Oh, the gym — that chapel of chiseled bods and cardio machines — how we miss you. For now, much of our fitness endeavors are largely restricted to the home. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t get gains.
Here’s some home fitness advice from a few widely-known pros who share their three favorite tips on everything from exercise and nutrition to staying motivated.
1. Dance and do barre
“I can’t say enough about the power of freestyle dance! It doesn’t matter what it looks like — go somewhere alone, turn off the lights, or have an audience — whatever you do, lose yourself in movement.
“Dance to one track a day and watch your days transform. It clears the mind and opens the soul, all while getting you fit! Whether you’re sad and just letting yourself sway through that, or angry and you stomp it out, I have found that once I start moving, my energy levels increase and I approach everything differently.
“Barre is my home base — my whole day feels off if I don’t do it. Whether you danced when you were a kid, have never danced, or know the full ballet vocabulary, doing a classical ballet barre is the cornerstone of the Ballet Bod. Your posture, balance, flexibility, and strength will all increase. And learning choreography is an added mental plus.”
“Block out 15 minutes 2 days a week to focus on deep stretches. Listen to what your body needs and stay in each stretch for 1 to 3 minutes [with controlled breathing]. Consistency is key. Stick with it and the results will follow.”
3. Tone those lower abs
“I find most ab routines do not focus enough on the lower abs. My two favorites are:
- A plank on my forearms and dropping my hips to the ground before bringing them back to plank position.
- Laying on my back with my feet up at a 90-degree angle and lifting my hips off the ground.”
Autumn Holley, personal trainer and fitness model, shares some well-being habits to make.
1. Manage your mood
“Stress is a given. We all experience it periodically and lately anxiety is constantly rumbling in the background. However we choose to manage these feelings is completely up to us. It starts with acknowledging that we do in fact have a choice.
“As someone who has her own battles, I understand the importance of having a deep toolbox. Exercise, deep breathing, and meditation can all be solitary weapons against depression and worry. Tools like these can remind you that you [don’t have to give in to] your dark thoughts and can provide an outlet to pour energy into.
“One app that’s been helpful for me is Calm. It teaches you how to meditate, bring yourself to a place of peace, and find ways to get a more restful sleep. There is a subscription fee, but if you can stay consistent with the tools, it’s worth it.”
2. Workout circuits
“My #1 reason for working out every day is to maintain my mental health. I can tell myself I did something and feel proud.”
Here is a strength workout you can try at home with no equipment:
3. Create healthy eating patterns
“Unhealthy food patterns rarely start with the food, but rather with not knowing how to prepare the healthy foods you know you should be eating — not taking the time to learn, and then feeling overwhelmed and falling back into old patterns.
“In addition to that, there is the moment when you learn that you have been leaning on a lot of food for comfort, and you realize it’s only brought you momentary satisfaction and [much more] guilt and stress.
“To change these patterns for the long term, you have to shift your comfort zone and become more aware of the fuel you’re putting in [your body]. For example, the company WW (formerly Weight Watchers) uses a point system and provides the lifelong knowledge of what’s good and bad fuel, but still gives you room to indulge from time to time.”
1. Workout together
“You and your partner likely have different goals when it comes to working out, and you also may be at different fitness levels. Therefore, working out together may seem inconvenient for one partner or the other. However, it can keep you both accountable, and you can also encourage each other along the way.
“We recommend finding workouts that you can both benefit from. For example, find a workout with modifications so that if one partner is at a beginner level, and the other is advanced, you will both be able to enjoy the workout at your comfortable fitness level. This way, no partner is bored or feeling like the workout is too easy or too difficult.
2. Cook together
“While this may not always be possible due to time and differing schedules, we encourage you to choose a night each week to cook a new recipe together. This helps you explore different meal ideas so that cooking and eating healthy doesn’t become repetitive or boring.
“You can also explore different ingredients and challenge yourself to try a new food group each week. For example, you can choose to cook with a new vegetable or try using a new herb or seasoning each week to spice things up.
3. Go on walks together
“This sounds super simple, but it can be extremely beneficial for your physical health goals, and it can be a great de-stressor as well. Taking walks outdoors will give you some fresh air and vitamin D after working indoors all day long. Outdoor walks will also give you quality time together that doesn’t have to involve food or drinks!!”
Nick Hilden is a travel, fitness, arts, and fiction writer whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Men’s Health, Thrillist, Vice, and more. You can follow his travels and connect with him via Instagram or Twitter.