How to get fit this winter without leaving the house

Honestly, who can be bothered going to the gym?

It’s a hassle lugging around your gym bag, driving or catching public transport to and from, and getting motivated to work out in front of complete strangers.

“I always say that summer bodies are made in winter!”

If you’re unlucky enough to be somewhere hard hit by winter, it’s even harder to work up the enthusiasm.

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But Marc Dellapia, owner of the Bodystyling Fitness website and an Adelaide-based personal trainer with 12 years’ experience, says winter workouts are even more important than usual.

“You’re more likely to stay at home, eat ‘comfort food’ and curl up next to the fire than exercise. The result is your metabolism – your body’s ‘internal engine’ – slows down and you store fat,” he says.

“Colder weather and darker days wreak havoc on motivation, if you let it.”

Not only can cold weather exercise help stave off those extra kilos, but it can also lift your spirits and improve that foul, rain-induced mood.

“You get an almost immediate mood boost due to the endorphins that are flooding your body which spark that ‘runner’s high’. You feel energised and mentally switched on,” Mr Dellapia says.

Cold or not, do we really have to leave home to get in a workout?

Nope, says celebrity personal trainer Michelle Bridges, co-founder of the 12 Week Body Transformation.

You can absolutely keep active at home. Whether you want to set up a home gym or just exercise in your living room, there are a heap of options for home workout routines,” Ms Bridges says.

“Plus, I always say that summer bodies are made in winter!”

Well, you heard the woman. Here are our suggestions for how to get moving while staying warm.

Firstly, get warm

You’re probably huddled by the heater anyway, but Michelle Bridges says it is especially important to warm up during colder weather “to get the blood pumping and your muscles ready for action.”

Work out your whole body

However you choose to work out at home, make sure your whole body is involved.

“Choose full body exercises, such as burpees, or choose exercises that each target a major body part, and that get you up and down off the floor. This makes you work harder, and keeps your heart rate up,” Ms Bridges says.

Her suggested workout plan follows the AMRAP principle – As Many Reps As Possible. You don’t necessarily have to lift a heap of heavy weights, but you should push yourself to the limit.

For example, in 20 minutes do as many rounds of your preferred exercise as you can.

The free options

Marc Dellapia says there are a heap of bodyweight exercises you can do at home “that cost nothing”.

Here are a few suggestions.

1. Pushups: keep your back straight and extend those armsPush it up this winter. Source: Shutterstock.

2. Tricep dips: use a chair or the edge of the couch

3. Squats and lunges: here’s how to combine them

Rhian Allen, founder of health and fitness website Healthy Mummy, says these two exercises are a powerful combo.

“Squats and lunges are great as they work big muscle groups such as your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. These exercises are great for building muscles which help you burn more fat while you’re not working out,” Ms Allen says.

4. Ice skaters: without the cold!

Worthwhile investments

If you’re willing to splurge on your winter body, you might consider these options.

1. Skipping rope: spend a few dollars, clear some space and jump awayLet's hope you have high ceilings. Source: Shutterstock.

“To get your heart rate up, try skipping or high-knee running on the spot,” Michelle Bridges recommends.

2. Dumbbells: handy for a whole variety of arm, shoulder and chest workoutsDumbbells are versatile and relatively cheap. Source: Shutterstock

3. Barbell: good for bench press, deadlifts, squats and many other home exercisesDeadlifts from the comfort of home. Source: Shutterstock.


Interested in getting started? Read Ditch the Gym: Get Fit For Free by Scott Tudge. Buy it here.
ditch-the-gym-get-fit-for-free-Ditch the Gym: Get Fit For Free is a comprehensive home exercise guide for all ages and abilities, featuring a complete directory of step-by-step exercises and routines anyone can do at home to work on strength, flexibility and fitness. You will find expert advice on designing your own fitness plans, specifically tailored to what you want to achieve, and with all the information you need to create your own workout programme that matches your own ability from the outset.
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