When quarantine first began, working from the couch felt like a much-needed break from the discomforts of office life. Nothing was more appealing than rolling out of bed, grabbing your laptop, and rolling straight back onto the couch. No shower, no shoes, no problem. However, the excitement of working from the couch can start to wane once the aches and pains of too much sitting start to set in. From your neck to your lower back to your hips, sitting on a soft surface with limited back support for a full work day is considerably less comfortable than it seems. And as it turns out, working from the couch for too long is bad for you, both physically and mentally. The good news? You don’t have to give up working from the couch completely just to get a bit more healthy.
Sitting all day can have a number of negative effects on the body, but sitting slumped on a couch can be even more detrimental. “Sitting allows your muscles to become extremely tight and dysfunctional, which will compromise your posture and increase your risk of pain and injury,” says Jeff Brannigan, Program Director at Stretch*d (a New York-based dynamic assisted stretching studio). Furthermore, Brannigan goes on to explain that “working from the couch makes it very easy to sit in a not-so-great position. Many people quickly begin to slouch or slide down the couch.”
The problem? “Sitting in a compromised position drastically speeds up the onset of muscle dysfunction. You’re far more likely to feel muscle tightness, tension, and pain due to an increased likelihood of developing imbalance throughout the body.” In fact, in a 2018 study, the CDC went so far as to say that “high amounts of sedentary behavior and low levels of physical activity are associated with increased risk of premature mortality and some chronic diseases”. Yikes.
The good news is that even if you work in an industry that requires you to be sedentary for most of the day, small changes to your routine can make a big impact. Better yet, new work-from-home policies make it even easier to get up and move. Eve Lynn Chrust, a New York City-based fitness and yoga instructor (you can find her classes at Obé, SoulCycle, and Athleta) says that exercise doesn’t have to be something you force yourself to do at the end of a long work day. “Make it cumulative,” says Chrust. “If you do a little something every hour of the work day, by the end of the day you’ll have gotten more done than you might’ve expected.” Chrust says that a few exercises coupled with a few laps around your apartment every hour are enough to counteract some of the negative effects of working slumped down on the couch all day. Her advice? Set a timer on your phone to dedicate four (yes, just four) minutes of every hour to getting off the couch and moving. By the end of a standard work day, you’ll have already gotten a half hour workout in.
Here are some moves you should be doing to counteract the effects of sitting all day:
1. Walk It Out
The first one-minute move in your four-minute set? A lap around your house, a walk up and down a set of stairs or a stroll down the block! Chrust says, “there’s a mental component of getting off the couch. When you sit for too long, things can feel stagnant and repetitive and you tend to get stuck. Getting off the couch even for just a minute helps you to feel motivated, it gives you energy and might improve your focus.”
Chrust recommends doing 10 squats every hour to open your hips, stretch out your legs, and work your booty. “Doing just ten squats every hour throughout the workday is totally accessible, and by the end of an eight-hour work day you’ll have done 80 squats!” she says.
Next up is a one-minute plank. Planks are a favorite of most yogis, and with good reason. They’re an efficient way to work your entire core, front and back, says Chrust. “Abs are fundamental for posture. If you’re hunching on a couch all day, you need core strength to lengthen out your spine.”
4. Cat Cow
After you’ve completed the one-minute plank, move directly into a tabletop position, with your knees on the ground directly in line with your hips, and your hands on the ground directly in line with your shoulders. Flow through one minute of cat cow to create space in your spine, chest and neck, three spaces that are compromised when sitting on a couch for too long, says Chrust.
Images: GIPHY; Maryjoy Caballero / Unsplash
Apparently, I had no idea what being “stir-crazy” actually meant until we entered this indefinite solitary confinement they call quarantine. Even as a proud introvert, it feels like the universe is shoving all the plans I’ve ever canceled in my face and screaming, “IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED?” This is absolutely not what any of us wanted—as any introvert will tell you, part of the thrill is canceling plans. With no plans to cancel, this endless abyss of plans that could have been (canceled) feels like a discount version of Groundhog Day. Not only are we mourning the closures of our favorite restaurants, stores, and bars, but many of the activities that kept us sane are no longer an option. One of the most difficult aspects of my quarantine has been the closure of my gym, and not only because of the sense of community it provided. Physical activity has been one of the only things I’ve found in over a decade of pretty severe anxiety that actually helped keep it in check. According to the CDC, reduced anxiety isn’t the only noticeable benefit of regular physical activity. Just 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week (that’s like 7 episodes of Schitt’s Creek which, realistically, you’ve done in one day) can improve both your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Regular exercise can also reduce your risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. So yeah, TL;DR, exercise is good for you and I’m sorry for all the times I pretended I had cramps to get out of gym in high school.
During this time of incredible stress and uncertainty, the anxiety-reducing aspects of physical activity are more important than ever. Being trapped inside a small space with no end in sight is stressful, to say the least. Exercise is definitely helpful, and nothing makes me feel quite as calm as the aftermath of a heart-pounding sweat session. There are plenty of workouts that can be done from the comfort of your own home, but when running is your go-to, working out while quarantined can be a little more complicated (unless you have your own treadmill, you lucky b*tch).
At the beginning of quarantine I was running four miles a day ….. Now I’m proud because I did a single squat
— Donese (@donese22) July 9, 2020
It’s SO tempting—outside is literally right there. You can see it and hear it screaming at you to lace up and get out there. So what’s stopping you? If your neighborhood is anything like mine, you’ve seen countless people jog by, headphones in, totally oblivious to the fact that we’re in the middle of a freaking pandemic. If they can do it, why not the rest of us? Well, because we both know we’re smarter than that. Yes, it’s tempting to squeeze in a quick 3-miler and be back inside before the coronavirus even has a chance to notice we left our bubble. Unfortunately, this isn’t some high-risk game of tag and we really can’t afford to take any chances. Here’s the great news, though—experts say that it is fairly safe to run outside, as long as we take the proper precautions. Family Medicine Physician Doctor Mike Varshavski—or as he’s known on Instagram, Dr. Mike—tells Betches that running “is considered a low to moderate-low risk activity based on the new chart put out by the Texas Medical Association” and notes that “throughout this pandemic, almost all shelter at home orders have continued to allow and encourage solo exercise like hiking, walking, and running.”
