Many of us are looking forward to getting back into the fitness studio or gym. However, even when these places resume business, it won’t look quite the same. Like it or not, exercise-at-home may remain your main option for a while as we deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. I’m hearing from many that you do not enjoy exercising at home. It may be that you don’t have adequate space or equipment. Or that you don't feel motivated without the group fitness atmosphere or a trainer there with you in-person. However, if you want to maintain or improve your fitness level and receive all the wonderful benefits of exercise, you can find ways around these barriers if you are willing to experiment. At-home exercise may not be your favorite but it can be effective and surprisingly satisfying!
First, accept that exercise sessions are going to look and feel different at-home. If you are used to group fitness classes or in-person training, the energy and motivation from others will not be there in the same manner. You are also likely dealing with limited equipment and space. And then there's your schedule and the fact that it's probably quite a bit different than it was a few weeks ago. This means a few mindset adjustments are necessary.
Take a look at your goals. If you do not have weights or other workout equipment, you may not be able to continue down your previous training path. Now may be the time to focus more on consistency, form, endurance or simply improving performance of a specific exercise. (I've been working on push-ups the past four weeks. It's slow going but I'm starting to see some improvements!)
You say you aren’t motivated? Change how you think about exercise. It doesn’t have to be done in 60, 30, or even 15-minute increments. Make it a mini. Play with Precision Nutrition’s idea of “Trigger” Workouts. Or decide on a couple of exercises and try a micro-HIIT by performing exercises for 30 seconds on with 10 second rest repeated for 3 minutes. Something is better than nothing! The key here is to be concrete about what it is you are going to do. Write it down each morning and check in again at night to review how it went. Your weekly exercise volume may surprise you!
Use technology. Virtual live classes, online real-time training, and an array of online services, apps, and videos are available. Take the initiative to try something new. You may discover that you love body weight, dance fitness, or tabata style sessions. If you aren't sure what to do or how often to do it, purchase an four or six week at-home training plan or contact a personal trainer to create one specifically for you. Even as a trainer, I occasionally need inspiration. I purchased a general four week at-home program from trainers I trust to help keep me moving during the Stay-At-Home order.
Missing the social aspect? Find an online community. Many fitness facilities and trainers have created private Facebook groups where they post challenges, inspiration, recipe ideas, live workouts, and more. Joining a facility while you cannot physically go may seem silly but, right now, a lot of these memberships are a fraction of the regular membership cost. A group like this can help you stay motivated and the bonus is that you are able to get an in-depth look at what the fitness community is like before deciding to join in-person.
Walk or hike. Being outside (while practicing social-distancing) is good for your body and your brain. You will sleep better, be more productive, and likely feel better overall if you incorporate regular walks into your day. It's not a replacement for all exercise (we still need strength training) but it's a simple way to stay active and usually quite enjoyable. Bonus if you have pets or kids!
You certainly do not have to get in the "best shape of your life" as we've seen spread around on social media. However, I do hope you find ways to move your body and strengthen your muscles. It's important because your health is important. It's also not bad for mood either... who doesn't need a mood boost these days?