acclimate your body by beginning your quest with 20-30 minutes of exercise 3-4 times per week. After a few weeks, you can gradually step up the frequency, duration and intensity of your workouts. From personal experience, after having baby number 2, I was absolutely abs-obsessed, but I eventually extended my workouts, adding full body & cardio work into the mix once my body adjusted to the regular exertion. Listen to your body – not your mind. It will let you know when you’re ready to take it to the next level.


Some of us have hectic schedules that limit activities of the fitness variety to very specific times of day. However, if you have any kind of flexibility at all in your schedule, try to figure in exercise when your energy is at its peak. Perhaps it’s your lunch break, right after work or first thing in the morning. Whenever the magic hour, you’re most likely to get the most out of your session when your energy is at its peak.

Fueling Up Right:

Exercise is a vital way to get and stay in shape, but without a healthy, balanced diet you’re not likely to see the transformation to a sleeker sexier physique. It’s counterproductive to spend 30 minutes 4 times a week sweating it out just to fuel your body up with junk food. Weight loss diets are a dime a dozen. Ultimately it takes a few simple steps to detoxify your diet and eliminate unnecessary calories and fat. Cut out junk food, fried foods, white flour, excessive sugar & carbs and swap soda and other unhealthy drinks for as much water as possible. If you haven’t done so, gradually introduce your palate to more fruits & veggies, lean proteins like turkey and fish, and whole grains. A shift towards the healthful will not only give you more energy for exercise, but will assist you in getting the results you desire.

Tracking Your Progress:

It’s your fitness plan so how you choose to monitor your progress is entirely up to you. Many trainers recommend tracking the measurement of your target areas, be it your abs, hips, etc., from the jump, observing the change in measurements over time. Tracking by weight may be ideal for those specifically interested in weight loss, as well as keeping a record that includes photos for the use of comparison as you advance in your training. Others prefer to use their own increased strength and vitality as a gauge for success – that and perhaps those favorite pair of jeans they’ve been dying to get back into. No matter your technique, it’s important to be patient, consistent and give your body time to transform.

Room to Move:

If you’re like me, and face challenges in setting up the proper space for a proper work out, there are three main factors to consider. First, make sure you have enough space for the type of work out you plan to engage in. This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you live in close quarters, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of space needed to move about vigorously and accidentally come into contact with an immovable piece of furniture, for example. Secondly, work out in front of a mirror large enough to check for proper form and last but not least, make sure the space has the proper ventilation and temperature while you exert yourself.



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