Strength training, Sweat Often, Top Trainers, Workout Tips

How to Create an Effective At-Home Workout When the Gym Is Off-Limits

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By Robin Barrie Kaiden, MS, RD, CDN, NLC

Welcome to our new normal. I’m a mom of two young boys in elementary school in Westport, CT, and due to a big outbreak of coronavirus here, we’re pretty much on lockdown. Schools and gyms are closed and restaurants are open for pick up/take out only.

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So, in addition to being a working mom, I’m now a homeschooler of two kids, a speech and occupational therapist, and a music, art, and Spanish teacher. Let’s not forget all the cooking and cleaning that comes along with feeding two growing boys all day long.

One thing that’s keeping me sane (at least a little?!) during this unprecedented time is MOVEMENT. I am super grateful that it’s almost spring, and the weather is allowing us to get outdoors and PLAY. Even while social distancing, there are so many ways to keep moving:

Take it outside

You can make a walk/run as short and easy or as long and difficult as you like. Listen to a podcast or your favorite playlist, or call a friend or family member if it’s a low-impact workout and you can breathe and speak. Make a walk or run more challenging by going uphill (hello, glutes!). You can even get wild and walk sideways to hit your inner and outer thighs, or stop every five minutes and do a set of jump squats or jumping jacks or punches. Just make sure to wear a great pair of running sneakers and the right number of layers and hydrate, especially if you live in a warmer climate. Own a road or mountain bike? Go for a ride!

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Make it virtual

If you currently (or used to) workout with a trainer, I’m almost certain he or she would love to Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime with you for a virtual session. Whether you have access to a full gym or just a yoga mat or an 8-foot square of empty space, it’s enough! You can train your entire body with just your own weight or minimal equipment (dumbbells, hand and ankles weights, mini bands). If live sessions aren’t convenient, your trainer can email you a plan or even send you videos of suggested exercises. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Be playful

With kids being home-schooled and the enforcement of social distancing in my town, I’ve been playing with my boys instead of supervising them playing with other kids. We take long walks and bike rides, and I fully run next to my little one while we work on taking off his training wheels. For “recess” and. “P.E.,” we practice archery, play frisbee, soccer, hockey, catch, tag and hide-and-seek. You can even set up a fun obstacle course. Importantly, you can do all of this whether or not you’re a parent. Why not tap into your inner child with a game of hopscotch?

Just dance

Do you remember the last time you danced at a club or wedding, screaming the lyrics to your favorite song until you were out of breath, you had to take your shoes off, put your hair in a high ponytail, and wipe the dripping mascara from your eyes? How fun was that?! 

Good news: That was a workout and you can recreate it at home. Have the kids, your significant other, or your friends (via FaceTime) join you in a dance party. Play musical chairs. Pop on your headphones or blast the music in your room for a private dance party.

Take the stairs

Maybe you live in an apartment building with a stairwell or a house that has stairs down to a basement and up to a second floor and/or attic. I promise: It’s more fun and challenging than the Stairmaster at your gym.

Download an app

There are so many apps that give you access to workouts from your phone or computer, and you can even stream them onto your TV. Below are a few favorites of my colleagues, friends, and clients. Many have free trials given the circumstances, so take advantage and discover which ones you enjoy the most.

Yoga:

Barre/Pilates:

Class variety:

Tap into social media

With many gyms, fitness centers, and studios closed all over the country, many of our favorite instructors and studios are going LIVE to share free workouts on Instagram daily and even multiple times a day. Some favorites:

  • @lifeoflaurenashley has done multiple live mat Pilates workouts while raising money for Food Bank for New York City.
  • @barrys is doing multiple full-body, no equipment 20-minute workouts a day.
  • @pvolve has been offering multiple live workouts daily for sculpting/strength.
  • @amandakloots has a 5-minute dish towel workout on her IGTV with additional 30-minute workouts in her highlights.
  • @liabartha did a full 50+ minute Pilates workout and demonstrates many exercises and mini workouts on her feed.
  • @joyridestudio is doing live spin, strength, and Pilates workouts on Instagram and at forte.fit.
  • @tootsieolan, an NYC and NJ based choreographer, dancer, and yoga instructor just put her signature dance class on her feed and has more to come.

I know that was A LOT of information, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It may even be overwhelming right now, as many of us are dealing with a lot of emotions. Take a deep breath (and maybe start with some meditation if you’re new to this!), and know that you can take it one day at a time and start exploring slowly. And if I can help in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions. I will do my best to help you out!

 

(Featured photo: Shutterstock)

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