We all know that getting in shape isn’t always a walk in the park. It takes a lot of hard work, commitment, and discipline. But sometimes there are obstacles beyond lack of motivation that keep us from reaching our fitness goals. I’ve found myself in conversation with so many people about their reasons why they don’t workout, and from what I’ve discovered, most people have very similar reasons as to why they haven’t incorporated a sweat-sesh into their normal routine.
The most common reasons people don’t work out is usually because of one of the following reasons:
They don’t have easy access to a gym. Good gyms don’t grow on trees and there certainly isn’t one on every street corner. Even those lucky enough to be by a good gym usually run into the expensive membership problem, which is a huge deterrent.
They live in a small space. This day in age, apartment living is common, roommates are plentiful, and spacious living room floors are not. A lot of people only have a bedroom to themselves, or live in a shared space and can’t utilize larger areas easily. And, last but not least…
They simply don’t know what to do. I hate how intimidating the fitness industry has made workout out to be! I don’t know about you but it seems like everywhere I look I’m bombarded with people either doing Crossfit or Aerial Yoga or competing in triathlons every weekend. While it’s amazing some people can support those lifestyles (I did for a time, R.I.P. @powerlifting), those methods make “fitness” look way more intimidating than it needs to be.
So, to kill all three birds with one stone, here are some simple (but effective!) exercises that are so space-efficient that you won’t even need a mat, and they require no more equipment than that of your own body. To get a full-burn, perform 20 reps of each exercise as a circuit 3-5 times.
Exercise #1: Jumping lunges. I swear by jumping lunges because they are a complex movement, meaning they work multiple muscle groups at the same time. To perform a jumping lunge, take a lunge stance making sure your shoulders are squared over your hips and your front knee is over your ankle at a 90 degree angle. Then simply jump, switching legs in mid-air, and landing in the lunge position with the opposite leg in front. This move will work your butt, quads, inner thighs, hamstrings, calves, core, and count as cardio! Too intense? Try quick alternating lunges without the jump until you work up to a more explosive movement.
Exercise #2: Incline wall-presses. Wall-presses are basically push-ups up against a wall. This move is great for when you don’t have a mat to get on the floor with, don’t have room to lie down, or aren’t strong enough to perform a full push-up. For this move, stand with your hands firmly planted on a wall, with your feet a little further back than if you were standing upright, so you’re at a slight angle. Then, press your body towards and away from the wall, just like you were doing a push-up on the ground, keeping your legs straight and core engaged. To intensify this move, try widening the placement of your palms, or using only one arm at a time. Feel free to move your feet as close or a far from the wall as you need until you figure out a position that works best for you.
Exercise #3: Knee to Elbow. This self-explanatory exercise is an aerobic (meaning it gets your heart rate up) core exercise. From a standing position, place your hands behind your head so that your elbows stick out to either side. Quickly drive one knee towards your chest, simultaneously crunching and slightly rotating your torso so that the opposite elbow meets the knee. Then return to the starting position. Repeat this movement as quickly as you can while alternating sides to increase your heart rate and target every area of the abdominals.