How do I start a home workout routine?

With Covid-19 infections on the rise and work from home becoming the norm, weight gain is haunting most of the folks in my professional and personal circle.

While some have successfully found a way to handle this situation, most of us are stuck at the very beginning. The common question that most people ask me is HOW DO I START?

I would always recommend such newbies to start under a trainer’s supervision. But lets face it – not everyone would spend on a trainer. They end up seeking Mr.GOOGLE for help. Search for home workout for beginners –> BAMMM!!

A number of people that I know are floored here. Asking some one that barely has the flexibility to touch their toes [thanks to long hours of sitting] to do 20 squats and follow it up with 20 walking lunges & jumping jacks is not going to work. This some one is going to try it for a day or two and give up for sure. This is not the only impractical routine available on the internet, this is just the first result that popped up when I googled.

SO, HOW DO I START A HOME WORKOUT ROUTINE?

While there was nothing much wrong about the routine that I got from GOOGLE, it does not give me information on how I should be approaching this routine. So this is my take on how someone should start a routine, be it home-workout, gym workout or any kind of fitness activity.

WARM UP

Try spending at least 10 minutes to warm up your entire body. It sets up your mind and body for what is to come next. Remember, it is not to get you exhausted before a workout session, so do not over do it.

START SLOW

Before trying a set [the suggested number of repetitions of any workout], try if you can do 1 repetition without any discomfort to your joints or lower back or shoulders. If you find any discomfort, it is better to stop than to proceed further. Well, if the first rep test is ok, go ahead. Check if you can manage 5. If yes, go for 10. Never get fixated to a finite number of repetitions on day 1. And if you were not able to do 1 proper repetition, swap it with an assisted variation like push-up with knee assisted push-ups, free squat with box squat, walking lunges with standing supported lunges.

TAKE AMPLE REST

Rest is as important as a workout to build strength. Your body needs at least 6 hours of sleep per day to repair itself so that you can challenge it harder. Remember working out 7 days a week is not ideal. There are several studies that advocate working out for as little as 3 days a week. I would suggest 4 days a week. You can go as high as 5, provided you have a well balanced diet. And if you are completely sore from previous days workout, its better to take one day off instead of working out at less than 100% intensity.

INCREASE INTENSITY OVER TIME

The key to building strength is to challenge your body. If you were able to do 10 squats on day 1, try doing 15 on day 15. If you are not able to do this, it means that you have not gained strength. Your diet / rest needs attention.

BE CONSISTENT

The most important thing with anything you do in life is consistency. You might hire the best of trainers, have the best of diets, follow the toughest of workout routines. Unless you are consistent enough, it might not work for you. Give your body enough time to adapt to your lifestyle change. Nothing happens overnight. If you can do 5 more push-ups, its a win. Focus on getting stronger both physically and mentally. Do not sweat over losing weight or gaining muscle in 4 or 12 weeks. Just remain consistent.

Think of fitness as a SIP. It might not give immediate returns but pays in the future for sure.