Golden Home Fitness

4 Tips for How to Workout at Home Without Equipment

We get it, you’ve finally worked up the motivation to workout, and you want to get after it right away! You don’t want to deal with a gym membership, commuting to the gym, and aren’t ready to invest in home equipment just yet. So you may be asking yourself, how do I workout at home without equipment? You have come to the right place!

When it comes to getting a good workout at home without equipment, there are a few steps you should think about, but most important for getting started is to eliminate distractions! When you’re at home, you’re one request from a spouse or child away from a premature end to the workout or at least an extended break. Plan ahead and keep the distractions at bay so you can get after it uninterrupted!

Here’s the deal: you may not think about it like this yet, but you already have a whole gym with you right now! That’s right, your own body weight is an excellent solution to help you workout at home without equipment. Not only that, but putting yourself in a new environment will force you to come up with new, creative ways to use what you have already, helping you work your creativity muscles too!

How to Workout at Home Without Equipment

So how do you keep progressing as you workout at home without any equipment? Easy! Focus on how you can make the exercise harder, or easier, as needed. Here are four of the best ways to do just that:

How to Workout at Home Without Equipment

#1 – Change Elevation

When you think about doing a push-up, you may be thinking, “I can’t do any of those!” but that’s just if you think about doing a pushup flat on the floor. If you raise your hands up to the edge of your sofa, or to your kitchen countertop, you’re making the movement easier while still keeping the movement the same: a horizontal press with a sturdy core. By changing your body’s angle to the ground, you’re reducing how much of your body weight is directly felt through the movement.

#2 – Reduce Stability

Want to make an exercise harder? Shake it up! By reducing the stability of an exercise, our bodies need to work harder to stabilize. This can be achieved by going from both legs and/or arms in contact with the ground to just one, such as from a squat to a single leg squat. Performing many core exercises, you can reduce stability by lifting a limb, such as in a plank with one arm or foot raised off the ground. Additionally, you can use a piece of equipment like a stability ball or Bosu ball to create instability where you have to work hard to stay put! Performing a plank on a stability ball is an excellent example of this.

#3 – Modify Speed

Got a need for speed? Slow it down first! By increasing the time that it takes to complete reps, you’re putting your muscles under greater strain to complete the same exercise. Let’s take a bodyweight squat for example, now instead of jumping down and up haphazardly, count to four seconds on the way down, pause for two seconds at the bottom, then stand back up over four seconds! Seem easy? Give it a try and get back to us! Once you can do something really slow, then you can progress by adding speed, such as doing jump squats or jumping up on a step.

#4 – Increase Distance

How low can you go? Limbo and musical references aside, how far you go in an exercise will make it harder! Once you can safely perform the full range of motion of an exercise, you can increase the distance for each rep. Ways to do this include elevating your front foot on a lunge so your back knee can drop even further, putting greater demand on your front leg to remain strong throughout. For a push-up, you can go all the way to the floor if you’ve been stopping a few inches higher, or you can elevate your hands on books or yoga blocks to challenge your shoulders and chest muscles even more. By testing yourself through these greater ranges, when you’re forced into a potential injury causing position in daily life, you’ll have prepared your body to handle these extremes and will be more resilient!

Meet Susanne, Our Holiday Home Fitness Challenge Champion!

What are you waiting for!? You have everything you need already, and if you want guidance on how best to progress for your specific needs and goals, we will come to you where you already are and coach you to success right at home! Get started with a free week! You’ll get a coaching session, in-person or a live remote video session, plus a full week of online coaching. If you’re looking to learn more exercises you can do at home, check out our video library!

Golden Home Fitness

Your Brain on Exercise: New Science of Mental Health and Why it Matters

Let’s talk about mental health. Recently it was reported that 1 in 3 college freshman are reporting symptoms consistent with a diagnosable mental health disorder, and 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness in a given year (1). While this recent headline focuses on college students, mental illness impacts all, and is especially consequential in later years, with the highest rate for suicide in women between ages 45 – 64, and for men, ages 75+ sees the highest rate, with ages 45 – 64 just behind, and is the group with the largest percentage increase (2).


