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Working Out From Home (And For Free!): A Field Guide

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

While your new year’s resolution may have already flopped, there is no reason to write off your fitness goals just yet. It’s time to get back on track.

Working out from home can be easy, fun, and productive. The resources listed here can help you achieve anything from gentle yoga workouts for those who need a stretch and a break, to more vigorous plans which will get you in shape, fast.


YouTube is one of the most plentiful resources for ways to get in shape quickly. However, whilst many have merit, they are often short and fast and use no equipment. Body weight exercises do have their place – and some, like push ups or pull ups, whilst being notoriously challenging –they can often only get you so far. Incorporating weights, (whether these are proper dumbbells or bottles of Pinot Grigio destined to be emptied on Friday night) as well as cardio into your workout is essential to actually see some muscle gain.

However, YouTube videos – search for “30-minute arm workout”, for example– can be a very useful place from which to steal exercise ideas. These ideas can then be incorporated into your own routine of what is best and most challenging for you, or to learn how to do an exercise correctly.

Workout plans online

It’s very easy to access work out plans on the internet. You will notice that there will be hundreds of fitness gurus offering a (paid! And expensive!) ten-week or so course, which you follow along with to get fit fast. Splashing the cash, however, is not necessary.

Try charitable programmes such as Couch to 5K (a running guide) or ToughMudder, who offer a free workout guide on their website (designed for those planning to do their obstacle courses, but a useful tool nonetheless). A quick Google for ‘free workout plan’ quickly brings up thousands of options for workouts which can be done both in and outside the gym. These include muscleandstrength.com, who also have a large bank of videos to show you how to do the exercises. Again, these could either be a guide you follow to the letter, or some simple inspiration for your own, tailored workout.

Instagram and Facebook

Instagram and Facebook hold a wealth of resources, often in video form, of exercises and workouts. Actors and models often show off their new trainer or regime through a sneaky Instagram video; these can be just as informative as any of the other ideas listed here. Everything can provide inspiration.

Even more valuable are the Instagram pages of the fitness gurus, who, as I mentioned before, charge for their tailored fitness plans. However, they also often post quick videos of their daily workouts – that we can copy for free. On Instagram, @ampollo often posts videos which explain the best ways to do simple exercise like squats, and @bella_be_active provides a range of workouts, including fun ideas for couples.

Use outside gyms

Free, open air gym initiatives are popping up all over the country. Locally, there is a range of outdoor equipment open to use behind the Streatham Sports Park’s pitches. They are placed apart, so the route makes a nice run. Practice sit ups and pull ups, and see how many times you can cross the monkey bars.

Remember the basics

The basic guidelines to working out are just as important when working out. Don’t forget that you should:

  • Warm up before your workout, and spend plenty of time stretching after you finish, holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
  • Drink plenty of water during your workout, and don’t exercise for longer than an hour without having something to eat.
  • Stop if you feel ill or faint.
  • DO NOT work the same muscle group two days in a row; alternate groups to allow your body to heal after working out.
Zoe is an English Literature student at the University of Exeter, U.K., and therefore necessarily spends a large proportion of her time with her nose in a book. When someone drags her away from this, she can be found painting messy masterpieces, spending way too much money online, or pole dancing.