Staying Fit While Staying Home
Updated: Mar 30
Can't get to the gym? Don't let that derail your physical fitness. With a little creativity, you can get the same workout at home.
I love going to the gym. The gym offers a destination, provides the correct equipment, ensures I won't get distracted by anything, and often connects me to people with similar interests; however, sometimes life gets in the way of getting there, for one reason or another, and I'm stuck trying to recreate my gym experience in the living room or basement.
Fortunately, with the help of some resources and the internet, you can make the most of your time, even if you don't have the equipment you'd typically use at the gym. Depending on what you want to get from your workout, here are a few ideas to jumpstart your at-home regimen.
"It's an opportunity to push yourself in new ways or reimagine what fitness looks like to you.
If you have no equipment (besides sneakers and a little space):
The lack of equipment doesn't necessarily halt your fitness experience. Try one of these methods to keep the blood pumping, mood high, and energy flowing.
Yoga - Even if you don't have a mat, a bare floor should provide enough resistance to keep you from slipping (carpet can be tricky, but it's not impossible!). Download an app, like DownDog (currently offering free full access until April 2020, or longer for certain groups), YogaWave or Yoga Workouts by Daily Burn (iOS only, offers 30 day trial) to receive guided help toward your savasana.
Body-weight exercises - Believe it or not, pushing around your own weight is one of the easiest and safest ways to build muscle; plus, it increases joint stability and flexibility, too. Men's Journal offers a list of their 30 best bodyweight exercises (most use no additional equipment) that'll get you buff in no time. There are also tons of apps, like Spartan Home Workout (Google Play store only) and Home Workout - No Equipment (iOs and Google Play) that offer free versions of bodyweight fitness.
Make your own DIY Weights - while you might not have the right equipment, a little ingenuity might get you where you want to be. Check out this WikiHow page to make your own free-weights, kettlebells, dumbbells, and more. Once you've created your weights, check out my sections below.
If you have some basic equipment:
All you need is a few free weights and you're ready to get moving.
HIIT - Find High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts all over Pinterest if you want to make your own, or sign up for a subscription-based program, like MoveFast/LiveWell, which offers 2 full weeks of free access). You can also check Rachael's Good Eats' Instagram page for a few videos, or use this list of routines on the website.)
If you have a lot of equipment:
Wow, lucky you! If you've amassed a large array of equipment, you likely know how to use it. Here's an idea to get you back in your home gym:
Make a new mix - Create a new Spotify or Amazon Music playlist with your favorite pump-it-up music. Or even better? Message friends and ask them for their favorites.
If you're looking for cardiovascular workouts:
If you're used to running on a treadmill or playing a game of basketball, working out at home might not feel the same. Nonetheless, there are ways to get your blood pumping, sweat dripping, and body moving without having access to the gym.
Go outside for a run - this might seem obvious, but don't neglect the low-hanging fruit. Use a service like MapMyRun to plan a route near you that feels manageable, then strap on your kicks and hit the pavement.
Tabada training - Originally created by Dr. Izumi Tabata at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. Tabada training requires high-intensity intervals with short breaks in between. Check out this page by Active.com about Tabada exercises and ideas for your next routine.
If you used the gym to connect with others:
For many, the gym offers downtime to catch up with friends and feel motivated from fellow fitness fanatics. When stuck at home, your activities lack this component of your daily regimen. While not a perfect fix, try one of these ways to connect with your gym buddies:
Use Challenge Apps: Activity apps, like the ones on the iWatch or Nike Training Club (which has both free and paid versions for iOS and Android), allow you to challenge (and sometimes talk smack!) to friends, which keeps motivation and engagement high.
Train for something - [Virtually] grab a friend, identify a race in the fall, and start to train for it. Using an app like Couch to 5K helps you get yourself and your friend race ready, and offers something to work toward along the way.
If none of this sounds appealing, what is generating that feeling for you? Try to figure out what you enjoyed most about the gym and see if recreating that feeling in another way is feasible. While you might not have initially asked for time off from the gym, try to enjoy your time spent at home and turn into an opportunity to push yourself in new ways or reimagine what fitness looks like to you.