How to Make Working Out at Home Fun (And Cheap)

How you can make working out at home fun has to start with a quick story.

A close friend bought a pretty expensive weight machine set for the family. I mean $$REALLY$$ expensive.

When I came over the first time after it was set up, it dominated the family room. It had all the cables, weights, seats and handles you’d see in a hotel gym. It was beautiful.

But looks can be deceiving.

As the days went by my friend commented how the equipment was a huge failure. What Mark didn’t realize is that the equipment doesn’t always define the variety his family sought. Click on the box below to gain free access to a list of over 100 exercises (FULL OF VARIETY!) we created just for you.

“We thought that buying an expensive set up would guarantee our involvement, but the variety of workouts we expected just wasn’t there. It stopped being fun.”

Quick question: how many pieces of workout equipment are you currently using to hang your clothes from? That should be the last bullet point on every treadmill listed on Amazon:

  • Burns calories
  • Beats going to the gym
  • 400 horsepower motor
  • Doubles as a clothes rack!

How to Make Working Out at Home Fun treadmill

Today I’m going to show you the amazing amount of variety that the right equipment provides and how you can make working out at home fun again, without breaking the bank.

Step 1: Just A Few Pieces of Equipment Make Working Out at Home Fun

We recommend starting with Kettlebells.

Over ten years ago I bought my first kettlebell. Guess what? I still use it. And I’ve purchased 3 more in the meantime.

The key reason kettlebells are so popular is their versatility. Plus they’re portable, indestructible, effective and they make you look like a sexy badass. Kettlebells work much like dumbbells, but their unique shape provides some interesting variation.

Here’s a link to 52 kettlebell exercises to demonstrate their versatility.

Most kettlebells are priced at a little less than $2 per pound, so a 20 lb. kettlebell should run you around $40 or less. For the overall value, kettlebells are a key piece of equipment to consider if you want to make working out at home fun again.

How to Make Working Out At Home Fun With Kettlebells

The next piece of equipment with great versatility are the suspension trainers. We’re talking gymnastics rings (as seen on the Olympics or CrossFit Games) or TRX straps.

Before you poo-poo the notion, gymnastics rings can suit your needs whether a beginner or expert. Amongst the most fit athletes around, gymnasts use rings. That should be good enough for the rest of us, wouldn’t you agree?

Before you attempt your first muscle up or iron cross, here’s a list of beginner exercises that GMB Fitness put together:

For home use, you can hook your rings around a beam in your garage, below your patio deck, or fasten them behind a door much like a TRX would be used. And speaking of TRX, while it has some comfort features to it, the $150+ price tag is not always doable for folks which makes the gymnastics rings the better buy for less than $40.

The final piece of equipment we’ll discuss is the pull-up bar. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes. As a matter of personal opinion, I don’t recommend the door frame version as much as I do the wall or ceiling mounted version and here’s why.

how to make working out at home fun pull up bar and rings

While the door frame bar is less money, it’s not as safe as a properly mounted ceiling or wall pull-up bar (The Stud Bar is shown here). Plus, by mounting a good pull up bar in your house or garage, the variety of exercises expands when used in conjunction with your gymnastics rings.

Here are a few pull-up bar exercises to make working out at home fun again:

  • Traditional pull-up
  • Wide-grip pull-up
  • Narrow grip pull-up
  • Chin up
  • L-sit
  • L-sit pullup
  • Toes to bar
  • Bar muscle ups
  • Knee raises

Additional pieces of equipment can be found on the cheap by keeping a vigilant eye on Craigslist. Remember that friend of mine who bought the expensive gym set? Well, I never told him how I got a $400 weight bench for $0. It was $50 on Craigslist, but when I came to pick it up, the owner was so quick to get rid of it, he said, “Ah, just take it.”  

I did.

Step 2: Your (Imperfect) Workout Program to Make Working Out at Home Fun

Too much emphasis in the past has been placed on the perfectly combined set of exercises so that your legs, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs and more are perfectly arranged. I challenge that notion.

While too much work on one muscle group can fatigue the muscle, many exercise workouts can be put together and tweaked if muscle fatigue becomes an ongoing issue.

making workout fun at home doesn't have to be perfect

Here’s a sample three workouts/week program you could start with:

Day 1: Short in duration (5-10 minutes)

  • Three sets of chin-ups, alternating kettlebell swings and ring rows
  • The rep scheme is 21-15-9
  • 21 reps the first set, 15 the second set and 9 the third set

Day 2: Medium in duration (10-20 minutes)

  • 4 sets of knee raises, kettlebell snatches and ring push-ups
  • 15 knee raises each set
  • 10 kb snatches per arm each set
  • 5 ring pushups each set

Day 3: Long in duration (20-45 minutes)

  • 100 pullups
  • 75 kettlebell deadlifts
  • 50 ring dips

By the time you are through with this week, your muscles will certainly agree that your newfound variety has certainly challenged you. And when you try to shampoo your hair while wondering how long your arms will feel like Jell-O, just thank me in advance.  

