The photo you see above is our current workout space. So when we say, “you can do a lot with a little,” we really mean it. Our personal fitness goals right now are to live pain and discomfort-free, maintain healthy body weight, and feel and look “toned.” On a regular basis, we work toward those goals with 4×6 feet of space, a pair of dumbbells, our body weight, and about 60 minutes. And guess what? We feel great! If you have held back from pursuing better fitness because you feel that you don’t have enough space, time, or equipment we want to bring you our top 5 tips for doing a lot with a little of each of those.
How to do a lot with a little in fitness
Use versatile “equipment.”
When we moved, we shoved lots of our gear into a corner until we could deal with it. We kept out, though, a key piece of equipment that we use every day – a set of dumbbells. We love dumbbells because they are so simply applied to a variety of movements. You can use them to weight a squat (legs), push overhead (arms), carry in luggage holds (midline), and more. If you are going to invest a little bit into workout equipment, but need to keep your budget in check, we highly recommend purchasing a piece or set of equipment that can be used time again. Great areas of focus for your purchase are dumbbells, a kettlebell, a sandbag, or resistance bands.
If purchasing equipment isn’t in the cards right now, that’s okay too! There is a lot you can do with odd objects like a backpack or duffel bag stuffed with heavy books or panty items (Ziplocs of rice for the win) for building your conditioning. You would also be shocked at how effective a broomstick can be in stretching and increasing mobility. For years of our 20s when we couldn’t afford to join a gym or purchase equipment, we homemade everything from pull-ups bars, to medicine balls, and paralettes.
If you are working out with less space and moderate weights/resistance, your goal isn’t necessarily going to be massive gains in strength. Since each workout isn’t going to cause lots of muscle breakdown, it’s likely that you can increase the frequency of your workouts to more days per week.
When we lifted heavy as a part of our everyday routine or did very long cardio and gymnastics workouts, we took days of complete rest every 2-3 days. Since we were pushing our bodies to their limit more often, we needed to take the time for extra rest and recovery to avoid injury. What we have found now, though, is that with a more restrained intensity we feel the best when we move almost every day. We don’t deal with lots of muscle soreness and we certainly aren’t training into a red zone, so our bodies can sustain health through 6 days a week of exercise.
If you are just starting out, we recommend the majority of our clients move intentionally at least 3 days a week. Some of them include “active recovery” movement that they enjoy on their off-days like biking, swimming, and walking. As you progress and notice yourself becoming less sore and stiff, it’s like your body will be able to handle an extra day or two of moderate-intensity movement.
Do we love working out in our living room when it rains? No. Do we choose imperfect days over doing nothing? Yes. When it rains and we can’t work out on our deck, we ditch the weights and transition to bodyweight-only workouts inside of our house.
Utilizing this tip to accept imperfection is defeating the “only” mentality that holds you back from doing what you can. “I only have a few weights.” “My backyard is only so big.” “I only have 30 minutes.” Each of these mindsets can keep you from acknowledging that something done well and often in the pursuit of better health, is far better than waiting for the perfect time, place, or situation.
Vary your style.
Keeping your body and brain engaged is essential to consistency in any routine in your life. It is the habit of many to hop on the treadmill or hit start on the clock and work at the same movements for the same amount of time each day. No wonder it’s hard to stay motivated! Routine is the enemy. One way to keep both mind and body engaged in the fitness journey is to tackle different styles of workouts with varying movements, time domains, and intensities.
Our Shores’ clients find a myriad of workouts in their app each week. At times we prescribe them long, slow cardio workouts where they learn to control their breathing and heart rate over time. Other times they find quick bursts of 3-minute sets with built-in rest in between. We keep them guessing and, in turn, they are consistently challenged. It also gives us lots of new ways to celebrate them and their progress!
Varying your workout style is possible no matter where you workout, but it can be tricky to master. A coach is one of the best ways to be sure you are doing this well and to ensure that someone is keeping an eye on the bigger picture of your health. Talk with us about how we can create custom online workouts for you by using this link to book a free intro call.
Eat to support your good health.
Nutrition matters whether you are an athlete who works out for hours a day or a regular person just trying to be the best version of yourself. If you are holding back from pursuing better health because you don’t think you have the time, space, or equipment to exercise, you are missing a huge piece of the puzzle. Start with what you eat!
Consider these three questions and nutrition targets:
– Can I include vegetables at every meal? Try making 1/2 of every plate a veggie.
– Do I drink at least 64 ounces of water a day? Cut back on sugary drinks and alcohol for water or herbal teas.
– How can I limit eating food that comes from bags and boxes (processed foods)? 3 out of every 4 things you eat should be fresh from plants or animals, not factories.
If you focused on those three, completely approachable, aspects of healthy eating every day, you would be well on your way better fitness – and the size of your living room has nothing to do with it!
The fact is, committing to do a lot with a little is no small thing. It will set you up for so much success in fitness and mindset that will carry into every aspect of your life. It’s the most worthy challenge there is because the prize is a better quality of life for you!
Having a fitness coach to make custom workouts that fit your time, space, and equipment can be a great tool for learning how to make fitness work exactly where you are. We would love to help. Learn more here about what we offer and book a time to tell us your goals and make a plan.