COVID-19 precautions have wrecked many people’s routines, including mine. Not having the “right” equipment or, if I’m being honest, not having the motivation has made it difficult to get in a great workout.
In case you’re experiencing a similar slump or you’re looking into starting a workout regimen from home, I have a few tips that have proved useful over the past several months.
I should preface this by mentioning Virtual Y, which is the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City’s answer to easily accessible home workouts. Virtual Y provides an ever-expanding library of digital workouts to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. Yoga? Check. Interval Training? Check. Strength-building? Check. This puts the power of deciding “how” and “when” you’ll workout right at your fingertips. Virtual Y is set to launch in January 2021.
Tip #1: Go at your own pace
Whether it’s a prerecorded class or you’re just winging it, you can always pause, drink some water and get your breath back when you need to.
I’ve found that an extra 30 seconds of rest can make a big difference in the quality of the workout. Some staples I always keep nearby are a nice glass of ice-cold water, a towel (that eyebrow sweat won’t wipe itself) and an HDMI cord to connect my laptop to my TV.
Tip #2: Find the right temperature
For my non-yoga workouts, I prefer a cooler temp in the house. This is easy to achieve in the winter – just open the windows. Since I’m not made of money, in the summer I just moved my bedroom fan into the living room and put it on full blast and angled at my workout space.
For yoga-esque workouts, I like to be a bit warmer. This helps a lot with flexibility. Again, opening up a window in the summer was an easy (and cheap) way to achieve a warmer room. In the winter, I’ve started adding layers so I don’t run up the gas bill. Knee-length socks, leggings, a sweatshirt, etc. all help keep me nice and toasty.
Finding the right temp is great, but making sure your clothes match the goal of the workout is equally helpful. No one’s there to judge your attire (or lack thereof), unless, of course, your pets sit in the corner and stare at you judgmentally like mine do…
Tip #3: Move the furniture
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a coffee table smack dab in the middle of the living room. Our living room is prime real estate for at-home workouts: it’s underneath a fan, it’s right in front of a TV, and most importantly, there’s a couch right there – perfect for collapsing onto once I’m done with the workout.
If you’re trying to figure out where best to exercise, pretend your easily moveable pieces of furniture just aren’t there. Chances are, you’ll be able to move a couch, a coffee table or a recliner to get enough space. Plus, depending on the furniture, moving it can be a great warm-up.
Tip #4: No weight? No problem!
Even though you likely don’t have squat racks, benches with weights, 100s of dumbbells, kettlebells and resistance machines, so much can be done with what you have right there at home! You can get creative with household items (be on the lookout for a blog post in Virtual Y with tons of great at-home alternatives). Don’t forget that body weight exercises can also get you that full-body burn. If you need exercise ideas, Virtual Y can help you out. And, if you want some sort of multi-function exercise equipment, a couple of resistance bands can cover most of your bases.
Tip #5: Go outside
Whether it’s moving your workout to the patio or your backyard, or taking a walk around the block – going outside is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and well-being.
If you choose to walk, run, bike or some combination of the three, create an outdoor exercise playlist to level up your workout. I’ve created one that’s exactly 30 minutes (ok, technically it’s 29:57, but I feel like that’s close enough). It starts off easy-going but gets progressively more energetic as it goes. I know when the playlist gets to Dura by Daddy Yankee, it’s time to head back because that’s the halfway point, and that I’m in the home stretch when I hear Countdown by Beyonce.
The point is, if you’re getting bored working out in the same space, mix it up. Variety is the spice of life, after all.
Tip #6: Make a plan
The hardest part about working out from home has been the execution. I start out with all these ideas and visions of me working out in my living room every day, happy to do it, looking forward to the workout, etc. and that just doesn’t happen for me. It’s hard to find the motivation to get up and get moving. What I’ve found to be helpful is instead of saying, “I’ll workout this week,” which is non-committal and allows me to keep pushing it off, I say, “I’ll spend half my lunch time on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 12 to 12:30 p.m. jogging around the neighborhood.” I put it in my calendar and set the notification for 15 minutes. This has been by far the most effective way for me to stay at least somewhat active the past few months.
So there you have it – my tips for working out at home. While this year has thrown a wrench in so many people’s plans, we can make the most of this “home” time and still meet our fitness goals. And with the new year still fresh, there’s never been a better time to take that leap and begin a new workout program. This time, you can plan to do it all from the comfort of your own home!