By my count, I’ve attempted 25 different at-home workout programs, not including the entire Tae Bo series that started my fitness journey. I’m not sure if this makes me an “expert” or not, but I do have experience with home workouts.
I’ve been a member of several gyms over the years and even worked at one as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. But even during that time, when I had all the equipment I could ever want at my fingertips, I continued to work out at home.
Because of these three factors:
Time: Home workouts save it. A lot of it. They’re there when you want them, on your time and your schedule. You aren’t reliant on your favorite class or instructor or trainer being available when you are. There’s no lost time driving to or getting to the gym early to claim your spot in class or favorite cardio machine.
Efficiency: At the gym, most group fitness classes are an hour. Most personal training sessions are an hour. And if you attempt your do your own program, it’s probably an hour. Home workout experts have designed programs that give you the most bang for your buck in about 30 minutes. Some are faster. But, if you want to do an hour workout, you can choose that, too.
Cleanliness: Shared equipment. Shared locker rooms. Shared floors. Shared mats. Shared showers. You get the picture. I’d rather use my own weights, own mats, and own shower. If it’s dirty or sweaty, at least I know it’s my dirt and sweat (or cat hair!).
Just as importantly, as an introvert this setting just suits me better. I can focus and not worry about the casual gym chatter. It’s just me.
I haven’t always picked winners at home though. Some I’ve loved and some… well… not so much. I’ve made it through all 90 days with some programs (and repeated the series several times), while others got a single day’s attention.
So given my years of experience with home workouts, I thought I’d share my personal favorites. These are my preferences for my body. You might love the dance workouts that don’t motivate me past day one!
If you have any known injuries, limitations or concerns at all, consult your physician or a personal trainer before doing programs on your own (I may have read a few too many disclaimers at the start of all those videos!).
Here are my top 5 picks for at-home workout programs:
P90X3: Great all-around workout. It includes cardio, strength training, plyometrics, yoga, pilates, and more. The variety keeps your body guessing and changing for 90 days. At 30 minutes a day, it’s super efficient, too. Warning: you’ll either love or hate Tony.
LesMills Combat: I’m partial to martial arts, so this was a winner for me (and it’s my husband’s #1 pick). It is my top pick for music. You’ll recognize all the familiar tunes. You can choose between a 30 minute or 55 minute option. And all workouts are streamed from Les Mills On Demand, making them portable as well.
TurboFire: HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts are the bomb! The super quick cardio days (15 min), combined with the upbeat music and martial arts inspired choreography, are just plain fun. Only downside? The longer 55 minute days.
21 Day Fix: These 30 minute workouts are super deceiving. The basic cardio circuits will have your buns, thighs, and everything else sculpted and on fire! Strength and cardio training is combined for maximum efficiency.
CXWorx: Another Les Mills winner! This core workout utilizes your body weight, bands, and light weights and will have your abs and everything else screaming by the end of the 30 minutes. Don’t do another boring sit-up! Do this instead.
Three of these picks are Beachbody programs (P90X3, TurboFire, and 21 Day Fix) and two are Les Mills (Combat and CXWorx).
Both companies continue to produce phenomenal workouts backed by science and research in the fitness field. Both companies offer on-demand workout options that can be streamed instead of fumbling with a DVD.
These programs are ones that have helped me reach and maintain the health goals I set for myself. Your personal selection should be based on your own goals and there may be other options more suitable for you.
Changing your workout routine every 2-3 months is important, both physically and emotionally.
Muscle confusion is the key to body transformation. Our body, and mind, needs variety. Without it, your workout will have diminishing returns. Investing valuable time on the treadmill or elliptical machine day after day, or taking the same classes at the gym, will not change your body and will not help you lose weight.
Boredom = I-don’t-wanna-do-it-anymore. So you don’t.
Mix it up. Invest in you. And invest wisely.
It’s the only body you’ve got.