Turn your home into a health haven
Who even needs the gym anymore? Home fitness is evolving and we have the perfect answer to toning and strengthening your body, with the help of celebrity trainer, Tiffany Hall.
There’s no denying the past year has changed how we’re doing things. The ‘new normal’, thanks to COVID-19, has had a tremendous impact on the way we live, work and socialise. It’s not that surprising that research 1 has found we’ve been less active since the pandemic began. The study, which tracked anonymous data from more than 450,000 users of a smartphone step-counting app, concluded that, around the world, steps declined substantially after initial lockdowns began. Average daily steps declined by about 5.5 percent during the first 10 days and by about 27 percent by the end of the first month. There’s good news though: in response, home fitness is evolving. You no longer need an exxy gym membership to be fit and healthy. All you need is a space in your home, some inspiration from an expert, and a tiny bit of willpower to get off the couch.
Play the mental game
First, get into the right mindset to work up a bit of sweat. That could mean putting on your active wear, switching on a playlist that motivates you, or clearing a space in your home where you can comfortably move. Even a five-minute burst of exercise is worth your while. A mini workout may not seem like much, but it still makes a difference to your body – and your muscle memory, whether you’re doing ab-crunches as you watch tv, lunging as you fold the laundry, or even planking for a minute or two, while you’re waiting for your food to heat up in the microwave. Wearing a smartwatch or step counter is another motivating way to watch your step count increase and you make a point of doing more incidental exercise.
The easiest home gym ever
Tiffiny Hall, health and fitness guru and the founder of home workout and healthy food program TIFFXO (tiffxo.com) has some clever tips for keeping fit in the comfort of your home, and it starts with your pantry. Yes, that humble kitchen cupboard is a treasure trove of workout equipment (who knew?).
“I am a big believer in the best piece of gym equipment is your body and second to that —if you want a bit more added resistance, you can use always 1L cartons of milk, soup or baked bean cans as weights,” she says. A can of baked beans is all you need for bicep curls, and 2L bottles of milk are perfect for overhead presses.
The items you find outside, can add even more weight to your workout. “If you go outside and find bricks and large rocks laying around you can use them as dumbbells, kettle bells and even medicine balls,” says Tiffiny. “You can always find things around the house to use if you don’t get to go to the gym and you don’t need to spend a fortune on fitness equipment.”
Strengthen and stretch
Look around your home. If you have a sturdy chair or table (that can hold your full bodyweight), you’re all set. Chairs are ideal for bicep dips and pushups, using only your bodyweight and gravity to tone and strengthen. A rolled-up towel can moonlight as a foam roller (“My favourite stretch is to lie on my back so that the towel is running vertically down my spine and place my arms to the side to open my chest,” says Tiffiny). If your preferred exercise style is geared more towards yoga and resistance bands, a pile of books becomes a yoga block, and a pair of old tights or leggings, tied in a knot, transform into a resistance band. “Try wrapping them around your legs just above your knees to activate your glutes as you do squats,” Tiffiny suggests.
Easy Home Workout
Tiffiny Hall designed this four-exercise workout, perfect for your loungeroom, bedroom, or garden, with no equipment necessary, to target your glutes, core, abs, legs and get your heart rate up. All you have to do is complete each of the below exercises for 40 seconds followed by a 20 second rest. Complete 4 rounds and take a 1-minute recovery between rounds. Ready? Go!
1. Frog pumps
Want a firmer backside? It’s all in this exercise. Lay on the floor and create a diamond shape with your legs. Now, squeeze your glutes as hard as you can and lift your hips up. Hold for a second, slowly lower your butt to the ground and repeat.
2. Lunge knee strike
This powerful move will crunch your transverse abdominals, work your glutes and get your heart rate up. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart then step back your right foot and lower yourself until both knees are bent at about 90-degrees – make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle. Now bring your right foot forward and lift your right knee to your chest and pull your arms down to your right side. Return to the start position and repeat on the other side.
3. Plank salutes
Get into a high plank position with your hands placed under your shoulders. Then, move down into a push-up, keeping your core tight, head neutral and back straight. Go as slowly as possible then as you push up squeeze your glutes and push through your palms to move into a high plank position. Raise your right hand to salute, then your left. Make sure your core is locked throughout the exercise by drawing your ribcage in and lifting up through your belly button.
4. Mountain climbers
Starting in the high plank position bring your right knee towards your right elbow and push back. Then, repeat on the opposite side. This move is all about pace so move as fast as you can while remembering to keep your core strong. Don’t forget to breathe!