Among the 44.7 million adults in 2016 with any mental illness, just 43.1% received mental health treatment.


Mental illness costs the U.S. economy $193.2 billion in lost earnings every year, and adults with severe mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier than others, the majority of which are due to a treatable medical condition (3). Additionally, among the 44.7 million adults in 2016 with any mental illness, just 43.1% received mental health treatment (48.8% for women and 33.8% for men). For young adults, of any gender, age 18-25, just 35.1% received care. Across age and gender, the percentage is even lower for those whose race/ethnicity is Hispanic or Latino (31%), Black (29.3%), or Asian (21.6%), compared to 48.7% for those identifying as White (4).


What’s clear then, is that there is an enormous number, to the tune of 25 million people, who either cannot access quality mental health care because of cost, availability, or other limitation, or who, because of the stigma surrounding mental health treatment, do not seek care. This includes various forms of talk therapy, support groups, medications, and more. For these 25 million people, lifestyle interventions including, and certainly not limited to, exercise are an essential starting point for improving quality of life. For the rest of this article, we’ll dive into why and how exercise and physical activity can be an effective intervention in improving function and life outcomes for those with mental illness.

Most people generally understand that by exercising, they feel better, but it goes much deeper than that. In a meta-analysis recently published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, they looked at 11 studies with 455 adult patients with clinical depression, and found that with an average of 45 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise performed three times a week, over an average of 9 weeks that there was a significantly large overall anti-depressant effect (5). These outcomes even held when participants could do whatever form of exercise they preferred!


“Resistance exercise training significantly reduced anxiety in both healthy participants and those with a physical or mental illness, and the effect size of these reductions is comparable to that of frontline treatments such as medication and psychotherapy.” – Brett Gordon


So aerobic exercise helps, but what about lifting weights and other resistance training? A recent meta-analysis published in the journal Sports Medicine, across 16 studies with a total of 922 participants, sought to answer that question. Study author Brett Gordon reported that “RET (resistance exercise training) significantly reduced anxiety in both healthy participants and those with a physical or mental illness, and the effect size of these reductions is comparable to that of frontline treatments such as medication and psychotherapy… RET is a low-cost behavior with minimal risk and can be an effective tool to reduce anxiety for healthy and ill alike” (6).

Additionally, many antipsychotic medications, particularly atypical antipsychotic medications, are known to lead to weight gain. Consequentially, those with schizophrenia have an expressed need for exercise interventions, and generally respond very well, with improvements in weight control, fitness level, ability to tolerate exercise, blood pressure, and energy levels! These improvements have been seen with as little as 30 minutes of brisk walking 3x per week, and could be done all at once, or split into 10-minute increments (7).

 


“Great, exercise helps, but how and why?” Funny you should ask, as an article from the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry seeks to answer just that! They propose that exercise induces an increase in blood circulation to the brain, and by influencing the HPA (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal) Axis. This works to improve the physiological response to stress and also likely is boosted by signals sent to other regions of the brain that control several factors, including mood and motivation (limbic system and hippocampus), fear response (amygdala), and memory formation (hippocampus) (7).

On the cutting edge of understanding mental health and the role of exercise lies systemic inflammation, and in particular, a molecule called kynurenine. Systemic inflammation has been shown to be a biomarker for, and possibly influence the onset of, depression and other mental illnesses (8). During conditions of high inflammation, the essential amino acid tryptophan (yes, the one people talk about when you eat a large portion of turkey, which is more of a myth with a hint of truth, but that’s for another day) is broken down into a molecule called kynurenine, instead of it’s normal product, serotonin. This leads to a build-up of kynurenine in the brain, which is neurotoxic and is associated with depression and schizophrenia (9, 10).

Kynurenine: tryptophan metabolite, molecular model. Atoms are represented as spheres with conventional color coding: hydrogen (white), carbon (grey), oxygen (red), nitrogen (blue)


So where does exercise come in? Exercise stimulates more significant expression of the enzyme KAT (Kynurenine Aminotransferase), converting kynurenine into kynurenic acid (Kyna), which has neuroprotective effects. In addition to the effect of exercise to reduce systemic inflammation, exercise also directly impacts the brain through this pathway and is an especially important intervention for stress-induced depression, which has a tight link to kynurenine build-up (11, 12).

