How To Start An At-Home Fitness Routine
One of the hardest things I had to learn in my boxing career was how to train from home during a pandemic. I was used to simply following orders from my coach, so it was a learning curve to be more or less left to my own devices. Today, I want to share some of the tricks I learned for designing my own home workout routines. By combining outdoor exercise, connected fitness devices, and weight training, I've been able to apply the advice my coach instilled in me, and I have successfully mastered how to train by myself.
3 Tips For Starting An At-Home Fitness Routine
1. Accommodate your lifestyle
One of the best pieces of advice my coach ever gave me on self training was, “Do not try and do your roadwork (running) at 5am. Unless you are already waking up that early, you will find an excuse not to run. Do your roadwork when you’re already awake and energized.” And I took that to heart. When designing my home workouts, I schedule them into my day so that they cause as little disruption as possible, while still getting in the necessary training. This keeps me from making excuses for skipping my workouts and also makes it easier to keep track of when and what I’m going to do to train each day.
2. Small goals lead to big progress
I’ve touched on this before, but I’m a big fan of setting small, objective goals for each workout. Doing this allows you to see immediate proof of the progress you are making, and keeps you motivated to move towards bigger goals. Here are some examples of incremental goals that you can set for your at-home training:
Increase number of reps - If you have been doing 10 push-ups each day, then at the beginning of the next week, shoot for 15. This may not sound like a huge increase but trust me, 5 extra push-ups will start feeling like a big accomplishment halfway through the week when your arms are sore. Continue this pattern until you reach whatever you ultimately set as your final target. Remember to go slowly.
Increase speed - If you normally run a mile in about 9 minutes, shoot for 8 minutes and 45 seconds. A 15 second improvement is actually quite a milestone for long distance runs. Don’t worry if you don’t hit your goal every time. Remember, progress takes time. Be patient.
Change technique focus - If you’ve been throwing 100 punches at the bag, then instead of adding punches, focus on adding in more speed, power, and keeping your technique tighter with those 100 punches. You’ll be surprised how much that will push you!
When setting goals and milestones it’s important to keep in mind that progress is not linear. Some days will be easier than others. Some days you may hit (and even surpass) your goals, while other days you may fall short. Don’t get discouraged. As long as you are putting in the effort, the results will come. Connected fitness devices like FightCamp's Punch Trackers allow you to track your workouts and your progress so you can set realistic goals and workout effectively.
3. Build a Schedule
Like I mentioned before, when you are first establishing a new routine, especially at home, it can be tricky to find the motivation to stick to your workouts and commit. At the same time, it can be difficult to maintain a balance between working out too much and resting. I used to worry about overtraining in the gym, but once you've made the commitment to workout, it's actually much easier to overtrain at home. A lot of beginners overtrain when working out at home because they’re compensating for not going to the gym. The truth is that an at-home workout is just as hard, if not harder than a workout at the gym. Here are two tips to avoid overtraining:
Use interval training - Using interval training, such as the 3 minutes work / 1 minute rest format of a boxing match, allows you to put in high-intensity work while still having time to catch your breath, relax your muscles, recover, and stay hydrated.
Do not feel guilty for taking a rest day - The very best boxers and athletes in the world (whether it’s Canelo Alvarez, Terrence Crawford, or Floyd Mayweather) all take at least one rest day each week--and sometimes even two unless they are in the last half of a boxing training camp. It's okay to train when you’re sore, but if you can’t move your shoulders without wincing or you find yourself shuffling along the floor because walking hurts, take some time off. You won’t accomplish anything training like that. Your muscles need time to recover and rebuild. Without adequate rest, you’ll be setting yourself up for injury later on.
Training at home can be hard, but with a good game plan, a solid support system, and boxing/kickboxing training program like FightCamp, and a little bit of practice, you can keep yourself moving towards your goals, whatever your level!
Remember, it’s all about commitment, dedication, and focus. We all have an inner fighter, and whether you’re looking to train boxing or start a general at-home fitness routine, you’ve got what it takes! If you fit your training into your schedule, set small, manageable goals, and allow yourself time to rest and recover, you’ll be unstoppable.
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The Author: Iain Mackenzie grew up in the middle of downtown Houston and has always been a competitor. He first turned to karate as a young child, where he got his first taste of live sparring and the thrill and discipline of combat sports. From there he went on to saber fencing, where he competed in tournaments all throughout middle school. However, it was not until he had nearly graduated high school that he found the sport that truly spoke to him: Boxing. Training all throughout college and into his professional career, Iain has trained in multiple gyms across Texas and competed in amateur tournaments with storied histories like Golden Gloves and the Houston Open. His goal is to bring people the sense of belonging and self-actualization boxing has always given to him by explaining the tools he uses as a competing boxer to stay in shape, stay sharp, and stay motivated. As a licensed amateur boxer, Iain has the know how and drive necessary to do just that.