At-home workouts come with their own unique set of challenges. Try these tips to become a pro at working out at home, plus how to stay motivated when no one's watching.

March 26, 2014

Much like breaking a sweat at the gym, getting a solid workout at home can be a breeze some days and feel impossible on others. But at-home workouts come with their own unique set of challenges, like the temptation to dig into your mile-long DVR queue instead. Try these tips to become a pro at working out at home, plus how to stay motivated when no one's watching.

1. Create a designated fitness space
Having your own mini "gym" is such a great way to feel like you're in control of your workouts. I love to keep a basket with resistance bands, weights, and my magic circle in the same area as my rolled-up yoga mat and foam roller. I leave them all in the room where the computer is that I use to play workout DVDs—and the bookshelf that stores my DVDs is in the same room. See a pattern here? If everything is organized and in one place it's more efficient and makes working out sound like less of a chore. I never have to scramble to find something I need and I can get going right away.

2. Have a few go-to workouts memorized
Commit some of your favorite routines from magazines or fitness web sites to memory. I know a few of my favorite strength workouts by heart and I can rely on them every time. Once a month find some new workouts to add to the line-up. It's good cross training for your brain too! I can always do my own yoga or Pilates practice when I have an hour to move my body. I also love a set form of yoga called Ashtanga that is the same sequence of poses each time. If I am lacking inspiration, I often do the Ashtanga workout so I don't have to think too much. The classic Pilates mat workout is another great option for me to do since I know the sequence.

3. Design a great DVD library
DVDs are less expensive than classes at a gym or a studio and once you buy one it's yours forever. Go on Amazon.com to read reviews or ask friends to recommend some of their favorite workout DVDs. You can even swap titles with friends to try out new ones. Invest in DVDs with workouts of all different lengths so you have the option to do a 20-, 30-, 45-, or  60-minute routine depending on the time you have.

4. Stream online workouts
Now you can stream full-length workouts online at the drop of a hat—just search "streaming workouts" for a sampling of sites that offer them. It's a great way to have a ton of variety and to control when and how you work out. You can stream a class almost anywhere so it makes it a good option for traveling. Vidergize is a cool new streaming site like the Netflix of workouts. There is no monthly fee and you can do a workout for as little as a dollar.

5. Download some apps
An app is a great way to get a workout in and you can download it right on to your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. One of my clients Savannah Guthrie from The Today Show loves my app because she can do a quick workout first thing at 3am before she has to go to work. When she travels she knows she has me with her as well! Go to the iTunes store or do a search for workout apps and download a a few to your portable device. Even if you just have 10 minutes (which is often all I have with an 8-month-old baby!) it's better than nothing.

Kristin McGee is a leading yoga and Pilates instructor and healthy lifestyle expert based in New York City. She is an ACE certified personal trainer who regularly trains celebrity clients in New York and Los Angeles. She serves as Health’s contributing fitness editor and is frequently seen on national TV. Her latest in a large collection of fitness DVDs is YogaSlim. Follow her on Twitter @KristinMcGee and like her page on Facebook.

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