Lastly, regular exercise over time builds up a resiliency to kynurenine toxicity and stress-induced depression by improving the ability of skeletal muscle to express the enzyme KAT. One study found that while those with a history of training did see greater KAT expression, it took only 3 weeks for sedentary adults to see improved KAT expression, among other benefits (13)!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I hope you’ve gotten some value from this, and if you did, pass it along! This is an important topic, and information can help people more than you know! Feel free to reach out with comments or questions, and if you’re in the Greater Boston area and want to get started exercising with a professional coach at your convenience, we’ll schedule you a complimentary workout!

Referenced:

  1. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2018/09/freshmen-mental-health.aspx
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db241.htm
  3. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers
  4. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml
  5. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/da.22842
  6. https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1BX2IZ
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
  8. https://www.foundmyfitness.com/episodes/inflammation-depression
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30031753
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28751584
  11. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-72790-5_7
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3320801/
  13. https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/ajpcell.00053.2016
Golden Home Fitness

The Missing Keys to Efficient Fat Burning at Home

We can all agree: everyone seems to want more time, or to make better use of the time we have! In the quest to be more efficient, many people understand the power that a regular exercise routine can have on their energy, focus, and productivity throughout the day. As a result, there is an endless number of programs and apps that offer a workout in 7 minutes, 10 minutes, or even less, and while some of these are great, and doing some exercise is always better than doing nothing, we’re focused here on how to train and live optimally! Why settle for anything less? We’ve discussed how powerful of a productivity hack doing your exercise at home can be, and today we’ll take it to the next level for how to optimize even further with circuit training!

In a recent article, Coach Mike Urso discussed the difference between “working out,” and “training.” In essence, working out is a somewhat random assortment of exercises while training is planned and structured per training goals, and an individual’s own physiological ability to perform the plan successfully while recovering adequately between sessions.

Ready to get moving towards your goals? Take the next step on your training journey with a complimentary workout on us!

How do you make circuits?
Do you pick exercises out of a hat? Do the “Deck of Cards” workout or follow whatever you just found online?

While these add a great flair of excitement, if you have fitness or performance goals, shouldn’t be the bulk of your training (if your goal is just to have fun, then, by all means, have a blast! Note: Training can be fun too, and even doing the same style activities, the mindset just adds a layer of thinking through how what I do today fits into a larger plan).
Using the surprise elements to spice up a finisher at the end of a workout is great, especially when you’re mentally and physically exhausted. 

Alternatively, if you’re traveling, or especially tight on time, this can be an excellent way to get something in. Remember, if doing that means you will do it, and if not then you’ll watch Netflix on the couch, then do what you gotta do! But we’re talking about training optimally today.

Here’s an overview of three powerful ways to group exercises to optimize your training time:

Supersets:
These are a great way to improve training efficiency while increasing the metabolic effect, or calorie burn from your workouts! The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a paper demonstrating that using supersets compared to traditional linear training resulted in greater caloric burn and EPOC (1). EPOC is the “afterburn” measure of how much extra energy you’ll continue to burn for as much as 10-72 hours after your workout.

The term superset is often used to denote performing any two exercises back to back, resting only after completing the second exercise. The classic definition, and what we’ll focus on today, is expressly that of pairing opposing muscle groups, or an “antagonist” superset. When you perform an exercise, use a TRX Row, for example, your back muscles are what’s known as the prime mover. Working opposite to your back is your chest muscles, the antagonist as your back muscles contract and shorten, your chest muscles relax and lengthen. For example, by pairing a TRX Row in this example with a push-up variation, there is a slight performance-enhancing effect for both exercises. For this kind of superset, typically you’ll rest a minute or less between each exercise, with no lengthened rest after completing the two, continuing into the next set.

