Home Exercise Tips from Fitness Expert Charlene Hutsebaut

As part of our Shape Up September feature we were interested in finding out how effective exercising at home was for keeping us fit and the do’s and don’ts of home fitness.

We asked fitness expert, personal trainer and Pilates instructor, Charlene Hutsebaut from  Simply Great for her advice on achieving a healthy lifestyle.


Q. How long would you recommend exercising for per week?

A. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 150 minutes per week to be healthy and fit. We now know that these can be broken down into 10 minute blocks that are much more convenient and still have the desired effects. I am working with the Simply Great Drinks Company on the Be Simply Great 8 week challenge and I have broken these minutes down into 18 – 8 minute blocks to make your life easier. Be sure to have fun and raise your heart rate to where you feel slightly breathless.

Q. Can you get a good workout at home instead of going to the gym?

A. Of course! Workouts can happen anywhere! I work with private clients in their homes regularly and we achieve great results with minimal equipment.

Q. What exercises would you recommend?

A. The basic repertoire of body weight training exercises are perfect for at home. No equipment but you and your body as “machine”!
Squats, pressups, lunges, bicep curls, bent over rows, triceps dips, planks, back extensions, standing balances and some key PILATES moves such as my sprinkler and string exercises will keep you fit and toned. Luckily you can find all of these videos free on the Be Simply Great website.

Q. Should you increase the intensity once your fitness improves?

A. Absolutely! You should change something about your exercise programme every 6-8 weeks to continue to see improvements. Our bodies are excellent at adjusting to stimuli so change is important. Adjustments could be keeping your programme the same and increasing your intensity by increasing your heart rate during sessions. Or you can increase the weight you are lifting or even keep the weight the same but increase your repetitions.

Q. What would you say was essential for having with you whilst exercising? (ie water etc)

A. Water is a definite must. If you are exercising intensely for over an hour a good homemade sports drink works well to keep you hydrated and replenish energy stores. Use 500ml of Simply Great and 500ml of water to benefit performance by giving you the ideal nutrient composition.

Q. Do you need any fancy equipment?

A. The only fancy equipment you need is your own amazing body! Body weight training is one of the top ten newest fitness trends and it actually works! If you do want the most effective and fun home equipment I recommend investing in TRX Suspension Trainer or even more cost effective, a piece of tubing with handles.

Q. What are your thoughts on fitness DVDs?

A. DVDs are super if they motivate you! I have some PT clients who religiously use 2-3 key videos they love as part of their regular routines. The trick with videos is finding an instructor you like and exercises you love. So, if you love to dance why not try the latest zumba video or if PILATES is your thing check out DVDs from STOTT PILATES which I recommend.

Q. If you only had 10 minutes to spare, what exercises would you recommend cramming in?

A. My favourite fundamentals for an overall body workout are squats, pressups, bent over rows, triceps dips, planks, back extensions and standing PILATES moves. Every body part is worked!

Q. At what time of day do you recommend exercising?

A. Whatever time you feel the most energetic and motivated. I personally am a morning person, I feel my best at that time. Some of my clients prefer lunch or late afternoon. I really feel this is a personal preference.

Q. What are the biggest myths about exercising at home?

A. I feel the biggest one is that you won’t get an effective workout. I know that if you have the right tools and motivation you will have an excellent workout for you. So, choose your exercises, DVDs or whatever floats your boat and get moving today!

Charlene Hutsbaut is working with Simply Great Drinks Company on its Be Simply Great campaign, a simple and sensible approach to staying, fit, happy and healthy long-term. To find out more about the Be Simply Great Challenge visit

Do you exercise at home or do you prefer to visit the gym? Get in touch below and tell us about your favourite workout routine.

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