How Doing Exercises at Home Changed My Life

Desiree Peralta

Since 2017 I considered myself a “fitness” person. Until 2020 came, I used to go to the gym 4 times a week, drank protein, and tried to maintain a healthy weight. I started going to the gym with the purpose of increasing my muscle mass, but it became something I liked to do.

With all the pandemic situation, all the gyms in my country closed. At first, I started to think it was something temporary, so I took a complete break from the exercise. The principal reason was that I had never been interested in doing exercises at home. I feel that for my goals, I was not going to achieve anything at all. I always wanted to gain weight, at home I felt that the only thing I could do was cardio.

But everything was closed for three months, and I did nothing about it. I was in front of a computer every day from the time I got up until I went to bed. The only exercise I did was climbing the stairs to go to the bathroom or my room.

I lost everything I had achieved in 3 years. My self-esteem began to drop, I no longer liked looking at myself in the mirror. In total, I lost 30 pounds. For a person who has always weighed from 100–130, that change is quite noticeable.

Every time I had to go out and put on clothes that were not my pajamas, my mother told me everything fit me badly and that I no longer had a “cute” body. Everything got worse when I uploaded a video to my YouTube channel trying on some new clothes that I bought and most of my friends’ comments were asking me if I was okay.

Of course, I was okay. I just wasn’t training. Right now you will surely be thinking “Desiree, the comments of others about yourself don’t matter, it is what you think of yourself you must take into account”. But I knew I was wrong, not only because I was losing weight, but because I was not doing anything about it.

You should not pay attention to the comments of others when you know that you are doing things right and you are happy doing it. But if you know that you must change, and other people are helping you realize it, you must pay attention to it.

Whenever I ventured to my boyfriend about how bad I felt about myself, he would say the same thing to me “you should start exercising at home.” One day I said to him “I don’t feel it’s worth it, I don’t think I will achieve anything.” He just answered me, “How do you know that you won’t get anything if you don’t try?” And yes, saying something without testing or investigating is just an excuse not to start, so I did it just to prove him is not worth it.

But to my surprise, my whole life changed. I lasted from March to June lamenting about my situation. But since July, I started doing something about it and it totally worked for me. In this article, I will tell you what I did to work out at home and what results I have achieved.

How to get started and find motivation

The first thing I did to find motivation and start doing it was to investigate what I want to achieve and know if it was possible. Having clear goals helps you find a way to get there and get up every day to achieve it.

I wanted to regain my muscle mass. I set the first goal of 15 pounds in the next 3 months. So I started to investigate how I could achieve it because I used to think that you could only gain muscle by going to the gym to do weights. In fact, I have never dieted, I had my normal food every day and left everything to exercises and protein.

If you go to google and ask what percentage of exercise you should do, you will find a lot of articles saying that 70% of food, and 30% of exercise”. Even a lot of nutritionists and people who are influencers of the fitness life will tell you that.

Although there is no scientific basis to confirm this theory. The truth is that if you only do exercises or only with the food you will not achieve a goal. There must be a balance. I would say that rule should be 100% food, 100% exercise, and 100% rest.

If you eat properly, rest well, and exercise regularly, no matter where you are (gym or home), you will see results. Something that I had not realized is that there are many alternatives you can do to gain weight in your workouts.

Going to a gym does not ensure that you will be able to lose or gain weight, it is the effort and doing the exercises correctly that will ensure you a goal.

Understanding that the gym was not what was keeping me strong, but my effort and consistency was the motivation I needed to start. So I set up a schedule and bought some basics stuff.

To start exercising at home you don’t need anything. But I recommend the following articles:

Yoga/exercise mat

An exercise mat basically provides you comfort. A mat will help you to keep its hold strong on the surface due to its anti-slipping nature. It also provides a sort of insulation between the human body and the ground.

As I don’t have a specific space to work out, the mat helps my mind to focus on exercise. when I use the mat, it is for exercise, so every time I take it out, I put my mind on that I am going to exercise and my brain prepares for that.

Two 10-pound dumbbells

There are two important reasons why I believe that everyone needs two 10-pound dumbbells: you can train all your muscles with just them, and they cost only $30.

Something I like about having 10-pound weights is that they can be stored anywhere, you don’t need a space dedicated to the gym, even in your living room you can use them.

Resistant bands

I always had my doubts about this item, I used to think that it was more commercial than useful. After reviewing all the ones on the market, I discovered that there are some bands that range from 10 to 150 pounds.

Combining them with good exercises, you can achieve almost the same results as if you are doing weights in a gym. And they cost less than $ 30 on amazon.

My exercise plan and continued motivation

My mother always says that the hardest part is getting started. I say it is to stay. Many people start the first week motivated with the mind that they will be able to achieve their goals, and after two weeks they tire.

In order not to lose motivation, you must have your mind focused on your final goal, and reward yourself for the achievements you have made.

For example, something I do is set a goal for the amount of exercise and food that I want to achieve that week. If I do it correctly, on Saturday I can eat a cheat meal of something I like, like a hamburger.

Auto gifts can be anything from watching an episode of a series to going shopping. As long as it is something that you like to do, and that you propose not to do it if you do not achieve the goal.

Something that makes many people also lose motivation is trying to do things quickly, without rest, and with a lot of effort. everything is a process, you can’t expect to run 10 kilometers if you haven’t run at least 1.

For that reason, I planned a schedule.

  • Monday — Legs
  • Tuesdays — Biceps, and chest
  • Wednesday — Rest
  • Thursday — Triceps, and back
  • Friday — Legs

If I could complete that schedule, I would win a prize on Saturday. If I don’t complete it, then I should exercise on the weekends. (Sometimes being able to rest on weekends has been enough motivation to do what I have to do on weekdays.)

