A woman lying on a lane divider in an Olympic pool

The gym isn’t just a place where I commit to moving my body, it is also a community of people who are making the choice to do so as well. My gym is a place where I feel understood, appreciated and, most of all, motivated.

Recently, many of us have been working out at home. To be honest, things can get a little repetitive, which could lead us hitting a rut or simply giving up all together. Whether your gym is closed, you don’t feel comfortable going or you are trying to avoid a costly membership, here are some creative ways I’ve been mixing up my at-home exercise routine. 

Routine 

Workout at the same time each day. This way you can train your body to understand that it’s time to move! Now I know that not everyone is a morning person, but getting in movement early in the day before unexpected meetings and calls arise makes it easier for me to stick to my workout schedule and avoid making excuses.

Exercising in the morning makes me feel as if I have already accomplished a hurdle before my day really begins. I take that confidence into whatever tasks lie ahead, as well as a sense of clarity and focus. These feelings of accomplishment carry into our everyday lives, work and relationships. 

Motivation

I realized that the reason I love going to the gym so much is that it provides me with a community of people who are just as passionate as me about moving my body, especially when in a group class setting. There is a collective energy that builds when people move with one another, and it makes us feel invincible.

There is a collective energy that builds when people move with one another, and it makes us feel invincible.

Digital fitness is on the rise now more than ever, and there are a number of online fitness videos that will guide you through any kind of workout. If you are still struggling to get motivated, then try a live class via Zoom as opposed to a pre-recorded class. If you’re new to group fitness classes and a little nervous, online group classes can be a great way to start. This is a chance to try out a new yoga flow, HIIT class or strength training session that may have intimidated you in the past. 

Signing up for live virtual fitness classes has allowed me to experience the relational aspect of fitness that I have been missing and recover the sense of community that many of us are craving. Many participants continue to socialize even after the virtual workout is finished. Instead of rushing to the shower, connect with your classmates and instructor. Share some of your thoughts about the workout.

Live virtual classes have also enabled me to try class formats and studios that were previously not accessible to me, making it even easier to mix up my routine and avoid hitting a plateau. While group fitness classes should be welcoming environments that have adjusted exercises for beginner, intermediate and advanced participants, you could disable your camera if that makes you feel more comfortable. 

Why not find a “fitness friend” who is experiencing the same frustrations as you? Commit to trying new classes each week together. In doing so, you’ll keep one another accountable and encouraged.

Space 

If you are incorporating more explosive moments into your exercise routine or if you find that the couch is a little too tempting, head outdoors. Finding a patch of grass in your local park could give you the change of scenery you need and a bit of motivation. It is also a way to get in a dose of fresh air and vitamin D! 

Finding a patch of grass in your local park could give you the change of scenery you need and a bit of motivation.

Not near a park? Find a hill or some stairs to increase your cardiorespiratory endurance! Intentionally going to a specific location to work out and move your body may have the same effect on your mind as going to the gym and provide you with more discipline. Sometimes, the hardest step is the first one out the door! 

Equipment & Environment 

Part of the reason why it seems so much easier to workout at the gym is because of the environment. There’s music blasting, competitive people who motivate you to push a little harder and equipment readily available. 

Now might be the time to find a new music playlist or to invest in a speaker that will push you just a little further. While there are great exercises like running and bodyweight training that require little to no equipment, sometimes incorporating dumbbells, a medicine ball, ankle weights or resistance bands can add variety to our workouts. There is no need for fancy machinery.

Moving our bodies is not only about conditioning, but it’s also about recovery. I keep a large yoga mat and foam roller at my bedside to remind me to prioritize recovery, which releases any points of tension and inflammation. This makes it easier to stretch regularly and to say yes to another movement session!

How have you adapted your workout routine in 2020? What has been something that’s motivated you to break a sweat?

Image via Juco Photo, Darling Issue No. 20

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