Even in the best of times, life can get messy, and our best-laid plans and routines can unexpectedly fly out the window. For many of us, our fitness routines are a cornerstone of our lives, and the gym is our happy place. When life throws you a curveball and takes away access to your gym, it’s easy for fears of losing the gains you’ve worked so hard for to creep in. But here’s the good news: It doesn’t have to be that way if you approach working out at home with the right strategy and support.
Losing access to your gym doesn’t have to mean losing your routine — or your fitness. During stressful times, maintaining both is actually more important than ever. “Exercise can make you feel more empowered and confident,” says Future elite coach Elisha Voren. “Feeling strong and empowered can help you handle life’s obstacles.”
Consistency is the key to gaining and maintaining fitness, whether you’re working out in the gym or not, and keeping up with a regular routine can be one of the best ways to support yourself both physically and mentally. This is especially true when stress levels are running high. “Our bodies like having a regular schedule,” says Renee Zernicke, also a coach with Future. “This consistency helps with releasing calming hormones before bed and stimulating hormones to help you wake up. Creating healthy daytime habits that include regular exercise can have a strong impact on your sleep, energy levels and, in turn, help manage stress levels.”
Shifting gears and making the switch to working out at home can seem overwhelming at first. The first critical component to making a successful shift is timing. “I would immediately create a new exercise plan so that I don’t break my rhythm,” Vorensays. “This gives me one less obstacle to exercising at home, setting myself up for success.”
The second key to a smooth transition is having a plan. “Progress doesn’t need to stop when your environment changes,” Zernicke says. “Keeping a regular exercise routine and having a coach make those changes for you will keep you on track and decrease your stress regarding it.”
No idea where to start? Try letting an expert help you build your new fitness routine and get a coach. Having a coach in the gym designing a training plan that keeps you on a laser-focused path toward your goals can make all the difference, and the same is true for training at home. “There are many options to increase the intensity and difficulty of at-home workouts,” Zernicke says. “Some variables include exercise selection, adjusting tempo, increasing volume with more reps or more time, decreasing rest and incorporating more variety. The body is excellent at adaptation, by continuing to change up those variables, intensity stays high and your body will continue to be challenged. The most important part is having a coach design the right training program for you with these different variables to make sure your body continues to progress each week.”
But what if you can’t train with a coach in person? This is where online personal training comes in. “A coach can adapt your exercise program to maintain and even continue progressing at home,” Voren says. “Online training provides you with more flexibility, affordability and constant contact with your trainer.” Zernicke adds, “Having an amazing coach helps you get creative with a new routine utilizing whatever you have access to. This accountability keeps you on track to continue working toward your individual goals.”
One thing to be aware of when dipping your toe into the pool of online training for the first time is that the number of options can be a bit overwhelming, and not all platforms are created equal. “There are so many apps out there that offer at-home workouts, but they fail at providing accountability and a training program that is specific to your needs,” Zernicke says. “An amazing coach can help you stay on track by designing a training program tailored to fit your individual needs, mobility restrictions and current goals regardless of the environment you find yourself in.”
However, the harsh reality is that anyone with an internet connection can build a website and call themselves an “online personal trainer,” so vetting the qualifications of the person you decide to work with is crucial. The online training service Future, for example, requires that all its coaches have at least a bachelor’s degree in an exercise-related field in addition to an elite level of experience. “Online training gives you access to more training sessions with an elite coach that you may not be able to afford in person,” Zernicke says. “This coach provides daily accountability and support by texting with you each day. The digital platform allows for same-day modifications or changes, which is very different from an in-person coach who you may only see and talk to two or three times per week.”
If you find yourself having to adapt to a new normal of fitness without a gym, don’t hesitate — start making the switch right away. Evolve your routine without losing your momentum, develop a plan and get the support you need. You do not have to figure all this out alone. Connecting with an online trainer will immediately put a coach in your corner. When stress is high and routines have been disrupted, having a connection to a helping hand can be exactly what you need.
Written by Natascha Grief, NASM CPT for Oxygen Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.