We all know that real weight loss happens in the kitchen. You can’t out-train a poor diet or run off a food binge, but I’d be lying if I said movement didn’t matter. Falling in love with daily exercise has reshaped both my mind and body.
When I look at the images above, I see so much more than a physical change. I see someone who learned how to take care of herself and believe that she deserved to live a healthy and happy life. Someone who redesigned their life at 20 years old and will never have to worry about weight again- because I fell in love with the life I had created.
The girl in the before picture never thought she was an athlete. She never thought she could run a mile, lift heavy weights or actually enjoy going to the gym. But the girl on the right proved her wrong! And believe it or not, you can prove your own stories wrong too. Please know you are capable of doing more and being more than you ever thought possible.
When it comes to exercise, I am big on starting small. I wanted to make this post because I realized that all the movements that really worked to reshape my body and increase my fitness could be done at home, with no equipment. These 5 exercises can be a starting point to implementing small amounts of movement into your life today!
And the best part about these specific exercises is that you will see results! You will quickly feel yourself getting stronger and gaining more control. You will be able to measure how far your legs can take you and watch the work become easier every day. And in my experience, these little changes in fitness will come faster than you think- and there is nothing like seeing and feeling progress to keep you coming back for more!
Exercise 1: Lunges
There are a few variations of a lunge, but let me tell you they all work! I would avoid lunges like the plague at the beginning of my weight loss because they were hard and my balance was terrible. But I swear, the day I finally got out of my own way and added lunges to my routine was the day my legs really started taking the shape I wanted!
We are likely all familiar with this lunge movement but I found this was the hardest for me to execute at the beginning. If this is you, place one hand on a wall or other surface and try doing lunge pulses instead of the full movement. Starting with pulses made it easier for me to transition into the full motion lunge without falling over from a lack of strength.
This is a variation I love for targeting the inner thighs which has always been a major “problem” area for me. Again, if the full movement is challenging for you try starting with a few pulses to build your strength and balance in this position! You will be shocked at how quickly you will be able to execute this move!
If you are nailing the other two variations, you can add in some curtsy lunges. They’re a bit more demanding but again the results will be worth the effort!
Exercise 2: Push Ups
This is another move I hated and avoided for the longest time. I always felt defeated because I couldn’t even do one push up on my toes. So to build up my strength, I started with push up taps. I know most people start with their knees on the ground, but I saw results way faster by skipping the modified push up and staying on my toes.
The push up tap is a move I learned from the Youtuber, Sarah’s Day and she demonstrates this exercise in one of her videos. Click here to see the demonstration at 2:02.
As I became stronger, I added in more standard push ups and now can do more challenging variations- but it all started with the push up tap!
Exercise 3: Planks
If you are at the beginning of a weight loss or fitness journey and you are anything like I was, the idea of doing even a 10 second plank was out of the question. I literally had to start with 5 second increments of holding a plank. But like all of the exercises I am mentioning in this post, I saw fast improvement to my strength when I added planks into my routine.
Starting small and adding time onto my planks is what worked for me, but I know some people like to start on their knees or at an incline. Do what works for you, but keep pushing yourself to hold your planks longer and longer!
Side to Side Plank
This is a great variation when you are able to hold 30 second or 1 minute planks with ease! I love them because I feel my stomach tightening and I have definitely seen a difference in the appearance of my abs!
Exercise 4: Tricep Dips
If I could recommend any arm exercise it is the tricep dip! I love it because it can be done virtually anywhere and the results are always great! I started with my knees fully bent and as the move became easier I straightened my legs to add more weight!
This move has also been recommended by Kourtney Kardashian several times- and whatever she is doing is clearly working!
Exercise 5: Running
If there was one exercise I never thought I would be recommending or doing myself is running. For quite literally my entire life I always told myself I just wasn’t a runner. I had such a firm belief that I could never run even a mile or be the kind of person who enjoyed going on long jogs. But this year I decided to challenge myself and sign up for a 10k race.
This really forced me to start training because the thought of not being able to finish the race was horrifying! While I had to scare myself into running, the truth was I always wanted to be a runner. I wanted to be so fit that I could run miles and actually enjoy the process- not feel like I was about to suffer a cardiac event.
Like everything in my journey, I started small. I made myself a spreadsheet schedule and increased my distance by small increments each week. I made running as fun as I could when I was just starting out.
If I could recommend anything in the beginning of learning to run, it is to start with intervals. Even if you start by running for 10 seconds and then walking for a minute- who cares? Just make the process enjoyable for yourself.
I became a runner because I didn’t force myself to run further or faster than I was ready for. I always met myself where I was at and that allowed me to truly enjoy and embrace the process.
And if you are like me and you have all kinds of doubt and drama about running, I swear the first time you are able to keep going and run a half mile without stopping, a mile without stopping, 2 miles without stopping- you will feel so powerful and proud. Because guess what- you are proving to yourself that you were wrong about you! You will now have proof that you don’t have to believe every thought your brain tells you about yourself- you have the power to be whatever you want!
Breaking through the belief ceiling of what I thought I was capable of and who I thought I was destined to be is what exercise has done for me. You can design whatever life you want for yourself no matter what, and if exercise is a part of that, these 5 movements can be a great place to start!
It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.