How Social Distancing Is Making a Case for the At-Home Workout

Talk to anyone who goes to the gym (a lot or a little) and they pretty much all have a similar reaction to at-home workouts: none at all.

At-home workouts are traditionally not challenging enough for fitness regulars, and far too tedious for everyone else. These shortened experiences lack the energy, instruction, music and resources found in a typical gym or fitness studio. In most cases, said workouts result in minimal sweat, limited energy boosts, and can feel like a big waste—that's not even noting that you can pause at any time or even fast-forward through the parts you want to avoid. Granted, said workouts are great for a rest day or for when you want to take it easy, but not for a full-blown sweat sesh.

For people who work out regularly, doing 30 minutes of an anticlimactic YouTube video workout with elevator music in the background typically leaves you unchallenged and bored. For those who don'work out often, just getting through the entirety of one of these at-home tasks can be a major drag.

I've been on both sides of the spectrum, and while there are certainly some options that are more challenging than others, I've never walked away from a 20-minute YouTube video feeling super accomplished (but I'm only speaking for myself here).

Welp, fast-forward to coronavirus quarantine era, where literally all of us are locked away in our living spaces with nowhere else to turn. While this experience has been dreadful for many overall, there are a few silver linings—working out from my living room being one of them.

Keep reading for how social distancing is making a case for at-home workouts.

1. Everyone's Jumping on the Bandwagon

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right? I mean, in this particular case, we're not really left with alternative options, but even so, it'shocking how quickly everyone has jumped to create YouTube videos, regularly scheduled Instagram Lives and other ways for people to get their fitness fix. Pretty much every fitness studio and app, along with every major fitness trainer and influencer has adapted to the new normal, showcasing their knowledge and skills for everyone to use. If the owner of my local Pilates studio can make it work from home, then so can I!


2. We Can Try Virtually Any Full-Length Class for Free

With the whole supply and demand thing, these fitness businesses know they have to offer just as much or even more than their competition. So, when studios began offering free online classes from the get-go, everyone else followed suit. During my first few days of quarantine, I was up and at 'em for 7 a.m. Bar Express with Bar Method. The class was conducted directly from the West Hollywood studio I've visited on a normal day, was taught by their traditional instructors and took us through the same standard 45-minute routine we're used to experiencing.

Now, as the days have progressed, everyone's coming up with their own variations of signature workouts. Granted, many have to be altered due to lack of heavy weights or major equipment, but there's been no lack of challenge. Whether it's reformer pilates-turned-mat, Platefit HIIT classes minus the plate, or BoxUnion full-body minus the punching bag, every workout is taught by a top-tier professional and tailored to kick your butt.


3. There's a Major Sense of Community

It may sound crazy, but today's era of at-home workouts can at some points feel more community-based than when we're at a studio in person. When we sign in to an Instagram Live, anyone can join, meaning you'll at times have 150 people working out with you from afar. Users leave comments as they plow through their session, and you can communicate with your instructor as you go. It isn't rare to see a celebrity's handle pop up from time to time, or have your class taught by a world-renowned instructor who also gets their friends to join in on the fun.

There are mornings when I wake up to texts from friends asking what class we should take that day. It's super fun going through the process with someone else (even from afar) and then discussing it later.


4. We're Challenging Ourselves Even More With Newly Purchased Fitness Tools

With the exception of a yoga mat and maybe an exercise ball, chances are that you don't own much fitness equipment. Up to this point, I personally owned a resistance band that I never used, a 10 lb. kettlebell and my beloved Ubarre (which, TBH, functions more for me as a bookend than anything else).

If you belong to a gym or studio, you pretty much rely on the equipment there, and if you work out regularly from home, you don't usually care enough to buy the whole kit and caboodle. Now, however, knowing that I'll be working out from home regularly, I've upped my arsenal. I purchased 2 lb. ankle weights, and let me tell you, they're a game-changer. I've also purchased 3 lb. weights for those barre and pilates classes, and 12 lb. weights for the higher-impact, HIIT-level classes. I feel much more inspired to challenge myself with the plethora of options currently online.

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Speaking of untraditional fitness routines, THIS is the 15-minute workout that absolutely destroyed me.