There’s nothing better than the home turf advantage; you are, after all, master of your domain. And exercising in your domain means doing your workout on your terms and according to your schedule. Many people think that you need a gym full of equipment to gain significant muscle tone, however, truth be told – all you really need is will and determination.
Coordinate a workout plan that includes three strength-training and three cardio sessions per week. Leave one full day of rest between strength-training sessions to allow muscles to recover. Coordinate your fitness sessions to fit in well with your work and family schedules; planning to work out at convenient times of the day can help you to stick to your program.
Focus on your technique and form throughout your workouts. Choose a resistance level that matches your fitness ability; increase the weights slowly as you become stronger. Keep your back straight, chest lifted and tummy tight throughout every exercise. Check your posture in a mirror; alignment and execution are the most essential components to an effective and safe exercise routine.
Warm your body for at least five minutes, though ideally 10, before you start any type of exercise to get your blood flowing and your heart pumping. Choose a cardio exercise for the warm-up that is easy to perform at home, such as jumping rope, jumping jacks or jogging in place.
Perform resistance-training exercises that maximize muscle tone and are adaptable to a home workout, such as squats, pushups, lunges and crunches. Squats and lunges are complex moves that work your entire lower body along with your core. Pushups use your body weight as resistance to tone and strengthen your back, chest, shoulders and arms. Crunches target the rectus abdominis, which is the muscle lying on top of your abdominals. Complete three to five sets of each exercise; aim for 10 to 15 repetitions per set. Add a pair of dumbbells to the squats and lunges for extra resistance and increased muscle tone. Start with low weights, and increase the resistance level as you become stronger.
Engage in at least three 30-minute cardiovascular workouts per week. Cardio helps to burn calories and strip away the fat from your body so your toned muscles can show through. Effective cardio workouts that can be performed at home include jogging, jumping rope, fitness walking and climbing stairs. Work out at an exertion level of six to eight on a scale of one to 10; you should feel challenged, yet still be able to hold a conversation.
Stretch for at least 10 to 15 minutes at the end of your workout; target the muscles you just trained in your fitness session. Stretching helps recovery by reducing soreness and moving the oxygen and nutrients through your muscles and body. Hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds and be sure to breathe deeply.
- Consult with a physician before starting a new fitness program. Inform your doctor of any chronic medical conditions or injuries.
Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.