How I Created A Consistent At-home Exercise Routine With YouTube Workouts
I used to be super active and fit as a teenager but as soon as I stopped doing sports I lost all motivation and drive to workout. It’s not that I didn’t want to be active – it was more like I didn’t know HOW to be active without sports in my life. I’d never gone to the gym before or participated in fitness classes. Exercise was a whole new world to me and I’ll be honest, I fell off the wagon for a while.
It’s only now in my late twenties that I truly have an exercise routine and I’m finally feeling “fit” again. It’s all thanks to YouTube! YouTube workouts helped me create a consistent workout routine and the best part is that it’s all at home.
My workout journey
I’ve been in sports my whole life. As a child, I did swimming, dance, gymnastics, and eventually cheerleading. I was training 5 to 6 days a week and was very active. There was no need for a traditional gym because I was lifting people. I was also young so it didn’t seem to matter what I ate lol the joy of youth!
When I graduated high school I decided to stop cheerleading because a) I was full of injuries and b) I just wanted more freedom. Going into college I didn’t want to be at the cheer gym 5 days a week. I wanted to have time for my friends, school, and most importantly, a job.
Turns out college keeps you busy and then working on top of that left little time or energy for hitting the gym. I spent the majority of my college years working out at home on and off. That is when I first discovered YouTube workouts. Popsugar was my go-to!
This all worked for a while. I did get into pretty good shape but again, getting older hits you like a truck lol I discovered I couldn’t eat the same way I did before. So once I graduated college and got a “real” job I struggled hard with food and exercise.
I’ve been employed full-time for going on 6 years now and I won’t lie, it’s taken about 6 years to really get a hold of my life. It was such a shocking transition going from college to working full-time. I stopped working out completely because I was just SO TIRED after work.
Life happens fast! I finished school, met a guy, moved out, bought an apartment, got married… and I let go of the habits and routines that I knew I needed because I was “too busy,” “too tired,” “living life,” and so on.
A few months before my wedding I had a realization that I wasn’t going to get back into shape in time for the wedding. It really frustrated me but I ultimately decided that if I don’t start now then I’ll be in an even worse spot by the wedding AND life doesn’t just end there. What about next summer? What about the honeymoon? Why not get into a healthy routine just because?
So, I found some new Youtubers who post awesome at-home workouts and just got to work. The rest is history at this point. I really do feel like I’ve managed to make fitness my lifestyle (which was one of my BIG goals for 2023). It makes me laugh thinking about all the stress I put on myself to have this perfect routine. I planned gym workouts and would give up after a couple of weeks. I tried challenges and never finished them. It was NEVER hard… I just needed something I enjoyed.
That’s what I want to share with you. Working out isn’t hard. There is no right way to do it. Creating a healthy lifestyle is about balance and doing the things you actually like. It shouldn’t feel forced which is what I’ve struggled with for 6 years.
How I started becoming more consistent with my workouts
It wasn’t just an overnight fix as soon as I realized I needed to get my shit together. I wish!
However, I did make a conscious effort to try harder and to stop making so many excuses. Consistency can become a type of muscle – when you start lifting weights you struggle but after a while you can lift heavier! – the more you try to be consistent the easier it gets.
Let’s break down how I actually become more consistent because I feel like saying “just do it and stop making excuses” is not helpful for anyone!!
1 – I worked on my mindset around exercise
Maybe some people can relate to this but I used to have an all-or-nothing view of working out. Basically, if I couldn’t do the BEST workout, I didn’t see the point at all.
My mindset was so warped. It took some time to really truly believe that “something is better than nothing.” To get to that point I started following people on social media who had that kind of mindset. I watched YouTubers who had a lifestyle I WANTED to have. I started doing small things to be a bit more active and calling it “movement.”
When I focused on movement it became easier to reach my daily goals. That little boost of dopamine (from the movement but also from achieving a goal) made it easier to move my body the next day.
Related read: Helpful Tips For Ditching Your All-Or-Nothing Mindset
2 – I tried different types of workouts to make it fun
YouTube is really great because it’s free but it also has so much variety! I tried cardio, weight lifting, kickboxing, pilates, yoga… you name it, I tried it!
Some of them I didn’t like so I didn’t do them again. Others I loved and made sure they were on my weekly rotation.
My sweet spot for trying a new type of workout is 20 minutes. That’s long enough to give it the ol’ college try but short enough that if I hate it, it will be over quickly. I don’t EVER commit to an hour-long workout. I just don’t have it in me to focus that long!