Something that has helped me a lot to maintain consistency and motivation is always doing the exercises at the same time.

In this way, I plan my day so that at that moment I am completely free for it.

According to a study, people who always perform physical activity at the same time have a greater frequency and duration of physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity.

This indicates that exercising always at the same time promotes increased physical activity and its long-term maintenance, increasing the chances of reaching the current recommendations of 150 minutes or more per week with respect to those who are temporarily inconsistent.

How to know what exercise to do if you have never trained before

I know how to use the bands in a general way because I have previous experience in the gym and I know how each muscle should be trained. However, knowing how to use the bands is different, and I have needed help on many occasions.

Something that has helped me a lot has been videos on youtube, if you are going to use the same bands as me, I recommend the Anabolic aliens channel that trains all the muscles with those bands. (instead of a wall with hooks, I use doors).

In the beginning, try to train only one muscle per day, so you will know all the ways you can train that specific muscle. Then you can combine the days with two muscles.

There are a lot of apps too that help you with the exercise. I use Womenfit for AppStore to train without equipment the days I don’t feel that I need weight. This app helps me so much with the correct posture and a lot of new exercises I can do just with my body.

I also asked my friends that have more experience than me. For example, my boyfriend and my best friend helped me with some exercises and the correct way to do it in the beginning.

If you don’t have any friends who are professionals in the fitness world, you can ask some Instagram influencer in your community for advice, many of them currently offer online training packages due to the pandemic.

The food

Like I said before, I have never eaten well. I considered that exercise and protein were enough for me to look fit. This is false. Food plays a very important role in the way our body develops.

Since I wanted to get the best possible results, I decided to eat better. For this reason, I made changes in my diet that favored these results. No matter what your goals are, you must keep something in mind: it is not eating less or more, it is eating better.

I cannot give you an exact diet of what to eat each day, because each body is different. I recommend a nutritionist or someone who knows about food very well and can evaluate you.

But I can give you the basic tips that I started doing that were gradually favoring my body.

Starting with breakfast, I used to eat cereal with milk every day. I started to make a more nutritious plan, so I stopped eating cereal to start preparing dishes like eggs, oats, fruits, potatoes, etc.

I started to include more protein in my diets and stopped eating candies, sugar, and cookies. I stopped skipping meals to be on the computer playing and started preparing more meals at home. Also, stop buying processed juices and start buying more natural, low-sugar juices.

The fast meals were only for Saturdays if I fulfilled all of the above successfully during the 6 days.

Thanks to these changes, my metabolism started to work better, my belly stopped hurting and I had more energy every day. Even the vitamins in the foods I started eating helped my body stop getting sick.

Everything I achieved in these 3 months

These 3 months have been one of consistency, work, and motivation. There are days that I have not had the courage to get up, but on others that I have been able to do it successfully. The important thing is that I have not given up and I have always looked for a way to continue.

I was able to gain from 100 pounds to 118.2 pounds in these two months. I am much healthier than at the beginning and with more energy to continue achieving my goals.

I consider that the most important achievement I have reached has been to have my self-esteem again. I feel that the clothes fit me better, and I am happy to look at myself in the mirror again.

Apart from that, I have accomplished many other things, including the following:

I have more time.

A workout no longer takes a full 2 hours: driving 20 minutes to the gym, working out, and another 20 minutes driving home. I save about 40 minutes each day by exercising at home.

I don’t have to get up earlier anymore. I don’t have to worry about traffic and I don’t have to worry about parking. Also, I don’t have the “is raining excuse”. If I wake up late, I can workout after my day job.

If I don’t want to stay at home, I can download the workouts to stream offline and head to the nearest park or open space. I don’t have the excuse to say that I don’t have enough time, since I don’t have to travel anywhere if I don’t want to, and I don’t have to wait in line for the machines.

I learned the importance of consistency and self-control.

Not having a partner or coach in my day to day has been a difficult task to overcome. Thanks to consistency and wanting to achieve my goals, I have been able to find a way to do as much as possible every day. Something that has helped me a lot has been to set schedules and set alarms, this way I never forget that I have to do it.

Of course, I wanted to have a bacon pizza on a Tuesday sale. But knowing that I can be better every day has stopped me from deceiving myself.

I reduced my stress and anxiety.

Quarantine has been a difficult process to carry out. My anxiety has increased in this confinement. At first, I didn’t feel like doing anything at all. Having something productive to do every day instead of just sitting in front of a computer has given my days meaning.

In addition, there are studies that reveal that exercise reduces stress. Exercise training reduces mortality in patients with coronary artery disease.

I improved my relationship with food.

When I started following different eating plans and eliminating certain foods I thought I could eat, I discovered that certain types of food make me sick and that my stomach is sensitive.

My stomach always hurt after eating out and I could never pinpoint the cause, I was always thinking, “Oh, it’s something I ate that didn’t feel right.” But now I know that certain types of food, like lactose milk, are not good for me.

I’m saving money.

A monthly gym fee costs around $20. Parking and gasoline around $8 dollars a month. annually $336 dollars. Buying all the equipment that I needed at home cost me a total of $70. So this year I saved $266 dollars.

Exercising at home works. It has reduced my anxiety, it has helped me to be healthier, I have been able to gain weight, I have less stress and now I feel happier. I feel healthier than ever. Now I have personal goals and purposes to achieve again (not just financial and professional). And now I feel like I’m doing something good for myself.

I hope this article motivates you to take that first step that is necessary to live a healthier life.

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Turning ideas into reality. Programmer by profession, Writer by passion. Writing, productivity, and self-development advice.

Yonkers, NY

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