If you’ve not exercised since high school and want to get fit, it’s difficult to know where to start. Gyms can be pricey and feel intimidating as a beginner, and who wants to go running at this time of year?
That’s why at home workouts are a great (and warm) alternative. And now in the age of YouTube, you don’t even have to fork out for a fitness DVD brought to you by the latest Celebrity Love Island runner up. Huzzah. What a great time to be alive.
I believe there’s no reason why you can’t get fit in the comfort of your own home. I personally find it’s a lot easier to motivate myself to stick on YouTube in my bedroom than it is to get myself out running after a long day. For this post I’ve chosen workouts that I have personally tried and found useful that also require minimal or zero equipment. Even with the ones that do, you can improvise with everyday household items, like cans of soup or bottles of water. Hell, I even used my boombox as a kettlebell once (that was unsuccessful, I do not recommend it).
The following workouts can be done at any fitness level, but they’re especially beginner friendly. It’s also okay to swear at your trainer because they can’t hear you 😉 The majority of the ones I’ve selected are led by women, but there’s absolutely no reason why men can’t do them too. The links to the videos are on the titles because I’m a WordPress Pleb and the site won’t let me put the actual videos in here. Never mind.
Anyone who has ever spent more than five minutes with me will know that I worship Fitness Blender. They are health-focused, body positive and just so damn LIKEABLE. And rather than baring their teeth and yelling ‘COME ON LAZY ASS YOU CAN DO IT’ until you collapse in front of your laptop in a pool of tears and vomit, they huff and puff and suffer with you through the hard parts and encourage you to take breaks if you need them. It’s actually very motivating.
This particular routine is very low-impact and has no jumping, so it’s especially good if you have knee problems. This is also makes for a nice recovery workout if you’ve been working out hard and you’re too sore to go full throttle.
Denise is much more famous stateside than she is here in Britain, but she’s one of the longest running TV fitness trainers and one of the best. Her workouts are the holy grail for beginners, and this dancey one is absolutely perfect for those starting out. I did this almost daily when I first started exercising and found that my fitness levels, which were shocking at that point, improved very quickly. This one is good if you’re pressed for time because it’s fairly short. And the background people are unintentionally hilarious.
XHIT are a chipper bunch with a range of excellent workouts. This arms workout, led by peppy Brit Rebecca Louise, is nice and short so again a good one to fit into a busy schedule. Ideally this should be done with a light pair of dumbbells, but cans of food or bottles of water work fine – or bodyweight only probably won’t do any harm. Adjust how much weight you use to what you can handle.
XHIT’s channel sadly doesn’t seem to be updated anymore, but Rebecca is very encouraging and flies solo these days. She does a bunch of other good toning/strength videos – I particularly recommend her abs workouts, many of which feature her dog Alfie ‘helping Mummy out’. It’s all a little bit weird but certainly a unique selling point.
This is a gorgeous workout brought to you by self proclaimed ‘digital hippies’ Boho Beautiful. Filmed in the beautiful surroundings of Thailand, this is a gorgeous workout, great for both gentle exercise and a little relaxation. Yoga is great for enhancing your flexibility and the evidence for its health benefits are well documented. Get your zen on, bitches.
Really don’t worry if you find some of the poses hard; this lady is a former professional gymnast who has been doing yoga for years. Just do the best you can and if your body tells you it can’t do something, it’s important not to force it. Work with what your body can do and take it slow – otherwise you run the risk of hurting yourself and not being able to exercise at all.
Fitness instructor Cassey Ho needs no introduction. Her channel Blogilates has made her an internet celebrity, and rightly so; she knows her shit. She’s also an advocate of body positivity – watch her moving ‘The Perfect Body’ video here, a response to criticism she received on her own body – and blogs and vlogs about clean eating too.
Cassey has hundreds of workout videos on her YouTube channel and elsewhere all completely free. Whilst some will literally shred you to bits and make you cry (I am never doing that inner thigh video again), this beginners abs workouts is gentle but still a bit of a challenge – stick with it for quick results. I also find her cheery personality to be a good motivator, which is perfect if you also hate abs workouts!
No equipment. Low impact modifications. Ten minutes long?! DO IT NOW.
Lumowell’s workout videos are a little, err, quirky – follow the computerised figure for results! – but this video contains tips on good form to avoid injury and maximise effectiveness along with rolling motivational quotes. They also offer a range of FREE apps for Android and iPhone, including workouts and fitness plans. No excuses with these guys!
Yup, more Denise Austin. I guess her infernal cheeriness gets addictive.
Ultimate Fat Burn is perhaps the most challenging on the list, but a good one when you’ve been working out for a couple weeks or so and want to pick up the pace a little. It’s also really fun, but the cues are a little off here and there, so watch closely; you might need to do this once or twice before you pick it up. Follow the lady in the light yellow top on the far left for low impact modifications of some of the slightly more challenging moves. The interval ladder style of this one makes for a good metabolism booster too.
Had to sneak another Fitness Blender one in here too. This is a very low impact but still effective workout for your lower body and core – it’s oddly relaxing and again the lack of jumping makes it gentle on your knees. Don’t worry about the low calorie burn on this one. You will definitely feel the burn to the point of being sore afterwards and hey, it’s exercise – your body will be thanking you! Whilst exercise is great for weight loss, it’s only about 20% of the full picture. The other 80% is about eating the right foods. You don’t always have to work out with the aim of burning as many calories as possible – remember, exercise also improves your strength and endurance, is great for your mood and sleep and benefits your health overall!
You should always talk to your doctor before starting to exercise, especially if you have health problems or are on any medication that may affect your ability to carry out certain routines. I reiterate again that I am very far from a professional on these matters and you should take everything I say on this blog as friendly advice based on my own experience and research. Your mileage may vary – experiment, read and learn to figure out what works best for you.