Linda Melone
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How to get motivated exercising at home

In the 20 years I worked as an in-home trainer, I quickly realized home workouts are a lot like going on a new ride at the local fair: You’re halfway through before you realize it’s scarier than you anticipated, you’re not having fun, and you’re screaming at the ride operator to stop the damn thing like now.

Or maybe that’s just me. 

The only difference is once you’re done with the carnival ride you don’t ever have to look at it again and can go on your merry way. That is, unless someone recorded the event on Facebook Live, in which case it will haunt you for the rest of your life.

It’s a little different for home workouts, especially if you’ve invested $3,000 in a piece of equipment (plus an additional $500 for the leg press option), refinished the basement and installed a new TV above the treadmill so you can binge watch The Bachelor during your long cardio workouts.

Flash forward two years.

Your workout space looks like a scene from a Stephen King movie, with enough dust and cobwebs to make for a year-around Halloween attraction.

That’s typically what I’d find when going to a client’s house for the first time and asking, “Do you own any equipment you’d like to include in our workouts?”

Thus begins the grand tour of vintage exercise equipment, treadmills used as hanging racks for fine washables and a Thigh Master circa 1980.

Oh, the memories. 

Truth is, exercising at home is fraught with obstacles you won’t encounter if you leave the house to get in shape.

For example, lying on your back doing crunches at the gym does not usually inspire you to look for cobwebs over your head that suddenly require your immediate attention.

You also won’t find baskets of dirty laundry beckoning for your attention from the corner of the room. (And if you do, you may want to quit that gym.)

In other words: no distractions.

Although this obviously does not prevent you from creating your own distractions by checking your phone every five minutes and having 30-minute conversations between each set of squats.

In all honesty, I admit I sometimes get sidelined by conversations. Okay, more than sometimes.

But I justify it by reminding myself that, since I work out of the house, my workouts double as my social life. Sad but true.

It’s like friends with fitness benefits.


If you prefer to exercise at home because of convenience or weather issues, you can get a great workout if you abide by a few guidelines, which I’ve compiled over the years.

  1. Buy some fun equipment

Visual appeal can play a role in motivation. A colorful yoga mat and bright blue fitness ball makes exercise seem more like fun than work, at least until you start to feel the burn.

  1. Grab a friend

Ask nearby friends to meet on specific days, even if just one day a week, and alternate the homes you use for the workout. The homeowner gets to call the shots and lead the workout. Make it even more motivating by checking in with each other on non-meeting days. Falling off the wagon means the other person picks up the tab for a coffee or smoothie.

  1. Keep the treadmill out of the bedroom

Keeping the treadmill in the bedroom makes it less likely you’ll use it and risk waking your sleeping partner. Consider buying a home machine that rolls away if you’re short on space.

  1. Monitor your heart rate

A heart rate monitor enables you to track the intensity of your workout, which can motivate you to work out harder and burn more calories.

  1. Create a pleasant exercise environment

I cannot emphasize this enough. I’ve worked out with clients in dingy, stuffy basements without ventilation where I was convinced I’d eventually meet my demise from inhaling long-forgotten asbestos fibers. Keep it clean and uncluttered and well ventilated with an overhead or freestanding fan.

  1. Design a simple ready-to-go circuit

Instead of trying to figure out an approach every workout, create a quick circuit that works the major muscle groups.

  1. Do it first thing

Avoid finding excuses to ditch your workout as the day progresses by exercising first thing in the morning. Wake up 20 minutes earlier and set your alarm clock before the rest of the family wakes up.

YOUR TURN. What equipment do you own that’s gathering dust in your attic or basement? Let me know in the comments section below…

Other posts you may enjoy:

How to ask better questions (so you can lose weight and reach your goals)

3 ways you (unknowingly) stop weight loss in its tracks

4 Mindset Shifts to Get You Going

Your Ageless Body Coach,

P.S. I cheated! This post originally appeared back in August of 2016 but it’s just as relevant today. I’m busy putting the final touches on my How to Firm Up webinar tomorrow :).

About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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Linda Clark says

I have some pretty purple leg weights, (strap to the ankles type) that help me keep my dust evenly distributed. I used to use them every day when I walked.

    Linda Melone says

    Be careful with those, Linda. Keep ’em light and you’re fine, but too much weight around the ankles can compromise the knee joint and throw off your gait when used for walking.


I have:

A solar flex machine
Free weights
Elliptical machine
Schwinn bicycle
Leg bands
Zumba workout DVDS (complete set)

    Linda Melone says

    That’s a great assortment, Alice 🙂

Patricia Scott says

Linda, Nothing gathering dust. I like my stationery bike on days I can’t get out, I have a reclining bench I use, 2 twenty pound free weights I stack for abs, 25 pound dumb bells, 12 pound kettle bell, (I use 15 for classes), 10 and 5 pound weights. I have a weighted hula hoop, speed jumprope, and bands. I also, have a weight station. Oh, don’t forget my 270 pounds on my wagon I pull.

    Linda Melone says

    That’s awesome, Pat!

terry johnson says

I had a treadmill, a Total Gym, and a couple of other things over the years, and they didn’t really get much use. When I was unemployed, I had a friend who would come over around 8 a.m. M-F and we would go for a 3-mile walk. When I got home, since I was already in workout clothes, I would workout to a DVD. If it wasn’t for having a friend showing up to walk, it would have been easy to talk myself into just doing the workout tomorrow.

    Linda Melone says

    It’s great to have that variety and someone to motivate you :).

Carmel Christine says

I have just begun collecting things to use at home plus a gym membership associated with a hospital near me. I have:
– a fun rebounder
– a cycle /elliptical in my living area
– resistance bands but no idea how best to use them
Thanks, Linda for this post!

    Linda Melone says

    I have a lot of videos showing ways to use those bands! I’m also working on others soon :). Stay tuned.

Peggy says

I have a Trotter Treadmill,exercise bike and weights. I can’t get motivated. I’ve put on 20 lbs in the last 8 years. I’m 58 in post menapause and disgusted. Now I;m trying the 8 hour diet!

    Linda Melone says

    Your diet determines SO much of the results you get from any weight loss program, Peggy. Most importantly, you must be consistent with your efforts and stick with it long enough to see results. 🙂

Kris says

A 1 lb ankle weight set and 3 lb. dumbells are gathering dust because I DON’T NEED THEM ANYMORE!!! Also, a set of resistance bands because I don’t really understand them.

    Linda Melone says

    Hey, Kris, I use resistance bands in many of my videos if you need ideas :).

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