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How to Adapt a Workout Routine When You’re Forced to Stay At Home

(Last Updated On: April 17, 2020)

Don’t Pull the Plug on Your Fitness Goals

Many of us are being forced to stay at home for the first time in our lives.  Gone are the days when we can head off to the crowded gym for a lunch break or after-work sweat sessions.  Now, we need to substitute rows of weight machines and exercise equipment for the workout gear we have in our living room.

And yes, our staff here at are feeling the pain just like you are.  In fact, our fearless leader, Brad Heath wanted to share his own story in the hopes that it will help inspire and motivate you as you adjust your own fitness routine.

An Old Gym Routine in Shambles

Brad used to enjoy going to his local gym Monday through Friday. “It’s a small gym and everybody knows everyone.  I guess it’s like the TV show Cheers where ‘Everybody knows your name…’ haha…”

He used to hit the gym every day for a combination workout with weights and cardio.  Each day, Brad would hit a different muscle group… bicep/triceps, legs, chest, back and shoulders. 

He also loved to incorporate daily workouts on the treadmills and ellipticals.  On Monday and Thursdays, he did 45 minutes on a commercial grade Life Fitness elliptical.  “Life Fitness is the most comfortable commercial machine for me… although I like several other brands for at-home models.  It feels like I’m actually walking or running in a natural motion and doesn’t cause “toe sleep.”

His Tuesday and Thursday cardio sessions were on the treadmill.  Since Brad suffers from lower back pain, he avoids the impact of running but ups the intensity by going a full 15 minutes at the maximum 15% incline.

“The treadmill I use at the gym doesn’t have any interactive features, but I enjoy pulling out my smart device to stream movies or shows while I walk. It’s my ‘me’ time when I don’t have to think about anything.

This ‘me time’ was ripped away when the stay-at-home-order hit Brad’s native North Caroline.  Now, he – like many of our readers – is looking for ways to adjust his workout routine for the home.

(Read more about Brad’s journey from fat to fit here.)

Strapped Together Weights and an Ottoman Lifting Bench

Brad absolutely uses and knows fitness equipment inside and out, but he only had limited materials in his home when the quarantine started. “The only equipment we had were two 10 lb dumbbells.  With the virus panic, every fitness store in our area was quickly sold out of anything useful. So, I had to improvise.”

A father of five, Brad was able to snag a weightlifting set that his daughter found on Craig’s List.  He can strap together a few weights and get a decent burn with 45 lb dumbbells.  Then, he uses his couch ottoman as a weight lifting bench!  

yogaHe next turned to the P90X workout video series to kick his routine back into gear. “I had purchased the P90X over twelve years ago and never used them much because they were so intense.  Now, I’m giving them a second try and realize they are really great.  The videos cover all the muscle groups and you only need limited equipment.”

Brad uses a yoga mat, a few dumbbells or bands and a pull up bar that he sets up in a doorway.  “That’s pretty much it!  The videos for weight training are normally around 1-hour long and include warm-ups and cool downs.”

“It’s a very intense program, but thankfully I can press pause when I need to!” Then, Brad likes to get in his own cardio session using his at-home cardio equipment.

Try Adding Yoga Into Your Routine

One of the surprising benefits of this quarantine for Brad has been the discovery of yoga and mindful breathing. “I never really tried yoga and always preferred to focus on muscle building.  I didn’t think yoga would do me much good.  Boy, was I wrong!”

Brad has tried streaming some more intense at-home yoga sessions and has seen immediate results.  “I’m much more flexible now and feeling even stronger than before. It’s actually something I enjoy!”

Plyometrics for Increased Speed and Agility

Another surprising addition to Brad’s new routine has been plyometrics.  For those who are unfamiliar, this type of jumping exercise focuses on exerting the maximum amount of force in very short intervals of time. 

Plyometric exercises include an eccentric (muscle lengthening) action and an immediate explosive concentric (muscle-shortening) action.  This might include something like box jumps or single leg bounds.

In fact, TRR team member Rachael has transitioned her leg workouts to a series of plyometric exercises done in her back yard.  “I was really surprised how sore I was after a day of plyo,” she exclaimed.  “It kicked my butt even though I had been doing some pretty serious leg weightlifting exercises at the gym before the quarantine.”

Beat the Frustration and Focus on What You CAN Do

For many of us, the current health crisis is extremely frustrating and discouraging for our fitness goals. However, if you focus on what you can do and you’re willing to explore new types of exercise, this can be a great time to test your body on some new techniques.

Brad shared, “I would encourage anyone to use YouTube workout videos or make use of the interactive coaching features on their at-home treadmills and ellipticals during this time. It’s a great way to keep yourself motivated.”

Is Now the Best Time to Invest in At Home Fitness Equipment?

“Yes, it is actually!  Having a treadmill or an elliptical for cardio is a great investment.  The fitness equipment industry is going insane at the moment with gyms closed across the country.  We’re seeing some really great deals.”

It may feel strange to make such a big purchase when many of us are experiencing uncertainty during these times. Thankfully, the largest fitness equipment brands are also sharing some great deals. 

For instance, you can get the new ProForm Carbon E7 for only $39/month.  They are essentially making the machine “free” with a 3-year iFit membership.

Other brands, like NordicTrack are offering 0% APR for 36 months, which is an incredible deal. Just because our gyms are closed, doesn’t mean you need to pull the plug on your health and fitness.

We hope this article has helped give you some ideas about how you can adjust your own at-home routine to these challenging times.  If you’d like to see more of our top-rated ellipticals, check out our best buy elliptical page here.

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