How to Exercise at Home and Actually Like It

I have never been someone who likes to exercise at home. I love the responsibility of training with other people, the adrenaline rush of a fitness class full of people I can silently compete with, and the accent that just put your phone on in a locker and just adjust to your body for the next hour.

But nothing like a deadly pandemic to change your point of view.

I live in New York and all of our gyms and fitness studios closed in mid-March to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. This included both the boxing gym where I go twice a week and the common gym in my building which I use several times a week. Similar restrictions are rolled out across the country, so if your gym isn’t closed yet, you can expect that soon.

And this is a good thing. If we can learn anything from how other countries have coped with the new coronavirus pandemic, it is that small adjustments will not be enough – we need as many people as possible to stay at home. (physically separate from anyone but their immediate household) as much as possible and as soon as possible to help flatten the COVID-19 case curve.

I understand that it sucks all around. This sucks for gym owners, employees, coaches and group fitness instructors. And it sucks for your fitness routine. It also sucks for mine. One of my big intentions this year was to find a fitness community where I felt both at home and challenged, and I finally found that … just before everything changed. I finally felt like a regular in my boxing gym, I had a lower training schedule and putting on gloves after work was the highlight of my week. But then I had to stop going to the office to go to work – and go to the gym – and, well, you know the rest.

So here we are. Put aside by a pandemic in more than one way and trying to find a semblance of normal life in an anything but normal situation. I realize that thinking about your workout right now may seem silly or inappropriate. This is certainly the case for me. It’s easier to think of all my friends working in hospitals, all my front-line colleagues, all those who have lost their jobs, their businesses and their money, and all those who are dying from this virus everywhere in the world. But that’s the problem with a global crisis: what you can do is often so small and insignificant, but if we all did what we could, we would be much better. And now, for most of us, it stays at home.

While doing your part through social isolation, you can still exercise at home if it is something you need in your life to feel normal (I do).

1. Above all, support your local gymnasium and your coaches if you have one.

There is no doubt that this pandemic will have far-reaching consequences for so many businesses, including gymnasiums. So, if you belong to a gym that you want to continue to support and you are able to do so, consider keeping your membership or buying gift cards or swag to use later. Any incoming income would be greatly appreciated at this time, especially since many gymnasiums offer you a completely free virtual program in the meantime (which will happen in a second).

The same goes for personal trainers. If you previously paid a certain amount of personal training each month and can continue to do so, consider continuing to pay your trainer during this period. They may even be able to train you remotely on FaceTime or Google Hangouts, or even write programs to follow at home.

2. Broadcast the workouts of some amazing gyms and coaches.

I was pumped to see my boxing gym, Gloveworx, immediately switch to virtual workouts, both on YouTube and Instagram Live every day. Of course, it’s not the same as being in the gym with them, but there is something special about being able to train “together” while being separate. So many gyms and coaches are taking a similar approach right now, which means you can try a “class” that you might never have been able to otherwise.


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