Expert Advice: Tips and Mindset Shifts for Working Out at Home

How to start when it just doesn’t seem important right now

Wendy Belessis
Jun 14, 2020 · 9 min read
Woman working out at home with her dog.
Woman working out at home with her dog.

I don’t know about you but the results of being home all day during social distancing and stay-at-home are starting to show.

Mostly on my hips.

I know I’m not the only one. IG is teeming with #quarantine15 and #corona15 pics.

And that’s because indulging in comfort food is easy.

Our world has been turned upside down and we are reeling. And dealing with these events has been downright scary. Nothing else seems as important.

But doesn’t it make sense to use this time doing something good for our bodies, too — like working out?

As gyms and fitness studios remain closed or slowly reopen with only a fraction of their clientele permitted due to social distancing 16% more adults in the United States have looked online to supplement their fitness routines.

In a time where it feels like most normal things are now spiraling out of your control — tried buying toilet paper lately? — it makes sense to take hold of what you can control and what will not only make you feel better now but will positively impact your future: exercise.

The health benefits of regular exercise have been known for decades. And now more than ever keeping a fitness routine is important. Not only for boosting the immune system but for relieving stress and easing anxiety.

Even still, there are those of us not using this odd and surreal free time during social distancing to work out.

For some, it’s the feeling that nothing, including fitness, seems all that important now compared to outrage at current events or the confusion and lingering effects of COVID-19 on our families, income and communities.

But here is where a mindset shift is needed.

Self care is important. And not to be ignored — especially in times of high stress.

It’s not about vanity. Or even freaking out about the extra 15 lbs.

How can you help others without first taking care of yourself? Being mentally charged is a large part of feeling ready for the challenges of the day and working out charges that mental battery.

With blocks of free time on days normally structured by work, errands and friends, reaching for the fridge out of stress and vegging on the couch bingeing Netflix are easy habits to form.

Unfortunately home fitness, unlike stress eating or Netflixing, is a wily beast to master.

At any time, much less during a pandemic, working out at home takes a certain discipline — usually the kind lacking in those of us who regularly raid the refrigerator. For some of us, excuses come easily.

And though our brain may know all the benefits of self care through exercise, sometimes our spirit is so torn and worn dull with all that is happening in the world that it is easier to ignore what takes some effort and instead do what is easiest: scrolling through our IG feed and looking for that hit of happiness out of the fridge.

What we need to help our bodies is a shift in mindset.

Then the excuses fall flat.

Fortunately, a few generous health and fitness professionals have offered simple solutions to shift that mindset, combat our excuses and help get us up and moving.

Maybe we’ll banish the quarantine 15 in the process. Maybe not.

But what is bound to happen is a healthy habit that helps make us feel better right now and will carry into the future.

I’m Too Tired

“Eat a small carb based meal (e.g. fruit) right before you exercise. Choose a time in the day when you feel most energetic and begin with just 10–15 minutes of movement. Typically your energy will kick in a few minutes into your workout.”

Jennifer Nagel
Fitness Coach, Online Fitness Business Mentor
Owner, Figured Out Fitness

Working Out is Boring

“People make the excuse that exercise is boring. But. . .it breaks up the day when working from home or binge watching and there are many short, high intensity programs perfect for home use which are challenging and provide variety. . .”

Robert Herbst
Personal Trainer, Weight Loss & Wellness Expert, Powerlifter

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

No One Has To See Me

“Write down all of the reasons you exercise that have nothing to do with what you look like. E.g. ‘exercise makes me feel happy.’ ‘Exercise makes me feel accomplished.’ ‘It’s the only part of my day that I have to myself’ and then post those in a place you can see it.”

Jennifer Nagel
Fitness Coach, Online Fitness Business Mentor
Owner, Figured Out Fitness

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

No Equipment

“Gym memberships and extensive home equipment are not needed to create the moderate-to-vigorous physical activity that will benefit your health. Lifting items around your house or even using your own body weight can give you the workout needed. Find something heavy, lift; repeat.”

Dr. Mathew DiMond, DC, DACRB
Strength Coach
and Exercise Specialist
Asst Professor of Clinical Services
University of Bridgeport

“You don’t need any equipment for a solid home bodyweight-based workout. If you need a kettlebell, barbell, weights, or resistance bands, see if your gym may be willing to rent some out to you during this time.”

