10 tips on how to workout at home during your COVID-19 quarantine
So far, 2020 has brought with it some challenges that absolutely no one saw coming, and for all of us, our lives have changed in some way for the foreseeable future with the Coronavirus pandemic. What does that mean? COVID-19 has brought us indoors.
While usually, the phenomenon of working from home, or having some guilt-free time off has us daydreaming of cups of tea on the couch or an 8-hour reality TV binge, it's fair to say that our current circumstances have our minds caught on bigger picture things.
In the face of such turbulence, it's essential to keep control of what you can and strategise the ways you are going to look after yourself, both mentally and physically.
Our number one sanity-saving tip? Exercise, exercise, exercise. Keeping a workout regime from your home will help you ensure you keep structure to your days, take a mental break from this continuous whirlwind, and prevent your body from forming part of the couch.
Think your place isn't set up to workout from home? We're here to help you see otherwise. And on that note, bring in our 10 top tips to establish an effective workout at home.
Form a routine.
Obvious, right? But very important. The usual out-of-home tasks, such as going to work, provide your structure, in which everything else, such as a workout, usually builds around. So when those cornerstones of routine are wobbly, it is even more critical to ensure you set yourself a routine or schedule. Block your time and make sure physical activity makes the cut every day to provide stability.
Rise and shine— get going early.
When there's no 7:48 am train to run for and just a small list of tasks to do each day, we get that the early rise is a difficult promise to keep. But getting up early and exercising is going to help you feel in control and motivated to do more with your day. Some time to clear your head and an early hit of exercise-induced endorphins in the morning will help you start your day on a productive foot.
Dial-in a friend for accountability.
So, our beloved in-real-life buddy system is definitely a no-go at the moment, but how good is technology? If there is one thing that's seeing the benefits of this COVID-19 lockdown, it's technology. Social distancing, as we know, actually means physical distancing, therefore digital socialising is a GO and so are video shared workouts.
Zone it up and strategise the space you have.
Strategise your space to ensure you and your fellow inhabitants know where to go for your workouts. Competing for space might be an issue during the quarantine, so finding a quiet, out-of-the-way area will increase your chances of a successful and uninterrupted workout. Communicating with your housemates or family when you want to use the space will help you here too.
Mix up your regimes. Use the opportunity to try something new.
Our usual daily variation is something we are going to be VERY grateful for VERY soon. While there's much monotonous activity on the horizon, your workout doesn't need to add to that trajectory. With so many options online, choices will be endless from your first Google search. Think online dance classes, YouTube yoga, circuit training (the confined space edition) and more. Need a revision on the sorts of training available? Our guide on training for beginners, here, is an excellent place to start.
Connect to a community.
Keeping connected is going to be a high priority during this time, so why not extend that to your workout? Joining a web-based health group will keep you motivated and accountable to others— a feeling that culminates a sense of purpose and conquers feelings of isolation. Want to stay connected with us? Hashtag #squadSCF on Instagram to keep us up-to-date with your quarantine workouts and embrace that community spirit.
Create competition with your fellow inhabitants.
Are you spending more time with people of whom you really wouldn't have chosen to spend so much time with? Are tensions creeping in? Create some physical and competitive activities that allow you to connect with your co-inhabitants, release that extra energy and mix-up your workout. Who can finish a set of push-ups fastest? Who can hold the plank the longest? Who can unpack the dishwasher the quickest? ... Actually, steady on the last one.
Use what you have.
Got stairs? Hand weights? Skipping ropes? A body? Whatever you have, use it. Look around your space for some inspiration and try to incorporate it into your workout. Chances are you are going to become pretty well acquainted with every nook and cranny and dusty old can of beans in your house in the next while. Everyday household items can find new purposes, and your workout is a great platform. Those wine bottles sitting yellow since you were eighteen? They’re hand weights now.
Keep your body moving regularly.
