Maximizing Workouts Without a Gym

Apr 14 8:06am | Tara Schmidt, RDN, LD | @taraschmidt | Comments (7)

Man exercising in kitchen on a yoga mat

Written by Jamison Splett, a Mayo Clinic registered clinical exercise physiologist 

It’s 2021, and we’re still in a global health crisis. The silver lining? You now have a new home gym; though there may not be treadmills, weight machines, and an elliptical. Also missing: the need for fancy gym clothes, judgement, parking, and the excuse of “having to GO to the gym”.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends accumulating 150-300 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise per week. This can happen in increments of 10 or more minutes at a time. At home, if you can find a 5 foot by 5 foot square space, there is a plethora of new tools that can help you exercise within the confines of your own home.

TheBodyCoachTV (YouTube.com) – A youth physical education teacher created a workout library to include fat burning exercises, high intensity interval training (HIIT), low impact exercises, and weekly programs to follow. It’s free, can be done at home, and only requires a smartphone or computer with internet access!

BeachBody On Demand – This exercise company has collected a library of longer term exercise programs (1 week to ~ 3 months) to kick start a weight loss or exercise program. Programs range from HIIT, cardio, yoga, and even dancing! Access to the library costs about $100 for the year, but you get access to everything from the workouts, eating plans, and calendars to help you stay on track. Easy to do at home!

Fit On App – This free (Yes, actually FREE) app allows one to have access to live and on-demand exercise classes that can be completed anywhere. Classes available include cardio, strength, HIIT, dance, Pilates, and pre- and post-natal workouts, to name some of them.

Walking – Walking IS our typical mode of transportation, but we don’t typically do this for long periods of time. If we extend the amount of time we walk (for the purposes of exercise), we increase the amount of cardiovascular benefit and the calories burned. And its FREE!

Not everyone has gym-quality resistance training equipment at home. Resistance bands are an excellent option and readily available online and in many stores.

Because we’re now working out at home, we need to get rid of the misconception that a “weight” has to be shaped like a dumbbell, iron plate, or a machine with more cables and pulleys than you know what to do with. For example, a gallon of water weighs 8 lbs. If you draw three evenly spaced, horizontal lines on the side, you’ve just created the ability to have a 2, 4, 6, or 8 pound weight for resistance training (depending on how much water you add).

Regardless of which tool you use, or if you have a solution that works for you, there are some recommendations made to most patients:

  • Never go more than 3 days in a row without exercise
  • Set weekly goals (complete 5 workouts of any type, 30 minutes each = 150 minute/week goal)
  • Track your progress (minutes of walking, distance walked, steps per day, etc.)

I wholeheartedly give two thumbs up (all ten fingers, really!) for the FitOn App! I've been using it since the start of the pandemic, and have all but left my past fitness activities behind. It's a phenomenal app, is truly free, and should you desire, for a very nominal fee (*far* less than gym memberships) you can "subscribe" to get recipe recommendations and the ability to work out "with" a real buddy – and the recipes appear to all be whole-foods focused and very nutritious, with ingredients that can be easily found at the average grocery store. They are constantly adding new workouts and tips/advice, and I haven't once gotten bored… yet I am consistently seeing improvements in my own fitness. I'm super excited to see it recommended here by Mayo!!!!

REPLY

I went to my fitness center yesterday for the first time in15 months. I was the only person wearing a mask. Is it safe to exercise when masks are not being worn? I am vaccinated.

REPLY
@gocy

I went to my fitness center yesterday for the first time in15 months. I was the only person wearing a mask. Is it safe to exercise when masks are not being worn? I am vaccinated.

Jump to this post

Hi Gocy, good question. The answer is "it depends."
It's great that you've been vaccinated. That will help protect you and reduce your risk of infection. However, it is not a 100% guarantee. You can still get infection with COVID after vaccination. And you can transmit the infection if you have caught it, but are asymptomatic.

That is why health authorities and researchers studying COVID infection recommend to continue to practice good infection prevention, such as:
– keep more than 6 feet apart
– wear a mask when you can't
– wash your hands frequently
– don't touch your face when in public

Is the equipment at your fitness center well spaced? Do people disinfect the equipment after use?

REPLY

Equipment was well spaced. It is questionable if people disinfect the machines. Not going back for awhile.

REPLY
@danceswithhooves

I wholeheartedly give two thumbs up (all ten fingers, really!) for the FitOn App! I've been using it since the start of the pandemic, and have all but left my past fitness activities behind. It's a phenomenal app, is truly free, and should you desire, for a very nominal fee (*far* less than gym memberships) you can "subscribe" to get recipe recommendations and the ability to work out "with" a real buddy – and the recipes appear to all be whole-foods focused and very nutritious, with ingredients that can be easily found at the average grocery store. They are constantly adding new workouts and tips/advice, and I haven't once gotten bored… yet I am consistently seeing improvements in my own fitness. I'm super excited to see it recommended here by Mayo!!!!

Jump to this post

I love FitOn too! There are SO many different work out modalities! Way to not let the pandemic stop you.

REPLY
@taraschmidt

I love FitOn too! There are SO many different work out modalities! Way to not let the pandemic stop you.

Jump to this post

Thank you! Admittedly, I haven't worked out in a formal/public gym in several years… I'm an introvert and found the public setting to cause me to struggle with concentrating fully on my workout and form and instead was distracted by others' perceptions of me and what I was doing. Constantly battling thoughts of "am I doing enough?" Since I've started working out at home (due to needing to reduce costs when I went back for another degree) I've accumulated a collection of exercise DVDs second hand that I did daily, but having done all those for a month and a half each at a minimum, and having repeated most the same way at least once, things were feeling a little stale. FitOn has totally taken boredom out of the equation!

REPLY
@danceswithhooves

Thank you! Admittedly, I haven't worked out in a formal/public gym in several years… I'm an introvert and found the public setting to cause me to struggle with concentrating fully on my workout and form and instead was distracted by others' perceptions of me and what I was doing. Constantly battling thoughts of "am I doing enough?" Since I've started working out at home (due to needing to reduce costs when I went back for another degree) I've accumulated a collection of exercise DVDs second hand that I did daily, but having done all those for a month and a half each at a minimum, and having repeated most the same way at least once, things were feeling a little stale. FitOn has totally taken boredom out of the equation!

Jump to this post

Absolutely! I love how many options there are. It makes me feel like I'm taking a live class!

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.