So that’s the good news! And as long as you follow these pretty easy guidelines, you can rest easy knowing that you put your safety and the safety of others first.
1. Jog Alone Or In Small Groups, But Make Sure You Maintain A Safe Distance
I get it, running with your best friend or your running group like you’ve done for years is a blast. However, just because you have been extremely cautious about protecting yourself from the coronavirus doesn’t necessarily mean your running partners have done the same. Make sure whoever you’re running with is also taking the proper precautions, and continue to practice social distancing even when running outside. Dr. Mike tells Betches, “any time you are exposing yourself to other individuals, it raises the risk of catching the virus,” reminding us, “those who look healthy can still be spreading COVID-19. If you have to go with a group (for safety reasons, perhaps), try and be with the smallest group possible.”
Brian Labus, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada Las Vegas told Runners World, “If you deem running with a small group is something you’re comfortable with, you’ll want to ensure that these few people have been properly careful over the past few months, same as if you’re running with one other person. Additionally, your small group should run somewhere you know you won’t come in close contact with others.”
Labus also emphasizes that if you live with someone in the at-risk age group (over 65) or someone who is immunocompromised, extra precautions are necessary, and running with a partner may not be the best idea. He explains, “There have been over 182,000 cases (as of June 10) and over 77,000 COVID-19 deaths (as of June 6) in those age 65 and over since February 1, according to provisional data from the CDC. It is safer to run solo until disease transmission is low in your community.”
2. Bring A Mask With You When You Run
It’s probably not necessary to wear a mask while you run outdoors (and realistically, it would be really tough to wear a mask during any exercise that leaves you gasping for air) as long as you maintain the proper distance between you and anyone you encounter outside. Indeed, Dr. Mike tells Betches that “a mask should not be worn while running as sweat will make the mask wet and create other problems.” He advises, “The best protection is to wear the mask until you’re ready to exercise, take it off, and stay at least six feet away from others as best as possible.”
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That said, it’s probably not a bad idea to bring a mask with you when you run just in case. You may end up lost and needing to grab an Uber back, you could desperately need to run into Walgreens for a drink of water, or you might end up running into your ex and needing a disguise. Point is, there are a lot of reasons you may need a mask when leaving your house, so make sure you have one with you at all times.
Donald Milton, a professor of environmental health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health explained to the New York Times, “Outdoors is relatively safe, and masks would only be important if you are exercising in crowded areas or indoors in space shared with other people.” According to Milton, as long as you’re keeping your distance, you should be pretty fine running outside with your mask at the ready in case of an emergency.
3. Scope Out Your Street During Different Times Throughout The Day, Or Find A Different Street Altogether
Please withhold all “duh”s, because from what I’ve seen firsthand it apparently needs to be said—the easiest way to keep your distance when running outside is to run in a less crowded area. Now, this doesn’t mean driving 38 miles to the middle of the forest to knock out your run. This honestly may be as simple as spending a few days looking out your window every hour or two to see how many people are out and about. Peak hours in your neighborhood may also vary between weekdays and weekends, so also take that into account when planning your run. Ideally, you want to find both a time when not too many people are out, and a place where you have plenty of “escape routes.” This means not running next to a busy street that you can’t cross if you see a group of people on the sidewalk. If you’re running on a forest path, it means being able to step way off to the side if someone else is approaching (and, see #2, don’t forget your mask in case this isn’t an option).
Dr. Benjamin D. Levine, a professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas, explained to NPR the importance of keeping an even greater distance when exercising outside. He advises, “The greater volume and rate of breathing that occurs during exercise has the risk of spreading droplets farther. I think it’s reasonable based on the known changes in breathing during exercise.”
I don’t know how many times I’ve been out walking and out of absolutely nowhere, a jogger runs by me so close that I feel a small gust of potential plague-wind as they pass. This isn’t okay, guys. First and foremost, if we can’t be considerate to other people who have just as much of a right to use the sidewalk as we do, we shouldn’t be out running in the first place.
That said, if you’ve been keeping an eye on your street and it really doesn’t seem like there’s much of a break in the constant stream of people passing by, check out some other side streets nearby. Chances are, within a mile or so of where you live, there are some quieter residential streets that will be far less congested.
4. Make Sure That It’s Actually Okay To Run Outside In Your Area
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As we’ve discussed, it is more than tempting to grab your shoes and just GTFO. But even if you’ve thoroughly read through these important tips and feel confident in your ability to run outside safely, please hit pause for just a hot second. Because of the constantly evolving nature of how we’re handling this pandemic, running outside without a mask may not even be allowed in your area. Make sure you’re constantly checking mandates from your state health departments to ensure you’re adhering to your area’s current requirements. These mandates are changing fairly regularly in some areas, so it’s a good idea to check them daily before your planned run. Your state will most likely have a dedicated coronavirus page with all of the latest information, from things like the number of confirmed cases to reopening guidelines.
Dr. Mike emphasizes, “Know that there is no such thing as absolute safety when outdoors. The guidelines of wearing a mask, physical distancing, and washing hands will certainly reduce risk but not eliminate it. Know what is an acceptable risk for you.”
