Thousands of SlimQuick users just like you are on an exciting weight loss journey! We’re here to support you along the way, and are thrilled to answer all of the many questions we get from users through email, the message boards, personal messaging and Facebook – keep them coming! All questions are important, so we’ve decided to feature some of the most frequently asked questions that we get every month. We’re all in this together, and if you’ve been wondering about particular weight loss issues, the odds are that several other women just like you have been wondering about the same ones. We’re here for you, and want to do everything we can to make sure that you succeed on your weight loss journey. Always feel free to add any more questions or concerns you have in the Comments section below.
Wishing you health & happiness,
Your SlimQuick Coach
Question: I really want to lose weight and exercise, but my days are so busy and I don’t live close to a gym. Also, honestly I feel so insecure about how big I’ve gotten that I wouldn’t feel comfortable working out in front of other people, not yet anyway. I don’t have much to spend on equipment, so I want to make sure I’m buying the right stuff that will help me actually lose weight before I invest in anything. Could you please give me some pointers about how to go about exercising in my house to lose a lot of weight?
The SlimQuick Coach: A lot of people feel the way you do about the gym. Either because it’s too expensive, too time consuming (travel time is hard to come by on an already tight schedule), a self-conscious experience or several other reasons, working out at the gym just isn’t the best option for many women. And there’s nothing wrong with that. While going to the gym has become synonymous with health and fitness, it’s definitely NOT the only way to get effective, fat-blasting exercise into your life that torches pounds, trims your physique and strengthens your body. The important thing is that you find the self-discipline and motivation within yourself to exercise regularly in a setting that you are comfortable in, and that you make sure it works for you and your weight loss goals. There are so many workout options out there that require no equipment or minimal equipment, all of which will help you lose weight without ever having to step foot into a gym. I’m going to tell you how to go about exercising at home to burn the most calories, how to avoid hitting plateaus in your weight loss results, which smart, low-cost equipment makes the most sense to spend your money on, and which exercises you can easily do at home to blast the most fat in the quickest amount of time.
Lose Weight Without the Gym
For exercise to be effective at burning calories and melting pounds, it has to:
1) Get your heart rate up
2) Challenge your muscles to work hard against resistance
Without equipment or a lot of space in your home to work with, your best bet at achieving these two goals is by doing functional exercises. Functional exercises are full body exercises that mimic everyday patterns of movement. They use more energy, involve more muscle groups, and challenge your balance, flexibility, and other aspects that help you burn more calories and move better in everyday life, while also helping you avoid common injuries. I’ll give you some powerful functional exercise suggestions below.
Avoid Weight Loss Plateaus
At first, your own body weight will provide enough of a challenge to get your heart pumping and your muscles working. But repeating the same exercises in the same ways over and over again will eventually throw you up against a weight loss road block. You have to keep changing the exercises you’re doing and increasing the challenge level of your home routine in order to keep seeing your weight loss results moving in the direction you want them to. After 3 to 4 weeks of repeating a weekly exercise routines regularly, it’s time to change things up and increase the challenge level
. Ways to increase the challenge level of a functional exercise at home include:
1. Add a Jump. For example, you can turn your squats into jump squats. When you rise up from your lunge, jump up off the ground instead, and lunge again once you land. Try doing a set of burpees in place of your regular set of push-ups. Jumping forces your core muscles (tummy and back muscles) to turn on for balance, and your leg muscles to exert extra power to lift you off the ground. Jumping also gets your heart rate up and makes an ordinary exercise a lot trickier. Jumping jacks or skipping rope are simple exercises with a lot of power. You can use these sorts of jumping exercises as warm ups before a workout, or can even make them into full-blown, calorie-torching cardio sessions. Focus on making each jump intense, powerful, and throw in additional challenges like alternating jumping legs, including big arm movements, holding light weights when you jump, etc.
2. Create an unstable surface. You can do this by performing an exercise on one leg (make sure you alternate legs), or by placing one foot onto a low step, or a part of your body on a stability ball. Performing an exercise on an unstable surface forces your core muscles to work extra hard to compensate and keep you from falling.
3. Slow things down or speed things up. Simply by changing the pacing of an exercise – for example, holding the most difficult part of the exercise for longer, or lowering and lifting a weight more slowly, or speeding up the entire sequence of a movement – forces your body to engage different muscles into the exact same exercise pattern, providing a brand new challenge.
4. Increase the resistance your body has to work against. You can do this by holding and lifting weights with different parts of your body in order to work out different muscle groups.. Place a stability ball under your chest and perform the movement with only your upper body lifting and lowering.
Low-Cost Weight Loss Purchases with High Returns You don’t have to invest big money into exercise equipment in order to lose weight and hit your goals. A lot of expensive pieces of exercise equipment offer all sorts of bells and whistles like heart rate monitors, calorie burning trackers and other enticing technology. But the most important thing for weight loss is that you have a few items available that can vary the resistance – either by adding weight, or by creating an unstable surface – that you are working against. Adding resistance improves your muscle and bone tissue while speeding up your metabolism, toning your body and keeping the pounds melting away. You can create a fully effective home gym with just a few low-cost items that are versatile and easy to store away in a small space.