Giant Sets:
This technique essentially aims to fill the rest time with complementary and accessory exercises so you can get in more total work in over less time. Generally choose three to four exercises, beginning with large, demanding movements, and progressing to smaller movements, such that the last exercise is almost an “active rest,” to prepare yourself for the next set. For Example, you could perform Bulgarian Split Squats, followed by a Kettlebell Swings, then Single Leg Glute Bridges, and lastly Band Pull-Aparts.

Timed Circuits:
Lastly, we’ll talk about timed circuits, or what most people think of when it comes to circuit training. Here are three ways to organize your training:


AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible): Choose a set of exercises, let’s say four, and you then are challenging yourself to see how many rounds you can complete as possible in a given time. This is great because if you know you only have 10 minutes to workout after your warm-up, just set a timer for 10 minutes, pick a few exercises, then challenge yourself! This is great for tracking also because you have a score you can work to beat for the next time you do it.


Rounds For Time: Essentially the opposite of the AMRAP, you’ll be setting a finite amount of sets or reps to complete, then recording how fast you finish that work.


Intervals: You’ll pre-determine your amount of work and rest (can be the subject of another article) and use a timer to tell you when to go and when to stop. This is especially good to eliminate the tendency to rest for too long and waste valuable minutes.

Don’t want to think about all this? No fear, that’s why we’re here! Let’s get moving, and we’ll schedule a complimentary workout for you with a coach to get you some momentum, just fill out the form below and we’ll reach out! If you’d like to learn more about how to train in-home, check out our eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Home Workouts!

Golden Home Fitness

The Single Reason You Need to Start Working Out Today

You’ve been putting it off for a LONG time. You keep saying to yourself:

“It’s the holiday’s so I’ll just get started in January.”

“I’ll start back up at the gym when work settles down.”

“I just can’t seem to find the time.”

NEWS FLASH: You’re conditioning yourself to say it’s just not important.

The truth is if you don’t have good health, any of the money you make, or time you spend doing it won’t matter because your quality of life will suck. And putting it off until “tomorrow” is just programming you to push working out further down your priority list.

But you can change that in an instant (or should I say a bunch of instances done with intention.)

Ready to Get Moving? We’ll Book a Complimentary Workout for You!

Mel Robbins explains the 5-second rule here – No, not eating food off the floor within five seconds! – but taking an immediate action step towards something within 5 seconds of thinking about it.When you act immediately on a thought, you condition yourself to get more done. To prioritize now. It’s what Mel Robbins calls Metacognition or “a way of tricking your brain in order to achieve your greater goals.”(The science can be explained here.) This will build your confidence, help you face fears (is that scary situation you’re facing ever really as bad as we make it out to be in our head?) and most importantly, build momentum. Momentum is a critical component of behavior change. The 5-second rule is a strategy you can use to get yourself to do something you don’t want to do – like working out.

Yes I know – dragging yourself out of bed, putting on your workout clothes, and driving to the gym is not as simple as it sounds. You’re overworked, overtired, crunched for time and your life just never seems to slow down. So I’m going to give you a simple way to get this started tomorrow morning.

When your alarm clock rings tomorrow morning, actually get up (Yeah it’s crazy that we may actually use our alarm clock to do what we use it for in the first place.)

Huh? How is this going to help me get more done you’re asking? Well, when you hit snooze, you’re basically conditioning yourself to say, whatever I have to do today isn’t as important as sleeping in for 5 more minutes. And besides, you know how much more tired you feel when you wake up after a snooze.

So how does this help me to workout? I’ll tell you…

When you hear the alarm go off, reach over and turn it off. Instead of hitting snooze, sit up out of bed. Do this within 5-seconds You’ve now begun the process of reconditioning yourself to act on a thought immediately and building the necessary momentum. Next, you think about turning on the coffee pot and making a cup of coffee. Go do it! You’re now 2 for 2 and your confidence is building. Then you think, “I forgot to make my bed.” Immediately go and do it. Not “I’ll do it after I check how many likes I got on my Facebook post last night”, but immediately when you think about it.

What’s happening is simple. As you check off a task from your mental checklist by taking immediate action on it, you’re rewiring your brain to GET STUFF DONE and allow your thoughts to become a priority.

