After months of gym closures and restrictions throughout the country, chances are you’re used to working out at home by now. You’re also probably downright sick of it.
For many of us, our living spaces are far from ideal workout spaces—but the reality is that home workouts likely aren’t going anywhere soon.
Luckily, with a few simple tweaks, you can supercharge your home workouts to be more enjoyable—and more effective. Here’s how.
1. Carve out a designated workout space
Even in the smallest of spaces (like city apartments), it’s important to designate a specific space as your home fitness area. You don’t have to go wild. A nice towel lined with your weights and resistance bands in the corner of your bedroom will do.
Doing this will mentally psych you up for your workout. “The best thing you can do is make your space functional and convenient,” says trainer Kekua Kobashigawa, C.P.T. “If you feel cramped or it’s a hassle to bring equipment out or move furniture, you’re less likely to work out.”
Remember: A little goes a long way in creating a workout nook you love. Even just adding an aromatherapy diffuser or a vision board with inspirational quotes to your home fitness “studio” can make you feel more excited to limber up.
2. Brighten things up
Time to throw open those blinds. “One of the best ways to enjoy working out at home is to light up the room,” says physical therapist Tim Fraticelli, D.P.T. In fact, one study from Psychological Medicine found that training in a room with bright light resulted in “greater relief from atypical depressive symptoms and more vitality than in ordinary room light.”
“Open up the shades and consider adding a brighter light to your room if you’re looking to improve your mood while working out,” he says. Or, if you can, work out in your yard or on a balcony to get fresh air and more natural light.
3. Pump up the jams
Whether you’re going for a spin on your home bike or doing an at-home strength training session, high-energy music can make all the difference. “Music can turn an unmotivated mood into a workout-crushing-mood in no time,” Carrie A Groff, C.P.T., a trainer with ClassPass. “When you hear a song that gets your head bobbing, it makes you want to push for one more rep. It takes your mind off of the muscle burn, too.”
The next time you’re tempted to bail on that sweat, turn on one of the many workout playlists on an app like Spotify and you’ll feel more motivated in a matter of minutes.
4. Experiment with your daily routine
This advice proves pivotal when it comes to integrating your fitness life into your personal abode. “I love my morning routine, which includes my workout, morning coffee, and preparing myself for the day,” notes Groff. “I look forward to it every day.”
Read More: 5 Health Gurus Share Their Morning Routines
For you, this ritual may be an afternoon walk followed by a Yoga with Kassandra session on YouTube. Or maybe it’s a morning protein shake, followed by reading the newspaper and a weights circuit in your living room. Whatever it is, make your routine a habit and you’ll be less likely to skip working out—and more likely to come to look forward to it as a way to recharge and reset during harried times.
5. Keep your sweats short and sweet
If you find yourself doing the same exercises every day, scrolling through Instagram while working out, or feeling intimidated by the thought of hour-long sessions, keep your workouts short and sweet.
“Try to mix up your routine by doing three to four exercises as a circuit,” he suggests. His go-to sequence: 20 squats in a minute, followed by 15 lunges the next minute, 15 pushups during the third minute, and 15 sit-ups in the fourth. “Repeat this sequence four or five times for 20 minutes of consistent high-intensity exercise,” he says. This way, you reap the benefits in less time and keep your head in the game, too.
6. Wear workout clothes you love
You may not be locking eyes with fellow gym-goers, but putting on apparel that you love can help fuel your workout. “I know you’re probably not trying to impress people while you’re working out at home, but didn’t you love putting on a workout outfit that made you feel great before heading to the gym?” asks Zumba instructor Audrey Del Prete, C.G.F.I., C.H.W.C. “If it makes you feel good, then do it! Every little bit of motivation helps.”
Saving money on a gym membership right now? Put some of that extra green towards a new pair of yoga pants or workout shorts you’ve been eyeing.
7. Don’t multitask
While you’re sweating at home, the temptation to tackle your day’s to-do list is very real. “Why not cook dinner in between circuits or finish your squat set as you fold laundry? What about push-ups while on a conference call? No. Maintain your focus and approach your workout as you would at the gym,” Del Prete says.
“The best thing about going to a gym is that it is not home, where there are a million distractions, like kids and pets running around,” she says. So, your goal: Eliminate distractions as much as possible come workout time by leaving your cell phone in another room and letting family members or roommates know when you’ll be exercising.
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