Home Exercise (for free)

Home Exercise. This phrase before March of 2020 held the stigma of “not hard enough”, “not a real workout”, etc. Now everybody has to work out from home. #Rona.

Within the last couple of years, I have discovered the vast amount of free resources available to us for exercise. All we need is a means of accessing the internet and we have thousands of free workout videos available to us. From various social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, to workout websites, there are tons of ways to get on a sweat with no or minimal equipment at home.

When I injured my knee back in 2017, I began to explore the home workout scene. At that point in time I was in college, living in Austin, and driving to the gym took at least 20 minutes. It made me frustrated to see other healthy people working out, and I wasn’t really exercising for that long due to my injury. It quickly became apparent that it was much easier to exercise from home. At this point in time I discovered Five Parks Yoga on YouTube, which offers a large variety of free, full-length yoga classes for all skill levels. I began to use Instagram for a useful purpose instead of just wasting time and I discovered HomeBodySculpt, a lady who offers a variety of home workouts that target every major muscle group, are typically low-impact, and use very minimal equipment. From 2017 on, I continued to exercise at home more and more. Pros of exercising at home are many: there is no commute, nobody is watching you, it’s free (or low cost to buy a few dumbbells), you don’t have to share equipment like at the gym, and you can wear whatever you want. You don’t need much space to begin, and getting in a short 15- minute workout is just so much more reasonable when you’re doing it from your living room versus driving to all the way to the gym. It has become extremely popular for fitness influencers to develop and sell their workout programs in an application form or as a package. I personally have never purchased one of these before. There are so many free options on Instagram and YouTube, often from the people who do sell “full” workout programs. For those who like more structure, purchasing a program might be a better option but for me using the free videos and posts works just fine.

**Disclaimer: I am not affiliated whatsoever with any of these fitness accounts. I just genuinely like them and have used them for years. Check with your doctor or physical therapist before beginning any workout program.

Favorite Workout YouTubers:

  • Caroline Jordan: this lady saved my sanity with a hurt foot and she brings so much positivity! She offers a variety of free, injury-friendly, and effective workouts, from chair cardio to floor barre to foam rolling videos to meditations.
  • Heather Robertson: tons of no frills, at-home, minimal equipment videos of different lengths
  • Jessica Smith: she has her own website with links to free workouts and is on youtube. Her workouts center around walking in place, but they are not repetitive!
  • MadFit: workout videos less than 20 minutes in length with minimal equipment. Her most popular are her song workout videos (ex a core workout to the song “Senorita”)
  • PopSugar Fitness: upbeat, colorful, many different types of workouts available (most are equipment free). They offer kickboxing, dancing, HIIT cardio, and more!
  • Five Parks Yoga: tons of free yoga videos from 15 minutes to 60 minute classes
  • Yoga with Adreinne: she’s funny and her yoga is for anyone

Favorite Fitness Instagram Accounts:

  • DesB: her workouts are HARD. I like them though because they’re pretty realistic, don’t rely on tons of different machines or equipment at the gym, and (for the most part) use pretty standard movements. She frequently posts full workouts with excellent form tips, and even has some workouts for back pain and shoulder pain. Now during the lockdown times, she has been having daily live instagram workouts from home with minimal equipment.
  • Whitney Simmons: She was the first “fitness influencer” I discovered. I was drawn to her positivity and “don’t give up” attitude. Her workouts were also easy for someone new to weight lifting to embrace. She is now huge in the fitness and beauty world but I still like her workouts for their simplicity and effectiveness.
  • Natacha Oceane: Now, I can’t do 95% of her workouts because of the insane amount of jumping she does. My foot cannot handle that, and I’m okay with saving my joints the impact. However, her lower impact sessions have been KILLER. I did a 20-minute leg workout and was sore for THREE DAYS. Proceed with caution if you can jump though…she does A LOT of jumping.
  • Homebody Sculpt: this now-mamma offers lots of home workouts that are low-impact, minimal equipment, and varying levels of difficulty.

Fitness People I Used to Follow, But do NOT anymore

  • Dana Landgren: Majority of her workouts are very low impact which I appreciate. They are all done at home, with no equipment (well occasionally she’ll use a weight, resistance band, or gallon water bottle, but everything can be done without equipment). The biggest aspect I disliked about her workouts is that many of them have the same exercises in them, so it feels very repetitive. She is very fond of jump-less burpees, birddogs, and a few other exercises and I simply got tired of repeating the same thing. She does have a pelvic floor and core program that seems to be successful in helping postpartum women with bladder leakage though.
  • Abby Pollock: I was drawn to her in 2017 because she was a fitness influencer who wasn’t “ripped”, seemed down to earth and realistic, and she talked about the scientific research behind certain fitness trends. Her workouts were simple and she preached more about lifestyle changes versus just exercise alone. However, as time went on she seemed to become a bit too aesthetic focused. She still puts up science-based youtube videos that are interesting.  
  • Kayla Itsines/BBG Group: I tried BBG when they offered a $1 for 12 weeks promotion. At the time when I tested it out, I could still jump. The program then offered three different types of workouts- Kayla’s traditional 28-minute BBG workouts, Kelsey Well’s weight-lifting program, and Sjana Earp’s yoga workouts. BBG seems to contain way too much jumping, even for a healthy person. I was healthy to start with, running and doing high-impact exercise fairly regularly before beginning, and with all the jumping I still found myself with shin splints about halfway through the 12-week program. The weight-lifting sessions were okay, nothing that you can’t find online already. The high-impact nature of Kayla’s sessions just didn’t work out for me, and I can find the weight lifting and yoga for free online.

There are so many free resources for exercising from home, with or without equipment. Almost all of these fitness accounts do offer more inclusive, paid programs that I would encourage a mega-fan to purchase to help support their business. However, for those trying to stay healthy and save a dime these free work outs are wonderful. I feel so lucky to be alive during a time where we can stream so many things for free from the comfort of our own homes.

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