If you’re still hyped up to go for an outdoor run, more power to you. Just remember the four M’s, and you should be good to go. Maintain your distance, Mask (in your pocket/bra/around your neck/whatever), find tiMes of the day that are less crowded (ok that was a stretch, who cares), and Mandates (check your local mandates to see what rules are in place in your area). Happy running!
Images: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels; donese22 / Twitter; notskinnybutnotfat, dietstartstomorrow / Instagram
I don’t need to tell you all that these are unprecedented times. Many of us have been worrying about keeping ourselves and our loved ones healthy. Healthcare workers have been preoccupied with having adequate access to PPE. Millions have been filing for unemployment. And, apparently, rich people have been itching to get back to their luxury gyms, because Equinox announced over the weekend their plan to reopen facilities—excuse me, I mean clubs.
Equinox detailed the plan to reopen in an Instagram post, writing, “The past several weeks proved something we knew all along: Equinox is not just a place – it’s a mindset. It’s in our hearts. It’s in our homes. It’s who we are.” Maybe I’m just jealous because I can’t afford Equinox, and the human petri dish of a Planet Fitness to which I belong probably started coronavirus, but no, I’m pretty sure Equinox is just a place.
But, okay, the post broke down Equinox’s plan for reopening, which they called The Equinox Standard (or what Murray Hill bros will adopt as their new system for rating women’s appearances). The plan features a number of elements. First, members must complete a “self-health check” in the Equinox app before visiting. That description is vague, but thankfully, members won’t have to put blind trust in their fellow club members to stay home if they are feeling sick. “Body temperatures will be taken via touchless thermometers,” the Instagram post explains, and members must register under 100.4° to come in.
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We believe that our brand promise, It’s not fitness. It’s life., is more relevant today than ever. It represents what we stand for, how we engage with our members and teams, and the significant role we play in their lives – especially in these uncertain times. Over the years you have placed great trust in us, and we take that responsibility very seriously. The health and safety of our community is our number one priority. That is why we are introducing The Equinox Standard, our answer to the challenge of creating not only the safest environment for our community – but one where our community feels safe. Some of the measures below are temporary and others will be permanent. Our measures align with CDC and local guidelines and are informed by our medical and infectious disease experts. We are one community, one team, and one family—we are so grateful that you are a part of it. We’re in this together. Let’s keep on keeping each other strong and safe. Swipe through to see some of the measures we’re taking, and click the link in our bio for the full list. #ItsNotFitnessItsLife
But is that enough? Dr. Purvi Parikh, immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network, told Betches that taking temperature “can help identify people who may not realize they are sick who have a high temperature,” but warned, “since fever is a symptom it doesn’t cover all asymptomatic carriers, as many will have a normal temperature.”
Dr. Melanie Graber, an internal medicine resident at the University of Connecticut, echoed, “Temperature screening is a good tool to catch people who are having a fever, but it isn’t necessarily effective at identifying people who are infected with coronavirus.” She also said, “Temperature checking would not screen out people who are infected but asymptomatic,” whom she said can be “highly infectious”. But, even though checking temperatures may not control for all potential infections, it probably beats the Florida method of “open and pray”.
Probably the biggest change is that gone are the days of just rolling up to the gym and lying down on the mats for two hours; now, members will be required to book a club visit in advance using the Equinox app. They can schedule three 90-minute “appointments” in any seven-day period (I too use the same terminology for my workouts as for my doctor’s visits), “with additional visits subject to club capacity.”
A source close to the company told Betches, “Members are not limited to visiting the club three times per week, rather they can have up to three appointments booked at one time,” adding, “members can book up to 7 days in advance or as soon as 15 minutes before visiting if space is available.” Same day drop-ins are also permitted, but subject to availability.
Some members worry that the new booking system, combined with modified club hours to make time for thorough cleaning and disinfecting, will not allow sufficient time to get all their workouts in. And with Equinox memberships starting at $185 per month in New York City, they don’t think they’ll get their money’s worth.
One member commented on Instagram, “Is this permanent? Will membership fees be reduced due to these restrictions?” Equinox replied on Instagram that, while the restrictions are temporary, “we are not amending membership dues at this time.” The source confirmed to Betches, “We are not reducing membership rates and are confident that members will be able to continue their normal routine and that many of our measures are temporary.”
Despite the company’s confidence that workouts will not be impacted, a few members are not so thrilled about taking a $200-ish gamble with the new system. Hunter Duplisse, an Equinox member in Vancouver, had a bone to pick in a post in Betches’ Diet Starts Tomorrow’ers Facebook group. While she acknowledged the necessity of booking workout spots in advance to maintain distancing, she said, “it’s really frustrating that we’re not receiving a reduction of fees considering our access to the gym is extremely limited.”
Another aspect of the new policies that drew confusion had to do with the PPE requirements for members, which allow room for ambiguities. The post states, “Members will be required to wear face coverings at all times in the club, except while vigorously training.” Why they’re making an exception for intense exercise is unclear, and Dr. Parikh told Betches, “I actually would recommend wearing masks or face covering at all times if possible,” not just when not-vigorously training, because “we know it reduces spread of droplets by 70 percent if all people are masked.
Further, you don’t know who has been in that area training or walking or running before you—we know the virus can stay in the air even for a few hours. If it is uncomfortable to exercise vigorously with a mask, it may be better to exercise in your home if possible.”
Also ambiguous is exactly constitutes “vigorous training” and who will make that call. Margaret Doherty, another member of the Diet Starts Tomorrow’ers Facebook group, asked, “How does one know what each person’s ‘vigorous training’ looks like?” Equinox’s source didn’t clarify, telling us, “We are continuing to define what constitutes vigorous training in coordination with our team of medical experts and will update our members prior to opening so they can make the decision that is best for them.”
On top of that, Equinox’s Instagram post stated, “It is recommended but not required that members wear gloves during their visit.” Considering Americans’ track record of abiding by gentle suggestions, I predict that we will see more gloves in an Alabama sex ed class than in any given Equinox club.
