Exercising at home has been a struggle during COVID especially amidst gym closures. I am an avid gym-goer…or I was pre-COVID. In fact, most of my free time was spent in a gym as I have been a part-time certified personal trainer for 8 years. Most of my clients used to come to me, not because they don’t know what to do in the gym, but because they needed accountability, a plan, and motivation. Many of my clients love at-home workouts, so I have built several high-intensity, bodyweight workouts that could be done at home (or anywhere) using minimal or no equipment. The issue many clients have had is motivation and accountability.
I experienced this myself first-hand as gyms started closing in March 2020. I always have had a gym to go to. I have never worked out at home, nor did I want to. Although I do have some equipment at home, I have had a really hard time making time for home workouts and staying motivated to keep on track. Tips I had been feeding to my clients for years, I was now testing out myself. My clients were right, this was HARD! With work meetings and children and that huge pile of laundry that seems to keep growing….it was hard to set aside time for a workout. So after months of gyms being closed and having to work out at home, I figured out some tips that actually did work for me and that I want to share.
1. Schedule an Exercise Appointment
This is a non-negotiable appointment! Find a time that works each day and make a workout appointment. Some weeks that meant that Monday I had a workout appointment between two meetings, Tuesday was during nap time, and Wednesday I was waking up super early because those were the times that worked within my busy schedule.
2. Find YOUR Exercise Time
I am a night owl. I like to workout at night. And that’s ok! You read a lot about how you should wake up early and be productive (yes, that can feel so good), but it doesn’t work for everyone. I have found that I can be equally productive at night when my body and mind like to be awake anyway. So, workout at night if that is what works for you!
3. Ritualize Your Work Out
Many times on the way to the gym, I would listen to my favorite upbeat music or an exercise podcast. I would have my favorite pre-workout snack and drink a bottle of water. Getting out of the car, I would adjust my earbuds, music playing, and I was ready to go! All of this was a ritual that got me ready, it pumped me up to go workout. Without the drive to the gym, I have none of this. So, I encourage you to make time for your workout but also make time to get yourself ready and motivated to workout. Adjusting to working out at home, I have done this by starting my workout time with a walk that allows time to listen to a podcast or music, eat my snack, and drink my water. By the time I get home, I am ready and excited to start my workout.
4. Visualize Your Workout
It is so easy to go in a gym and jump on a machine or grab a dumbbell. In fact, you could mindlessly meander through the gym, hopping on various machines, and, probably, get a decent workout. Home takes more planning and there is nothing to guide you. Try making a full workout plan. Write down exactly what you’re going to do in your 20 minutes (or however much time) that you’ve allotted. Google it, find a trainer to help you, come up with your own exercises. Just write it down. Lay out any equipment you may need and find a physical space that is conducive to working out and make your workouts happen!
5. Motivation is Temporary, Discipline is Forever
As we have gone through this pandemic, my motivation has wavered. Don’t get me wrong, rest days are necessary, needed, and wonderful. But there are days where I need to work out, but I am just not feeling it. These are the days that I need to rely on my self-discipline the most. Making myself get out from in front of my computer and run a few laps around the house, do a few pushups…anything to get my blood pumping, and to help me get started on my workout routine. Pushing through when motivation is lacking is so hard, but at the end of it, I’m proud of myself and I feel better mentally and physically. Some days, I need to rest, but some days I just need to just get up and do it!
Share your at-home exercise experience in the comments!
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