Before I share my top 9 favorite home workouts of all time, I need to share just a few things. Working out in a gym wasn’t an option for me when I got started. My fitness journey started at age 25. I was diagnosed with depression at age 15 and struggled with that along with body image dysmorphia and anxiety during my teens and 20’s.
Basically, I was never a “fit girl” nor did I live healthy on purpose. With the birth of my second biological son at age 25, I became a mother of FOUR in a blended family. Shortly after, I decided to start working out to lose the baby weight (I gained 50 pounds with both pregnancies) but we didn’t have the money to join a gym. In fact, my husband and I bought our first pieces of equipment (which was an Olympic weight set and a Gold’s Gym Bench) with the stimulus check we received from the government that year.
When I first started working out I used my own body weight. I started by running in place or jump roping in our basement for cardio. After Roger stumbled upon some old dumbbells at his brother’s house, I began to do simple strength training exercises. It was a bare bones start, y’all. If you want to get started and don’t have a lot of money, there’s always a way.
I had been working as a part-time administrative assistant since 2005 at a family-owned company and to make things easier on our family, I began spending more time at home to be with four children who were not yet school-aged. Fewer hours worked = less take-home pay. There was no way we could afford two gym memberships to workout together. And with four kids and Roger working full time, there wasn’t really time either. By the time he got home from work, we’d workout together, we’d make dinner, eat, get kids ready and in bed and then relax until we fell on our pillows every night.
Our fitness journey started in the basement in 2008 and although we’ve moved since then, we’re still in the basement! Over time we’ve accumulated more equipment to make it possible to do a variety of workouts. Roger built a pull-up bar that hangs from the ceiling, he also built our squat rack (he’s a welder) and two plyo boxes (for $50!). At some point we also purchased resistance bands and then within the last two years a rower and SelectTech adjustable dumbbells (so worth it!). We chose to invest in our own home gym instead of throwing money towards memberships. The only thing I miss that gyms have? A leg press machine! Heh. heh.
Now that you know a little history, let’s break it down:
My Top 9 Favorite Home Workouts
I tried to come up with 10 but kept getting stuck at 9…so 9 it is!
It’s not always easy to get motivated working out at home but it’s something I had to find a way to do in the beginning and I’ve just stuck with it. I also like working out at home because my kids see me doing it and sometimes they join me too. They, of course, like the DVD ones best because it’s easy for them to follow along. I have a mix of DVD programs and non-DVD workouts on the list because sometimes I like the structure and well, sometimes I don’t. :)
I hope something on this list inspires you to try something new!
Here they are, in no particular order:
- Treadmill HIIT.
It’s funny that I wrote this first because it’s the one I hate the most. I dislike running in general. I love how I feel during and after a run, but it’s the toughest for me to get motivated to start. I know how effective it is so I try to do it semi-regularly. Sometimes. Haha!
Here are just a few HIIT workouts I like to do:
And if you struggle with treadmill running, I’ve also shared some motivational tips and tricks that I use that really help a lot:
- TurboFire HIITs.
While the treadmill is nice for running, it’s nice to mix it up with different types of HIIT. I don’t have a lot of coordination so TurboFire isn’t my favorite program but I do LOVE the HIIT workouts! You can see a video I did in this post or this post. It’s probably the most fun you can have while being barely able to breathe.
- Les Mills Pump.
Before this DVD workout, I didn’t believe workout programs from infomercials or anything like that really worked. Seriously. I tried Billy Blanks’ Taebo stuff, Jillian Michaels and others in the past. I firmly believe it was mostly because of the timing. My heart wasn’t in it like it is now (or when I first started). However, Les Mills Pump turned me into a believer of the company behind it, which is Beachbody. Yep, the company with all the crazy infomercials on TV. Home workout DVD programs do work IF you enjoy them and actually do them. The key is finding something that you like! You can view my LMP results in this post. Unfortunately, this was retired in March 2015 and is now sold out. *sad face*
- ChaLean Extreme.
I love this program by Chalene Johnson. I first completed it back in 2012 and I think it’s a really great starter program for women who are new to strength training. Chalene is great explaining technique and form and it moves at a slower pace so it’s easy to keep up.
I also think ChaLean Extreme is a really great program if you already enjoy strength training. The workouts range anywhere from about 30 to 45 minutes which is pretty much my sweet spot! I’m secretly wishing for a sequel to this one – especially since my dreams were broken after the retirement of Pump.
I have a love/hate relationship with CrossFit. I love the idea of functional fitness and I love a lot of the workouts so it definitely needs to make the list. I don’t ever focus solely on CrossFit but when the mood strikes, I pick and choose workouts from this book:
I also enjoy circuit workouts. Sometimes. See? I really can’t stick to just one thing. Haha! I love coming up with these on my own and I do this by focusing on what I’d like to work on and choosing exercises to compliment that. I like circuits because you’re constantly moving and there’s very little rest time.
Here are just a few I’ve created and done in the past:
*Though knowledgeable, I am not a certified personal trainer or fitness professional of any kind. Pinterest is a really great resource to find these types of workouts!
- 21 Day Fix.
21 Day Fix had to make the list because it introduces an easy-to-follow meal plan if you are looking for a simple way to eat healthier. Also, the workouts are all just 30 minutes! This is the only program by Beachbody that has sold out after it’s release in February 2014. It continues to do very, very well and for good reason. I’ve completed this program three times now. You basically perform an exercise for a minute and then have a quick rest. This makes the workouts move along pretty quickly and there’s a different workout for each day of the week.
- 21 Day Fix Extreme.
21 Day Fix Extreme basically takes things to another level. I just completed this one a little over a month ago. The workouts are still just 30 minutes but there is a lot of jump work. If you’re into a challenge but aren’t quite at the level to jump around a lot (or are unable to) there is a modifier that is very helpful. Autumn (the trainer) also includes her Countdown to Competition Meal Plan if you wanna get strict with your eating. I don’t. :D You can view my entire review of this program (and a meal plan) in this post.
- Deck of Cards.
I love doing the Deck of Cards workout with my husband. It’s a great partner workout!
We’ve created two variations so far but you can totally make this one your own!
- Body Beast.
Body Beast is another favorite of mine. I completed it for the first time back in 2013 I think and had really great results. I’ve been terrible about taking progress photos and need to start taking them! I’m currently combining Body Beast with Insanity right now for a 30 day mix of strength and cardio.
Insanity is NOT one of my favorite workouts. It’s a goal of mine to complete it someday but I haven’t quite gotten there yet. On my first attempt last fall I made it into the first week of month 2. So tough! It was hard on my body (my feet hurt for the first 3 weeks) but I honestly think I failed because of my mindset. I just wasn’t willing to push myself to keep going. I will be trying again and I will finish it. Shaun T. actually has a new dance fitness program coming out this summer and I’m kind of excited to try it out and show my dogs some sweet dance moves!
Because nobody else will see me do it. Haha!