Good home exercise investments include:
1. Three or 4 sets of dumb-bells or kettle bells, of increasing weight.
2. A barbell with 2 or 3 sets of plates.
3. A stability ball
4. A chin-up bar
5. A skipping rope with weighted handles
Fat-Blasting Functional Exercises You Can Do at Home to Lose Weight Here’s a list of some great, full-body exercises that you can start with. These functional exercises will challenge muscles throughout your entire body while getting your heart rate up, and you can do them at home with minimal equipment or space at your disposal.
1. Squats. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, contracting your abdominal muscles. Lower your hips back, like you are sitting back in a chair, bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold this seated position for 3 slow counts, making sure that your knees don’t stick out past your knees and that your chest stays up. Then rise back to standing, squeezing your behind muscles as you straighten up. Repeat 15 – 30 times for 1 set. To make it more challenging: 1. Jump up between each squat. 2. Hold a weight in each hand as you squat. 3. Lower and rise into each squat more slowly, and hold the lowest part of your squat for 5 – 10 slow counts.
2. Stationary Plank Crawls. Get into a push-up position, on the pads of your toes and the palms of your hands, with your legs straight and your elbows almost straight. Contract your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button in towards your spine, making sure your back creates a straight incline from your neck down to your heels. Holding this position, without tilting, bring your right knee up towards your chest, and then place it back on the floor in the starting position. Repeat with your left knee. Repeat this 10 – 20 times for 1 set, continuing to alternate legs. To make it more challenging: 1. Turn it into a cross-body stationary plank crawl: when you raise your right knee, bring it up towards your left shoulder; when you raise your left knee, bring it up towards your right shoulder. 2. Perform a push-up between each knee raise. 3. Perform the plank crawl with your elbows resting on a stability ball.
3. Walking Lunges. Stand tall, abdominals contracted, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a big step forward with your right foot, and lower your left knee towards the floor. The bend in your right knee and left knee should each be about 90 degrees, and your right knee should not stick out past your toes. Hold the lunge for 3 slow counts, than rise up by straightening your knees, step forward with your left leg and lunge down again. Repeat 20 – 40 lunging steps for 1 set. To make it more challenging: 1. Hold a weight in each hand as you lunge. 2. When you rise up from each lunge, jump up and switch legs in the air, and perform a lunge with the opposite leg when you land. 3. Lower and rise from each lunge more slowly, and hold the lowest part of your lunge for 5 – 10 slow counts.
4. Tricep dips. Sit on a secure bench or wide chair, with the palms of each hand resting at your sides, fingers facing forward and curled over the edge of the bench. Extend your legs in front of you and point your toes up to the ceiling, balancing your weight between the palms of your hands and the heels of your feet. Slide your bum forward, off the edge of the bench, and straighten your arms. Then lower your bum towards the floor by bending your elbows, until your forearms are parallel with the floor. Then lift back up by extending your arms again. Repeat 10 – 20 times for 1 set. To make it more challenging: 1. Stack the foot of one leg onto the toes of your other leg when you perform the dips (alternate legs after each set). 2. Place the heels of both feet up on a low step while you perform the dips. 3. Challenge your triceps differently by doing chin-ups on a chin-up bar.
5. Bicycle crunches. Lie on your back with your knees bent and pointing up to the ceiling. Open your elbows and place each hand by the side of your head, beside each ear. Contract your abdominals and exhale as you lift one foot off the floor. Then lift your other foot off the floor. Exhale and contract your tummy muscles by pulling your belly button towards your spine. As you do this, curl your upper back slightly off the floor. Twist the right side of your ribcage towards your left hip, bringing your right elbow towards your left knee. Then twist the left side of your ribcage towards your right hip, bringing your left elbow towards your right knee. Continue to alternate sides, 20 to 30 times for 1 set. To make it more challenging: when twisting towards your right knee, extend your left leg at the same time; then, when twisting towards your left knee, extend your right leg at the same time; continue to bicycle your legs each time you twist.
6. Hip Bridges. Lie on your back. Bend your knees so that they are pointing up at the ceiling, lay your arms straight by your sides, and place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Contract your abdominal muscles, squeeze your bum muscles and push down into the heels of your feet as you lift your hips up off the floor and create a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold this position for 3 slow counts, and then lower your hips back to the floor. Repeat 20 to 30 times for 1 set. To make it more challenging: 1. Lift your hips more slowly, hold the lift for 5 to 10 slow counts as you squeeze your bum muscles, and lower your hips back to the floor slowly. 2. Balance a weighted plate across your hips as you perform your bridges. 3. Place the heels of your feet up on a stability ball, with your knees at a 90 degree angle, as you perform your hip bridges.
7. Superman Back Extensions. Lie on your stomach, with your arms stretched out straight in front of you and your legs extended back behind you. Inhale. As you exhale, gently raise your upper body and your legs off the floor, for 3 slow counts. Then gently lower down. Repeat 5 to 10 times for 1 set. To make it more challenging: 1. When you “fly”, raise only your right arm and left leg; then lower, and raise again with your left arm and right leg; continue to alternate. 2. Place a stability ball under your chest and perform the movement with only your upper body lifting and lowering. 3. Place your hands flat on the floor and rest your upper legs on a stability ball; perform the movement with just your legs lifting and lowering.