Dr. Scott McAfee, PT, DPT, OCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
and Board-Certified Orthopedic Specialist

“This is the perfect time to really focus on your form and foundational movement. It’s easy to hide behind machines and momentum. Bodyweight is still weight and you can build an incredible workout with just you.

“Try something new! Now is the perfect time to experiment and see what brings you movement joy. Whether it’s getting that handstand down or trying a dance class with heels. You can build confidence without an audience and start a new fitness habit. There have never been more free resources online to learn from the best. I’ve been taking live dance classes and although I’m definitely not camera ready, I’ve started really looking forward to the movement.”

Melissa Boyd, Head Trainer
The first A.I.-powered home fitness system that can actually track your motion, correct your form, and improve your performance in real-time

Lazy dog lying on the floor.
Lazy dog lying on the floor.
Photo by Dominik QN on Unsplash

Lack Motivation

“Virtual. . .classes are being offered by qualified instructors everywhere online today and those can be very helpful for those who do best working out in a group setting. There is a ‘time’ and a ‘place’ that the class happens which provides for accountability. It can also be very encouraging to see others doing exactly what you are doing at the exact same time. It creates a sense of community and connection, including that social piece that many need to stay motivated for exercise.”

Kelly Mumber -NESTA-
Certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Leader
Lifestyle Weight Management Specialist

“Motivation comes and goes. What’s most important is that you develop a regular habit of exercise. I [em]power my clients to develop this habit by helping them set up their space in a way that is conducive to exercise and constantly reminding them about their why for wanting to pursue an exercise habit in the first place. ”

Aurora Sekine
Director of Training

“We make sure to eat, sleep and take care of basic health necessities. The benefits of exercise are SO essential and important to our health, that changing our perspective and viewing it as a necessity will help us eliminate excuses and make exercising a priority!”

Manuela Sanchez
Lead Instructor
Club Pilates Cobble Hill

“Start doing programs and activities you actually enjoy! Forget about what is trendy, popular or the program that claims to help you get the quickest results. Do what lights you up! Dance, run, walk, yoga, lift weights, Zumba, cycle, play with your kids… think outside the box. Remember, you’re doing this to feel better so no need to overthink it. Having a great playlist to move to helps a ton, too!”

Jennifer Sisson
Yoga & Fitness Instructor
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Two dogs running.
Two dogs running.
Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

No Time

“Most of us have plenty of time these days but, we also have distractions & obligations like Netflix, kids at home; work at home, etc… I did a poll on my Instagram recently and 96% of people said they are eating more “comfort foods” these days SO the easiest way to make exercise and good nutrition a priority in these uncertain times is to schedule it and make it a priority. . .Schedule it and make it happen!”

Drew O’Connell
Personal Trainer

“We all have the same amount of time in our lives. We do have time, it is often not made for exercise. If exercise is important to you, how might you add in even 10 minutes of movement a day? What exercises DO you know how to do? If you want to learn something new, how might you go about doing so?”

Dominic Matteo
Partner Education Lead
Precision Nutrition

“. . .The hardest part of having an exercise routine is simply getting started. Just taking one small step to get started is huge for momentum. Getting over inertia and getting started is tough for everyone. . .Move a little every day. This takes so much pressure off of you to have a monumental workout when you’re moving often. Find something you enjoy — walk, yoga, dance, anything that gets your moving! — and start by moving a few minutes every day. Consistency (even in small steps) and having healthy habits is so much more important than every-now-and-then intense workouts.”

Blake Rogers
Registered Yoga Teacher 500hr & Certified Personal Trainer
Small Town Yogini

The Takeaway?

Self care through exercise is one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy and to be mentally prepared to help those you care about.

Which expert tips will you try today?

In Fitness And In Health

Inspiring stories related to health, fitness and the pursuit of well-being.

Wendy Belessis

Written by

Coffee lover. Nature addict. Health and wellness freelance writer at I write about things that make us happier, healthier humans.

In Fitness And In Health

A fast-growing health and fitness community dedicated to sharing knowledge, lessons, and suggestions to living happier, healthier lives.

Wendy Belessis

Written by

Coffee lover. Nature addict. Health and wellness freelance writer at I write about things that make us happier, healthier humans.

In Fitness And In Health

A fast-growing health and fitness community dedicated to sharing knowledge, lessons, and suggestions to living happier, healthier lives.

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