We get it. Hitting the gym right after waking up at the crack of dawn or braving a headache-inducing day at the office isn’t always so tempting. Especially not when the days are short and the weather’s cold.
Lucky for you, there are plenty of exercises you can do in the comfort of your home without wasting any time traveling to and from the gym.
Squat down and put your hands on the floor in front of you, then kick your legs out and do one pushup. Jump back up to standing and do one jumping jack. Then repeat by jumping back down into push-up position and do it all again They’re tough, but do a good job of working up a sweat while stressing the major muscles in your chest and legs.
It's simple, but effective. With a fast enough pace, this will keep your heart rate up and burn calories without the need for an elliptical or going for a run, assuming you can last for more than a couple minutes. And if you can’t, just keep practicing until you can.
You’ll need a bar for this, but they’re inexpensive and easy to install. Once you’ve got one, pull-ups are a simple exercise with complex results, since they work damn near every muscle group in your upper body. Do 'em consistently, with proper form and enough reps to make it a real challenge, and your shoulders, arms, and back will start to take shape.
With the right form — feet out, arms shoulder width apart, dropping all the way down with your back flat — working through a few sets of these is a decent enough substitute for any of the chest exercises you can do with weights at the gym. And if you've got a pair of kettle bells or dumbbell, which are also good for a big range of other at-home exercises, you can incorporate them here for some extra resistance. Grip one in each hand while they’re on the ground, do a normal push-up, then lift one arm up while supporting yourself with the other. Then do another push-up and repeat with the other arm.
All you need is a sturdy table or windowsill and a chair. Put the chair a few feet in front of you, then grip the edge of your surface of choice and stretch your feet out onto the seat of the chair. Use your triceps to lower yourself down and then push back up, like so.
Place your hands flat on the floor, with one leg outstretched behind you and the other brought forward, with your foot beneath your chest -- like you're getting into position to start a race. Then switch position by kicking the one leg back and jumping the other forward. Repeat quickly, and keep going for stretches of a minute or so: it’ll work your upper leg muscles while boosting your heart rate for some short stretches of cardio.
Stand up straight, then drop your upper body down while keeping your back straight and ass sticking out. Once you’re down low, explode up into a jump, then return to standing.
Aim for about three sets of as many as you can do at a time for each exercise. Then mix and match 'em to work up a sweat without leaving home.