Still, if you’re looking for your fancy gym to protect you from coronavirus, you may want to look elsewhere. As Dr. Graber put it, “when people go to a public space, they assume the risk that someone else who is there may be infected and contagious.” Guess the founding fathers fought for your right to decide for yourself whether you want to risk catching coronavirus from the guy with a six pack running on the treadmill six feet away from you.
Some are praising the new measures, though. @swoleengineer commented, “This makes me so proud to be an Equinox member. I’ve been missing the gym, but more importantly very hesitant about showing up again if you guys reopen without any safety measures. All of this is more than good enough for me…” @scottfishman echoed, “You guys are AMAZING – great stuff providing so many awesome safety protocols!” And, despite her dissatisfaction with the membership costs not being adjusted, Duplisse admitted she’s not actually that concerned with sanitation, writing, “I do trust that they will be able to keep locations clean because I’ve always been incredibly impressed with the cleanliness of my club.”
The post did not specify when Equinox will be reopening, or which markets will see these new policies in effect first. Their rep explained, “We will evaluate each city’s situation in coordination with health officials and our team of medical and infectious disease experts to determine when it is best to reopen.”
Sorry, New York members, I have a feeling that means you’re just going to have to do at-home workouts for a little while longer—though your apartments probably have the space. And, the source assured us, not all of the measures are permanent. “This is a dynamic and fluid situation and we will continue to adapt and evaluate existing and new protocols with the safety of our teams and members in mind,” they said, echoing the one thing we all really can say with conviction: nobody is totally sure of anything right now, and we’re all just kind of making it up as we go.
Images: Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com; Equinox / Instagram
I guess it took a global pandemic for me to finally realize that working out does indeed help your mood, energy level and overall mental well-being like those fitness influencers are always preaching. My stress and anxiety levels of late can only be compared to that of Harry Jowsey on Too Hot To Handle when he discovered he couldn’t bone Francesca on his own timeline, and really the only thing that’s helped me calm down (aside from vegging out to Netflix) has been working out. And no, I was not paid to say that. And yes, I’m aware of how insufferable I must seem now.
Fitness coaches and influencers can smell that we as a society have finally cracked and are ready to cash out on premium workouts from our own home. As a result, there’s more fitness content out there than ever before—which is making it hard to sniff out the workouts that are actually worth my time when I could otherwise be drinking, or cooking, or drinking. So, we’ve rounded out the top paid virtual workouts that are actually worth your money so we can all come out of this perhaps not with a newer, tighter ass; but definitely having tried our damndest to boost our serotonin levels and not get depressed.
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Solidcore “at home” is a live 20-person group class taken with an instructor via Zoom. Using sliders and weights (or whatever at-home substitution you prefer), the workout is intense but low impact, like Pilates or Barre. They offer 50-minute full-body classes or shorter, 30-minute “muscle-specific” classes.
HOUSEWORK was developed by Syd Miller as a full-body sculpting and conditioning class that combines Pilates and cardio circuits, and is set to upbeat music—so it’s basically just, like, a healthier alternative to LIV Miami, right? She’s teaching daily HOUSEWORK classes on Zoom.
JABS by Gina
$6 – $10/class
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LARGEST JABS CLASS IN HISTORY. . Tomorrow 7:30pm EST. “ABS AND JABS” $5 . I’m opening ONE THOUSAND spots. And there is NO WAY I can fill them on my own. Let’s see if together, we can bring together 1,000 people across the globe to Jab. . . The sign up link will be posted in my bio and swipe up on my story at 5pm EST TODAY! . Share this post on your story, tag a friend who you think needs to JAB, and thennnnnn SET YOUR ALARM ⏰
Per my Instagram feed, it’s clear JABS by Gina has a cult following that has expanded far beyond NYC since quarantine began. With many different formats, JABS combines HIIT training, kickboxing, and muscle isolation workouts. She’s teaching daily Zoom classes that run from 45-minutes to 1 hour each with some classes reaching a 250 and 1,000-person capacity.
Is it even a millennial-focused workout article if I don’t mention Rumble? Rumble is a boxing/cardio workout, though their live workouts are only “Rumble-inspired”, so you won’t be experiencing the same exact setup, naturally. They are offering a mix of virtual classes that range from strength-training to cardio and boxing, as well as offer you the option for a weighted workout or to use your “bodyweight.”
Obé Fitness offers a wide range of online fitness videos under the four categories of Define (strength based classes), Sweat (cardio based classes), Flow (yoga and stretch classes), as well as pre- and postnatal classes, with each class being only 28 minutes. You can stream the workouts on your phone, computer, TV, or tablet. I also simply cannot help but be influenced by the extremely cute and bubbly-looking people on the Obé website, to whom I relate in no way at all. Maybe one day!
Barry’s Bootcamp is (normally) a guided workout spent partly on the treadmill running intervals, and partly on the center floor doing strength training workouts. Now, Barry’s is offering virtual, 35-minute classes in the following four categories: Bodyweight, Bands, Weights, and a few traditional Barry’s Treadmill & Weights classes. Knowing Barry’s, if the classes are only 35 minutes, then the workout is likely very intense. Stay safe out there, folks!
$1,495/Mirror (or $42/month)
Yes, $1,495 is a sharp increase from the $10 classes I’ve been listing, but rich people like to work out too. ‘The Mirror’, as they call it, is literally just that; but once you turn it on, up pops your own personal trainer! (I feel like that’s the beginning scene of a twisted Disney movie?). There are tens of thousands of workouts to choose from, plus The Mirror is extremely chic looking and I’ve heard rich people like that, too.
