Break the cycle — create a simple at-home exercise routine

In 2020, it can feel like we’re in slow motion. It can constantly feel like a mixture of vacation and being glued to a computer screen for hours on end. It can feel like you’re digressing instead of progressing. For most “non-essential” employees, accustomed to the daily office environment, an adjustment to the confines of one’s home takes time. Everyday may feel like the same dull routine. Feeling anxious about the unknown can lead to comfort foods, less movement, and lack of motivation. No sunlight, no fresh air, and no exercise reduces metabolism and energy levels. Next thing you know, you’re in a viscous cycle of negativity, weight gain, and muscle loss.

Breaking the cycle is actually easier than one might think, without setting foot in the gym. By allocating a daily calorie deficit, training your muscles at home, and taking walks can improve your mood, confidence, and outlook.

Getting started

I’ve been searching for the right exercise program that fits my body and busy lifestyle for a long time. There are many exercise programs out there — high intensity training (HIT), CrossFit, bulking, shredding, etc. Combined with different nutrition plans, it’s just too complicated to keep up with. I’ve had little success the workout plans I’ve tried, usually not completely following them, seeing little to no results, or completely giving up altogether. Then, I started following Greg O’Gallagher. His approach, coaching, and detailed explanations were really helpful in getting started. I chose Movie Star Body, one of his many programs, and jumped right in. I won’t go into detail around what he offers in his program, which covers in-depth specifics on correct weight levels, fasting, and simple meal planning. Instead, I’ll give a high-level breakdown of what it consists of. I’ll also continue to delve into these topics in later posts.

Four key things to start and stick to your exercise routine: keep it simple, be consistent, be patient, and make sure you get enough rest. If you do these things, you will gradually see progress week over week.

Home gym equipment

You can do most exercises with just a set of dumbbells, but if you want big muscle gains, you’ll need a barbell (I use a barbell curl bar), weight plates, a bench, and a pull-up bar. I recommend 3 sets of dumbbells: 15, 25, and 35 pounds. I also recommend a foldable weight bench. It may seem like a lot, but this will set your home gym up for nicely.

Note: There was a surge in demand for these at-home fitness products during the early and middle stages of the pandemic. Online shops and local sporting stores were wiped out of inventory for most exercise equipment. I recommend getting them while they are available, especially considering the rise in recent Covid-19 cases. There’s a high probability that we will experience more mandatory lockdowns in the near future.

Workout every other day while resting during the weekend

Each workout takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. I usually knock these out first thing in the morning after a glass of water, a cup of coffee, and some full-body stretches. If I have an early morning meeting, I’ll postpone until later in the day, but I prefer not to do this because my evenings are usually devoted to spending time with family, reading, and writing. Here’s the weekly breakdown:


  • Standing Barbell Press: 3 sets
  • Weighted Chin-ups: 3 sets
  • One Arm Overhead Triceps Extensions: 3 sets
  • Leaning Lateral Raises: 4 sets


  • Bulgarian Split Squats: 3 sets
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 4 sets
  • Single Leg Hip Thrusts: 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Leaning Shrugs: 4 sets


  • Incline Bench Press: 4 sets
  • Pinned Hammer Biceps Curls: 4 sets
  • Bent Over Flyes: 4 sets
  • Hanging Knee Raises: 4 sets

These exercises focus on key muscle groups, meant to build a specific physique. Sets and repetitions change as you progress and go from creating muscle mass, to creating more volume and “shredding” excess fat.

10k steps a day is all you need to burn unneeded calories

As Greg explains in his program, 10k steps a day steadily burns calories as you naturally move — walking to and from your car, walking while grocery shopping, or walking around your neighborhood. Use an app on your phone, watch, Fitbit, etc. to track your steps. Keep in mind that the 10k steps a day applies to everyday of the week, even the weekend.

I will take a long walk in the morning after my training exercises and then a walk midday or during the evening, depending on my schedule.

So far, the results have been impressive. What I like the most about his program is that it’s a gradual improvement, which allows for flexibility in your diet and in your workout schedule. Seriously, you can eat desert every night as long as you stay in your calorie deficit. What’s also great is the high-protein meals and fasting schedule. I highly recommend looking into Kino Body if you want a simple at-home exercise routine for a busy and flexible lifestyle. Go for it.

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