The Couch Potato's Guide To Fitness

Can't afford the gym but not keen on the thought of exercising outdoors? Follow our fitness plan

the perfect way to exercise in the comfort of your own home without the need for any fancy equipment.

Given that the recession is forcing many people to give up their gym memberships, it's not surprising that even the most devoted gym bunnies are opting for nights in on the sofa.

But being broke - or a telly addict - doesn't mean being a couch potato. There are plenty of ways to keep fit without spending lots of cash or missing your slice of life on TV.

If you don't have the cash to sweat it out at the gym and a step aerobics class sounds like group torture, then exercising in your living room could be just the ticket.

Health and fitness consultant Rachel McGuinness has devised a fantastic home workout that can all be done in the time it takes to watch an episode of The Biggest Loser.

Rachel, who owns a women's fitness business, says gyms intimidate plenty of people.

"These exercises can be done whilst watching TV and it means you're getting up and doing something, not just sitting on the sofa," she says.

Follow her easy guide to at-home fitness and you'll be shedding the right sort of pounds in no time.

FRONT ROOM FITNESS

Do this 30-minute workout two to three times a week to see and feel a difference in your fitness.

Please note: Consult your doctor to make sure you're fit enough to exercise before attempting this workout. Remember to warm up, perform the exercises slowly during each move and contract the abdominal muscles to protect your back.

:: EXERCISE 1: STEP UP

Stand at the bottom of your stairs, start with either foot and step up quickly 20 times. Swap to the other foot and repeat.

Repeat two to three times on both legs.

:: EXERCISE 2: BAGS OF FUN

Use two carrier bags with equal weights of shopping starting off with 1 to 2kg.

Stand with your feet hip width apart, knees slightly bent and arms by your sides.

Gently contract your abs (remembering to breathe!).

Starting with your arms straight, slowly bend your elbows to contract the bicep (muscle on the front of your upper arm). Now straighten the arm slowly.

Do 10 to 15 repetitions and go through each set two to three times.

:: EXERCISE 3: BOTTLE IT

Stand with your feet hip width apart and your knees slightly bent.

Gently contract your abs (remembering to breathe!).

Holding two small (filled) water bottles at chest level, make a breaststroke swimming movement slowly.

Do 10 to 15 repetitions and go through each set again two to three times.

:: EXERCISE 4: TAKE THE LUNGE

Stand with your feet hip width apart and your knees slightly bent.

Gently contract your abs.

Imagine you're standing on double yellow lines and take a long step forward with your right foot.

Then bend the back leg so it's almost touching the floor and the front leg should bend.

Make sure the front and back legs are at 90-degree angles and the front knee is not bending over the toes.

Return to the starting position and repeat 10 times and do two to three sets.

To give yourself an extra tone up, add a bicep curl at same time.

:: EXERCISE 5: SQUATS

Get into the same start position as the lunge with your feet apart and knees bent.

Put your hands on your hips or hold some water bottles or tins.

Gently contract your abs, then bend your knees as though you're going to sit on a chair. Keep your weight going through your heels. Really focus on feeling the movement before returning to the start position.

Do 10 to 15 of these and repeat the set two to three times.

:: EXERCISE 6: SCISSOR ACTION

Stand with your feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent.

Holding bottles of water or tins, extend your arms behind you. Gently contract your abs.

Then quickly scissor your left arm under your right and then your right under your left.

Repeat this 20 times and if you can manage another set then do one!

:: EXERCISE 7: ON YOUR BIKE!

Lie on your back and bend your knees, lifting your feet off the ground so they're at a 90-degree angle.

Place your fingertips by the sides of your head. Gently contract your abs.

Lift your right shoulder and bring the elbow towards your left knee, meanwhile stretching out your right leg.

Return your right shoulder to the floor and without resting lift the left shoulder, bringing the left elbow and right knee together while extending the left leg.

Keep alternating elbows and knees for 10 repetitions to start with, and then build up.

Do this exercise slowly to get the best results.

:: EXERCISE 8: THE BOTTOM LINE

Get on your hands and knees and go down on to your forearms. Gently contract your abs.

Extend one leg slowly to do a 'donkey kick'.

Bring the leg back to the start position without putting it on the floor.

Repeat 10 to 15 times on each leg and repeat sets two to three times.

:: EXERCISE 9: EASY PRESS UPS

Kneel on the floor, place your hands underneath your shoulders.

Lift your feet off the floor so you're balancing on your knees.

Holding in your abs and keeping your back straight, bend your elbows outwards and lower your body towards the floor (only go as far as comfortable).

Return to the start position and repeat 10 times. Do another set if you can.
Snapper

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5 comments
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Posted by LinzReport
I want to watch and exercise along WITH a tv show that will show me all the right moves....by the end of the show I will have done my routine....which show can provide that?
Posted by AmeliaReport
cool :)
Posted by Bea3Report
this one really helped me. thanks heaps.
Posted by lightsReport
The fastest way to lose fat is definitely running. I swim and do pilates for toning.
Posted by Kat1965Report
Now on Lifestyle YOU Channel - 6:30 am til 7:30 am weekdays there are great floor exercises - different concentration for each day of the week for an all body workout for the week... they're excellent workouts, good for very fit, but they show you how to do the exercises for a lower fitness level as well. Try these if you have Foxtel, and good luck!