My local gym is technically open right now, but I’m hesitant to place myself around so many sweaty bodies, touch public equipment, and leave my water bottle in spots where a stranger might accidentally take a sip. I live in a small town that doesn’t see too many cases, but most of population doesn’t take COVID very seriously, so the concept is still a bit frightening. Because of that, I’ve been maintaining my quarantine fitness routine and have had some luck. Here are some things that I’ve learned.
No Equipment? No Problem.
I worried about the fact that I have very little equipment, especially because of my strength training. Cardio is easy enough without any help, but what about my bulking goals? Thankfully, since quarantine, I’ve actually added about an inch to the circumference of my arms. Here’s how I did it.
- Focused on your diet. Gaining muscle means eating a LOT of protein, so I tracked my protein intake for a day or two to discover that I haven’t been getting nearly enough. I started having daily protein shakes about 30 minutes after my workout to help supplement my diet and make sure I’m still gaining. Remember to always use shakes as an addition to your current diet and not as a meal replacement because it doesn’t have a lot of other nutrients that our bodies need, but they can be a very efficient way to get more protein. And, yes, you should have shakes on your cardio days, too!
- Make the most of light weights or no weights. My heaviest dumbbells are 10lbs, which is way too light for most of the exercises I usually did at the gym. Don’t get too stressed if your weights are light, though! When you’re using your light weights, just squeeze your target muscle as hard as you can during the “peak” of the movement (aka the top of your bicep curl, etc) to engage the muscle in a more effective way. If you don’t have any weights at all, fill some water bottles to get 2lb weights, use a gallon of water for 8lbs, or fill a backpack with water bottles to reach a specific weight.
- Learn to use your body weight. My old workout routines didn’t include as many push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, and other body weight exercises. I was a bit spoiled by having machinery that could engage those muscles for me, but quarantine taught me to adapt! If you’re a beginner to those sorts of exercises, consider looking up some video tutorials to ensure that your form is solid and you don’t hurt yourself. You can also find some modifications if you need a bit of help as you start out!
- Invest in some cheap supplies. Even having a yoga mat can make a workout more comfortable! You can also find some very inexpensive jump ropes, dumbbells, resistance bands, yoga blocks, and more. I’d also recommend buying some bluetooth earbuds so you can listen to your favorite workout playlist without getting tangled in wires.
- Go outside! The summer weather has been very helpful lately. I’ve recently starting running again, and I prefer to run outside when I’m able so I don’t get bored of the scenery around my elliptical. I run a mile every morning and then do strength training in the evening, and my morning run is such a perfect way to get me into the mindset for work, writing, and more. If local parks near you are open, try going there to find some nice, flat ground or at least some well-maintained paths.
Luckily for us, fitness professionals were quick to post quarantine workouts online back when everything started! A lot of them had to adjust their jobs after their gyms had to close down, so there’s now plenty of material available online. I never really used workout videos before lockdown, but I’ve been really benefitting from them lately.
- Amazon Prime. If you have Amazon Prime, you already have access to tons of free material! Just go to their “fitness” section to find tons of Zumba videos, GymRa, and plenty more. Check it out!
- YouTube. Amazon Prime is a great resource, but YouTube is completely free and has loads of material. Personally, I’ve been working out with Alex Tima, Markiplier’s personal trainer. He livestreams often and then posts the stream afterwards, giving us a huge collection of workouts! Most are HIIT-style and usually focus on one area of the body at a time, though there are some full-body workouts as well. If you’re looking for some cardio instead, I’d recommend Kyra Pro and her ultra-fun dance workouts. I also sprinkle a bit of yoga into my routine to try to keep myself flexible (and to relieve some of my pesky back pain) and I usually turn to Yoga With Adrienne for videos that are easy enough for my inflexible self to follow. You can bet there are more professionals posting on YouTube, however, so just try searching for whatever you’re working on to find some cool material!
I’ve always had a hard time noticing differences in my body. It seems like everyone around me sees the changes before I do, and now that I’m not seeing as many people as I used to, no one is seeing the changes at all! I’ve started keeping a fitness journal where I track my body measurements and more. To track my progress, I used some advice from Alex Tima: