How to Get in Shape Without Leaving the House: The Ultimate Guide for Getting Fit at Home

It’s time to learn how to get fit without leaving your home:

Maybe you’re practicing a self-quarantine. 

Maybe you work from your apartment and are avoiding the gym.

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Or maybe you just like living like a house cat.

Either way, you’ve come to the right place, because I put together a practical guide for rational people to help you get fit or stay fit, even if you can’t leave the house.

Here’s what we’ll cover in our guide, How to Stay in Shape Without Leaving the House

Note: this is not prescriptive, nor guidance about protecting against the coronavirus – see the PS. 

Let’s jump right in!

So you’re stuck inside eh? 

Seriously. 90%. 

That means the most important thing you can do to stay in shape:

Focus on your nutrition!

It’s really easy for our brains to think: “Well, I can’t work out like I used to, who cares what I eat.”

This is the EXACT opposite of how we should be thinking.

Whether you rarely leave the house or bike to work every day, what (and how much) you eat will largely determine your overall weight.

When you stock up your kitchen, pantry, or panic room with food, make sure the choices match with your fitness goals. 

Step #2) Learn about portion sizes of different foods! If you are largely eating meals composed of rice, pasta, oatmeal, cereal, etc. during your quarantine, it’s important to know the correct portion sizes.

These are the foods that are the easiest to accidentally overeat.

 

 

A post shared by Nerd Fitness | Steve Kamb (@nerd_fitness) on Aug 14, 2019 at 5:20am PDT

Step #3) Do the best you can. You might be stuck eating less than optimal meals for a few weeks or longer, which means controlling your calorie intake is the best step you can take to keep your weight in order.

Here are 5 resources to help you focus on nutrition while living inside:

One challenge of staying in shape while staying inside comes down to movement, and actually STICKING with a routine. 

If you don’t have a home gym, how are you supposed to workout when confined to your house?

This is especially challenging if you’re a gym rat and used to a very specific gym routine!

So what’s a rational, level headed person to do in this situation?

In a nutshell here’s what we recommend:

Like these types of plans!

Here are 10 workout routines you can do at home:

If the Beginner Bodyweight Workout above seems too easy, try this advanced routine on for size.

This can 100% be done with your own body’s weight, meaning you can train from the comfort and safety of your home. 

So we’ll want to pick a bodyweight exercise for each major muscle group:

Alternatively, you could do doorframe rows:

If you’re stuck at home, try and do at least one of these moves every single day. 

You can also try “exercise snacking”: doing just a few reps of an exercise on the hour: 5 push-ups and squats every hour, for example.

There’s a benefit to doing one of these bodyweight exercises every single day: 

Not only will you build muscle, but training can also remind us we’re trying to be healthy, which can remind us to eat healthier (remember our lesson on the importance of nutrition).

Your long term goal should be to do 3 full circuits back to back for a complete workout.

#5) Get Your 10,000 Steps In!

Movement of any kind is beneficial for human health. 

But this can be more difficult if you’re trapped in your house or apartment. 

That’s why you should create a walking path through your home.

Maybe it’s up the stairs, going around a perimeter of each bedroom (ask permission if it’s not yours), back through the kitchen and then out to the patio.

Or maybe it’s outside, walking circles around your backyard. 

The longer the walking path the better, and don’t be afraid to go one direction and then turn around to reverse.

A cheap pedometer, FitBit, or even just the pedometer feature of your watch/phone could help a lot here. 

Try to accumulate 10,000 steps per day if possible

#6) Create an In-Door Obstacle Course.

Just because you’re trapped inside, doesn’t mean you can’t play!

How about creating a fun obstacle course out of furniture? 

Of course, the floor is always made of lava.

This video might give you some ideas:

#7) Do Mobility Drills to Stay Limber

Here’s a great 5-minute drill from trainer (and great Instagram follow) Jack Hanrahan!

 

 

A post shared by Jack Hanrahan, CSCS. (@jackhanrahanfitness) on Jan 19, 2020 at 7:46am PST

Even in just a few minutes, it’s possible to do a full-body mobility drill.

You don’t even have to follow a pre-made routine. Just get moving, find what feels good, and give yourself permission to get creative.

#8) Complete a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) Workout.

HIIT is just following a specific regimen where you vary your speeds and intensity throughout a shorter run, swim, bike, or row.

Unless you have a giant backyard, running at home might be tough.

But you know what doesn’t require a lot of room?

Burpees!

To complete a burpee:

You don’t have to head to a group class to do yoga. No “namaste” or “ohmmmmm” required either.

Here’s a 20-minute yoga routine, specifically designed for newbies, that you can do in your dorm room:

No idea what a downward dog is?

On the one hand, handstands are really tough. On the other hand, the amount of strength and balance required to perform a handstand will get you in great shape.

Plus, you don’t need to leave your home to practice. 

#11) Train like Batman. Because, Batman.

This workout is separated into two days for you:

Batman Home Workout Day 1:

Batman Home Workout Day 2:

Outside of all these super-sweet workouts we covered, there’s more!

