Until the early 2000s, the ideal figure was a petite, waifish creature. Back then, skinny was synonymous with beautiful and looking underfed was all the rage due to the Heroin Chic look made popular by supermodels like Kate Moss. Individuals felt pressured to exercise and underfeed themselves rigorously.
Because of this attitude, many developed eating disorders such as anorexia and other mental illnesses. But nowadays, the ideal body type is changing—as it should. Nothing is more beautiful than health.
Strong is the New Healthy:
Nowadays, people realize that fitness and health come in many shapes and sizes. This change in perception has made strong the new vogue. Therefore more people are prioritizing their fitness over an aesthetic that is not realistic for everyone.
Many people, such as stay-at-home parents, find home workouts better alternatives to regular gym visits. Furthermore, because of COVID-19, many countries are closing down communal places such as gyms. So, people are compelled to work out at home instead of the gym.
If you are in the same situation, then fortunately for you, we have some home workouts that can get the job done:
Add High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to Your Workout:
HIIT is a mix of high-intensity movements such as burpees mixed with recovery periods. Therefore it is the most time-efficient workout for those with limited time.
According to studies, HIIT burns 30% more calories than other types of exercises; it also increases the metabolism. HIIT is also helpful in losing fat. Research suggests that people who perform HIIT three times a week for 20 minutes can healthily lose 5 lbs in 12 weeks. Additionally, it can help you gain muscle as it activates more muscles than other exercises.
But what is a HIIT workout? There is no definite rule about HIIT. Any high-intensity routine like climber machines can be a part of your HIIT regimen. Just ensure that you have recovery periods of thirty seconds or less between bouts of cardio.
However, overdoing HIIT can be harmful. So dedicate a maximum of four days per week to HIIT and reserve the rest of the days for weight training or yoga. A workout that combines weight training and cardio is the best to build lean muscle and improve your metabolic rate.
Our ideal HIIT workout routine:
- Monday: 20 minutes on the Climber machine at high intensity with 30 seconds of a recovery period.
- Tuesday: Weight training for biceps.
- Wednesday: 5 minutes of jumping rope with 30 seconds of recovery.
- Thursday: Weight training for triceps.
- Friday: 20 minutes of treadmill interval sprints with 30 seconds of a recovery period. (an outdoor run works as well!)
- Saturday: Weight training for chest and core exercises.
- Sunday: Rest and recovery.
Note: Try and dedicate 30-50 minutes to each HIIT day and 15-30 minutes for your weight training days.
Functional exercises imitate movements you see in sports activities. These movements target lesser-used parts of the body for overall strength and mobility. Moreover, functional fitness training is best for core stability.
Those who suffer from sore joints or arthritis can use these exercises to improve their quality of life. Experts recommend that everyone should include them in their exercise regimen.
The main focus is on function. These compound movements target different muscle groups to mimic movement patterns.
Best compound exercises:
(Experts can include weights for a more intense workout.)
- Squats: They activate your quads, hips, hamstrings, and thighs.
- Push ups: Target your core, chest, shoulders, and hips with this exercise.
- Hammer curls: Seated hammer curls can give your quads, forearms, and biceps a workout.
If you plan to become an athlete or improve your muscular strength, then plyometrics might be the best for you. Furthermore, they can help you lose weight and tone muscles for an athletic body. Initially designed for athletes, plyometrics work by contracting muscles and then immediately lengthening them.
These exercises are beneficial for power and speed. Plyometrics can also help with endurance since they optimize the strength of your muscles to improve performance. They train you to run faster and jump higher. The best thing is that you need minimal equipment for this workout.
However, these exercises have a high risk of injury, as there is a lot of jumping involved. Moreover, it can exacerbate pain for people suffering from chronic issues such as arthritis.
Plyometrics combines cardio with strength training through jumping. But, beginners should practice these exercises without jumping.
Plyometric exercises to try:
- Squat jumps: Create a squat position by standing with your legs shoulder-width apart and lower your body. Jump up explosively while pressing up with your feet. Lift your hands in a star position as you jump. Repeat this exercise when you land.
- Burpees: Stand in an upright position and bend your knees in a squat position. Then place your hands on the floor and explosively push your feet back into a plank. Do one push up, and then bring your feet forward into a squat. Then jump up and lift your hands when you do so.
Exercise is vital for a leaner body, but also focus on your nutrition and diet. According to experts, a healthy body is 30% diet and 70% exercise. A high protein diet with good carbs can do wonders for your body.
And don’t forget to drink water! Keeping hydrated is extremely important, regardless if you work out or not. You also need to remember to cherish your body, loving your body at all of its stages is extremely important.
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*Photos by Nataliya Vaitkevich.