I think I have mentioned in previous posts that this blog is about the real and not the ideal. The two can get a little bit confused when you are online. For example, looking at a feed full of photos of people running, walking and biking on stunning snow flecked trails and swimming in lakes lit by the pale winter sun I find myself thinking, wow look at them go! Followed swiftly by; but wait, it’s January. Can this be done in January? While I’m all about positivity and encouragement here in this blog, I am also very much a realist. If you are working 9 to 5 or a shift based job, or are a full time student or even a full time student with a shift based job (as I myself have been) the chances are that you can’t just drop everything and run away to a beautiful scenic trail to exercise in the morning or evenings, no matter how much you want to. If you’re lucky, you could do it at the weekend or on your day off, but you are at the mercy of the weather. You may want to exercise inside, but you mightn’t be able to afford a therapeutic yoga class or even a gym membership. I have been in this position myself and it’s a little bit rubbish. So what do you do?
Now for the positive part!
Well, on Youtube, there are these lovely little things called Exercise Videos and Fitness Tutorials! They are generally well produced and clear, they can be as quick as you need them to be and they are completely free. For a lot of them, you don’t even need equipment. All you need is yourself, a little bit of space and something to protect your knees/elbows from a hard floor.
This week, I decided to try a few out. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me post about feeling like a bit of an idiot trying to keep up with a video. To be honest, I went a bit hard trying to get as much out of them as possible and ended up flailing about my yoga mat and making some pretty strange noises at some points! Luckily I had the house to myself (and the blinds down)….
So before you jump straight into the wonderful world of Youtube tutorials, I have compiled a little list of Dos and Don’ts to help you get the most out of an exercise video:
- Watch the video before you start your work out. Even if it’s just a quick scroll through, this will give you an idea of what to expect and whether this video will meet your requirements whether that’s cardio, toning etc. You can also look out for parts of the routine that may focus on areas where you may have an injury or weakness. For example, my hip is still tender since I fell the other week (I’ll never let that one go, will I?), so I have been avoiding any floor work that involves lying down on that side until it is completely healed.
- Know what you need. Are you looking to try out your new weights/exercise ball? Do you want to do something with no equipment involved? How much time do you have? There are so many tutorials online there is one to suit every need that you might have, but choose a video that is going to give you what you are looking for. It can be pretty disheartening to start into a great video with a really motivating instructor, only to realise that you don’t have the equipment required to complete the workout. Easily solved: just include what you are looking for in your Youtube search (for example, mine was: exercise video no equipment 10 minute)
- Give yourself plenty of space. I’m 5 ft. 9 inches tall and when I am doing something for the first time, I am not the most coordinated. Make sure that the couch and the coffee table are out of the way before you get going and don’t risk injury and annoyance by banging off the furniture!
- Try to do everything within the given time. Whether you are trying a video for the first time or not, take your time. It’s more important to get the exercise right than to do it within 8 minutes. You are risking injury and Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness if you push too hard to keep up with the instructor. If it’s going too fast, just drop the pace. 5 slow measured reps will be of more benefit to you than 10 rushed and awkward ones!
- Lose Heart . As you can tell by their bodies, the instructors on these videos are at peak physical fitness. They have also been trained to do, or have come up with the exercises that they are showing you, so of course they can rattle them out perfectly! If you fall on your face during a planking exercise (as I have did) don’t let it get to you, just slow down and try again
I don’t know about where you are, but here in Glasgow it’s due to be pretty miserable this weekend, perfect weather to give a fitness tutorial a try. Here are some of my recommendations.
1. Laura London:
I have been using Laura’s ab video since the summer of 2013 and do a lot of her exercises at the gym. Personally, I like a friendly instructor and Laura’s home video’s are perfect for someone like me who wants a bit of encouragement. She will work you hard but she keeps things simple and I find, very effective. She has a full Youtube channel and has a workout for every body part. This one comes highly recommended from me:
10 Minute Ab Workout with Laura London Fitness
2. Popsugar – Anna Renderer:
I tried this cardio workout for the first time this week. It’s a straight forward, no equipment workout that covers the whole body. The instructor Anna is bright and motivating, plus with the two other girls in the video, it felt more like a fitness class (which is something that I like). This workout is tough and I did break a sweat. I found the planking exercises the toughest but they are something that I need to work on so I will be going back to this video again! Plus Anna does a warm up with you at the start which I think is really important.
Fitsugar 10 Minute No Equipment Home Workout, Full Body Exercise Class
3. Fitness Blender
If you prefer a less personal approach, Fitness Blender is the one. The workouts are straightforward with simple coaching instructions which allow you to put some music on in the background if you prefer. I tried the 8 minute abs workout this week and my stomach felt rock hard afterwards. Again, it’s tough, but you will get results if you stick with it!
Fitness Blender 8 Minute Ab Workout
If you decide to give these a try I wish you the best of luck and I hope that this post has been of some help! Also, if you are a blogger who creates fitness tutorials, send me links I would love to try and also share them!
I will be out running this weekend and back to my evening runs during the week too. January is almost over and the mornings and evenings are getting brighter already, yipee!