So your lunchtime stroll around the block or your race to the kitchen for a colleagues birthday morning tea might not be happening any time soon, but those little breaks are essential for clarity of mind and keep circulation happening. You'll need to be more conscious about it, but take a break every few hours to do something physical. Even if it is just a set of star jumps, burpees, a hallway lap of lunges— commit to it. Your friendly (but very serious) competition with your fellow inhabitants will work perfectly here.
Tackle those labour-intensive tasks NOW.
We bet you've got a list longer than aunty Jane's big toe of household tasks that you have no excuse to ignore now. Got a flower bed that could do with some replanting? A garage that needs clearing out? A flatpack piece of furniture that needs building? These tasks can be sweat-inducing and will provide you with the physicality requirement as well as a big fat green tick on your list. Two-in-one, yes, please.
So, there's no denying that times are tough right now, but looking from the other side, we've also all just inherited a whole lot of extra time that we can use for positive productivity if we so choose. Keeping active will help you keep your mind fresh and motivated, your body healthy, and your future self grateful for when we come out the other side, better than ever.
- Dan Smith
- Tags: home workouts
The best 30-minute workout to keep fitness and strength up for the time-poor
Let's face it, sometimes committing to an hour-long workout is not always possible in the lives of us busy-bees. Lucky for us, when we have to battle those time restraints, we have plenty of options for a quick but impactful workout. Thought you had an excuse to get out of your workout, didn't you? Keep dreaming, squad!
We've put together the best 30-minute workout that will allow you to enjoy all of those glorious exercise-induced endorphins while increasing your muscle strength and cardio capacity. For this workout, we've broken it down into legs, core and chest, but note that across your weekly exercise regime, you should be engaging all muscle groups evenly. You'll only need some basic home gym equipment for this one. There's always space in the day for a quick 30-minute power workout. Let's get moving!
Before you do anything, set up your zone. This should include a yoga mat, dumbbells, slam ball, adjustable bench press, your water, a workout towel, and whatever tunes your vibe requires for the workout.
5 minutes: Dynamic Stretch and Prep
What you'll need: A Yoga mat
- Spend the first two minutes running on the spot to get your blood moving and your muscles warm.
- Spend the next three minutes doing dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches are repetitive movement style stretches that encourage blood flow to the muscles you are focusing on. Think side-line athletes warming up before their game-high knees, open/close the gate, heels to bum, side twists, etc.
Yoga mat warmup stretch
8 minutes: Legs
What you'll need: Slam ball and Dumbbell
Reps: (3 exercises x 12 reps each) x 3 rounds
- Squats: Holding your slam ball in both hands, plant your feet about twice the width of your shoulders and lower down into the squat. As you rise up out of the squat, lift the slam ball into the air to work your shoulders too. Remember to bring your hips forward in your squat and squeeze in your glutes on the up.
- Lunges: Holding dumbbells in each hand, make 10 deep strides forward, keeping your knees bent and your body low as you transition between strides. Ensuring you are dipping as you get to the bottom of each lunge, take 10 strides back to your starting point.
- Single-Leg Deadlifts: Standing with your feet together, hold your dumbbells in your hands. Lifting one leg, and keeping the other bent at the knee, bend forward and stretch your leg behind you—so that your body and leg are parallel to the floor—then squat. Your arms should take the dumbbells perpendicularly to the floor to create a counter-weight to your leg. Repeat on the other leg.
5 minutes: Core
What you'll need: Slam balls, dumbbells and a yoga mat
Reps: (3 exercises x 12 reps each) x 3 rounds
- Twist Sit-Ups: Holding the slam ball, sit with your knees bent and your heels on the floor. Lean back to ensure your core is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Twist your body from left to right and touch the slam ball to each side.
- Leg Dips: Lying on your back, touch your thumbs and fingers behind your head to stabilise your core. Keeping your legs straight, lower both legs down until you touch the floor and bring them back up until they are vertical.
- Mountain Climber: Starting in the plank position, lift one knee up in the direction of the opposite shoulder and plant back down. Alternate with the other leg and ensure you do this exercise quickly.
