Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to go to the gym to get a great workout.
There are lots of exercises you can do at home with minimal equipment that can give you the same kind of results as going to the gym.
Working out at home can mean:
- Bodyweight strength training
- HIIT circuits
- And more
A lot of these at-home workouts can be done with just a mat, a pull-up bar, or other minimal equipment. Some can be done with no equipment at all!
So even if you don’t have the money to get a gym membership or kit out your home gym with cardio machines and weights, you have no excuse not to exercise.
But can you actually get good results from at-home workouts?
After your first few at-home workouts, regardless of what style you choose, you’ll likely notice that you’re in a better mood and have more energy than before.
Your skin will also look more vibrant and you may even drop a few pounds if you watch what you eat and incorporate enough cardio or intensity into your workouts.
In a few months, you’ll notice that your muscles are stronger and your stamina has increased following most at-home workout plans, allowing you to work out harder and longer.
And while you may not feel it, you’ll probably have a decreased risk of developing health problems if you stick with your workouts over the long term.
I spoke with a few fitness experts to learn more about the benefits of at-home workouts.
Read on to find out what they had to say.
(My favorite way to work out at home is with the Beachbody on Demand streaming app. Use my link to try hundreds of living room workouts free for 14 days.)
More energy and better mood
One of the first things you’ll notice after you start working out is that you’re in a better mood.
According to Caryn Campanelli, co-owner of Forged Soul Fitness:
“Those who are able to commit to an at-home exercise routine will likely find improvement in mood as exercise increases serotonin which helps your brain to regulate mood, sleep, and appetite.”
You can also expect your energy to improve pretty soon after you start working out.
Ashlee Van Buskirk, fitness and nutrition expert at Whole Intent, said:
“In just a month, you may also witness increases in your energy levels, as your body will learn to use oxygen more efficiently and your exercises will help strengthen your cardiovascular system.”
Exercise also releases endorphins, which are hormones that can boost your energy levels and mood for up to a day after you work out.
So if you’ve been feeling sluggish lately, regular at-home workouts may be just the thing you need to pep you up.
Did you know that exercise can improve your skin?
Going back to Van Buskirk:
“You might also notice changes to your skin, as exercise can help rid the body of toxins, like free radicals, which will help give you a more vibrant glow.”
Exercise increases the flow of blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the skin, which can give you a post-workout glow and keep your skin healthy.
There’s even evidence that working out can help you maintain a youthful appearance for longer.
Researchers at McMaster’s University found that people over 40 who exercise regularly have younger looking skin that’s closer in composition to the skin of people in their 20s and 30s.
You don’t even have to start exercising when you’re young to experience the anti-aging benefits of exercise.
Even if you’re beginning your fitness journey later in life, exercise can turn back the clock and help you develop more vibrant, youthful skin.
If you incorporate strength exercises into your at-home workouts, you may be able to develop stronger muscles over time.
Tamir G., personal trainer and owner of Unique Training Group, said:
“Resistance exercise of any kind to an untrained individual would stimulate muscular hypertrophy – the muscles would feel more pumped/firm. Increases in strength would also happen in a dose-dependent manner to the level of resistance available at home.”
If you’re new to fitness, doing bodyweight exercises like pushups may put enough load on your muscles for them to get stronger and firmer.
But if you’re used to lifting heavy weights at the gym, you’ll need to incorporate more resistance into your workouts in order to keep gaining strength.
That might mean buying a set of kettlebells for your home gym, or getting creative and using what’s around you to increase the load on your muscles.
If equipment is out of the question, try working your way up toward challenging movements like handstand pushups and one-arm pull ups or pushups.
Going back to Campanelli:
“Modify your equipment to meet your needs. Maybe you don’t have heavier dumbbells at home but you have large jugs of laundry detergent… Being creative with the tools nearby can help improve at home workouts.”
As long as you keep finding ways to up the intensity of your workouts and challenge your muscles, you’ll make progress.
Even if you don’t have an elliptical or treadmill at home, you can still burn a significant amount of calories and lose weight just by moving your body.
In one study, participants performed a 20-minute HIIT workout that included bodyweight exercises like burpees, squats, and lunges.
Researchers tracked their energy expenditure and found that they burned 15 calories per minute, which is on par with running at a vigorous pace.
This study shows that you don’t need expensive gym equipment to lose weight—the key is to push yourself and get your heart pumping.
“The higher the intensity/duration of the exercise, the more calories one would burn. If the dietary intake remains consistent, that person would stimulate some weight loss,” said Tamir G.
So if you challenge your body with cardio intensive exercises and watch what you eat, you’ll start to see weight loss results after a few weeks.
(The key ingredient here being your diet. Burning calories is great, but you’ll have to learn to keep your calories in check to see weight loss results from at-home workouts.)
Doing regular at-home workouts can also improve your stamina in as little as one month.
Michele Allen, a registered nurse and certified medical exercise specialist, said:
“You likely will see some minor changes on the scale in the first month, but you will also have some non-scale victories like increased endurance. When you couldn’t do 5 jumping jacks at the start of the month. Now you may be able to do 10 without stopping.”
Allen also told me that if you stick with it and keep exercising, your endurance will continue to increase over the next few months.
Having more stamina will make it easier to get through tough workouts and perform everyday tasks like walking up the stairs or carrying groceries without getting tired.
Your level of cardiovascular fitness also affects your lifespan. If you’re in good shape, you’ll live a longer, healthier life.
If you have a chronic health condition, working out at home may help improve your symptoms over time.
Going back to Allen:
“At month six you see changes in your weight, measurements, and maybe some health values like less joint pain if you suffer from arthritis or reduced blood pressures if you have high blood pressure or improved blood sugar readings if you’re diabetic.”
And if you don’t have any major health problems, working out can keep it that way.
It’s clear now that regular exercise helps prevent many diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.
If you don’t have the time to get to the gym or the money for a gym membership, you can still get a great workout from the comfort of your own home.
Because there are so many different types of at-home workouts, from interval training to yoga, you can tailor your fitness routine to your goals.
(Try Beachbody on Demand free for 14 days and try tons of different styles with almost no equipment.)
If you’re mainly looking to gain strength, you can lift dumbbells or laundry jugs to overload your muscles — or try advanced calisthenics.
If you want to burn calories and lose weight, you can do a 20-minute bodyweight HIIT routine.
But no matter what kind of workout you choose to do, the important thing is that you get your body moving. The results will come in time if you stick with the plan.
To see what else you can achieve if you commit yourself, see my guides to results from the gym, results from yoga, or results from calisthenics.