For those working from home more often, staying on track with your fitness goals may be extra challenging. Whether you're adapting to a new hybrid model or have a full time office at home now, spending more time at home is a reality. So rather than struggling to motivate yourself to get to the gym, consider how a daily routine at home may actually present a better scenario for consistency and a more balanced approach to your overall well being.
In a more practical sense, I invite you to think beyond the obvious sets and reps at the gym and consider if your daily routine could include; soft tissue work to keep your body free of aches and pains, incremental mobility or stretching breaks to reset posture, a micro-dose movement routine to boost energy, or a plan to help reduce stress or enhance recovery? If not, no need to worry, the following tips will help you include these strategies while working from home!
Start by taking a few minutes to set up a personalized gym or health space. Ideally this is separate from your work station. Even if you're in a condo, all you need is a corner space with a matt and few pieces of equipment (see below for a list of basic home gym accessories I recommend for my clients)
Add pictures or posters with motivational quotes or inspirational images. You could even design a vision board to display.
Get a dry erase board, write out your goals, weekly routine, and daily workouts in detail. The more you see it, the more likely you are to achieve it.
Your gym space should be free from clutter and have equipment, workout clothes, and water bottle organized and ready to go. This way no time is wasted finding things. Another approach would be to put your workout clothes or exercise equipment in a spot where you constantly see them as a cue to be active. Stepping over a kettle bell in the kitchen several times a day would be annoying lol.
Create a high energy music playlist of your favourite songs. This is especially helpful for the days you're not quite "feeling it". This is a guaranteed recipe to help boost your mood and energy instantly. On the tougher days I've even bartered with myself to just do one songs worth of exercises....9 time out of 10 I kept going:)
Think about who is around you that can support your health pursuits. This may involve having a conversation with a spouse to take the kids or help out with other tasks. Maybe there's a friend or a neighbour that may want to join you for a walk or an outdoor workout. The buddy system also works well for picking each other up when the other isn't "feeling it". The next step is setting up a schedule with that person.
Reduce environmental distractions as best as you can. Unless you are using your phone or screen for a guided class or a timer, put them aside. This reduces the chances of people (maybe even your boss) interrupting you. Even if its only 10 minutes, view your exercise time is a time to refocus and clear your busy mind.
If you do need a screen for a coaching session or an exercise class, set it up in a good position so you can see, hear, and follow along easily. If you are working with a coach, make sure they can see/ hear you properly too:)
Consider habit stacking. The idea behind this is to review your typical daily routine and add tiny habits or tasks to what you are ALREADY doing. For example, every time you have to go to the bathroom, complete 5 body weight squats. Or after you walk the dog, do 2 minutes of stretching.
Have a back up plan for stressful times. This is critically important for keeping consistent because sometimes its not about working "OUT", but working "IN", as coach Paul Check says. In periods of high stress or fatigue, a vigorous workout is probably the last thing you need. So rather than expending more energy and taxing the nervous system even further, switch to activities that can calm and rejuvenate you instead. This is where going for a walk, soft tissue work, mobility, meditation and breathing routines come into play. This strategy also helps foster habit formation, which is critically important for long term success. The idea is to contribute something each and every day to your health account.
My favourite approach when I'm stressed is combining my stretching routine with pet therapy:)
11. Set an alarm to help schedule your workouts. Place the alarm in your gym area so you physically have to walk there to turn it off. Once you are there, promise yourself you will do at least 30 seconds of any activity (even breathing), no matter what.
In summary, the main concept comes down to setting up a home environment that inspires and supports healthy behaviours! As referenced above, I also invite you to consider a more broad approach when it comes to your health.
Think of the mental, physical, spiritual, and social components of health as inter-related pillars of wellness, if one is compromised, the whole system is compromised. The good news is, all of these categories can be broken down into skills we can learn and be improved with daily practice and action steps.....even while working from home!
Thanks for reading and please reach out with any questions or comments! If you're looking improve your health and fitness with online or in in person coaching please reach out to book a free consultation. I specialize in "helping busy professionals get fit without burning out" by working together with you on Tiny Habits to make a plan that works best for you. I service the st. Lawrence Market, Distillery district, and Corktown neighbourhoods of Toronto. I also offer online coaching and virtual sessions for those outside the downtown Toronto area.
Equipment list I recommend for my clients for basic home gym set up.
* I don't receive any payment or commission from any of these items*