Tips and tricks from UMN RecWell trainers to get moving during quarantine

Even a walk around the block can benefit your health.

Alex Strangman

Getting active under lockdown is no easy task. It’s hard to create a solid workout when gyms are closed and running the same route each day gets old fast. Along with other gyms, University Recreation and Wellness is offering virtual workouts through its Instagram page and health coaching services.

A&E talked to three personal trainers from the RecWell to find out some of the best practices for getting active from home.

According to Connor Joseph, a personal trainer at the RecWell, one of the biggest complaints he hears is about accessibility to equipment.

“I think that is something that holds [people] back. If they don’t want to run they just think, ‘Well I don’t have the equipment, so I’m not going to do it,’” he said.

For fellow RecWell trainer Tomas Cibak, a lack of equipment simply means it’s time to get creative. 

“I’ve been utilizing the stairwell in my apartment building, utilizing literally everything that’s available to me,” he said.

According to Cibak, bodyweight workouts, including squats, lunges and pushups, can be just as effective as equipment-infused workouts.

But, for people who think bodyweight won’t cut it, both Joseph and Cibak said there are a few pieces of affordable equipment that make a great starter gym: resistance bands, a pullup bar, adjustable weights and an exercise ball.

In addition to lack of equipment, finding the motivation to work out outside of the gym can be a roadblock for some people, according to RecWell personal trainer Kaitlyn Adams.

“People are so used to going to a gym and having access to that equipment and also access to other people. When you go to a gym, you can kind of feed off the energy of other people in the room to stay motivated,” she said.

For Adams, staying motivated boils down to planning ahead. Schedule workouts into your day and find an accountability partner.

It’s also important to set goals — even if that means going on a walk around the block.

“If you can only get out for a 15 minute walk one day, you should still be proud of yourself. That’s still something. You got up off the couch and got moving,” she said. 

Just as much as the physical side, the mental aspect of working out at home is incredibly important.

Joseph suggests putting on gym clothes, no matter how low-key the workout is, to help better mentally prepare.

He also said it’s important to have a designated workout space. By doing this, Joseph said our brains better realize it’s “go time,” making it easier to get in the zone.

Finally, Adams said to remember to have fun with your workout. Finding new ways to make working out exciting makes it feel like less of a chore.

If running is your go-to workout, try biking, yoga or calisthenics. You might find out your usual method of working out isn’t the best for you.

“Whatever movement you are scheduling into your week, make it fun. It’s okay if it looks different than what it was when you had access to a facility or gym,” Adams said.