In the past 72 hours, I have been recruited for three different fitness challenges over Instagram. From push-up to burpee challenges, I feel like more and more people are being encouraged to try out home workout routines. This makes me incredibly happy!
Although this is a great step forward in leading and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there are ways to make sure you’re making the most of your home workouts during this lockdown.
Here are my top tips and tricks in making the most of your at-home sweat sessions.
Get some help
Unless you are a fitness professional or have an extensive background working out, I highly recommend you don’t just jump into doing intense workouts without seeking some guidance first. The good news is there are a whole lot of coaches, athletes, and fitness gyms and studios that are posting home workouts online.
Check out your favorite gym and fitness influencers on Instagram to see what they’re doing. I would start by looking for programs formulated by certified pros and pick routines that fit your fitness level or at least offer modifications for making it easier or more difficult. This way you can customize the difficulty to your own comfort level. Although, I do recommend you push yourself, so you are challenged!
Quality not quantity
Plenty of the exercise challenges I see online are explosive moves and people tend to rush through the movements as quickly as possible. There are a time and place for these kinds of exercises, but I recommend focusing on getting the best time under tension. Meaning rather than getting as many reps as possible in the shortest time possible, try to get as many slow quality reps in until your muscles give up.
Try this—do 10 quick pushups as quickly as possible. Then do another 10, but as slow as possible. I bet you the latter is much more difficult. That also allows you to carefully focus on your form. The proper form is always more important than a high number of reps. It’s not how much you lift, rather it’s HOW you lift.
Not many people have home gyms. That’s normal, so you have to get a little creative with your movements and learn to improvise by making items in your home into gym equipment. You can get an intense, full-body workout by simply utilizing your body weight and no equipment at all. That works!
However, if you’d like to amp it up, you can use everyday household items as replacements for gym equipment. For example, you can use water bottles or canned goods in various sizes as different weights; socks or hand towels on floors as sliders; edges of the door frame as a pull-up bar; two chairs as dip bars; and so on. You can explore what you have at home and get creative.
Whether it’s indoors, outdoors, at the gym or at your home, the key to a successful workout program is sticking to it. I recommend you do some sort of cardio—walking around, jumping rope, running around doing chores—every day, and then some sort of strength training every other day.
I also keep a journal of my workouts that logs what exercises I do; how many reps and sets I complete; and what muscle group I work out that day. That way I can see my progress, and also monitor what I’ve worked out so far to make sure I am balanced in exercising and resting different parts of my body.
If you’re at the beginning of your fitness journey, a journal may seem a bit much, but I guarantee you that it is one simple and magical tool in keeping you consistently working out.
Studies show that having a workout buddy can greatly improve your chances of sticking to a workout program. Get your significant other, kids or roommate to join you for your next sweat session. Even if they don’t join you right away, my best guess is that because of the house arrest, they might just eventually join you out of boredom.
But what if I’m at home alone? That’s okay too because that’s where social media and technology can come into play. During this worldwide lockdown, I’m in Washington D.C. yet I work out with friends in LA and Manila every other day via Zoom video conferencing.
This is also the beauty of Instagram fitness challenges—your friends challenge you to work out and post it, and you do the same. It’s a healthy cycle of encouragement, that keeps you moving every day even if all you feel like doing is to binge on Netflix. Really though—with all the time we have now, you can do both!
Whether you are a fitness newbie or veteran, having to be at home all the time and be as healthy as possible despite being indoors, is new territory for everyone. Fitness professionals are being forced to step out of the comfort of their gyms. Those who don’t usually workout are now realizing that it’s more important now than ever to stay fit and healthy. Health and wellness practices date way back before fancy gyms and activewear. Although the circumstances are not the best, I like the idea of simplifying fitness and making it accessible again to everyone. One thing is for sure, the revitalization of the home workout validates my belief that as long as we all stick together and show everyone in our community kindness and support, we will be resilient and get through this.