Today I’m excited to have my friend Cora guest post about her passion for exercising! When I decided to get my butt in shape for my wedding (and beyond) I went to Cora for help, and realized she’s a wealth of information for fitness at home. Cora is not a fitness instructor nor a doctor, these are simply tips and tricks that have worked for her. Consult your doctor as needed.

What are your 4 favorite websites/apps to use for your workouts?

All the workouts I do can be found on YouTube and are FREE!

Blogilates I discovered Cassey’s Pilates videos when I was in college. She is fun, energetic,  and always mixing things up! You can search for different muscle groups you want to work (legs, butt, arms, abs, etc.), or do some of her cardio HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. You can buy additional workouts and meal plans from her website, but it’s not necessary to get a good workout in. If you sign up for her newsletter, which is free, she will send you a password each month for a free workout calendar. This makes it super easy to plan out which workouts to do and makes you more accountable.

Tone it Up– Karena and Katrina have a fun, beach babe theme to their channel. You can search different muscle groups to work similar to Blogilates, and they will often incorporate weights or resistance bands in their workouts.  All the workouts on their channel are free, but you can purchase their DVDs and meal plan to enhance results. Their website offers daily moves and they make it easy to find which workouts can be combined together for a complete workout.

Popsugar FitnessThis channel is pretty unique. It’s hosted by Anna Renderer and sometimes she will lead a workout herself and many times she has guest trainers and trainers to celebrities lead the workouts. I love that if I’m short on time they have 15 minute workouts that burn major calories! Or if I have more time, they have a few 45-60 minute options. The workouts are always fresh and new. They have everything from kickboxing to cardio dance. One of my favorites is the Selena Gomez workout for toned abs and legs.  

Fitness BlenderThis channel is hosted by a husband and wife team, Daniel and Kelli. They have over 500 free workouts. I like this channel because it is straight to the point and they offer longer workout sessions, like this 60 minute HIIT and abs routine. 

I wouldn’t consider this channel to be as fun and energetic as the others because there isn’t music playing, they use a plain white background, and the instructors don’t talk as much throughout the workout. Don’t let that fool you though! The workouts are intense and effective. They just believe in working hard with no strings attached. Usually I will scan through the workout to make sure I know what to expect, and then play my own music or do the workout with a friend.

What tools do you need to purchase to have at home to have a successful workout? 

I would recommend only 3 things to get started with these workouts:

  1. Space You need at least enough space to run in place, lunge back and forth, and jump around a bit. If you live in an apartment and have access to a gym, there is probably enough space in there. I complete a lot of these workout right in my living room and that has worked just fine. Feel free to move furniture or do them outside on a nice day!
  2. Mat Many of the exercises involve using a mat for protection of your joints. You can find very affordable mats at places like Target or TJMaxx. I also like looking on Amazon so I can read the reviews.
  3. Dumbbells  I would recommend picking up a pair of light and medium weights to have on hand. Either a set of 3lbs and 8lbs or a set of 5lb and 10lbs should get you started. I’ve also used canned vegetables when I didn’t have my weights with me!

What got you started on your fitness journey? 

I really had to think about this question because no one has ever asked me this before! I started doing at home workouts when I was in middle school. I would break out the Billy Blanks Tae-Bo VHS or do Abs of Steel in my bedroom. I also rented workout videos from the library! Once technology began to advance,  I would buy fitness DVDs, and eventually I discovered Blogilates on YouTube in college. Exercising has never been a fad or phase for me. It’s just something that has become part of my lifestyle. I have found that working out at home helps me balance my priorities and is cost effective.

What are the pros and cons from utilizing free/low cost workouts versus paying for a gym membership? 

Pros- Obviously the cost is a pro! It’s free and you can’t beat that! These workouts are easily accessible and effective. I think they save you a lot of time, too. You can easily transition from waking up in the morning to working out. Then you can get ready for the day without any driving time to and from the gym.

Cons– You have to be motivated enough to start the workout! It’s much easier to binge watch Netflix with a bag of hot Cheetos if you don’t plan on going out of the house to exercise. You need to be able to keep yourself accountable which isn’t always easy. On the other hand, getting together with a friend to do the free YouTube workouts, helps keep you motivated and amps up the fun factor!

To me, nothing beats the energy I get from going to group classes at a gym or yoga studio. I still find a way to go to these kinds of places, but I often wait for them to offer discounts or find a way to go there a few times a month. Most places offer free classes or discounted package rates if you’re new.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to jumpstart their fitness journey on a budget? 

One tip I have is to make a list of which workouts you want to do on each day. I like to make my list of workouts on Sunday evening so I don’t waste time everyday picking out which videos to do. This is why the Blogilates calendar can be very helpful! Another piece of advice is to find something you actually enjoy doing! Exercising shouldn’t feel like a total drag and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. For me, I would rather do 100 burpees than run one mile! Both would be free to do but my body and mind definitely have a preference. Just try a few of the videos and find what you like best!


Cora runs a private practice as a marriage and family therapist. In her free time she enjoys exercising, cooking, and spending quality time with her husband and new pup! She’s a little quirky, very genuine, and a lover of the little things in life.




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