3 – I scheduled the time in my calendar
This is an important one! I made a point to schedule a workout into my day. It didn’t matter if it was a walk after dinner or a full-blown cardio workout. I just made sure to do something but at the time I said I would.
I really looked at my schedule and figured out the best days and times for my workouts.
For example – if I was working from home one day I would schedule a hard workout because I knew I’d have the energy. If I was at the office all day and knew I would have to sit in traffic for an hour and might be in a bad mood, I scheduled something shorter that I liked doing.
It’s not always as easy as deciding to work out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5pm. Your schedule changes and then it disrupts your plan. It’s okay to plan day by day. Being consistent doesn’t necessarily mean doing a workout at the same time, same place, same day every time!
ALSO, I planned around my period. If I knew my period was coming on Thursday and I knew my stomach was going to hurt and I was going to be exhausted, that turned into my rest day. No need to power through and make you hate working out. Give yourself rest on days you need rest and jump back in. That will help you stay more consistent in the long run.
4 – I started habit tracking my workouts
There is something so satisfying about ticking off the habits completed on your habit tracker!
I created my own habit tracker in a notebook so I could track exactly what I wanted. Workouts are always on my habit tracker even now that it’s a solid habit. I just like checking it off and seeing how many days I was active.
It’s a great way to track your progress and also hold yourself accountable in the beginning.
It really does suck to look back at your month and realize you didn’t follow through with the goals you set.
There are several ways to track your habits and goals so you can decide what works best for you but having some way to monitor your actions will make it easier to be consistent.
5 – I got a Fitbit to track my workouts
This might not be for everyone and be careful not to get too obsessive with the numbers but I got a Fitbit to track my steps, heart rate during exercise, and calories burned.
I personally like seeing the stats but please don’t do this if it’s going to cause you stress!
6 – I started listening to my body
Some days you just don’t have it. You’re tired, grumpy, the weather is bad, you just want to eat chips and dip… I get it!!
I started allowing myself flexibility. When I had those days when my body felt so tired and I needed a nap after work, I just didn’t work out and listened to what my body needed (which was rest).
Then I made sure to make use of the days when I had lots of energy, had free time, when the sun was shining and I felt happy. On those days I go as hard as I can.
I also still get a workout in when I’m tired but not physically exhausted. I allow myself to do easier workouts or shorter workouts. Movement is movement and 15 minutes is better than no minutes.
7 – I stopped giving myself an option
This is a harder one but it does get easier as time goes on. I stopped making excuses for why I couldn’t work out. I decided that it wasn’t really an option if I was going to move my body. When you are able to make that mindset shift things get much easier.
Of course, I still take breaks when my body needs them, and some days I just don’t have the time but it’s all within reason.
This might be hard right now but start practicing moving your body in easy ways every day for a week. Do short workouts, go for walks, dance around the house… whatever it is just do it.
Sometimes you have to force consistency and that’s okay. It really is mind over matter and if you can convince your brain that you are moving in some way no matter what (within reason) then it starts getting easier. There is less of a mental fight about being too tired, too sore, too busy, and so on. You just do it because it’s part of your schedule now. It’s a habit!
Intuitive exercise is key
I was going to share my current exercise routine but honestly, it’s not even a routine. It’s more of a daily lifestyle that I take part in and the actual workouts vary from day to day. So sharing a specific routine just won’t do.
So instead, I wanted to share intuitive exercise because that is really the key point to this blog post and what I am trying to share.
Maybe you’ve heard of this term before but also maybe not. I first heard the term “intuitive eating” and when I did more research on doing things with your intuition I came across “intuitive exercise.” I definitely also saw it on Instagram and found the concept so interesting.
Intuitive exercise is when you engage in exercise that is guided by your feelings and what you enjoy. That is exactly what has helped me create a consistent workout routine. Every workout I choose to do is chosen because I like it, I’m in the mood for it, or I’m interested to try it.
I’m telling you that practicing intuitive exercise has been the biggest game-changer for me.
And I know you might not particularly like any type of exercise but choose your least hated option then. Cardio is my personal fav but there are so many options out there so just open your mind to what’s out there.
How to exercise at home with YouTube workouts
So it’s pretty clear that I’m a home workout girly. I love rolling out my yoga mat in the living room and sweating it out alone. There is just something about being in my safe space with music bumping that makes working out more fun.
Here is how I suggest you exercise at home with YouTube workouts.
