Ditch the gym, skip takeaway night and get fit in the comfort and judgement-free convenience of your own home
Time Out staff
Gyms, it has to be said, are not for everyone. Some people love nothing more than slipping on their Spandex and stretching, sweating and squatting in front of strangers. But to many, the idea of exercising with others – particularly at the start of a fitness regime – is enough to halt motivation in its tracks. Even in a city where many of us live in apartment blocks and residential complexes complete with a fully equipped gymnasium, the obstacles to starting can feel too great. Who wants their neighbours to see them returning home after planking the night away at a Pilates class?
With this workout guide we’ve got everything you need to achieve your fitness goals without ever leaving your home. From equipment-free exercises that really get results, tunes to keep your pulse racing, personal trainer apps to monitor progress and free online fitness coaches to show you what to do…
20 ways to get a tech crunch
There’s no doubt about it, good personal trainers get good results. But if you’re working out at home you still need some help and advice. Try these apps, games and YouTube channels to help you define, measure and achieve fitness goals
Videos YouTube.com/befit A thousand videos of all lengths, intensities and desired results. Many of the videos are presented by celebrity trainers, such as The Biggest Loser’s Jillian Michaels, and require some previous knowledge of how to do the moves. With dozens of playlists focusing on abs, shoulders and more, it’s a useful resource.
YouTube.com/fitnessblender Husband and wife trainers Daniel and Kelli quit their jobs to concentrate full time on their online personal trainer business. The result is more than 600 videos (some longer than an hour) offering workouts of all difficulty levels for all muscle groups and types of equipment.
YouTube.com/popsugartvfit High-quality videos with as much emphasis on fun as just grinding out results. The sassy presenters and celebrity trainers present classes and routines for stress reduction as well as weight loss.
Best for beginners YouTube.com/XFitDaily From single exercise introductions (How to do a Burpee) all the way to complete celebrity-inspired sessions (Miley Cyrus leg workout anyone?) these are some of the more accessible and fun fitness videos we’ve found anywhere on YouTube. And there’s more than 600 to choose from.
YouTube.com/blogilates What happens when a fitness blogger discovers Pilates? Blogilates, obviously. Don’t worry if that means nothing to you. Just check out the fitness videos, many of which are set to top 40 tunes or club anthems, and start training like a beast so you look like a beauty.
YouTube.com/TaraStiles Easy to understand and simple to follow yoga classes from the New York studio which developed Strala Yoga. With classes designed for mornings and even for those that have not climbed out of bed yet this is a good introduction to yoga before braving more public classes.
YouTube.com/doonya These fun Bollywood workout dance classes will teach you some serious moves (many copied from famous films) as well as help you tone your tummy and behind.
YouTube.com/GymRa Ditch your old fitness DVDs and get regularly updated programmes on both fitness and yoga courses. Use the playlist function to make your own workouts, by adding several videos together and getting more from your sessions.
Best for guys YouTube.com/sixpackshortcuts Aimed at men who are looking to bulk up and get big muscles quick, this channel has dietary tips and a variety of ways to sculpt abs. Many of the 400+ videos require gym equipment but look around and you can find lots of home workout tips.
Best for yogis YouTube.com/yogawithadriene A custom-made yoga tutorial for absolute beginners that is an excellent place to learn the basics. The ‘30 Days of Yoga’ system guides you through the process of learning yoga poses, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises with a strong community feel.
Apps and games
Best for nutrition advice My Fitness Pal
Track the calorie content of what you eat, from a database of more than five million food items and brands, analyse the data and set yourself targets. Sync with a variety of gadgets. Free. Available on iOS and Android.
Best for celebrity trainers Nike+ Training Club
More than 100 training routines personalised to your body in your pocket at all times. Share photos of your workout, track your progress and get new challenges regularly. Possibly the best fitness app we’ve seen. Free. Available on iOS and Android.
This jogging app tells a story in your headphones about a zombie apocalypse. It all happens in time to your workout, so the slower you run, the closer they come to get you. An evening jog has never been as fun as this Kickstarter-funded app makes it. Free. Available on iOS and Android.
Snide (sorry, motivational) remarks from gym buddies and trainers can have a perversely positive effect. That’s why you need this sarcastic, critical app to spur you on when training alone. Set targets and let the evil robot brain behind the app push you to achieve them. US$2.99 (Dhs11). Available on iOS.
There’s hundreds of how-to guides, explanation videos, a results tracker and even nutrition advice. Best of all, once you have learned how to do the exercises, you can create your own routines and a targeted plan. Free. Available on iOS and Android.