We know exactly how to get people into shape without ever leaving the house.

If you’re going to be stuck in the house, some essential equipment might help you stay fit and healthy without breaking the back.

As somebody who trains in a gym four days per week, I’m going to be avoiding the gym for the upcoming few weeks.

In addition to plenty of bodyweight training (push-ups, pistol squats, and handstands), this is the equipment I’m using to create an inexpensive mini-gym in my apartment:

Here’s NF Coach Jim playing with his setup:

 

 

A post shared by Jim Bathurst (@beastskills) on Sep 29, 2016 at 11:48am PDT

For example, you could start doing band squats:

If strength training isn’t your bag, consider these other two options:

I’ve heard from multiple coaches and clients that Ring Fit Adventure provides a way to train in your living room that isn’t monotonous.

Do you have experience with Ring Fit Adventure? Please share in the comments below!

If you’re trapped inside and you can afford it, YOLO. 

To play today’s game, you’ll need a twenty-sided die like you would use in Magic: The Gathering or Dungeons and Dragons.

To play our game, simply roll one die. 

Then do the activity that matches it:

MOVEMENT

NUTRITION

LIFESTYLE

Feel free to edit The Nerd Fitness “Stuck in the House” Game to make it your own!

(Oh, and share your favorite additional missions in the comments below!) 

Although this game seems very simple, don’t underrate its value.

#1) Find ANY WAY to move more. 

Did you know ‘fidgeting’ (aka “small micromovements”) can account for up to 350 additional calories burned per day? It’s called NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis).

Per the New York Times[1]:

“Overweight people have a tendency to sit, while lean ones have trouble holding still and spend two hours more a day on their feet, pacing around and fidgeting, researchers are reporting in findings published today.

The difference translates into about 350 calories a day…” 

350 extra calories burned per day ain’t no joke!

Here are some ways to increase NEAT at home:

#2) Prioritize sleep!

When you never leave the house, you can really get off track with your schedule if you’re not careful.

You might be able to wake up tomorrow whenever. Why prioritize sleep if you no longer need to commute?

Well, because poor sleep can really mess with your immune system. 

Depending on why you’re isolating yourself (like a quarantine from a nasty virus), a hampered immune system can really be harmful.

#3) Wash Your Hands.

This hopefully goes without saying, but you should be washing your hands all the time, even without the threat of a virus or flu.

But I’m going to say it anyways. Wash your dang hands! Here’s exactly how to wash your hands:

Good hygiene is always important, but even more so if you’re trying to avoid sickness and have spent time in public.

#4) Consider a Vitamin D supplement. 

Another one to consider, especially if you are now living like a vampire and avoiding sunlight…

Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium and also plays a critical role in our immune system.[2] 

We normally get our Vitamin D from sunlight, or from animals (who also get it from sunlight). In the absence of the sun, taking a Vitamin D supplement is the best we can do.

#5) Fake Human Contact.

We are social creatures. Meaning if you aren’t careful, never leaving the house might give us cabin fever. 

Prioritize human connection, even if it’s not face-to-face:

#6) Look out the window!

Constantly glaring at computers and objects right in front of you isn’t exactly great for your eyes.

Solution: The 20-20-20 Rule!

For every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

There is some evidence it will help with eye strain, so it’s an easy enough rule to help your peepers stay healthy.[3]

Whether you’re only quarantined for a couple of weeks, or you’re somebody who works from home, the most important thing you do: 

It’s time to build a new routine, and it starts by treating your new life at home seriously. 

It’s easy to say “I’ll work out later” when your training takes place in the next room over. So easy in fact, that it’s easy to push out until tomorrow. 

Then the next day. 

Then the next. 

Before you know it, you realize you just don’t exercise anymore.

So, no matter how long you’re practicing extreme social distancing, KEEP up your momentum, train aggressively, and take care of yourself indoors.

This will allow you to get back on track without having lost all of your progress.

Note: it doesn’t really matter what time of day you train. Pick a time that works best for you. Just be consistent with it!

Then at the end of the week, ask yourself “Did I complete this week’s training?” 

The goals themselves aren’t so important at first. What is important is picking one, crushing it, then picking another.

So pick a goal (or roll a die) and get going!

Want a little help? The perfect next step on how to start getting in shape at home?

No problemo!

Here are 3 options on how to continue with Nerd Fitness:

Nerd Fitness Prime is our premium membership program that contains at-home exercise routines, live-streamed workouts with NF Coaches, a supportive online community, group challenges, and much more! 

Sign-up below and receive our free guide Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. It includes step-by-step instructions for all the exercises covered in today’s guide. 

Alright, enough from me. Your turn:

How do you plan on staying active at home?

Stuck at home with kids? How are you getting them involved?

Do you have any tips or tricks for training without a gym?

Are you currently reading this from an abandoned missile silo?

Let me know in the comments!

-Steve

PPS: Hopefully this goes without saying, but getting healthy and building a strong immune system is one of the best defenses one can have against getting sick. 

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