No gym, no problem: Working out when you can’t leave home

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As social distancing becomes an increasingly important measure for slowing the spread of COVID-19, many areas of your life might change and possibly even suffer. However, your gains do not have to suffer the same fate.

The Wellness Center at UM has indefinitely shut its doors, leaving many lifters without a gym. But, with a little creativity and persistence, you can still take control of your workout routine.

Though the circumstances aren’t necessarily ideal, there’s no reason for fitness enthusiasts to let the next few weeks (or months) go to waste. If you happen to have your own bench and barbells, you are good to go. But, if you don’t, whatever your fitness goals may be, you can work towards them without any expensive home equipment. So, let’s get down to business.

First thing’s first

While UM’s facilities are no longer an option and Miami-Dade county has ordered all gyms to close, some students may still have access to out-of-town gyms that have not yet racked their weights.

But, as tempting as hitting your local LA Fitness might seem, it is important to remember that even young and asymptomatic people can contract and spread coronavirus. As such, practicing social distancing and avoiding public places is a social responsibility that even the healthiest fitness junkies should take seriously.

If you still plan on utilizing health clubs, remember that extra hand washing, wiping down machines, avoiding peak hours and maintaining distance from other members is crucial. However, the best way to protect yourself and others is to avoid the gym entirely, throw in some headphones and do some at-home push ups or go for a run.

You’ll always have cardio

So, your gym is closed. What now? Lucky for you, social distancing does not necessarily mean locking yourself indoors for weeks at a time. You can still run or walk outside. How exciting is that?

According to CNN and Crystal Watson from the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (whew, what a mouthful), everyone should avoid gatherings of 25 or more people and try to maintain six feet of distance between themselves and others.

Running, hiking, walking, biking and similar outdoor activities would all meet these requirements– and getting outside might just keep you from going crazy. According to Shannon Clark, a contributor for with a degree in exercise science and sport performance, there are numerous benefits associated with this type of steady-state cardio.

For people looking to lose weight, it is a great way to burn calories. For all athletes, it can increase your aerobic fitness and cardiovascular endurance. Finally, the longer you run, the less time you’ll be forced to lie in bed and stare at your ceiling. Let’s be real, what else do you have to do right now?

And, of course, you can ramp it up a bit. If you do not have time for a run or do not want to be outside too long, try a few hill sprints for your next workout. If you are already sold on staying inside, there’s plenty of cardio workouts that can be done from the comfort of the indoors.

Use your body

Calisthenics, it’s your time to shine. Everyone loves to hit the bench press, but do you know what is also great? Push-ups. While lifting weights is one of the best– if not the very best– ways to build muscle, sometimes it is not an option. Chances are this is one of those times. When done correctly, bodyweight exercises such as squats, dips and pullups can also build muscle, and they can be performed just about anywhere.

“There’s nothing more athletic than a good bodyweight exercise,” said celebrity trainer Jeff Cavaliere in one of many popular AthleanX videos. “Most of the time, they’re compound movements; they allow us to move multiple joints at once.” Indeed, exercises such as burpees and plank push-ups force you to work the whole body. Trust me, you’ll feel the burn.

Most bodyweight exercises can also be performed with progressions or regressions, making them appropriate for athletes of many skill levels. For example, a push-up could be made easier by performing the exercise on your knees or harder by executing it with one arm.

If you are not sure where to start, don’t worry. Figuring out how to workout with just your body is not exactly intuitive, but there are plenty of resources out there to get you going. The following resources can help you get started if you do not know where to begin:

Gear up

You do not need to spend any money to get a good workout in. But, if you have a few extra bucks lying around, the following equipment might just enhance your workout without breaking the bank.

  • Mini Resistance Bands – You’ve seen them on the instagram of every fitness influencer with a big butt– and for good reason. These babies are pretty cheap, insanely portable, and can make exercises like squats burn (in a good way). There are plenty to choose from online, including this one recommended by Women’s Health Magazine.
  • Yoga Mat – Whether you are cranking out sun salutations on your balcony in Brickell or busting an ab workout in your room, picking up a yoga mat cannot hurt. Chances are, the floor you are doing sit-ups on right now isn’t exactly clean and comfortable. According to, this eco-friendly, non-slip mat is the perfect option.
  • Pull-up Bar – Pull-ups are a great compound bodyweight exercise that can be performed to target different muscles. While you can’t perform them in your living room without the right gear, a pull-up bar might be an affordable piece of home gym equipment worth investing in. While this may not be necessary or ideal for a beginner, Top Fitness Magazine recommends this bar for those looking to invest in one.
  • Water Bottle – I hope that in the era of sustainability, you already have a reusable bottle. If not, get one, because if you must go to the gym, you probably don’t want to drink from that community water fountain right now. Just sayin’.

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