Can We Work It Out? The #StayHome Guide to Fitness and Sanity

home workout equipment

Staying home has been a roller coaster. I’ve bounced between embracing my inner introvert, dealing with COVID anxiety, enjoying the sunshine and reading a book in my backyard, and Netflix-ing hard. Life has definitely slowed down, and that’s probably a good thing every now and then. Before the quarantine, going to the gym was just another part of my busy day I took for granted. While I love the camaraderie of my 5:30 am spin class, I am also loving catching up on my sleep. When I’m not sleeping, I maintain my sanity by creating a new routine and I encourage anyone struggling with anxiety or feeling lost to give it a try. A big, major, huge part of that routine is obviously working out, especially because I’ve never had a “sit at a computer all day” job and that’s what I have now been reduced to- this body needs to move to maintain stability, focus, and to distract my mind for an hour or so.

I start my day by waking up and immediately working out before I can even think of doing anything else, especially working. Somehow, I have also been tasked with curating workouts for my husband (he’s a post-work, workout-er), so I have lots of workouts to plan each week. Organizing a week’s worth of home workouts is definitely a place many people struggle. First, let me say, there are so many free, amazing options for workouts right now, I’d argue it’s almost overwhelming. Second, don’t even think about trying to order new workout equipment online because you’ve probably noticed it’s sold out everywhere. Third, work with what you got! Bodyweight workouts are nothing to sneeze at, resistance bands will totally sneak up on you, and if you have weights, they can help you get a great cardio workout in addition to strength. When planning, consider that you want to balance working out upper/lower/abs with cardio and if you can with varying types of workouts (if you have bands you can do bodyweight some days and resistance the others, or both in a workout). This means, don’t do pushups every single day, boys.

As a gym regular, I miss all the fancy equipment, but quarantine has reminded me with a yoga mat, a set of resistance bands, and a (lucky for us my husband has an ancient, but functional) set of adjustable weights (5-50lbs that feel like such a luxury now) I can pretty much do everything except spin (I’d give my Costco supply of toilet paper for a NordicTrack or Peloton right about now…). I’d be remiss not to mention I am not a yogi, I dabble with some recovery yoga, but I prefer a more active workout, but you do you! Okay, moving on to the workouts that I have been incorporating into the weekly routine:

  1. It was a big hit maybe 3-4 years ago, but I have a PDF saved in my phone of Bikini Body Guide (BBG) by Kayla Itsines which are 4-7-minute circuits using minimal equipment that make you SWEAT. These workouts are fast, challenging, and hit muscles you didn’t know you had. (Pro-tip you can find some of these great workouts online for free!).
  2. Your gym, my gym, every gym seems to have great offerings right now- investigate those options! My gym, Merritt Clubs (shoutout!), provided all its members with access to the Les Mills database of workouts (these are also available with a free trial right now). Merritt is also posting live workouts via Facebook and Instagram with weekly schedules (I did some PiYo on Saturday for recovery!) so maybe your gym or favorite fitness guru is doing the same. Back home in Philly, Sweat Fitness has been posting great workouts on Instagram and Twitter which I’ve added to my routine as well.
  3. Running outside. Listen, I am a retired lacrosse player, running isn’t my favorite ergo the spinning, but I believe in cross-training and mixing it up. I always mix in some longer runs and sprints into my weekly routine and I also enjoy taking the dog to stretch his legs. Quarantine has increased my running, and yes, I am that crazy person running sprints in my neighborhood, but it makes me feel great when I have to sit at my computer all day (I’m also stretching A LOT more).
  4. Workout Classes- I mentioned there are so many free ones right now. Peloton, Les Mills, Orangetheory, ClassPass, Camp Gladiator, and Daily Burn are all offering free trials. I already do lots of Les Mills at my gym, so I’m partial to those. Peloton has more than cycling so don’t let that scare you off! Drop a comment if you know any others you love! Also, there has NEVER been more free yoga than there is right now and if you love yoga you probably aren’t looking for it here, but Namaste home has never felt more relevant so that’s fun.
  5. Workout Apps/Online workouts- if you search for it, you can find it. Sometimes I want a workout that uses both weights and bands, and I search the internet until I find a workout or exercises that feel suitable, which leads to my final style of workout…
  6. Make your own workouts! This is a fun approach to not only learning what works for your body but also considering the movements that don’t. I like to test them on my husband and then try them for myself. I also mix workouts, like a 2-mile run and a lift I saw posted on Instagram. Be creative and have fun with it, what else are you doing?
  7. Take this time to rehab any injuries and rest if needed. I have a bad shoulder and not rushing to work every day has allowed me to do my weekly exercises and as I mentioned, stretch more!

Lastly, you can add some movement to any part of your day, I have been taking the evening dog walking shift while my husband works out. We go for 30-60-minute walks (depending on the weather) and I find that also satisfies the need to move after a full day of work at my kitchen table. If I am being 100% honest, I have also experimented with some stretching during my lunch break to get me up and moving, but mostly I chase my dog around with a toy and sneak in some mid-day stairs.

Maybe it all sounds a little crazy, but this is how I am surviving rona. Some people struggle with the motivation or accountability when they are at home or without a partner, so you can use me if you need a workout buddy or reach out to a friend so we can all get through this together.


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