Right now, gym-goers everywhere are scrambling to change up their routine, compensating for nationwide gym closures. For many people, the gym is their primary source of weight-loss support and inspiration. Without it, long-standing regimes can crumble and hard-earned progress can be disrupted.
Perhaps you’re thinking about trying to lose weight now you’re at home with more time on your hands. Maybe you’re already on your way and don’t want to ruin your progress. For some, lockdown comfort eating is a cause for concern.
Wherever you’re at, we’re right there with you. This article offers comprehensive, expert advice from our team of experienced personal trainers. It covers all aspects of losing weight at home, focusing on different stages of the process with tips you can easily implement without additional support to shed those pounds. You don’t even need equipment!
In this article, we cover the two main aspects of losing weight – exercise, and nutrition. You can’t have one without the other – so it’s worth noting that a combined approach is needed for best results.
How to lose weight without the gym: Fitness
Diet and exercise are the two keys to success when it comes to losing weight. You might be surprised to learn that you can still achieve great results at home when exercising without a full gym of equipment. All you need is information and motivation!
1. Focus on bodyweight exercises
No equipment? No problem. You can use your own body to assist you on your mission to develop a slimmer, smaller physique. Bodyweight exercises and resistance training can include squats, lunges, push-ups and sit-ups – all easily possible at home.
2. Interval training and cardio at home
HIIT training (High-Intensity Interval Training) is a highly effective way to burn calories and fat. And it’s easy to do at home! There are plenty of training programmes online – usually, they consist of up to 10 different exercises with intervals and reps included.
You can mix up your stations and rep numbers depending on what you want to focus on and to prevent boredom or too much repetition.
3. Get outside
The reason people rarely stick to exercise videos and at-home workout plans in the long-term is the boredom that inevitably sets in after a week or two. Humans are creatures of habit – but we also like to mix things up.
The problem with at-home workouts is that whilst they may be effective, they quickly become repetitive and boring. Universal guidelines recommend 60-90 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio for optimum health.
Don’t stay indoors – use your allocated time to enjoy a change of scenery and to move your body in a different way. This could be a walk, a power-walk, jog or bike ride – even skateboarding, riding a scooter or interval running. As long as you’re working your body and getting your heart rate up, it counts.
4. Make it regular
Exercise only works well if you keep it up. It’s important to get into a solid routine which sees you exercising at least 2-3 times a week. Go at your own pace, but don’t be tempted to skip the physical activity if you’re tired or demotivated. Instead, try something new to keep things interesting.
Exercise also has brilliant benefits for mental and emotional health – which are vitally important in the weight loss process. If you’re bored, sad, stressed or frustrated, you’re more likely to pile on the pounds through comfort eating, or lack of motivation to exercise.
Spikes in cortisol, the stress hormone, can also impact on your results. Keep moving not just to look good, but to feel good too.
How to lose weight without the gym: Nutrition
We covered fitness first because it’s probably what you came here for – but don’t forget that diet plays a huge role in weight loss. Yes, it’s important to consider calorie intake, but focusing on that alone won’t produce satisfactory results. The quality of what you eat counts, as well as the quantity.
Here, we’ve compiled our top tips to help you to eat healthily and avoid the inevitable urge to comfort eat at home.
1. Load up on filling veggies
You probably already know that vegetables are your friend when you’re trying to lose weight. Choose veggies that are full of fibre to keep you fuller for longer – and help support healthy gut bacteria.
Viscous fibre, a type of fibre only found in plants, has been linked to healthy weight loss. Think broccoli, aubergine, butternut squash, legumes and leafy greens. The more vegetables you have on your plate, the better.
Contrary to popular belief, vegetables can also be an excellent source of protein. This effectively kills two birds with one stone. Some studies suggest that plant-based sources of protein support weight loss and improved performance when exercising, especially during cardio.
Choosing ‘clean’ sources of protein such as beans, tofu, pulses and nuts could help you to reach your fitness goals faster.