$2,245/bike (or $58/month)
The Peloton bike is another investment piece. It comes with a touchscreen tablet that offers guided workouts from an instructor, with workout options for on and off the bike. People who own Peloton bikes seem to post about them FREQUENTLY, so unless they’re only trying to justify spending so much money on a bike that doesn’t move, Peloton seems to be worth the hype. You can also virtually compete with other participants who own bikes (it’s almost like this company knew something before we did???).
Images: mr lee / Unsplash; solidcore, doyourumble, obe_fitness, getthemirror / Instagram
Much like when the gym gets super crowded in January due to the assholes I affectionately refer to as “Resolutioners”, people are suddenly gaining a newfound interest in fitness in this quarantine. I get it, while I’m here eating my weight in salt and vinegar chips, you all have visions of emerging from lockdown with six-pack abs. However, since everyone and their mom now thinks they’re the next Jillian Michaels, workout equipment has gone the way of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. It is sold out everywhere. But fear not! You don’t have to jog up and down your hallway to meet your workout goals at home! I’ve done some research and found equipment that you can still purchase and have delivered to you. Congratulations on actually having a summer body this year instead of looking like a blobfish like me! Or we can just decide blobfish is the new sexy body type and all be happy doing nothing?
Me at the beach this summer:
Anyway, here’s workout equipment you can actually buy right now that doesn’t cost $3,000 on Amazon.
Tone Fitness Anti-Burst Stability Ball
A stability ball is one of those universal fitness items that you can do almost anything with. Plus, you could sub it as your desk chair when you work from home to engage your core and prevent back issues. You can do planks, abs, and any of these awesome ideas for a full body workout. Plus, it’s deflatable, so once we’re out of quarantine, you can deflate it and stash it for when you need it next without it taking up your entire apartment.
4-in-1 AB Wheel Roller Kit
This wheel roller kit includes four things and is super easy to store when the gym comes back and you’re not stuck at home. You can do all kinds of abs and pushup exercises with these, and then it also has a jump rope to get your cardio in. Although it might make your downstairs neighbor insane. If you’re not sure how to use a roller wheel, check out this video. You’ll have abs of steel in no time.
Everyday Essentials AB Trainer Abdominal Machine
The thing about crunches is that most people actually do them wrong. Since you can’t hire a trainer to perfect your abs routine, an ab trainer will help. Instead of swinging your body forward using other muscle groups, this super cheap piece of equipment forces you to engage only your abs to pull yourself up. That six-pack will appear in no time. Once I decide to start Postmates-ing salad instead of Dog Haus, it’s over for you hoes.
FILA Fitness Mat
Yoga mats are out of stock almost everywhere, or the price is jacked up to like a million dollars (for what? It’s literally a piece of foam), but this FILA one is functional and cheap. Even if you’re not doing yoga, a yoga mat is perfect for a ton of exercises and way more comfortable than the weird slanted floor in your apartment. I’m not sure why every apartment I’ve ever lived in is slightly crooked (seriously, is it just me?), but a little cushioning for your stretches and body weight workouts makes a big difference.
P90X Adjustable Weighted Jump Rope
A jump rope is a great way to get cardio without risking getting coronavirus at the overcrowded park. Although maybe do it in a community space in your apartment so your neighbors don’t attempt to assassinate you so they can get some peace and quiet. This jump rope even has a removable weight in each handle to up the resistance. Hey, maybe you can invent a dark jump rope song about coronavirus, like how Ring Around The Rosie is really about everyone dying from the plague! Too much?
FILA® 3-Pound Neoprene Hand Weight
You can use hand weights for a full body workout, plus these ones are both affordable ($7.99!) and in stock! They also have heavier versions. Use these weights for arms, abs, and pretty much anything else. Find some inspiration on YouTube with videos like these. Plus, using weights is a quiet activity that will not make your roommates or neighbors insane.
I’m totally kidding. This is apparently a Boxing Fight Ball on a headband. But like. Doesn’t this look like something else? Use it for exercise or for scary bedroom games, I guess.
What are your at home workout tips? How are you staying fit in quarantine? Or are you just saying f*ck it and that it’s Future You’s problem? Let me know in the comments!
Images: The Creative Exchange / Unsplash; Giphy; Walmart (4); Kohls (3)
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
Let me just start by saying that fitness is not my middle name, but I went on a run yesterday, so as per the rules of Instagram, I’m now a fitness influencer. I’m also in quarantine (like the rest of the world) and my couch is starting to form a dent the size of my ass, so it looks like it’s time to work out. When researching “how to work out” I instantly thought of Kourtney Kardashian, who, in case you didn’t know, is by far the most exciting Kardashian to look at. Kourtney’s trainer, Amanda Lee, shared the HIIT routine that she does with the reality star on Poosh, and for some reason, I thought that it would be a great idea to try it. I don’t know why I do this to myself. Honestly, Hell must have frozen over, because I am about to wear a sports bra and leggings for their actual intended purposes. I know, I can’t believe it either. I’m really happy that I did that sit-up last year, I feel like it has totally prepared me for this moment. So, for my health and your entertainment, I present to you, my experience doing Kourtney Kardashian’s HIIT workout.
What’s A HIIT Workout?
I’m pretty sure they call it a HIIT workout because when you’re done, you’re ready to hit the floor, and never get up again. While I prefer my definition, apparently HIIT actually stands for high-intensity interval training. It’s a full-body cardio workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and intervals of less-intense activity or total rest. HIIT workouts have become widely popular during this time of social distancing and sheltering in place, because they are efficient, effective, and don’t require any equipment. So, there is literally no excuse not to do it—sorry.
My typical exercise regimen normally includes long walks on the beach—wait no, sorry that’s my dating profile. My workouts generally entail a lot of walks with my dog, yoga, spontaneous dance parties, high incline on the treadmill, and the occasional sit-up when I can’t reach the remote. I’ve never really been a gym rat; I’d say I’m more like Pizza Rat. I’ve always preferred to get my exercise through sports like soccer, dance, snowboarding, etc. However, now that we are all staying indoors, those activities are limited, so I’m branching out. Wish me luck.
Kourtney Kardashian’s HIIT Workout
Kourt’s routine takes roughly 15 minutes to complete (depending on your resting time) and is made up of four different sequences. According to her trainer, Amanda Lee, this HIIT workout is great for someone who is super into cardio. I don’t know who that person is, but I can already tell that I don’t want to be friends with them. Now, without further ado, here is the workout. I’m already sweating just reading this.
⭐︎ Jump Squat into Jumping Lunges
⭐︎ Mountain Climber with Push-up
⭐︎ Burpee + 180 Squat Jump
⭐︎ Jumping Jack into Jumping Jack Plank
*Repeat entire circuit three times*
Move 1: Jump Squat Into Jumping Lunges
Amanda Lee’s directions (via Poosh):
“Start with jump squats. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Do a regular squat, then jump explosively. When you land, lower your body back into a squat position. After three reps, immediately begin to perform three jumping lunges. Start with your feet staggered, your left foot slightly in front of your right. Push off the bottom of both feet into a jump, switching the position of your feet midair, landing in a basic lunge with your right leg in front. Repeat this movement without rest, alternating which leg is front. Then go back to the three jump squats. Repeat for 30 seconds.” See the video here.
Okay, move one. I’m stretched, enthusiastic, and ready to build a butt with a round of squats. After the first rep I can say with confidence that I am not a huge fan of the jump squats. There’s nothing wrong with them per se, I just don’t like them. They feel super awkward with my baby giraffe-like legs, but hey, that’s just me. I am happy to report, however, that I’m enjoying the jumping lunges! I feel as if I have more control and am able to maintain a tighter core while switching my legs back and forth. I wouldn’t say that the 30 seconds flew by, but it wasn’t too horrible, which is a pretty damn good start in my opinion!
Move 2: Mountain Climber With Push-up
Amanda Lee’s directions (via Poosh):
“Start in a push-up position with your arms straight and your body in a straight line. Raise your right knee toward your chest, then switch legs, raising your left knee toward your chest. Continue for four reps and then bend your arms while lowering yourself down to perform a push-up. Repeat for 30 seconds.” See the video here.
I am actually in favor of mountain climbers, so this part wasn’t overly painful. The push-ups, however, I’ll just say “ugh”. To everyone who kept tagging me in push-up challenges on Instagram, I hope you’re happy now. Luckily there was only one push-up per rep, so I guess I could quit my complaining. I mean I won’t, but I suppose I could. Again, the 30 seconds, wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was almost downright bearable!
Move 3: Burpee + 180 Squat Jump
Amanda Lee’s directions (via Poosh):
“Squat down and put your hands on the floor in front of you. Jump both feet back so that you’re now in a plank position. Then jump your feet back in towards your hands. When you are back to standing, explosively jump into the air, reaching your arms straight overhead. From there, land into a squat position and perform a 180-degree turn jump squat. Perform another burpee facing the opposite direction. Repeat for 30 seconds.” See the video here.
I prefer to call these barfees, because that’s what I want to do right about now. This was by far the absolute worst part of Kourtney Kardashian’s HIIT workout. This is also about the time where I turned into The Little Engine That Could and kept chanting, “I think I can, I think I can” until I literally couldn’t anymore. This move was definitely successful in being a high-intensity workout as advertised, so kudos there. I was for sure feeling the “benefits” of this maneuver the next day, and I am sincerely happy that this part is over now.
Move 4: Jumping Jack Into Jumping Jack Plank
Amanda Lee’s directions (via Poosh):
“Start with 10 jumping jacks, then drop down into a plank position. Like the motion of a jumping jack, jump your legs wide and then back together. Repeat for 10 reps. Stand up and continue with 10 jumping jacks. Repeat for 30 seconds.” See the video here.
Disclaimer: I did play The Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin Jack Flash” in order to properly prepare for this last exercise, so yeah, I’d say that I’m nailing this whole “working out” thing. Move four was, dare I say, kind of fun? Crazy, I know. The great thing about this final move is that you really don’t have to be a fitness aficionado to master it. Jumping jacks are fairly standard and pretty freaking hard to screw up, so it was right up my alley. While going from an upright position down to a plank gave me unsettling flashbacks of burpees, I enjoyed feeling like a fitness influencer for 30 seconds.
Holy sh*t am I sore! It all sounded so easy: about a 15-minute workout, four moves, no problem. Wrong. Problem, I am having a problem, and it’s the fact that I just now realized how woefully out of shape I am. I did weigh myself the next day, and oddly enough I didn’t lose 20 pounds after doing Kourtney Kardashian’s HIIT workout one time. Yeah, I know, I don’t get it either. But I do feel accomplished, and as far as workouts go, this one wasn’t that bad, which is truly high praise from me. It was familiar moves, zero equipment, and it definitely got my heart rate going.
My biggest piece of advice for anyone wanting to give this routine a try is to stretch beforehand! That probably goes without saying to all the fitness enthusiasts out there, but I’m saying it anyway. Seriously, stretch before attempting, and hopefully you’ll be able to bend down to tie your shoes the next day, unlike me. All in all, I would do this again. Maybe not this week, but once I regain the feeling in my legs I would absolutely do it again sometime in the near, or probably distant future.
I did it, I survived, and all I have left to say is ABCDEFG.
Images: Mora Gluskin (2)
I’ve been social distancing since last Wednesday, when I’ve been working from home. I haven’t been doing too bad: I work, chill, stalk people I don’t like on Instagram for an amount of time my therapist considers “unhealthy”, go on a run to get outside for a few minutes—all in all, not that different from my normal routine (on the rare occasions when I decide to lay low and not black out at brunch). However, as of late, going on runs outside has made me more anxious because every single f*cking person in my neighborhood is also out and about. Staying six feet away from a stranger at any given point is impossible. I tried it all: running in the morning. Running at night. Running in the middle of the afternoon. Same problem. So I decided to kick the social distancing up a notch and not leave my apartment, at all. (Also, to be real, I’m just lazy and don’t love running to begin with.) The only problem? Getting enough exercise. I do workout videos, but I like measuring my activity in steps. So on Friday, I attempted to do the impossible: get 10,000 steps without leaving my apartment. Oh, I should mention, I live in New York City (pauses for collective gasp). Conveniently, my roommate and I had just measured our apartment, and it is about 600 square feet. Prognosis: not good.
These are my stories.
9:17am: I begin my day with 251 steps. This is going to be hard.
9:36am: I have to write an article, ya know, do my job. This makes it hard to get up and move in any capacity.
10:20am: Decide to make scrambled eggs on a low heat because they take longer to cook that way. I first walk, then jog back and forth in my kitchen until they are cooked, scrambling occasionally. It works decently well: I’m up to 1,314 steps.
11:11am: Unlike every other day where I’ve been too lazy to get up to get more water once I finish mine, I’m going to the kitchen every 10 minutes. I’ve started making long loops around my apartment for no reason (going to the kitchen, heading all the way back into my room before going back to sit down at my desk). Current step count: 1,605. The goal is to get 1,000 steps per hour for 10 hours #math.
11:25am: I do suicides in my kitchen while waiting for my tea to warm up in the microwave (a minute and a half). Step count: 2,107. I am out of breath. My kitchen is maybe 10 feet long. Don’t judge me.
12:20pm: I am quickly falling behind on my 1,000-steps-per-hour goal. I make more tea (I don’t really want it, but it’s an excuse to move some more). I do suicides in my hallway this time, which is a lot creakier than my kitchen and therefore more likely to piss off my downstairs neighbor, but my hallway is a lot longer than my kitchen. Still not good enough; I’m only at 2,300-ish steps. I run back and forth in the kitchen a few more times. Still not making a huge dent: 2,444.
12:26: I pace around my apartment a bunch more times. 2,535. I need to do something crazy to get up to 3,000. I’ve taken a poll on my Instagram story on whether or not walking in place counts; most people think it does. Still, that feels kind of like cheating to me, so I’ll save it for a last resort.
1:10pm: I’ve tried to make as many unnecessary laps around my apartment as I can, but I’m still only at 2,874. Need to magically figure out a way to get 1,000 more steps in in the next 20 minutes so I can stay on track. Oh yeah, and do my job. That.
1:14pm: The downside of drinking so much water (to get more steps to the kitchen) is I’m peeing constantly. On the upside, this bitch will be hydrated af.
2:21pm: 3,231 steps. Gonna have to take drastic measures.
2:50pm: 3,371, but to be fair, I’ve been like, actually sitting at my desk doing work for a while.
3:01pm: Decide to call my internet company to ask them a question. (This will later prove to be a grave error.) But while I’m on hold with Spectrum, it is a good time to start pacing again. Downstairs neighbor must think I’m going through it.
3:10pm: Still on hold. Graduated from pacing to kitchen suicides. Step count: 4,143.
3:20pm: I give up on Spectrum. Nothing is that important.
3:30pm: I get an email that the fitness mat I had ordered a couple days ago says it’s arrived. Time to put on sneakers and go downstairs the three flights to check—not touching any banisters.
3:34pm: I consider running up and down my steps a few times, but ultimately, laziness wins out. 4,315.
5:12pm: Currently at 4,819 which is almost half (for those of you who can’t do basic math). The good news is I still haven’t done my workout video yet, which should bring me very close to my goal. The bad news is that I have zero desire to move my body at all. Maybe after a snack the motivation will suddenly appear.
5:13pm: A King’s Hawaiian sweet roll and peanut butter is a healthy snack, right?
5:55pm: Workout time. I’m debating between a 305 Fitness video (which they put up on Youtube after the daily live streams), which I know will get me to the goal, vs. Sweat440, which is my personal favorite and more HIIT/toning than straight cardio like 305. I low-key hate cardio. Plus, I can’t booty pop or body roll, which makes up a significant part of 305’s repertoire. What I’m saying, is, I can’t dance!! Double plus, my downstairs neighbor is… shall we say… vocal… and all the jumping with 305 seems like a bad idea. I choose Sweat440.
6:35pm: I finish the workout, dripping in sweat—the studio lives up to its name, that’s for sure. I check my step counter: 6,069. Welp. All that, and only like, 1,000 extra steps. I am basically giving up at this point.
10:18pm: Finishing a Netflix documentary before bed (it’s true crime, why do I do this to myself) so I’m going to walk around my living room, but hitting the goal is not looking likely. Current count: 8,255. If I can get to 9,000 I’ll feel accomplished. But now I have something to prove, so maybe I’ll resort to walking in place.
10:27pm: No. I won’t go down without a fight. Back to the kitchen it is, where I can put my laptop on the island and walk back and forth with minimal creaking.
While it is possible to get 10,000 steps without stepping foot outside, it is not exactly easy and I had to get creative (read: a little loose with my definition of “walking”). It’s not a bad alternative if conditions worsen and you really cannot go outside, but I would only do it again if I like, was once again motivated by the idea of doing something seemingly impossible. Otherwise, I’d just go about my normal indoor routine and disregard my step count. Or just go on a walk or jog outside as long as officials say that’s safe. Stay safe, everybody!
