Stop trying to find the ‘perfect’ workout. The benefits of the ‘best’ workout are moot if you can’t actually make yourself do it, says fitness expert Kathleen Trotter

Find a workout that is convenient and that you enjoy (or at least can tolerate!) so that you will do it consistently.

You don’t need expensive equipment and the most current ‘it’ workout – unless of course you are motivated by your fancy gym or trying every new craze. You need something you will actually DO.

Consistency beats perfection

The mediocre workout you do regularly is better than the best workout you never do. Something is always better than nothing.

My advice: Make your workouts convenient. For example, try using inexpensive ‘do anywhere’ tools, such as a resistance band.

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The resistance band is light, inexpensive, and can be inconspicuously stored in a drawer or packed in a suitcase. Invest in two or three bands (of differing intensities) and a doorframe attachment and you basically have an entire ‘gym’. The attachment is a small piece of fabric that has a ball at one end and a loop at the other. You anchor the ball into a closed door and thread the band through the loop. You can replicate any exercise traditionally performed on a cable machine – wood chops, rows, triceps press-downs, etc.

How to create a home gym in a small space

Full-body band workout 

Warm-up (five minutes)

Dance around your hotel or living room for five minutes or choose five different cardio moves – high knees, bum kicks, etc. Do each for one minute.

Main circuit (repeat two to three times) 

  • Seated V hold and rows (12-15 reps) – Sit on your behind, band hooked around your feet. Hold one end of the band in each hand. Lean back 10 degrees and hold it throughout the motion. Engage your core. Use your upper back to row your elbows backwards. Imagine cracking a walnut between your shoulder blades. Slowly release. 
  • Squats and reverse fly (12-15 reps) – Stand, feet hip-distance apart. Hold the band with your palms down out in front of you at chest height. Bend at your hips, knees, and ankles and sit your bum backwards like you are sitting in a chair. Keep your arms straight as you squat. As you stand up, use your upper back to pull your arms backwards so your body forms a ‘T’. Slowly release.
  • Lunge and lateral raise/lunge and front raise (12-15 reps per side) – Start standing with your right leg forward, foot in the middle of the band. Hold one end of the band in each hand, arms straight by your sides. Bend both knees so your body moves towards the floor. Use the buttocks muscle of the front leg to stand back up. As you lunge down, bring your arms up to the sides to shoulder height – keep them straight. Lower your arms as you stand up (lateral raise). When you do the exercise on your left leg, straighten your arms forward to chest height (front raise).
  • Plank scapula retraction (10-20 reps) – Start in a plank. Balance on your hands and toes. Bring your shoulder blades together and then apart. Keep your arms straight and your lower back neutral. Try to activate the muscles between your shoulder blades.

Do one to three minutes of any cardio (burpees, high knees, jumping jacks, etc.).

Rest for a minute. Have some water. Repeat the entire circuit.

Second circuit (optional, when you have time, repeat one to two times)

  • Biceps curl (12-15 reps) – Stand on the middle of the band, one end in each hand. Bend at the elbows to do a biceps curl. Control the motion on the way down – resist the pull of the band.
  • Overhead triceps extension (12-15 reps per side) – Stand holding one end of the band in your right hand with your upper arm next to your ear. Reach your left hand behind your body and anchor the band. The closer your hands are together, the harder the exercise will be. Keep your right upper arm into your right ear as you straighten the arm. Slowly release.
  • Side plank (20+ seconds) – Start on your right side with your elbow under your shoulder. Connect into your right armpit muscles to stabilise. Balance on either your knees or your feet (feet is harder). Keep your feet (or knees) in line with your hips and shoulders, and your head back in space. Switch sides.

Final thought

Stop waiting for the ‘perfect’ day or week to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Perfectionism is corrosive – the enemy of getting stuff done. The perfect week does not exist. Start now! The only moment you have control over is this moment. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today – what you can do NOW!

10-Minute flat belly workout

About the author: Kathleen Trotter is a Canadian fitness expert, media personality, personal trainer, writer, life coach, certified Pilates and ELDOA instructor, and overall health enthusiast.

She is the author of the books Finding your Fit (Dundurn Press / 2017) and Your Fittest Future Self (Dundurn Press / 2019). To find out more, visit www.KathleenTrotter.com

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.