I used to work out at the gym 6 days a week. Since becoming a mom — six years ago — I’ve also become the queen of excuses to not work out. I’m too tired to exercise. I don’t have any exercise equipment. I don’t have space to work out. I can’t afford a gym. It’s too cold outside to exercise. I don’t have anyone to watch my kid while I work out. My back hurts too much. The excuses were endless, but several months ago, I vowed to drop the excuses and get back to daily exercise and get back into shape. My commitment to myself was to do 30 minutes every morning, but I allow for 20-minute workouts on days when I’m really rushed. I chose YouTube workout videos for my main form of exercise because:
- YouTube workout videos are free
- Many require no equipment
- Most can be done on my living room rug, which measures only 4’ x 8’
- There are endless possibilities of YouTube workout videos, for when I inevitably get bored
- My son can play or listen to audiobooks nearby
- YouTube workout videos aren’t weather-dependent
- They require no time for set up, commuting, etc.
Crunched for time?
Squeeze in a half hour of exercise into even the busiest days with a YouTube workout video! Time is of the essence to me because I’m a work-at-home, homeschooling mom — and for most of the past year, I’ve been parenting alone and had no child care. But I found that adding the best half hour workout videos to my morning routine made me more productive all day long. That’s right, I didn’t lose 30 minutes a day to exercise — I gained a good hour or two with my heightened focus and productivity! I also find I feel more energized and less stressed all day long. So here they are, my favorite 30 minute YouTube workout videos:
Fit Sugar 30-Minute Fat-Frying Bikini-Body Workout
This workout has some unique moves that I have not seen elsewhere, which makes it fun and keeps my attention. Most of the movements are smooth and fluid, working your muscles from every angle. It is a total body workout with a lot of balance and strengthening work. Anna gives options and alternatives for those just starting out and for experienced exercisers. It was hard to get through this one at first, but now it is one of my favorites.
Cons: There is a bit of a learning curve with some of the moves, but it’s not too bad.
HASfit 30 Minute No Equipment Workout
Parts of this are pretty intense! But the hard moves are interspersed with easier moves so I can make it through without giving up. When I started working out, I could only do about 3 shaky pushups. Since I started doing this YouTube workout video 4 months ago (once or twice a week), I have worked up to 70 strong pushups! You will definitely sweat during this one, and at times you might feel like you’re going to die, but it’s an amazing feeling to make it through.
Cons: If you have any mobility impairments, this workout is not for you. There is also no warm up or cool down included.
JessicaSmithTV’s Cardio Ballet YouTube Workout Video
A low impact cardio workout with no equipment required? Sounds too good to be true, but it is — you don’t even need to wear shoes! I love this YouTube workout video because it is super easy to follow (even with no prior dance experience). I also recommended this video to some of my fellow breast cancer survivors because the arm movements are amazing for those who are post-mastectomy and/or battling arm lymphedema. And really, who doesn’t want to feel like a graceful ballerina once in a while?
Cons: You’ll sweat, but it isn’t a particularly intense routine. I save this workout for days when my energy and strength are a bit low.
Yoga with Adriene: Day 7 Total Body Yoga
I debated about whether yoga technically counts as exercise, but I decided that for my purposes, it does, as it builds strength and flexibility and is so good for the mind and body. Some studies have found yoga is just as good for your body as aerobic exercise! I love all of Adriene’s YouTube workout videos (here’s her YouTube channel) because my yoga practice has greatly improved since I began following her. She is down to earth, authentic, and easy-going, and gives you lots of alternatives for each move she does. Adriene really encourages self-expression and doing what feels right for you at any given moment. Through her videos, I discovered I’ve been doing upward facing dog wrong for years! I also have conquered crow pose — something I never imagined I could do.
BeFit’s Jillian Michaels: Yoga Meltdown Level 1
If you want to step your yoga workout up a notch — or find traditional yoga a bit too slow-paced — this is a great beginner’s YouTube workout video. Jillian Michaels pushes you to work out harder and smarter, and turns familiar yoga positions into bodyweight strength training moves. This is a good way to build flexibility, balance, and core strength while getting the heart rate up a bit too.
Cons: You can’t cheat with Jillian Michaels watching you — even if it’s just through the computer screen!
Bonus! Whole-Family YouTube Workout Video For Parents & Kids:
ACME Crimenet’s Sing, Stretch, and Shape Up
OK, so this YouTube workout video is for kids, but sometimes I enjoy incorporating my child into my workouts! Sing, Stretch, and Shape Up is a cartoon-style video of animal exercises. We have so much fun doing this one and it brings back memories from when I was a kid. Not every workout has to be super intense — my goal is to just keep the best half hour workout videos as part of my routine, so some days I opt for fun and easy with something like this. Plus, it is a great way to introduce my son to exercising.
Cons: Your kid might beg you to do it with him every day!