Images: George Rudy / Shutterstock.com; Sara Levine (2); Giphy (2)
It’s safe to say this is a pretty stressful time for… literally everyone. Whether you were just forced out of your dorm to go back to living with your parents, or you’re now working from home all day with your roommate who breathes way too f*cking loud, we’re all feeling the same thing: antsy and overwhelmed as f*ck. Not only because you’re now learning which of your friends are complete idiots who thought it was still okay to go out on St. Patrick’s Day (hope they’re prepared to be roasted about this for years to come), but also because you’ve eaten through your entire two-week hoard of quarantine snacks in one day. And, you know, the general anxiety about everyone getting sick and the economy crashing and the healthcare system collapsing and all that fun sh*t. It’s like, kind of a lot to handle.
With all the stress and nervous energy about this Black Mirror episode of a world we now find ourselves in, it’s more important than ever to find a way to get that energy out. And since all the gyms and fitness studios are closing their doors for the time being (low-key kind of nice to not have to deal with dudes hitting on you while you’re just trying to listen to a podcast on the treadmill), many fitness apps and studios are offering their home workout services online for free. Here’s a roundup of all the ways you can break a sweat while at home for free:
obé fitness is an immersive online workout experience with energetic instructors that guarantee you’ll get a good workout and have a great time doing it. They’re offering a free 30-day trial, with hundreds of live classes per week. They offer classes for whatever you’re into, from HIIT to pilates to yoga to barre to a whole lot more. Most of their classes are only 28 minutes long, which is about the amount of time I can step away from my computer without anyone getting suspicious. You can access their classes here.
The Sculpt Society, created by Megan Roup, is doing a 14-day free trial of their dance-cardio and strengthening routines, which honestly kind of sounds like a party. There are a bunch of videos of all different time increments, so if you have 15 minutes or 50 minutes, there’s a workout for you. Check out Megan’s classes here and also keep an eye out for your inbox because she’s doing live workouts throughout the day.
CorePower is offering free online classes for everyone, which you can stream here. They offer yoga classes for people at every level, which is perfect for those of us who haven’t been able to touch our toes since we were like, five.
Despite how much sh*t we all gave their commercial during the holidays, I bet we’re all wishing we’d gotten a Peloton bike for Christmas right about now. Even if you don’t have an exercise bike at home, Peloton is offering a 90-day free trial, which can be used for not only spin classes, but also body weight, yoga, strength training, and meditation classes. You can find their free trial here.
The Miami, Coral Gables, and Manhattan-based HIIT class is creating at-home bodyweight workouts (that require no equipment) that will be emailed daily. Each workout is 40 minutes long and only requires downloading an interval timer app. Visit their Instagram for more details.
All of Downdog’s apps (Yoga, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout), which specialize in home workout routines that can be done anywhere, are free until April 1st for everyone, and until July 1st for all students and teachers. All of their apps can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.
Fit Body App
Not only do you get a 7-day free trial with Fit Body App, which offers workout challenges, custom workout programs, and meal plans, you can also get four weeks free when you use the code DAJEITALIA if you sign up through their website.
Tone It Up
Tone It Up is offering a free month for new users who download the app from the App Store or Google Play. They have yoga, weight training, HIIT, barre, and a variety of other classes, which is great if you have the attention span of a goldfish and get bored after doing the same workout more than once.
P.volve is a low-impact workout that focuses on activating hard-to-reach muscles with precise movements. You can get 30 days of P.volve free, which gives you access to hundreds of videos that vary in length and area of focus, through their website.
Dance like no one’s watching (except maybe your dog) during one of 305’s famous dance cardio classes, live at noon every day on their YouTube page. We promise you will get a serious sweat in.
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Slider CORE WORK with @sydmiller from HOUSEWORK! Hunkered down at home? Take a class with her on NEOU. Try this one: Spider plank to cross cross Spider plank to cross cross + plank up down Forearm plank to pike Pike to knee tuck Slide plank jack Perform each exercise for 45 seconds. Rest 60 seconds. Complete 3 rounds . . . . . . . #neou #alwayson #athomeworkout #housework #fitfromhome #coreworkout #quaratine #covid19 #coronavirus #sweatsession #absworkout #fitnessexpert #sliderworkout #bodyweightworkout
Neoufitness lets you stream live and on-demand fitness classes from wherever you are. They offer a ton of different options, like dance, cardio, kickboxing, and a variety of other classes. Neoufitness is now offering 30 days free for new members. Our fav is Sydney Miller’s Housework. You can access it here.
Get a 21-day free trial of Openfit, which has live and on-demand classes of all kinds. All classes are under 30 minutes long, with some fitness classes as short as 10 minutes, and they offer classes for all levels of experience. Get your free trial here.
While Blogilates is always free on YouTube and Blogilates.com, there’s a 14-day quarantine home workout plan available, along with lots of apartment-friendly workouts so you don’t have to be that annoying upstairs neighbor who’s loud as f*ck during someone’s conference call.
Barre3 is offering a free 15-day trial to stream their hundreds of online workouts, with new ones added every week. This is a low-impact workout that is all about building better posture and finding balance in your body. Access the free trial here.
Get a free 7-day trial of Dancebody, which offers live and on-demand dance-based cardio classes that will work muscles you didn’t know existed in a fun but challenging way. You can access their classes here.
Melissa Wood Health
Melissa Wood Health has a free 7-day trial of her yoga and pilates-inspired workouts, which I’m pretty excited about cause I swear this is the routine every influencer does. These are low-impact, flow-style classes that focus on slow and controlled movements. You can find her classes through her website.
This situation may be the absolute worst, but at least you’ll get to try out some new home workout apps for free that can keep you busy and hopefully get your mind off things. (Just set like, a billion reminders on your phone to cancel everything before you get charged.) And at the end of the day, just be glad you’re not in quarantine with your ex. And if you are, best of luck to you.
Images: Form / Unsplash