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T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies
5 Tips for Making Your At-Home Workout Fun and Sustainable

An at-home workout routine can keep you on track with your fitness goals when you can’t get to the gym. Here’s how to exercise at home with minimal equipment — or no equipment at all — and see great results.

Make Space and Time for Your Home Fitness Routine

Distraction and lack of time are two of the biggest barriers to working out at home. Getting them both out of the way will set you up for success as you tackle your routine.

Pick a time when interruptions will be at a minimum. If that means getting up a little earlier every day, do it! Block the time out on your calendar so that nothing else gets booked when you’re supposed to be working out.

Let your family and friends know you’ll be unavailable during your designated exercise time. Turn off the notifications on your phone, or put it away entirely if you don’t need it for your routine. Social media and text messages can wait!

Find Your (Online) Fitness Trainer

Putting together an at-home exercise plan is easier than ever with all the workout options available online. Check out these sources for everything from instructional videos for individual exercises to full training programs:

  • YouTube fitness channels
  • Subscription streaming sites
  • Free and paid fitness apps
  • Online training programs
  • Live streams from local gyms or clubs

Choose a training type that aligns with your personal fitness goals. A good program will challenge you to keep improving over time, either by increasing reps, adding more weight, or progressing to harder exercises.

Some trainers and programs also have Facebook groups you can join for accountability and encouragement. Being in a community of people doing the same workouts gives you extra motivation to keep up with your routine outside of a gym.

Get Some Basic Home Workout Equipment (or Improvise)

Working out at home doesn’t require an elaborate setup. You can create a home gym using simple equipment like:

  • A workout mat or padded gym flooring
  • Adjustable dumbbells
  • Resistance bands
  • Kettlebells
  • A jump rope
  • A stability ball

Don’t have the budget for workout equipment? Household objects do the job just as well. Gallon jugs of water, smaller water bottles, and sacks of flour can stand in for dumbbells. Lids from food storage containers make great sliders for abdominal and stability workouts. And if you’re looking for a good cardio burn, find a staircase and start running!

Get going with what you have on hand and what you can afford. Build out your equipment collection as you get stronger and are ready to tackle harder workouts.

Try a Bodyweight Workout Plan

Stuck without equipment? You can improve strength, endurance, and cardiorespiratory capacity using your body as your gym.[1] Bodyweight training puts the focus on form, power, and balance to work muscles in a different way.

There are plenty of bodyweight exercises to experiment with. You might be surprised at how challenging a combination of calisthenics, plyometrics, cardio, and strength moves can be!

Whether or not you choose to use equipment for your workouts, proper form is critical. You can’t get the most out of exercises performed incorrectly, and some mistakes in form can result in serious injuries. Work through unfamiliar moves with just body weight at first. Add extra weight only when you can do exercises with proper form through a full range of motion.

Don’t Neglect Your Diet

Support your home workouts with a healthy diet plan. Skip the sugary protein bars and shake mixes with ingredient labels longer than your arm, and fuel your routine with unprocessed plant foods. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration and support optimal energy levels.[2]

A plant-based diet can be tailored for weight loss, body recomposition, or mass gain depending on your goals.[3] To ensure you get the right nutrients for the results you want:

  • Calculate your caloric needs based on activity level
  • Determine an appropriate balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats for your training type
  • Plan meals and snacks in advance so that it’s easier to hit your daily goals

Use these tips to put together a home exercise routine suitable for your schedule and fitness level. If a workout isn’t enjoyable or challenging, try something else! Exercise is a key player in your overall health, so picking something you can stick with will give you the best long-term results for fitness and well-being.


  1. Lipecki, Krzysztof. “The Effect of 10-Week Bodyweight Training on Body Composition and Physical Fitness in Young Males.” Journal of Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences, September 2018.
  2. Winderl, Amy Marturana. “This Is How Being Dehydrated Impacts Your Workouts.” SELF.
  3. Tresize, Derek. “How to Build Muscle Mass on a Plant-Based Diet.” Breaking Muscle. June 24, 2018.

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