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With the COVID-19 pandemic in full force, many of us are in quarantine to practice social distancing. Where we live, everything is closed down—including our gym.

If you have a routine of going to the gym or taking a workout class, this quarantine thing can be a tough go. It can be hard to get back into a rhythm of working out. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to stay in shape (or even get in better shape) while in quarantine. The good news is that for many of us, we have more time on our hands since we’re stuck at home. Here are 4 steps to create a workout program for yourself.

Step 1: Evaluate Your Equipment

It’s a bummer not to have access to all the equipment you have at the gym. However, many of us have some exercise equipment lying around the house. Take stock of what you do have. Also, if you have the money, it’s not a bad idea to purchase some equipment to shore up your home gym. For example, here are some pieces of equipment that are nice to have:

  1. Dumbbells: Dumbbells are super-versatile and nice to have. They can help you gain strength while you are working out from home. I have a pair of adjustable dumbbells (you can adjust the weight from 5 to 50 pounds). They are a bit expensive, but really handy.
  2. Pull-up Bar: They now make pull-up bars that can fit on a doorframe. Pull-ups are a great bodyweight exercise, so this is a good investment.
  3. Bands: A good set of bands can be used instead of dumbbells or a pull-up bar. I don’t like them as much, because it’s tough to get consistent tension all the way through the movement. But they do offer resistance, so they are a nice option if you are on a budget.
  4. Jump Rope: A jump rope is a great way to add a little variety into your cardio routine, if you’re tired of running all the time.
  5. Yoga Mat and Blocks: If you are integrating yoga into your workout routine, a yoga mat and blocks are a must-have. It’s also nice to have a mat when doing other exercises in your house.
  6. Weighted Vest: This is a nice option that increases the intensity of any bodyweight exercise.

Step 2: Consider a Program

If you aren’t super knowledgeable about exercise (or haven’t done a lot of it), it probably feels overwhelming to come up with workouts for yourself. Luckily, there are a lot of great programs out there that you can order and follow on your television. My favorite home workout program is p90x, but there are a lot of options. If you’re feeling stuck, buy a home workout program and stick to it.

Step 3: Understand the Exercises Available

There are so many exercises that can be done with little or no equipment around the house. Here are just a few options:

  1. Cardio: Running, Walking, Burpees, Jump rope.
  2. Legs: Air squats, Lunges, Step-ups, Calf raises, Wall sits, Box jumps. You can also add weight to most of these exercises with dumbbells or a weighted vest.
  3. Chest: Pushups (lots of variations here), Dumbbell bench press.
  4. Back: Pull-ups, Lat pulldowns with bands, Dumbbell rows, Rows with bands.
  5. Shoulders: Dumbbell press, Press with bands, Shoulder raises, Handstand pushups.
  6. Abs: Sit-ups, Weighted sit-ups, Leg raises.

Step 4: Design a Workout

If you are designing your own exercise routine, select a few exercises and put them together. For example, you might pick one cardio exercise, one leg exercise, and one chest exercise. Here are a couple of workout styles we use in Crossfit that work well.

  1. AMRAP: AMRAP stands for “as many rounds as possible.” For example, you might set a timer for 20 minutes. One round could consist of (1) Run 400m, (2) 40 air squats, and (3) 20 pushups. Try to get as many rounds as you can in the 20 minutes.
  2. AFAP: AFAP stands for “as fast as possible.” In this type of workout, we set the amount of work, and try to finish it as quickly as possible. For example, you might aim to do 3 rounds of (1) 50 walking lunges, (2) 50 sit-ups, (3) 50 pushups. Try to finish the 3 rounds as fast as you can.

You are limited only by your creativity. One key is to vary your workouts. Select different exercises so you are hitting the different muscle groups on a regular basis. Also, try to vary the length and intensity of the workouts—make some days short and intense, and other days long and sustainable.

Discussion

What have you been doing to stay in shape while under quarantine? What has worked well for you? What are you still struggling with?

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