As people struggle to balance dieting and fitness with their busy lifestyles, many are seeking out the advice of personal trainers hoping to find new answers that will help them achieve their fitness goals. We talked to a few of London’s premier personal trainers to find out what home-based exercises work best for fat loss when we can’t quite make time for the gym.
According to a 2023 report, more than half of the world is predicted to be overweight or obese by 2035. It’s an eye-popping statistic and it says a lot about why so many people are focused on dieting and weight loss. If you’re like millions of people, you’re likely to conclude that only a series of 30- to 60-minute slogs done on a treadmill will help you achieve any noticeable results in weight loss. Otherwise, why bother? Right?
But how close is that to the truth?
To find out, we talked to personal trainers (PTs) and fitness professionals who are currently working out of London’s most advanced fitness studios to hear what they recommended. We discovered that personal training has evolved way beyond a service that’s only used by professional athletes and fitness-minded individuals with a considerable amount of disposable income. Personal training has become increasingly more affordable, and more accessible. But whether you use a PT or not, there will be days when a lack of time prevents you from getting to the gym. Fortunately, the PTs we talked to showed us five exercises that we can do within the cozy confines of our own homes (or office) that are as just as effective for weight loss as any exercise we might do in a gym environment.
From Canary Wharf to Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the most common components of modern architecture is the staircase - a remarkably effective means of burning off fat.
If you’ve ever taken the stairs, and who hasn’t, you can understand why and how they offer the potential for a great workout. Staircase exercises tone the lower body muscles and can accelerate our heart rate giving us a terrific cardio routine that can be done at home. According to one study, stair climbing burns even more calories than jogging does!
Workout: If you’re a newbie to climbing stairs exclusively for fitness purposes, PTs recommend you start by climbing one flight of stairs at a time, taking a break at the top, then return to the base of the stairs. Then, repeat. You can gradually increase the number of flights as you get stronger. Try to do this for 10 minutes at first, taking breaks when needed.
Wall squats, also known as wall sits, should receive a lot more credit than they get. The fact is that wall squats are one of the best home exercises for strengthening all our leg muscles (quads, glutes, and hamstrings).
Simply stand with your back against the wall and place your feet about 2 feet away while slowly sinking into a squat position - hold that position while keeping your back against the wall. The trick is to keep your knees at a 90-degree angle throughout.
Workout: For beginners, hold the position for 20- to 30-seconds. Do 3 to 4 sets twice a week. Each week, you can add 5 or 10 seconds to the length of time you can hold the position. Your goal time should be an entire minute.
Sound oversimplified? If you’re interested in an exercise activity that you can do in your home or office that’s capable of toning your upper body, push-ups are a time-tested classic, and they’re a favorite choice of PTs. However, it’s vital that you make the most of every push-up! PTs emphasize maintaining proper form and engaging your core to keep your back from sagging.
Workout: 3 to 4 sets of 6–12 reps twice a week.
Here are a few variations that will enhance the difficulty level and help you achieve quicker results:
Diamond push-ups: Position your hands close together under your chest with the thumbs and index fingers touching…like a diamond. You may only be able to do one or two push-ups the first time. That’s okay! Work your way up to a set of 6.
Decline push-ups: Elevate your feet on a chair or bench behind you while doing push-ups.
Burpees are a very effective cardio exercise that can strengthen your leg and upper body muscles. If you’re unfamiliar with burpees, here’s an outstanding video that can show you the proper form.
Opinions still vary in terms of whether burpees are worth the effort, and they do take a lot of effort. However, based on the mix of cardiovascular and strength-training exercise that’s involved in doing burpees with proper form, the PTs we talked to said they’re undoubtedly a fantastic choice for home exercise.
Workout: 8 – 12 burpees per 30 seconds. Do 4 to 8 sets twice a week based on your physical fitness.
Planks are one of the best exercises for strengthening (toning) our core, and they’re an outstanding choice for people who are looking for those exercises that offer the most “bang for their buck.” Often considered one of the best body weight exercises for the home or office, planking is rapidly becoming a vital exercise for people who are adopting home-based fitness routines.
Workout: Begin in a push-up position, then lower to your forearms with your palms flat on the floor. Hold that position while breathing in and out for 30 seconds. Take a 30-second rest in between and resume your planks. Try and work your way up to 60 full seconds. Do 3 – 4 sets of planks twice a week.
Muscle Mass as a Fat Incinerator
All the exercises above will undoubtedly elevate your heart rate, but PTs told us that they’re also considered strength training activities that build lean muscle mass. Strength training is rapidly gaining popularity as a fat loss strategy based on the concept that lean muscle mass burns more calories than fat tissue. In other words, the leaner the muscle mass in our bodies, the more calories our bodies burn, even while we’re at rest.
In fact, one PT that operates out of a prominent fitness spa in Canary Wharf (London) stressed to us the importance of elevating our Basal metabolic rate (BMR) via strength training exercises like the ones mentioned above. Also referred to as resting metabolic rate (RMR), this refers to our metabolism – seemingly the holy grail of fat loss success. BMR and RMR both refer to the number of calories that our bodies burn while at rest. As we build more muscle via strength training, our BMR/RMR caloric burn rate increases, especially when we stick to a diet that’s rich in protein.
Voilà. Better weight loss results. And all from the comfort of our own home.