The Portable Gym: 8 At-Home Workouts that Work

I gained 40 pounds when I was pregnant with my daughter, so after she was born I was eager to get back down to my “fighting” weight.

But Army life interfered. Or at least I thought it might. My husband had to leave on a 15-month deployment, 10 weeks after our daughter’s birth. Being a first-time mom, I relocated my daughter and myself cross-country to be closer to family while my husband was away, and during that time we bounced between 3 homes of family members. So regularity and routine were out the window. On-post physical fitness facilities were a long drive away. In the interest of saving money, a gym membership was not happening.

But where there’s a will, there’s a way. And here’s the way that I found to get back in shape:

  • While my daughter was still too small for a jogging stroller, I would ask a family member to watch her for 30 minutes so that I could go for a run. Rain, snow or shine, I would run. I was able to do this about 2 mornings a week.
  • Once my daughter was big enough for a jogging stroller, off we went! My daughter would usually fall asleep during the run. I would try to end the run at a park so that she would get a chance to play outside. Plus monkey bars are great for doing pullups.
  • There were plenty of days when the logistics of going for a run with or without a baby were too much, and that’s when what I call “living room workouts” were a life-saver. More on this in a bit.
  • Hang on to motivation. Sink your teeth into it. Get an iron-like grip on it. Because there were many days when I felt too sleep-deprived to workout even for just 30 minutes. But I had a couple things to motivate me: the fact that my husband was risking life and limb in a combat zone and was sleep deprived too; I wanted to look my best when I finally did get reunited with my husband; at the time I was still in the Army Reserves and due to go to Airborne school as soon as possible. They do a lot of running at Airborne school, at a good pace, and I did NOT want to be one of the Soldiers falling out of the runs and getting sent home without jump wings.

So what to do on days when I couldn’t get out of the house and didn’t have anyone to watch the little one? I fell prey to an infomercial for Turbojam, an at-home workout by Beachbody.

I am very skeptical of workout videos. I had tried some before and found them to be, well, weak. Heart rate did not go up. Did not break a sweat — not even close. Not much better than sitting on the couch.

Turbojam was different. Heart rate went up. I was breathing so hard and sweating through my workout clothes. I got muscle tone back. And it helped me shed pounds. Between Turbojam and running outdoors 2-3 days/week (this all took place before I could put my daughter in the jogging stroller), it took me 5.5 months to lose the baby weight.

Beachbody still sells Turbojam, but now they have a bunch of new programs as well — all requiring little to no equipment and minimal floor space in front of a television with DVD player. Click on the links below to learn more about each:

  1. TurboJam
  3. P90X
  4. P90X2- The Next Level of Extreme Fitness
  5. Les Mills PUMP
  7. Hip Hop Abs
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