Step 3: Use Your Imagination To Make Working Out at Home Fun

More and more people can discover how creative and imaginative they are given the right conditions. Workouts are the same way. You just need a little nudge. 

Try combining two sports in one – like rowing and bowling in this video:

Good workout programs provide variety for all the right reasons. Too much exercise in one part of the body leaves it fatigued, tired and may actually decrease muscle mass; not to mention the disproportionate shape of your body long-term if you focus too much on the upper body and not enough on the lower body.

In addition to the kettlebell exercises listed above, take it to a different level. Whether in a park, your backyard or the local track, find other uses for your equipment (or workout partner).

  • Hang your rings from a tree or fence and research alternative movements your house may not allow you room to do.
  • Do a field circuit running with your kettlebell(s) a certain distance
    • Run 100 meters with a kettlebell in each hand, drop them, do 10 pushups and run back
    • Drop the kettlebells again and do 15 situps
    • Run 100 meters with a kettlebell in each hand again, drop them, then do 10 kettlebell swings with the heavier weight
    • Repeat this circuit for different sets, reps or time limits
    • For more fun, drop the kettlebells on the 2nd set, pick up your partner and buddy carry them for 100 meters!

The variety is truly limitless. Just use your imagination and enjoy the playtime your body deserves.

Conclusion

As you can see by the steps outlined today, how to make workouts at home fun is not so hard after all. Just follow these three easy steps:

  1. Purchase a few key pieces of equipment that are proven to provide variety and benefit:
    1. Kettlebell(s) – $40 and up
    2. Gymnast rings – $40 and up
    3. Pull-up bar (Ceiling mounted) – $89 and up
  2. Create your own working out at home fun program:
    1. Strive for 3 workouts a week (or more)
    2. Alternate between short, medium and long duration
    3. Play with different rep schemes, time-based workouts or see how many reps can be accomplished in a certain time
  3. Use your imagination. Working out is adult play. Provided you don’t compromise your form, create something a bit out of the norm.

If you want to level up your workouts, combine bodyweight exercises with the equipment we mentioned in this article. Then click on the box below to unlock the Holy Grail of Working Out At Home Fun!

 

What I Want You To Know About Exercise

Leo Garrett is the reason why I exercise. Love you, Grandpa.Exercise is important, folks. In fact, when you consider all of the factors that can have a possible impact on your longevity and peace of mind, sleep and exercise are key. So why aren’t more people putting some effort into their health and exercising? This gentleman to the left was the launching point of my motivation many years ago and why I’m writing to you today about exercise.

For the last few presidential terms in the U.S., few things spark more debate than health care costs. In this country, costs continue to skyrocket. Oh wait, and then there’s that whole obesity thing, which isn’t such a thing at all, but a startling reality and reflection of our society.

What Happens When You Don’t Exercise

Obesity leads to diabetes and here’s a fact that might shock you: if you are diagnosed with diabetes around the age of 40, your lifetime health care costs could climb as high as $200,000. In addition to those costs, there are the added disadvantages that go with poor health including a declined quality of life, weakened mobility, stress, heart disease, potential loss of limb (that one alone would get me off the couch), blindness and more.

Even without diabetes, health care costs are still climbing, up 4% from a few years ago. According to Forbes, a family of four can pay as much as $25,000 or more a year in health care. Isn’t that reason enough to consider being proactive before costs stack up anymore?

Be proactive and exercise before it's too late.

This article is not meant to scare you, although it may be an effective tactic. The CDC’s anti-smoking campaign from 2012 saw a 132% increase in their quitline and its website added 500,000 visitors more than usual. What I do hope to convey is that nudge on your shoulders for those who are not exercising regularly. The advantages are there and if you don’t know them already, allow me to demonstrate my personal experiences.

The decision to get off the couch is not easy. I get that. Been there. In the midst of my career, going to the gym is one more decision added to the heap of other responsibilities along with marriage, kids, etc. When you watch shows like Biggest Loser and see how hard some of the trainers can be on people, it is motivating to some, but turns others off.

I’m a huge proponent of the Paleo community.It’s what prompted me to write my first book (see at the bottom for a sample). That is, for the most part, I eat nuts, seeds, butter, meats and some fruits and vegetables. I eat high fat (the healthy Omega-3 type fats), low carb (yeah, I cheat about once a week) and a relative amount of protein. It works for me and has demonstrated an incredible ability to do so for others.  Our bodies respond differently to various foods, so find something that works for you.

Exercise and a food plan (I hate the word diet) are essential components of wellness. It takes a little trial and error, but you need to find something that is not only doable but that it challenges you. More on that in a second.

Exercise Brain

The Real Life Benefits of Exercise Waiting For You

Here are just a few benefits I’ve experienced that you should know about exercise without quoting any studies or mumbo jumbo. Just me talking to you, OK? Sometimes our brains need a little convincing, so here goes.

