Guest feature from Krista Stryker
About the Author
Krista is the author of the new book, The 12-Minute Athlete: Get Fitter, Faster, and Stronger Using HIIT and Your Own Bodyweight and a leading fitness and mindset expert. She is the founder of 12 Minute Athlete and the 12 Minute Athlete app as well as a writer, TV guest/host, and motivational speaker.
From trying her first push-up in college, to teaching herself to do pull-ups and handstands, Krista is living proof of her philosophy that everybody is an athlete. She is passionate about the power of exercise and movement to build confidence, resilience, and mental and physical strength.
Here are her tips on ways to stay healthy from home!
1) Embrace Bodyweight Training
I’ve been training using my own bodyweight and a few select pieces of equipment like jump ropes, pull-up bars, and medicine balls for nearly a decade now, and my workouts don’t look much different than they did before the global pandemic. There really is so much you can do using your own bodyweight, even if you want to get stronger or build muscle (just look at gymnasts for proof).
Bodyweight exercises like bodyweight squats, push-ups, burpees, and planks should be staples in everyone’s workouts, whether you’re working out at home or at the gym. And if you want to add an extra challenge, try adding a plyometric element to the exercise (regular squats become squat jumps) or slowing down the exercise to work through sticking points.
2) Get Creative With Your Workouts
Our brains like novelty, so doing the same workout in the same location every day is going to get old, fast. Try mixing up your workouts with different types of training—do a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout one day, a yoga session the next, and go for a run or do some sprints the day after that.
Mixing up your workout location can also help you from getting bored. Try working out in different areas in your house, or better yet, take your workout to a nearby park and break a sweat outdoors. Getting outside in a new location will give you a good dose of novelty, and the vitamin D will boost your mood.
3) Get Creative With Your Equipment
Another way to add variety to your workouts is to get creative with your equipment. If you’ve been doing mainly bodyweight workouts at home, try to see what you might have around the house that you can use as makeshift workout equipment.
For example, you can use steps or a sturdy bench as a plyo box for jumping or stepping, place two stools close to one another for bodyweight rows or leg raises, and fill a backpack or duffel bag with heavy stuff in place of a makeshift sandbag.
4) Add to Your Home Gym
Investing in a few pieces of home workout equipment can help you mix up your workouts and keep them from getting boring, and you don’t need much. Equipment basics l recommend everyone get include a pull-up bar, jump rope, and a medicine ball or a few sets of dumbbells. None of these will cost you very much up front, and all of them will last through years, or even decades, of workouts. Some other ideas of home workout equipment to invest in could be:
- A dip bar. These are great for upper body exercises like bodyweight rows and dips as well as core exercises like L-sits and leg raises.
- A sandbag. While you can certainly make your own using a duffel bag filled with some heavy stuff, the real thing is more durable and adds a challenge to lower body workouts.
- A kettlebell or two. Exercises like kettlebell swings, high pulls, and Turkish get-ups help to build strength and stamina at home.
5) Up Your Intensity
Many at-home workouts found online tend to be fairly low in intensity. While taking it easy with a yoga sequence can be a great way to wind down or work on your flexibility, it’s also important to get your heart rate up on a regular basis.
The most efficient way to up the intensity of your workout is to do a HIIT workout. These are workouts that alternate between short periods working at near maximum capacity with shorter periods of rest. Since they require all-out effort, HIIT workouts are much more difficult than longer, more moderate-intensity workouts, but also take much less time. Even two or three 12-minute HIIT workouts a week will increase your stamina and metabolism and help you get fitter and leaner, faster.
6) Have a Goal
Research shows that when we have a concrete goal to work toward, we’re much more motivated to work harder and stay consistent. Since appearance-related goals are the least motivating, I try and encourage people to create one of the following goal types:
- Performance-related goals. These would include goals such as achieving a new personal record (PR), building strength, or increasing your skill set in a specific area.
- Adventure goals. These could include goals like wanting to climb a new mountain or compete in a Tough Mudder race, then having to train for it.
- Learning-based goals. These might consist of goals like learning a sport or working toward a new skill like a handstand or a front split.
Whatever your goal, make sure to keep track of your progress with either a written or electronic journal so that you can look back at how far you’ve come in your fitness journey.
7) Move With Friends
Social support is incredibly important for human beings, and moving with friends has even more added benefits. Try meeting a friend for a HIIT workout in a park then catching up over a healthy picnic afterward. Or, if you can’t meet up in person, doing a Zoom workout together can still give you some of the same joy-producing benefits.
8) Remember That Something is Always Better Than Nothing
Working out at home can be challenging, especially if you’re trying to juggle work, family, and other commitments. On days when you’re short on time or are just not feeling very motivated, aim to get in some movement, no matter how small. This could be something as simple as a 20-minute walk or bike ride around the neighborhood. Whatever it is, make sure to take some time each day to move and notice how much better you feel afterward.
About The 12-Minute Athlete
If you’ve ever thought you couldn’t get results without spending hours in the gym, that you’d never be able to do a pull-up, or that it’s too late to get in your best shape ever, The 12-Minute Athlete will change your mind, your body and your life. Get serious results with short, efficient workouts that can be done anywhere. Available online or anywhere that books are sold.