2. Focus on unprocessed, whole foods
One of the simplest and easiest ways you can completely overhaul your diet for incredible results is to cut out everything that’s processed from your daily menu. When you only eat things you recognise, in their natural format, you lose a lot of the added fat, salt, sugar and chemicals that can disrupt weight loss progress. And because you’re cooking from scratch you get the added benefit of being able to introduce herbs, spices and supplements to make your meals even healthier.
3. Cut back on carbs
The truth is, carbs get an unfairly bad rep when it comes to weight loss. The key is to choose carbs that are unrefined, healthy and wholesome – with added benefits for the body.
Whilst a low carb diet isn’t right for everyone, one way to dramatically improve weight loss results in a general sense is to reduce carb intake overall. Generally, people overeat carbs, especially during winter months when comfort food cravings kick in.
The two main sources of ‘unhealthy’ refined carbs come from processed foods. So if you’re focusing on unprocessed, whole foods as mentioned above, and practice portion control, you should start to see positive results.
Easy ways to reduce carb intake include:
- Switching to a low-carb, high fibre bread alternative such as rye bread.
- Swapping potatoes for butternut squash or celeriac
- Replacing white pasta with lentil pasta or konjac pasta
- Reduce sugar intake. Cut out refined sugars, watch out for empty calories in sugary drinks, fruit juices and coffees.
- Whole foods only. Cut out refined and processed foods like white bread, chips, crisps, sweets and cakes.
4. Make protein the focus of each meal
Once you’ve loaded up on veggies and chosen your carbs of preference, make sure they’re accompanied by clean protein.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner should have healthy servings of protein. Ideally, they should be low fat and low carbohydrate. Good sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs and plant-based sources as detailed above.
Protein shakes are popular – but bear in mind that if weight loss is your goal a protein shake can add a huge amount of extra calories and carbs to your daily diet. Choose a protein shake that’s low in fat and carbs with high protein – like the ones we sell here at The PT Factory.
5. Snack smart and remove unhealthy foods from your home
Snacking can be a major pressure point for anyone trying to lose weight. It’s a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when it comes to tempting treats – studies have shown that storing unhealthy foods where you can see them may increase hunger and cravings, causing you to eat more.
- Making sure healthy snacks are in the house and getting rid of any tempting, high calorie, high-fat snacks
- Preparing healthy snacks in advance. Think oatcakes with cottage cheese, rice cakes with protein, apple slices with peanut butter
- Ensuring meals are filling enough to discourage snacking and ‘boredom hunger’
Don’t waste money on so-called ‘diet foods’ – they’re highly processed and usually loaded with salt and sugar. Focus on whole foods, smart levels of protein and carbs, and maximum nutrient and vitamin intake.
6. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of filtered water is key if you want to lose weight. Dehydration can seriously affect our body’s ability to stay fit and healthy. Sometimes when we feel hungry, we are actually in need of water. Be sure to drink 8 glasses of filtered water each day to keep your body primed and in the best possible position to shed those pounds.
7. Practice portion control and make savvy swaps
Another huge issue for people trying to lose weight is the lack of portion control. Many of us overeat unintentionally, and once a portion size becomes habitual it can be tricky to recognise.
It can be as simple as using smaller bowls and plates – but you may like to weigh out certain foods to make sure you’re not consuming extra calories.
If you’re really attached to one particular thing you can’t live without, but really should, there’s some good news. Treats in moderation are important – savvy swaps can ensure you enjoy the things you love guilt-free. Think high-protein, home-made cookies with less sugar and fat instead of shop-bought biscuits. Dark chocolate instead of Dairy Milk. Baked fries instead of greasy chips.
8. Get a tailored nutrition plan
As mentioned above, everybody has a different body with different needs. It is well worth getting a specialist in weight loss and/or nutrition to support you at this time. Send us a message for more information on this.
If you’re on a weight loss journey and you’re wondering how to lose weight without the gym, we’re here to help. Keep your eyes peeled and check your inbox for an email from us, which will announce when we are reopening.
Until then, you can keep up to date on everything to do with The PT Factory by following us on Instagram and Twitter, or liking our Facebook page The PT Factory.