DIY workout—how to start an exercise program

Starting a fitness routine can be tough, but sticking to activities you enjoy will help keep you motivated.

Starting a fitness routine can be tough, but sticking to activities you enjoy will help keep you motivated.

You may think nothing of strapping on the ‘ole sneakers and heading out for a 5K in your spare time. Or maybe you think that changing position on the sofa is all the fitness routine you need. No matter if you love or hate working up a sweat, there is a DIY workout for you. So read on for how to start an exercise program or simply enliven your existing regimen. After all, any movement is better for your health than no movement.

Get moving

If you have been thinking of starting an exercise program, but haven’t found the motivation yet, now’s the time to get started. Alexander Heyne offered some tips in her October 18, 2013 post “3 Easy Steps to Get Yourself to Exercise … Even if you Hate it (+ Beginner’s Workouts)” for personalexcellence.com. Her advice? Do what intrinsically motivates you, i.e. “rather than forcing yourself to lift weights (if you truly hate it), work in the garden, take the dog for a longer walk, go for a hike, kayak, bike, or swim, or do some yard work.”

Second, while you think that rewarding or punishing yourself for adding more movement to your life may be a good motivator, in actuality it can harm your intrinsic motivation research has shown. Heyne advised, “the more you’re rewarding yourself or punishing yourself, the less likely you are to intrinsically “like” an activity and keep doing it without earning money or getting a spanking.”

DIY workout

If you are no stranger to the gym, but you want to mix it up a bit, consider this exercise program from Women’s Health magazine, “DIY Boot-Camp Workout” posted on April 20, 2010, that works just as well for men as it does for the ladies. Regular exercise enthusiasts should do each round, twice, with as many repetitions of each exercise as they can in 30 seconds. Start with a two to three minute warm-up jog. Rest for 10 seconds between each exercise.

Round 1

  • Squats—With feet hip-width apart, bend your knees to 90 degrees, keeping your chest upright. Return to standing.
  • Pushups—Place hands wider than shoulder-width apart and lower your chest to the floor.
  • Bicycle crunches—Lie on your back, hands clasped behind your neck. Bring your right elbow toward your left knee while straightening your right leg, raised six to eight inches above the floor. Alternate sides.
  • Jumping jacks—Raise your arms out to the sides and above your head; at the same time, jump up and spread your feet wide. Reverse and repeat.
  • Back extensions—Lie facedown with your arms at your sides and slowly raise your head, shoulders, and chest off the floor.

Rest 1 minute.

Round 2

  • Walking lunges—Step forward with your right leg and bend your knees to 90 degrees. Move forward as you alternate legs.
  • Squat jumps—Do a squat, then jump as high as you can while throwing your arms up into the air, landing softly right into another squat.
  • Close-grip pushup—Place hands side by side, thumbs touching, and lower your chest to the floor.
  • Standing high-knees—Jog in place, quickly alternating bringing your knees up toward your chest.
  • Mountain climbers—From a pushup position, quickly alternate bringing your knees toward your chest.

Stay motivated

Whether you are just starting out with an exercise program or if you are ready for a more advanced DIY workout, the trick is to stay motivated. Ben Radding wrote “Moderate Exercise Increases Motivation” for Men’s Fitness, which cites new research from the University of Copenhagen. That 13-week trial showed researchers that 30 minutes of daily exercise is just as good as a full hour of harder training when it comes to staying motivated.

Radding wrote, “If you’ve been feeling the brunt of brutal workouts or your motivation has become stagnant, it might be time to step off the gas a bit.” The proof is in the results. The study found that the men who exercised 30 minutes a day lost an average of two pounds more than those who worked out for 60 minutes every day. So less really can be more! 

Got your own favorite way to sweat it out? Share your tips in the comments below.

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