8 minutes: Chest
What you'll need: adjustable bench press, dumbbells and a yoga mat
Reps: (3 exercises x 12 reps each) x 3 rounds
- Push-ups: Plant your hands one hands-span away from and in line with your shoulders. Balance on your toes or your knees and lower your body to the floor, ensuring your body is aligned the whole time.
- Dumbbell Bench Press: Lying with your back on the bench press, hold your dumbbells in both hands resting just outside your shoulders, ensuring the weights line up with your collar bones. Push your dumbells up, and in over your chest until your knuckles touch.
- Incline Dumbbell Press: Change your adjustable bench press to sit at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Repeat the same action as above to really hit the same muscle group from a different angle.
5 minutes: Cardio
What you'll need: a treadmill, rowing machine or a gym bike
- Fast cardio: The best thing you can do for your muscles when they are already warm is to keep them working longer to extend the time your body is burning calories. Make sure you give it all you've got at the end of the workout to really solidify the results.
We recommend following your workout using a stretching band to stretch out tight calves, to create tension between your shoulders when held overhead and it also helps to isolate tight muscle groups.
There are many different ways that you can create a 30-minute exercise regime that ensures you aren't sacrificing your gains made in your regular hour or 90-minute sessions. There's always time to squeeze in a little something to keep your body fresh, so refer back to this blog when times are tight to keep you going!
As always, remember to hit us up online or in-store if you are looking to kit your home gym out with our basics!
What kind of workout exercises should beginners be doing?
So you've decided to pull up your socks and pick up the weights and embark on your fitness journey? Trust us, there are only good things to come!
Engaging in your health and fitness will see you reaping the benefits almost immediately, for both your mind and body. While it's easy to throw yourself into the dreamland of fitness, starting a routine and sticking to it has its challenges, and it's best to develop your plan considering some essential starter tips.
If you're eager to begin your journey but aren't too sure where to start, this article is for you. We've gathered up our best tips and tricks to help you stick to a routine and strive for the healthiest you!
WARM-UP AND COOL-DOWN
Warming up is the first thing you should do, and the first thing new-starters will forget to do. If you have been out of the gym for a while, your muscles will be in for a rude shock when you start back up, so it's important to ease into your gym routine.
There are a few ways you should warm-up:
- Stretch. Be kind to your body and spend 5 minutes before and after your workout stretching. If you are an outside workout person, investing in an easy-to-carry yoga mat will make your whole warm-up AND cool down experience that much more comfortable.
- If you're looking to do a weight session, it is best to warm-up your whole body by doing just 5 minutes of cardio beforehand. Whether it's on a treadmill, on the bike, in the great outdoors, or the cross trainer, it will ensure that your body is primed and in the zone to burn calories before you do a set.
- After the 5 minutes of cardio, it is best to do your first set of reps with light weights and with more reps. Usually, for each exercise, you will do 3 sets of 12 reps. For your first exercise, try to complete 4 sets of 15 reps at a lower weight. This will ensure that your muscles aren't thrown in the deep end and working too hard too quickly but instead are warmed up more slowly. This will help to avoid pulling any muscles too.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Starting out your fitness journey will hurt when you start. But there's a clear difference between hurting in the way that means you are making progress and pain that means you have pushed it too far. When you start out, it is a good idea to take it slow. Start with light weights, slow cardio, or choose the shorter class options. Stick with a 45-minute work out at the start and work your way up to an hour.
PLAN A DIVERSE RANGE OF EXERCISE
There are so many different styles of exercise, and when you start out, we encourage you to try them all. You might be surprised with the style of exercise your body wants more of, so try that dance class, stretch in yoga or lift those weights to give your body the option to choose for itself. It is always important to mix up the styles of exercise you partake in, to ensure that your muscles are constantly being tested and your mind is kept engaged too. If you're not sure where to start, here is a list of the styles of exercise you might like to participate in:
Strength training does not always mean building muscles to look buff. Strength training involves building muscle AND bone strength, and this helps to develop your balance and coordination too. A general rule of thumb is to isolate muscle groups and work out each one twice a week. You can use your body weight, free weights or multi-gyms to engage in strength training. While bodyweight training ensures the movements are natural, weights can help to get you to the next level of strength. We recommend investing in a weight set with multiple weights so you can build up.
