The pandemic has forced all of us to adapt to a new normal. We are working from home, dining curbside, and exercising from the comfort of our own living rooms. Of course, if you are able and willing, there are still many options available to get your workout in and support some local businesses. Many local fitness studios are offering covid-safe classes or at-home options to members. However, if you are looking for ways to get the most bang for your buck from your home workouts, here are my 5 tips as a certified personal trainer on how to do so.
If you are looking to improve your cardiovascular fitness and lose some body fat, short high intensity workouts are your best friend. They are hard and you will definitely be challenged but they are one of the most time-efficient forms of exercise. The reason high-intensity sessions are so effective is because they force your body to alternate between aerobic and anaerobic states. During your work interval, your body relies on its anaerobic system for energy, and while you rest, your body reverts to the aerobic system. Your anaerobic system uses glycogen for fuel, while your aerobic system predominantly relies on fat. By doing HIIT workouts, you are using both. Additionally, high-intensity exercise has a higher rate of post-exercise oxygen consumption meaning your body continues to use more energy (burn more calories) after your workout than it would during a low intensity session. These workouts can be a fun and quick way to challenge yourself during your home fitness journey.
Under normal circumstances in the gym, I would usually stress the importance of rest to my clients, especially when lifting weights. While resting in between sets is crucial in order to allow your muscles to recover, there is a time and place for decreased rest time such as intense bodyweight workouts. Shorter rest times will keep your heart rate up and force your muscles to work under fatigue. I encourage you to take all the rest you need during strength work but decreased rest is perfect for high intensity intervals or circuit training. You may see some incredible improvements in your cardiovascular fitness.
Another way to intensify your at-home strength workouts is through increasing your number of reps per exercise. If you don’t have any weights available, high rep workouts can allow you to maintain muscle mass during your time away from the gym. For example, when doing a goblet squat with a dumbbell, you might complete 8-10 reps for 3 sets. At home? Complete 15-30 reps of a bodyweight squat. The increased rep number will mimic the muscular response you will get from a weighted set in a lower rep range. You will feel the burn and increase your muscular endurance.
Throughout the pandemic so far, I have struggled to find the motivation to shimmy on my leggings and set up my yoga mat in the living room. The best way I have found to keep myself engaged in my fitness journey has been to switch it up and try new things. I am not a dancer, nor have I ever been, but I have been trying YouTube dance workouts during quarantine. I run a couple times a week, I do quick high intensity interval sessions when I need a good sweat, and I do bodyweight strength workouts when I’m looking to challenge my muscles. I never let myself get bored mentally with a workout, and I keep my body guessing too.
Working from home has great benefits from going to work in your sweatpants to having a 2 minute commute from your bed to your desk, but it can be easy to neglect your daily dose of movement. Create a weekly plan for your workouts, and designate a time each day for your movement.
A weekly split could look something like this:
Monday – Lower Body Strength Workout
Tuesday – Run
Wednesday – Upper Body Strength Workout
Thursday – Yoga
Friday – HIIT (High intensity interval training) workout
However you choose to design your weekly split, make sure it works for you. We all have different schedules, activity preferences, and times of day we like to get our sweat in. Cater to you. You will be far more likely to commit with an achievable plan of action!
These are just five tips of how to make the most of your at-home workouts. Hopefully, they inspired or motivated you to continue making fitness goals and challenging yourself. During this pandemic and period of uncertainty, it can be easy to feel like you have no control in many areas of your life. Fitness does not have to be one of them. There will come a day when the gyms open up their doors again, and the pandemic is a distant memory but for now, stay safe and intensify your workouts from home.
How have you been adapting your workouts to work at home? Leave us a comment below!
About the author
Grace Bellman, Emory University BSc ‘21, NYU DPT’24
Grace is a senior at Emory University studying Anthropology & Human Biology, and she will be attending New York University next year to study Physical Therapy. Grace is also a NSCF Certified Personal Trainer and she is passionate about helping others improve their fitness and wellness knowledge. Grace is also committed to promoting a method of preventative healthcare, which allows people to take care of their bodies and prevent injuries before they happen. She is excited to be contributing to The Fit Atlanta blog and working as Marketing intern this semester.
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