Try These Workouts at Home
Getting in shape is easier than you think. Five local trainers explain where to start.
Like many people do, I decided in January that I needed to up my exercise game. I’m slender and fairly fit and was a regular swimmer and enthusiastic participant in yoga and aerobics classes. But everything I was reading told me that as a woman over 30, I wasn’t doing the right kind of exercise; I needed to add strength training to the mix. So I came up with a plan: I’d lift weights twice a week, do yoga two other days and swim on Fridays. I joined a friend’s gym, and within two weeks I could see muscle definition in my arms and abs. It was working!
Then, during week 3, my ambition got the best of me and I injured myself lifting a 30-pound kettlebell above my head. A trip to the emergency room followed by weeks of pain medication and physical therapy kept me sidelined for three months.
Eventually I healed, but in terms of muscle mass, I was back at square one. That’s when my husband suggested that perhaps it was time to consult a personal trainer. I was pleased to find five in the area who offered useful tips for building myself back up and making strength training a part of my regular routine. Best of all, most of the workouts they recommended can be done at home (or on the fly) with minimal to no equipment. They had some advice on the nutrition front, too. Here’s what they said.
You know that old workout wisdom that advocates upper-body exercises one day, then a lower-body focus the next? That approach is inefficient and a waste of time, according to Ginny Wright, a certified personal trainer whose company offers total-body outdoor workouts in local parks. Instead, she says, try to do as many one-minute- or two-minute-long repetitions as you can of a variety of cardio and strength-building exercises, such as jump-roping, pushups, walking lunges, jumping jacks and burpees. (For starters, try three rounds each of five exercises.) “You should do something every day that elevates your heart rate,” Wright advises, rather than saving up for one big burst over the weekend. “A little bit of exercise [daily] is better than no exercise at all. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it should challenge you somehow.”
Nutrition Tip: Read the labels.
Don’t eat anything that has more than five ingredients, suggests Wright, who holds a health coaching certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. And avoid products with ingredients that a first- or second-grader can’t pronounce. The more ingredients, the less nutritionally valuable the food is. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store—that’s where you’ll find fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and fish—and avoid factory-processed packaged foods.
Standing Side Crunch