You don’t need equipment
First, understand that you don’t need ANY equipment. The only thing that might be nice is a yoga mat (if you have hardwood floors). As for weights or bands or anything else you might feel inclined to get – you don’t need them. You can get an amazing workout in using only your body weight. If you decide down the road that you want to grab some weights then do that (I have a set of 5lbs and 10lbs) but start out with what you have. NO stress.
Make use of your TV
Second, put the YouTube app on your TV. I love watching the YouTube videos on the big screen Not only is it easier to see but it’s also connected to my sound system which lets me turn up the volume more than my phone would do.
Do what you like
Third, find a channel you like and try a few different workouts. I will dive into YouTube channels I suggest next but I found most success when I started with one person I really liked. It made working out a bit easier because a) I like them, b) I was used to their style, and c) most fitness YouTube channels have playlists with already-made plans to follow (which can be fun to do when you’re new).
Just get started
And finally… that’s it! Just put on your workout clothes and throw your chosen YouTube workout video up on the TV and get to work. Using YouTube videos for your home workouts is super simple!
Additional note – you can generally make these types of workouts as easy or as hard as you want. You can make modifications or up the difficulty as you see fit. For example – I like to do these walking workouts on Olivia Lawson’s channel but sometimes I have a lot of energy so instead of doing the low-impact jumping jacks I’ll do regular jumping jacks so instead of walking on the spot I will run on the spot. You can make these workouts your own in a way too.
YouTube fitness channels to check out
I have done the research so you dont have to! There are many fitness channels out there and I’m sure they are all good in their own ways. This is by no means saying that other channels are not good. These ones are just my favorite and ones that really made fitness my lifestyle.
Olivia Lawson – she has two channels (Olivia Fit Lawson + Lift With Liv). Both are great! Lift with Liv is obviously involving weights so if you have those at home and like lifting some weights that’s a great option. Her main channel is more cardio based and body weight exercises.
MadFit – A classic fitness channel! She shares a little bit of everything. From bodyweight workouts to dance workouts, there is something for everyone. She also has a lot of variety in the length of workouts which I like.
Growingannanas – she is my go-to for a solid tabata style workout. I know she will always kick my butt.
Juice and Toya – a couple that makes workout videos together! A good variety of weighted and non-weighted workouts. They also make some “workout to the beat” videos which are always fun.
Popsugar Fitness – the OG of fitness YouTube channels! I don’t use this one quite as much anymore but it’s a really good one to try out. There are usually so many types of workouts and often times they have celebrity trainers on so that’s kind of cool!
Move with Nicole – if you like pilates are want to try pilates this is the channel for you. I typically do one or two pilates videos a month. Ill be honest it’s not my favorite way to workout but I do like the core work!
Tone It Up – another great channel if you want a little variety. I love the girlys on this channel and I always get a good workout. They offer other types of videos too like meditation which I think is awesome from a holistic wellness perspective.
30-day YouTube workout challenge freebie
To wrap this whole post up, I created a 30 day at home YouTube workout challenge! I found all the workouts for you and linked them on the calendar so if you don’t even want to go look for the channels or the workouts you don’t have to.
Since we’ve been chatting about consistency I felt that 30 days of MOVEMENT was ideal to help you get on track and create healthy habits.
Of course, you don’t need to do every single day of the workouts but you can try to do as many as possible and then on those days when you just aren’t feeling it take a little scroll around the neighborhood instead!
I’m sharing some of my favorite workouts in this challenge but if for some reason a workout doesn’t interest you, SKIP IT. Find another option from that YouTuber or something else altogether. The important thing is that you are moving your body.
So, if you want to start your journey to becoming more consistent with your workouts and you’re like me and want to do it all in the comfort of your own home, grab this FREE 30-day YouTube workout challenge 💖
BTW, I made it in two ways – the calendar version and a list version! Use whichever floats your boat (they are the same).
Important to add… I am NOT a personal trainer or certified in anything to do with working out. This is just a fun challenge that I put together so don’t take this as a professional telling you how to get in shape. I’m just your internet bestie sharing her fav workouts and hoping you love them too, Okay? Okay!
At home workouts have been a game changer for me. Even though I’ve always done them in some capacity, I have really found what I love and its made the biggest difference.
Working out doesn’t need to be hard. It can be fun and easy. The thing with consistency and building habits is that the easier the thing is the better. The easier the habit is (working out) the easier you will create a long lasting habit.
Hopefully my tips for using YouTube for your home workouts was helpful and if nothing else hopefully it gave you some motivation to get your body moving in some way.
Always remember: any movement is better than no movement. Your body AND brain will thank you!
What type of exercise is your fav? Do you like to do home workouts like me??