So next time you’re thinking of working out, but you’re hesitating, take an action towards it within 5 seconds and start reconditioning yourself. Maybe it means you go to your dresser and set your workout clothes on the bed. Maybe it means immediately grabbing your phone and putting it on your calendar. Any actionable step, no matter how small, will do. When it comes to changing your habits and behaviors, momentum trumps everything.

What small task that you’re thinking about right now can you go and do that can build momentum? If you’re on the cusp of getting started, we make it easy for you, just fill out your contact info and we’ll reach out to schedule you a complimentary workout!



This article was originally published on mikeurso.com/blog and has been re-published here with permission from the author, our Director of Training, Mike Urso.

Why Exercise?

Exercise: it’s been said that if there is a wonder drug, exercise is it, because of the myriad of benefits. But have you ever been milling along on a treadmill and thought to yourself, what am I really doing here? What’s the point of all this? We’re not talking about having an existential awakening here (save that for another time), but instead questioning things what we often take for granted, like that we should exercise.

“Wait, so you’re telling me a personal training company is about to post an article asking, do we even really need to exercise?” Well, the answer is yes! Spoiler alert: it shouldn’t be a surprise, because the benefits are so overwhelmingly positive, and if you’d like to work with a trainer on how to make the most of your exercise, we can book you for a complimentary workout!

The Canadian Medical Association Journal published at meta-analysis seeking to find out what all the benefits of exercise truly are (1). To highlight the benefits, they found that routine physical activity has been shown to improve:

  1. Body composition (muscle development, fat reduction, weight control)
  2. Enhance lipid-lipoprotein profiles (cholesterol and triglycerides)
  3. Improve glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity (regulating how the body responds to food)
  4. Reduce blood pressure
  5. Improve autonomic tone (non-conscious balance of relaxation vs. stress)
  6. Reduce systemic and chronic inflammation
  7. Decrease blood coagulation (blood clotting)
  8. Improve coronary blood flow (blood entering the heart)
  9. Augment cardiac function
  10. Enhance endothelial function (lining of blood vessels)
  11. Improved psychological well being (reduced stress, anxiety, and depression)
  12. Improvement in sex-hormone levels

Among the most powerful findings is the impact on “all-cause mortality,” or the risk of death by any cause. One study looked at over 2000 men aged 40-60 over 22 years, measuring their fitness levels and 13-year all-cause mortality. As shown in the chart below, the risk of death was least for the group that was most fit throughout (brown bar to the right), but most inspiring is the dramatic reduction in all-cause mortality for those who were not particularly fit at the beginning of the study, but became more fit over the years (brown bar to the left)! In the interpretation, they report that “even small improvements in physical fitness are associated with a significantly lowered risk of death” (2).

These effects hold for women as well, as, “physically inactive middle-aged women (engaging in less than 1 hour of exercise per week) experienced a 52% increase in all-cause mortality, a doubling of cardiovascular-related mortality and a 29% increase in cancer-related mortality compared with physically active women” (1).

Across the board, exercise also reduces the risk of:

  1. All-cause mortality (20% – 35% lower risk of death by any cause)
  2. Cardiovascular Disease
  3. Type 2 Diabetes (1.7 fold increased risk among those inactive)
  4. Cancer
  5. Osteoporosis

While aerobic exercise gets a lot of focus for health improvements, strength training is important as well. The analysis reports that developing musculoskeletal fitness is associated with improving:

  1. Functional independence
  2. Mobility
  3. Glucose homeostasis
  4. Bone health
  5. Psychological well-being
  6. Overall quality of life

Functional independence is especially worth focusing on, as most people want to stay independent for as long as possible as the years roll on. There are a natural rise and fall of musculoskeletal fitness over time, and while exercise will improve the function and limit decline, not exercising will also expedite the fall. See the chart below for the visual representation of this (1).

