Don’t Just Work From Home, Work Out At Home!

How to turn your living space into your personal gym by using household items.

By Chris Ong      10 August 2021

Even with the resumption of indoor mask-off, high-intensity activities at gyms and fitness studios for fully vaccinated individuals from 10 August onwards, some of us might still face some issues. What if you are still not fully vaccinated? Or, if you are not ready to step back into the gym for full-on sessions every day? Or, if you are still working from home but stay far from your company gym? But then, you also have no fitness equipment of any kind at home to execute your reps? What’s more, you may not have or wish to fork out the spare cash to invest in your personal exercise apparatus, and you might also not have ample real estate to carve out a dedicated space at home for working out. So, so many conundrums; what, oh what, will us gym rats, bunnies and beasts do? Time to use your most powerful “muscle”, your brain; with a little imagination and resourcefulness, you can actually transform your household items to double up as your exercise tools. Start by looking for the ones we have suggested below to get your fitness regime back on track.

Safety First

Before we get cracking, here are some important tips for your safety and physical well-being to keep in mind when working out at home. Essentially, it’s to ensure that you have adequate, obstacle-free space; hydrate well, warm up, find your perfect form and practise good hygiene. (Read up more here about these tips.) Also, if needed, please consult a medical professional before attempting any of the exercises described in this article. Though these activities are outlined as suggestions, they may not be suitable for individuals who are sick, have recently gone through surgery, have injuries, or cannot perform the postures or acts physically without difficulty or pain. Stop the exercise immediately if you start to feel uncomfortable, pain or unwell. Now, on to outfitting your makeshift home gym!


Photo: Shutterstock

Plastic Bottles With Handles

Think large plastic bottles that come with handles, such as washing liquid and laundry detergent bottles, milk jug bottles and even some jumbo-sized body washes or shampoos. If you’ve got emptied ones, don’t just throw or recycle them; turn them into weights or kettlebells. All you need to do is to rinse them out and refill with water. Or, if you happen to have new unopened ones on hand, you can use them too, but just remember: firstly, no one wants slushed, spoilt or spilt milk, and secondly, you might risk having the product somehow leaking out onto you or splashing all over your floor as you swing it around (touch wood). Sticking with a water-refilled one might probably be, well, less sticky.

In any case, once you have your “sustainably-made” weights, you can start using these “kettle-bottles” for a variety of workouts, from very basic weight-lifting ones to incorporate them into your typical kettlebell exercises, as you would an actual kettlebell. For starters, try the following: squat presses, lunges or bicep curls. Then move onto windmills, overhead lunges or weighted crunches if you feel more confident. The extra plus point to using them? You can switch up between lighter 1-litre ones and heavier 3- to 4-litre ones whenever you see fit.


Backpack Filled With Books

This would be oh-so-familiar and easy to use. Most of us might remember lugging what seemed like a ton of bricks around in our bags during our school days; well, perfect time to move on from mere reminiscence to a relived experience. Stuff a sturdy backpack with some books (such as old or used textbooks or coffee-table tomes lying around that you don’t mind getting their covers or pages a little wrinkled and bent), strap it on and off you go! Wear it like a weighted vest for simple exercises like squats, push-ups and lunges, or grasp the straps to perform shoulder presses or kettlebell swings. Your school-going kiddo might think you strange, but just avoid using their own school backpacks as your “ready-made” exercise equipment, unless you want him or her to scold you like an angry “cher”.


Photo: Shutterstock

Toilet Paper

Have many unused rolls of toilet paper at home because you stocked up on too many? Use them for a work out – not in the loo, mind – but for fun, exercise-based activities. There are many creative ways to employ them: stack them on the floor, one at a time, as mini-hurdles for you to jump over (kiddo can join you in on this); incorporating the rolls into your planking exercises; or even use an entire multi-pack as your makeshift weight when doing simple squats or lunges.


Photo: Shutterstock

PC, laptop, tablet, phone

Gotcha! We don’t mean actually using your all-important digital devices as part of your rough & tumble routine, but watching and following exercise videos online. If you really don’t have the motivation or adventurousness to pick up household items to sweat it out (your body’s really all you need), then start by checking out the 30-minute workout videos with the team of fitness trainers from SAFRA EnergyOne Gym. These recorded sessions are casual and easy enough to follow. It’s like joining a free workout class with the professionals, but from the comfort of home.

The SAFRA EnergyOne Gym workout videos are available at www.facebook.com/EnergyOne.SAFRA.

Featured image: Shutterstock