  1. Exercise should be challenging, and when you find that right program, it transfers to other areas of your life. In Gladiator, Maximum rallies his troops by telling them, [bctt tweet=”What we do in life, echoes in eternity.” – Maximus] Well said, Max. What you do in your workouts, echoes as you walk down the street, through the office, and in your personal life. Sustained and consistent exercising will change you from a naysayer to a yaysayer. Not sure if that’s even a word, yaysayer, but it is now.
  2. Exercise feels great. It may not feel that way when you first start up because your joints and muscles are going to need some time to acclimate to new stresses. But once you get going, even on days you don’t think you’re up to it, you’re good to go. The endorphins, those hormones that make you feel like you can take on the world, they kick in. And although you get tired, I’m not going to lie, the feeling of accomplishment is with you the rest of the day.
  3. Exercise is great when you work out with other people. I used to walk into the traditional gym, plan in hand, and I’d get at it. I obtained great results, but even better when I joined in with a group. Add one person with exercise endorphins raging to another with those same endorphins raging, coupled with a desire to be better – and that’s one powerful combination. Find a group class and things can skyrocket as you dialogue with others in shared experiences, comparing recipes and weekend challenges. Bonus advantage of group exercise – you make new friends.
  4. Let’s talk the “A” word, accountability. Whether we like it or not, accountability is powerful and needed. Especially at the onset, when willpower needs some help, finding a partner or group who can hold you accountable is that extra kick in the pants when you want to hit the snooze bar one time too many. Holding others accountable is fun as well – that’s how you help each other.
  5. Exercise changes you. Allow me to step on a soapbox for a second here. People go to the doctor because they don’t like the way they feel. They want the doctor to do all the work and even prescribe medication to aid them. Please, for the love of God, be your doctor and unless your bones are broken, do some activity that elevates your heart rate and builds muscle. Speaking from personal experience, I got off the couch and cut my body fat in HALF. I ran a marathon. I competed in several races. I keep up with people half my age and beat a few from time to time. If you want to change, start working out.
  6. Exercise adds years back into your life. We’ve all heard the stats on cigarette smoking and how it cuts your time on Earth. Stopping that habit helps, but working out builds your heart and your ability to fight off disease coupled with a healthy food plan. That’s quality of life stuff, folks! You have the power!
  7. Exercise makes you mental. Mentally active that is. When you challenge yourself, monitor your progress and reflect – you will see how much more capable you are than you thought before. Mind over matter comes into play, and that’s when your weaknesses fade and the power that was always in you is announced.[bctt tweet=”Losing whatever weight and body fat you need to drop, guess what else falls? Your pants.”]
  8. Exercise builds your self-confidence. Think about it – once you start losing whatever weight and body fat you need to drop, guess what else falls? Your pants. All of your clothes in fact because you’ll have to go out and buy more. Between your physical change and your mental change, people WILL NOTICE. You will change and in all the right ways. Some of your friends may be a barrier to your decision to exercise – because they are afraid you’ll look better and want to stop being with them. Or they’ll feel guilty because they don’t have your willpower. If that happens too much, FIRE THEM. This is about becoming a better you.
  9. Exercise gives you control. Whether it is your job, your marriage, your divorce, your kids, or (fill in the blank), your exercise program is something within your control. You can decide how hard to go after it. You can choose what to eat or what to lift. It is up to you. With that sense of control you gain, you will feel empowered in ways you never dreamt imaginable. At least, that was how I felt as I dropped the weight.
  10. Exercise gives you bragging rights. And you deserve it. I’ve made some sweet progress in my workouts as of late. One popular CrossFit workout is called Murph, in honor and memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. The workout is as follows: Run one mile, then do 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats and then finish it off with another 1-mile run. Some elite athletes wear weighted vests; I chose not to since it was my first attempt. My goal was to complete this amount of work in 45:00. As you’ll see in my time-lapse video, I achieved my goal… in 44:59. Therefore, I get to brag – and so should you.

 

This is not the last you’ve heard from me about the benefits of exercise. At any stage in your life, you need only look at the outcome of those who don’t workout, the added costs they stack up in health care, increased insurance premiums, medications and the loss in quality of life. Don’t be that person. Start over today being the person YOU WANT TO BE – and make it happen.

Why am I so passionate about this particular topic? That older gentleman up above is Leo Garrett, the only  grandfather I knew. He was taken from my life on August 8, 2000. He died of heart disease and diabetes. Sometimes in life, we need something drastic to occur to make us wake up and make changes. I’m hopeful my pleas and story will encourage you to make whatever changes are necessary. Today.

Jeffrey Pickett Starting Over

Starting Over Challenge of the Day

Yep, it’s time. If you are not already actively engaged in a workout program – you need to be. I challenge you to do something, even if it’s a mash-up of body weight exercises at home. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. Start up, gain some momentum and see where it takes you. I’ve helped many lose up to 40 lbs. And more.

I worked out and ate a great meal plan and never lost a pound – said no one ever.

Need Some Help Shedding a Few Pounds?

caveman resurrection bookMy first book, a non-fiction self-help book based around the Primal/Paleo diet is a great plan to shave off pounds and bodyfat. Click on the book or the box below to receive the first few chapters at no charge.

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