We can all agree, exercise is extremely beneficial, so how do you start? You may be conditioned to think you need to sign up for a gym membership, but that isn’t true. You have everything you need, right at home! Not only that but exercise at home can save you valuable time and money. We’ve written about these at length in other articles, and if you’d like a complete guide to exercising at home, you can fill out the form below to download our eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Home Workouts! While information is excellent and can help a lot, taking action is the most crucial step, so if you’d like to get moving right away with a complimentary workout, click the button above, and we’ll book your session for you!

Referenced:

  1. Warburton, Darren E.R., Crystal Whitney Nicol, and Shannon S.D. Bredin. “Health Benefits of Physical Activity: The Evidence.” CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association Journal 174.6 (2006): 801–809. PMC. Web. 19 June 2018.
  2. Erikssen, G, et al. “Changes in Physical Fitness and Changes in Mortality.” Lancet. 1998 Sep 5;352(9130):759-62. PMC. Web. 12 September 2018

6 Steps to Burn Fat and Build Muscle (Sustainably) by Exercising at Home

You’ve heard it before a million times: magic pill blasts fat like never before, the one weird trick to achieve the body of your dreams, feel better than ever with this easy shake detox, consume nothing but our magic tea to feel the fountain of youth, the perfect workout, the secret to vitality, and so on… While there may be some truth buried under a few miles of their marketing budgets, most of these claims are facetious at best, manipulative at worst, and indisputably misleading. As we’ve discussed before, exercising at home can be a real game-changer; it has been just that for many of our clients, trainers, and friends. From saving time and money to convenience and comfort, exercising at home can enable people to live a healthier and more full life.

Here’s the Secret to Burning Fat and Building Muscle at Home: there isn’t one. Across the board, there are universal principals that everyone must adhere to. If those principles are violated, the quick fix may do as it says, fix something quickly, though temporarily. These 6 steps will enable you to take control of your own health and maximize the limited time and energy you have. A reference guide summarizing this process can be found at the bottom of this page; you can keep it around your home or on your phone as a reminder!

Let Get Moving! We’ll Schedule Your Complimentary Workout

1 – Put it on your Calendar

Make an appointment and hold yourself to it; if you’re working with a coach they’ll make sure you remember! When you’re training at home, it’s easy to let “I’ll start in 3 minutes as soon as I finish this…” turn into 30 minutes later, and then you no longer have time to do what you planned.

2 – Eliminate Distractions

We’re all human, and when working out at home, a small lapse in focus can quickly turn into a full conversation with a family member or roommate, a nap, or a Netflix binge. Get ahead of these distractions proactively, for example, silence your phone, alert those you live with, and use the TV for music or make the remote inaccessible, to start.

3 – Have a Plan for Success

When you’re at a health club, it’s easy to look around and pick what you want to do. At home, you’re going to need a plan. Know what exercises you’re going to do, in what order, and how much of each to avoid natural lulls. Hire a coach or use one of the many great programs available for free.

4 – Movements Over Exercises

Barbell bench pressing every Monday or always using the same cardio machines? Just because your home or office gym doesn’t have the same tool doesn’t mean you need to scrap what you love. Focus on the intent of the exercise (the movement pattern) such as performing weighted push-ups or using dumbbells.

5 – Varied Progressions

Dumbbells not heavy enough? There are options for progressions other than just weight! Changing the position, range of motion or speed, performing drop sets, using thick handle attachments, and more, all allow continued progress.

6 – Work Hard and Recover!

No one ever improved their fitness just because they went into a health club. Results are the effect of sustained hard work followed by recovery, and fortified by quality nutrition, over a significant period of time. This is true in a gym, at home, anywhere – now go get it!

Let Get Moving! We’ll Schedule Your Complimentary Workout

To build a solution more tailored for you, schedule a strategy session with a coach by reserving one of the remaining spots! Just want to get more information? Fill out the form below to download your complimentary copy of our eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Home Workouts, with the full explanation of why and how to exercise at home, with specific programs for what to do, with no more equipment needed. Want to get moving right away? We’ll schedule a complimentary workout for you to feel what it’s like to exercise with a coach in the convenience of your own home!

6 Steps to Burn Fat and Build Muscle (Sustainably) by Exercising at Home - Reference Guide