Laura at Dick's Pass

New motivation: My successful year working out at home

Laura at Dick's Pass

Having the strength and endurance to backpack through beautiful places like the 9,380′ Dick’s Pass along the PCT are my motivation for getting off the couch. That’s my sister Laura in the photo, one of my fave backpacking buddies.

This morning I woke up with a serious motivational issue. The Sumatran coffee was soooo fine and my cat Artie snuggled up in my lap to sleep. Thoughts of working out began to fade from my mind. Then I considered just how little time exercise takes out of my day and what a big difference it makes. If I could watch an hour of stupid drivel on the morning news, I could take care of my one and only body. So, I nudged the cat, grabbed my yoga pants, and woke up the house with Pandora’s Alternative Endurance Training Radio. You see, I don’t have far to go to the gym, for the last year I have been working out at home.

When I need ideas for a workout, I turn to an iPhone app called 365Workouts. It gives me the core of a body-weight based workout, to which I add a warm-up, extra abs or upper body as needed, plus a cool down and stretch. By keeping the pace brisk, it becomes a cardio workout as well.

Here is an example of the kind of workout I do at home:

Warm Up

5-8 min jogging in place/jumping rope or jumping jacks. If your ceilings are too low and the weather is favorable, the porch or driveway is a good place for jumping rope.

Work Out

You’ll want to do 3 rounds of each:

15 squats: Be sure to keep your back straight, arms extended out, feet straight and shoulder width apart with your butt dropping below the knees.

15 push-ups (20 if you’re doing 1/2 pushups with your knees on the ground instead of feet)

10 traditional sit-ups

10 kettle-bell truck twists

5 one-legged squats (each leg)

10 “goddess” squats

Cool Down

Warrior 2 pose held for 15 seconds, or five deep breaths, each side

3 sun salutations


Done briskly, this workout can be accomplished in roughly 30 minutes providing a decent cardio component as well.

George Osmun, our fitness contributor, refined one of my workouts into this more fun and manageable version using the same exercises, arranged as circuit with smaller sets. I like it much better!

On alternating days, I do a 4-mile walk/run, which takes me an hour or less depending on the pace. Today I had goofed off too long to spend an hour, so I did a home workout two days in a row rather than skip.

Other variations to my routine include power yoga or an abdominal workout that leaves me unable to laugh for a few days. Both of these are videos I bought on iTunes. I have them downloaded on my laptop for when I’m traveling as well.

Because all of my workouts are home-based, they are just as easy to do in a hotel room. I have a small collection of workout equipment tucked in the corner of the living room, but no giant home gym contraptions; I simply don’t have enough room. Sorry, there goes the excuse of not having money to join a gym or room enough to work out at home. Let me show you what I have:

My work out area

This is my workout area and all of my gear. Not much to look at but it gets the job done. I do have a few heavier dumbbells as well.

On occasion, I’ll join a friend at their gym and enjoy adding heavier resistance and new moves to my routine. Admittedly, I miss having those resources available full time.

Today I looked at the calendar and realized that I drastically changed my diet and fitness routine a year ago this month. Three months later, I had lost 10 pounds, which have stayed off since, plus a few more. More importantly, I’m also stronger, healthier, and have more energy. Looking at my closet today, I gave myself permission to remove all of the clothes that no longer fit with confidence that I’m not going back to my former unhealthy lifestyle. The date crept up on me like a happy surprise and provided the boost I needed this week to get up, exercise, and make good nutritional choices.

Right now my fitness goals include building upper body strength and cardio endurance so I can better enjoy my favorite adventure sports. On the nutrition side, it’s a constant effort to eat a clean and mostly plant based diet, and I’m always looking for new recipes and snack ideas.

The next time the cat slinks up in my lap at workout time, I’m determined to stay on track and tell him to wait while I take care of me first. The reward, easier hikes, fewer sick days, and overall increased wellness. THAT’s something worth getting off the couch for, and luckily, my gym is nearby.

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  1. Pingback: Stepping up my fitness with CrossFit - The Active Explorer

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