Home Fitness – Eliminate Excuses
Most of us know that regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, yet we still struggle to fit it into our busy schedules. In fact, “lack of time” is the number one excuse for skipping regular workouts. We simply must choose workouts that are fast and super convenient, which leads us to the obvious solution – that is, the home fitness solution.
Although you certainly do not need to work out to lose weight (what you eat is most important), certain types of exercise have been shown to help the body metabolize blood sugar and aid in keeping it under control. There are many other benefits of regular exercise of course, both physical and mental.
The long list of positive benefits of cardio training have been proven through countless scientific studies and include but are not limited to:
- Reduces the risk of Diabetes
- Stimulates bone growth/density reducing the risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture
- Strengthens muscles
- Strengthens heart muscle and improves it’s pumping efficiency
- Improves circulation
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces stress and improves mental health
- Lowers the incidence of depression
- Increases cognitive capacity
The good news is that you don’t have to spend hours in the gym or sweat it out for miles walking every day in order to gain these benefits. Modern science has proven that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) allows us to burn significantly more calories and fat in ALOT less time than with conventional cardio training.
Relatively new science has even proven that HIIT is more effective at lowering insulin resistance compared to regular (continuous) training and leads to modestly decreased blood glucose levels and increased weight loss (compared to those who do not exercise).
There are several protocols available with varying interval times, all with studies to back the effectiveness. You can read about them here, but it really comes down to personal preference. Super intense, short bursts followed by even shorter recovery, or longer relatively intense bursts followed by longer recovery intervals.
Either way, you can accomplish your entire cardio workout in 20 minutes total:
- Warm up – 3 minutes
- HIIT session – 14 minutes
- Cool down – 3 minutes
I am always on the look out for the fastest, most effective use of your time, and since I’ve been working out this way ever since I first got wind of it a few years ago, I can recommend it with confidence.
HIIT Home Fitness Equipment
Since the effectiveness of HIIT requires such intensity, I must recommend a low impact form of cardio, so running sprints should be limited to elite track stars (if at all), there’s just too much stress on the joints at intense intervals. Most of us need to consider any one of the following:
Elliptical machines – no impact, easy on joints. Many affordable options for home gyms.
Stair climbers – no impact but a little harder to regulate intensity than other options. Small footprint.
‘Hybrid’ trainers, like Bowflex Max Trainer – a combo between elliptical and stair climber, it has the smallest footprint of the trainers making it a good option for smaller spaces. After lots of research, this is the machine I chose for my own small home gym.
Strength Training – The Best 15 Minute Workout
There are many ways to get stronger and more flexible, from traditional weight lifting to yoga and Pilates and they all have their benefits.
I’ve spent years doing all of the above. My favorite was Bikram Yoga (hot yoga), which I found not only made me stronger and more flexible, but literally healed my sciatica and upper back pain in about 3 weeks at 3 times per week.
Unfortunately, each session of Bikram is 90 minutes long and requires access to a dedicated hot yoga studio, not convenient for most of us, unless you live in a fairly large city and have that kind of time.
Of course, there are other great forms of yoga and Pilates, but I have yet to find an effective program of 30 minute or less.
Enter the Kettlebell
Kettlebells have been around for well, centuries, and were originally used in Russia. Introduced to the U.S. by renowned sports and military trainer Pavel Tsatsouline, they’ve become a popular tool for one of the most effective home fitness routines on the planet – the Kettlebell Swing.
The kettlebell swing is a basic move that almost anyone can do (consult your doctor first) and is so effective that you can burn up to 1200 calories an hour!
Don’t worry though, you don’t need to spend that long working out, remember? The basic routine involves 5 sets of 10 reps and with warm up and cool down/stretches included, will take you no longer than 15 minutes, 3 times per week.
That’s right, it’s that effective. The Kettlebell Swing strengthens the following:
- Upper back
- Lower back
- Hip flexors
- Buttocks and upper hamstrings
Oh, and did I mention it’s a cardio workout as well? You’ll be swinging anywhere from 20 – 53 lbs., depending on your strength level, (I was weak and started at 20). When you do that for 30 seconds, you’ll definitely get your heart rate up!
Hands down, there’s no other basic workout that can be performed by most people at any fitness level that can deliver this kind of results. Even elite military, law enforcement, and superstar body builders tout the wonders of the Kettlebell Swing on their performance. See the Expert video.
You can find Kettlebells at most fitness clubs, but they can also be purchased online. The cost can add up over time though, as heavier bells are needed.
Some are better quality than others, and some kettlebell routines are more effective than others. You can’t go wrong with Pavel’s routines, he literally wrote the book on the kettlebell workout.
Now that you know about the most effective home fitness routines that you can do in 20 minutes or less, there are simply no more excuses for not getting fitter, healthier and slimmer, starting today.
Do you have your own favorite workouts that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you, please share your comments below!
To Your Success,
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