Fundamentally, cardio training refers to your heart rate increasing and is about consistently moving at a moderate level of intensity. You should aim to engage in cardio 2–3 times a week, and you will start to feel the benefits pretty quickly. Some great at-home cardio machines to get you moving include the Arrow X9CT Curve Treadmill/ Air Runner, a treadmill emulating the real thing, and it's electricity-free and burns more calories. Another is the PROFORM 750R Rower
Otherwise known as HIIT, this training is not for the faint-hearted. Precisely as the name suggests, it's INTENSE and aims to involve many muscle groups in big movements that honestly make you feel exhausted. But this is only a good thing! HIIT workouts are generally shorter (think 30 minutes), and a defining feature is the rest time in between sets (usually 30-90 seconds). HIIT training is a fantastic exercise for burning fat and building strength. The dynamic moves also keep your heart rate up, which means ultimately it's hard, but it's definitely effective.
They are different concepts but heavily related. Balance means keeping your body stable without the impact of gravity and flexibility is the ability to control your body during movements. Both are incredibly important for your body to minimise the chance of injury, efficiently complete actions and strengthen your core. Activities such as yoga, pilates and dynamic cardio exercises are great for your balance and stability.
We hope some of our tips and tricks can help you start your fitness journey, and from the team at Southern Cross Fitness, good luck! Remember if you need help, you can find our full range of gym equipment online, and our friendly staff are waiting to chat with you online and in-store to help you get started.
Looking for a Healthy and Longer Life?
Have you been on that same bodyweight-only regime for a few months and it’s starting to lose impact? It sounds like it’s time to mix it up and add some new equipment into your workouts.
There are many health benefits to be gained from broadening your work out opportunities by including different equipment. The use of gym gear not only allows you to strengthen your muscles and prevent injury but has longer-term benefits for healthy aging. But don’t worry, you don’t need to throw all your cash at a turbo-charged gym to achieve results. There are many options to ease your way into a multidisciplinary regime that will improve your potential for a healthy and longer life.
Diversifying your exercise regime with varied equipment opens up the door to engage muscles in an untapped way. With incremental increases in weights, rather than relying on your bodyweight, your gateway to increased strength and flexibility opens up, in turn decreasing your chance of injury.
If you are a first-timer to lifting weights, we have the perfect sets to get you started here. Remember to take it slow and start light, and don’t forget to get a weight rack to maintain order in your space—we promise, you’ll be grateful you did it!
A crisp Saturday morning run gets our endorphins going just as much as the next person, but when the weather is keeping those doors closed tight, we love knowing that those much needed cardio endorphins still have an option to escape.
Cardio increases the flow of blood to the brain, decreases anxiety and depression, and studies have shown the excellent benefits of cardio on focus, memory and learning. Having the opportunity to row, run or cycle without having to leave your home allows you to reap these benefits without anything holding you back.
Don’t have direct access to a rowboat and a river? Neither do we. But we do have a fantastic sale happening on our Proform 750R Rower right now, fully equipped with an interactive training coach and designed to fit into any home space. It also comes with a free 12 month IFIT subscription. Motivation and convenience sorted.
Having an array of gym equipment at the ready means fewer time constraints imposed by the gym. We get that factoring in a workout into your already busy day, plus the 20-minute drive to the gym and back, can feel constraining and stressful. By investing in some essential, multi-use equipment, you’ll be able to open up your opportunities to exercise without it taking up too much space.
Finding your groove and getting into a diverse exercise regime takes commitment and motivation, but the long-term rewards for your physical and mental health are indisputable. Giving yourself to work out in the comfort of your home provides a little opening for excuses, and can lead to a full and healthy lifestyle.
If you are ready to give yourself that extra helping hand, we are ready and waiting to help you on your journey. Visit us in-store or chat with us online to get you equipped to reap the benefits!
- Daniel Smith