Skimble Workout Trainer
There are thousands of suggested workouts on the free version of this app. The ability to play your own music over the top of the workouts is a nice touch and new trainers and sessions are added daily. Free. Available on iOS and Android.
With this app, you actually get paid if you achieve your fitness goals. Pledge a sum you are willing to pay if you do not meet your targets and let the app monitor your success. People who make the cut are rewarded in cash by those who don’t. Pain and gain. Free. Available on iOS and Android.
Wii Fit U
Nintendo’s Wii was the first mainstream console to be marketed as a fitness device. This latest version has more than 70 fitness games, which track player movement and load corresponding moves onto the screen. Requires Nintendo Wii console. Price?? Availability??
10 easy exercises to start getting results today
You’ve got the tunes, you’ve got the motivational app and you’ve even bought a small amount of equipment. Sooner or later you’re going to need to do some actual exercises. Try these ten exercises and build your own circuits and start getting results at home. All you need is your own body weight and a small amount of space
What: Burpee with press-up Why: Works muscle groups across entire body.
How: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and squat until you can put your hands on the floor. Kick back your feet into a raised press-up position. Lower your torso until your arms are bent at the elbow to a right angle then straighten arms again to lift body. Jump legs back to squat position, straighten body and leap into the air raising arms above head. Repeat for 60 seconds.
What: Planks tap Why: Strengthen core muscle groups.
How: From a lying face-down position, lift your body so you are supported by your forearms bent at the elbow (fists clenched and pointing forwards). Look downwards to the floor between your hands and keep your body in a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Maintaining an even distribution of weight, lightly tap right hand to your left shoulder before returning forearm to ground position. Tap left hand to right shoulder and repeat for the duration of the plank. Aim for five taps on each side in 60 seconds.
What: Spider lunge Why: Works upper body, arms, shoulders, groin and thigh muscles.
How: Start in press-up position with hands directly under shoulders. Bend your right knee and move leg around until you can place your foot flat next to your right hand. Maintain the position for a second and then return back to rest in the original position again. Repeat with left leg to left hand and continue to alternate feet for 60 seconds.
What: Walkout Why: Works arms, chest, core and thighs.
How: Stand upright with your legs shoulder width apart. Bend at the waist and put the palms of your hands flat on the floor in front of each foot. Move your arms along until you are in a raised push-up position and pause. Then move them back again until you are standing with hands in front of feet. Stand upright and raise arms above head before repeating for 60 seconds.
What: Traditional sit-up Why: Works abs and core muscles.
How: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. With your fingertips gently touching your temples and elbows pointed out to the side, tighten your abs and slowly lift your shoulders off the floor and move your chest towards your knees. Raise yourself to a complete sitting position and slowly move back down. Repeat for 60 seconds.
What: Squat jump Why: Works glutes, back and leg muscles.
How: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and arms loose by your sides before dropping into a squat position. You should feel your behind touch your ankle and your arms should raise in front of you as you move down. Explosively leap upwards, swinging your arms behind you, before landing into the starting position. See how many you can repeat in 60 seconds.
What: Single leg dead lift Why: Works leg muscles and core.
How: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, arms by your sides. Lift your left leg behind you while bending forwards at the waist. Maintain balance on your right leg until your body is a straight line from ankles to shoulder and parallel with the floor. Hold for a few seconds and then straighten to standing position. Repeat, alternating legs, for 60 seconds.
What: Y Squat Why: Works quads, hamstrings and glutes.
How: Stand upright with feet slightly wider than shoulder distance apart and arms raised above head to make a Y shape. Slowly lower body down at your hips and squat as far down as you can before your back starts to curve. Maintain the position for a few seconds before pushing back to starting position. Repeat for 60 seconds.
What: Glute bridge Why: Works glutes, core and neck.
How: Lie on your back looking upwards with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract abs and raise bottom and hips off the floor while thrusting groin upwards while keeping palms flat on the floor. With your body a straight line from knee to shoulder, hold the position firm before slowly lowering back down to the floor. Aim to do 10 repetitions in 60 seconds.
What: Side lunges Why: Works core muscles and thighs.
How: Stand upright with feet shoulder distance apart. Keeping your right foot firmly planted on the ground, step out to your left, bending your leg at that knee. Your knee and toe should be in line, right leg straight and you should be dipped as low as flexibility allows. Return to standing position and do the same with the opposite leg. Repeat for 60 seconds.