Caroline Shannon-Karasik’s Afterglo

Get fit at home

Getting fit at home is nothing new. Hell, some of my favorite childhood memories include donning my fitness gear so I could join my mom for “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” with Richard Simmons or leg lifts with Jane Fonda.

And you wondered how I got this way … (winky face)

But the truth is, programs like P90X and Insanity seem to have put a new face on the trend of sweating it out in your living room. I don’t know about you, but I can’t visit Facebook these days without seeing a friend or acquaintance who has dropped pounds and toned up with one of these wildly popular plans.

The perk, of course, of these plans is the user doesn’t have to leave home, making it the perfect plan for parents with little ones or those who can’t afford a pricey gym membership. Plus, workouts are done on your own schedule, making it easier for busy peeps to make time for an exercise session.

For those who prefer more traditional methods of working out (i.e. treadmill, free weights, etc.), there are options for you, too.

“You do not need a treadmill, thousands of dollars of equipment or stacks of weights to get a great workout,” said Joe Vennare, co-founder of “Applying the minimalist approach, you can transform a spare bedroom, basement or garage into a space that helps ensure you will never miss a workout.”

That convenience, said Kelly Naylor, owner of designFITNESS, is essential to consider in “today’s busy world.”

“[With a home gym] you can work out before work, after work, in the middle of the night or when the kids are taking a nap,” he said. “While you might not have the social interaction you get at the gym, you can workout with your family, encouraging an active lifestyle and offering an accountability that keeps everyone on track.”

One thing all experts agree on, however, is that no matter the venue – home, gym or yoga studio – it can be tough to make any workout stick.

“Motivation is the number one reason home workouts fail,” said Amie Hoff, co-founder of FitKit, a portable case that requires exercise tools made to be used at home, in a dorm or while traveling. “It is really difficult to get moving when there is no one to be accountable for or there to be your cheerleader.”

Ashley Karr, M.S., a wellness coach in Iowa City, Iowa, said it also important to avoid distractions that come with working out at home, like laundry, vacuuming and paying bills, all of which can “chip away at your exercise time.”

“The best way to overcome all of these obstacles is to let it be known to yourself, your family, your phone and your household responsibilities that you are setting certain days, dates and times aside for home workouts and nothing short of a natural disaster will keep you from accomplishing your goal,” Karr said.

Sound dramatic? Think again. In fact, for Jenn Nims, a certified personal trainer in Ventura, Calif., even a recent family trip across the country in an RV couldn’t distract her from her workout goals.

“My home gym fits in a Rubbermaid container,” said Nims, who is also a fitness blogger. “I have a few kettlebells, a suspension trainer and a big, heavy rope that I loop around trees for [arm exercises]. It’s rather amazing the number of things I can do with the amount of equipment I brought with me. It’s never boring.”

That is, of course, unless one considers it a total drag to work out in the snow in Indiana, Yosemite National Park or Carlsbad Caverns National Park – just a few of the locations where Nims has gotten her sweat on. And when she’s in a tight squeeze (pun completely intended), Nims said she will do a simple routine of push ups, squats, planks and more bodyweight-focused exercises in the RV.

“Of course, another challenge is one that everyone has – time,” Nims said of the adventure, which also included her husband and two kids. “We have school, work, driving and places to visit. It can be tempting to skip a workout, and I do from time to time.”

For those who aren’t on an RV adventure, Naylor said if you have a bit of money to invest, then a great starting point is choosing one piece of cardio equipment – like a treadmill or elliptical machine – that will suit your needs.

“Invest in a piece of cardio equipment that will motivate you to workout even on the days you don’t want to,” he said.

When spending money is not an option, then your body weight is a tried-and-true tool you already own and it’s sometimes all you need to break a sweat. A few of Naylor’s favorite exercises include push ups, crunches, leg lifts and planks.

Another great reason to try a home workout? Privacy.

“The thought of trying out new and different exercises in front of strangers in a gym is enough to keep anyone stuck in a rut,” he said. “When you are at home, you have enough privacy to test out and master new moves. You can create any type of workout you like.”

That’s right, folks – another perk of working out at home? You can say goodbye to those awkward locker room moments.

Caroline Shannon-Karasik is the upcoming author of a gluten-free healthy lifestyle book, set to be released in January 2014. She is the author of the popular gluten-free blog, and is currently training to become a certified health coach. Her writing and recipe development has been featured in several publications, including, VegNews, Kiwi and REDBOOK magazines. Caroline lives with her husband Dan and four adopted cats in Pittsburgh, Penn. Caroline can be reached at

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