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Home workout with
Sarah Mariko

Are you a home workout novice?

During the coronavirus pandemic, we are only allowed to be out once per day for exercise and fresh air. Perhaps, you are not a keen runner or want to minimise your risk by not going outside as often. You might want to look into creating an effective home workout routine. 

But how do we even get started? We are so used to going to the gym or attending fitness classes that many people feel lost when left to their own devices. With our new lifestyle, it can be tough to put your fitness routine on hold. Even if you weren't much of a fitness fan previously, you might still want to look for ways to get your body moving as physical exercise is vital for our mental and physical health. 

We have teamed up Sarah Mariko, a Barry's Bootcamp trainer and Sweaty Betty Ambassador, to answer some of your burning questions to demystify exercise at home—once and for all.

1- Is it effective to workout at home?

Of course! Movement is movement whether it's at home, outside or in the gym. You can do a surprising amount using just a mat and bodyweight. There are multiple ways to raise your heart rate in the house by adding burpees, squat jumps or mountain climbers to your workout.

2 - What are the benefits of working out?

The mental and physical benefits of working out are endless. There are the obvious health benefits - cardiovascular health, bone strength and muscle mass. We need these to lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Working out will help manage your weight, improve sleep quality, reduce stress and protect against illnesses. It's also a great opportunity to switch off from the rest of the world and be 100% present in the moment.

Our mental and physical health is key right now and it's really important to look after it as best you can.

3 - How should we create our workout space?

Declutter. Find a space big enough to place a mat or towel. Grab your speaker, a bottle of water, put on an epic playlist and get going!

4 - How should we prepare our workout routine? Any suggested exercise that we should do?

Start with a 5-minute dynamic warm-up—you want to move, stretch and get your body warm and prepared to workout. Then the workout begins. I'm doing a lot of HIIT at the moment—it (literally) keeps me on my toes and I get a sweat on in a short time. If you're pushed for time this is a great way to work out from home.  

My favourite exercise move is probably a jackknife for your abs (let's build those summer bodies in lockdown!) and a hip thrust for your lower body. I always add a hold and pulse at the end to make it that little bit harder. 

And finally—stretch! I know so many people hate stretching but it's so important and will help with the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) the following day. Spend 5-10 mins after static stretching and just allowing your heart rate to drop. 

5 - Do we need a workout apps/videos? What would you recommend?

I think apps/videos are so important at the moment to help keep you motivated and give you a bit of variety in your training. It can be hard when you are at home alone to find the motivation to workout. I'm offering daily live HIIT classes at www.sarahmariko.com. Classes cost only £4 and will leave you feeling hot and sweaty! 

6 - What are the key equipment we need?

A pair of dumbbells is always useful to add extra resistance. Given the shortage of dumbbells online a whole load of people must have some now at home! A resistance band is a good, cheap piece of equipment. 

If you don't have weights wine bottles and books can be used instead—there are many ways you can get creative at home. 

7 - How long/often should we be exercising?

I'd recommend at least 30-45 minutes 4/5 times a week. Especially given the current situation so many of us are even more sedentary than we usually are. It doesn't have to be a hard workout—a jog, a walk, some yoga but movement is absolutely key. A little bit of movement every day will keep you physically and mentally healthy. 

8 - What's the best time to exercise?

This comes down to personal preference. I prefer mornings or lunchtimes, but some people are evening people and prefer training after work. Either way—find what works and make it a routine! 

9 - What's the best pre/post-workout meal?

Porridge with oat milk, peanut butter and banana is my go-to pre-workout meal at the moment. If I'm training I'll eat around 1.5 - 2 hours before and follow up with a shake using veganHermosa Protein—it's the best! 

10 - How to find the motivation to do a workout?

This can be hard sometimes! Give yourself a pep talk or go on YouTube and get someone else to give you a pep talk—there's lots out there!—and make the decision that you are going to get up and just get it done. If you start and you're really hating it you can always stop. But I find thinking about working out is normally a lot worse than the workout itself. If it's a run—go out—start the run, and a few minutes in you normally get into the stride and start to enjoy it. 

Another thing is understanding your 'why'. Why are you working out? So many people are striving for aesthetics - which is great but can sometimes make exercise programmes hard to stick to as these results come over time. I always say to my clients relate to the way exercise makes you feel and that is what will keep you going back for more! That hit of endorphins after a workout is everything. It will leave you feeling positive and happy and the aesthetics will come!

11 - What would be your best advice for someone who just started working out from home?

Find people on social media or YouTube who you find engaging and motivating and give them a follow. Every trainer globally has taken their business online so there is an endless amount of content up at the moment. I'd create a space in your house which is specifically for exercise, create a banging playlist of music to keep you going, and create a routine. And finally, exercise at the same time every day so it becomes a daily habit.