With lockdowns for the foreseeable future and the ever-present threat of being fined for trying to lose a bit of weight by exercising more than a metre away from your house, it’s a good time to reassess fitness at home.
Whether you live in a mansion or a small flat, there are ways to improve your health and physique whilst remaining safe in isolation. Here are five key principles you should keep in mind.
Form A Habit
The first thing you need to do if you’re going to get fit at home this year is turn up. It’s as simple as that. As James Clear points out in his New York Times bestselling book, ‘Atomic Habits’, you need to start small – and this can be as small as his two-minute rule.
For example, if you want to get into the habit of doing yoga each day, do it for two minutes every day for a month. Mastering the art of showing up puts your behaviour on autopilot and before you know it, you’ll have built the foundation of someone that does yoga every day.
Getting fit is about making it a mindset and habit, so rather than trying for a six pack and giving up after three days, make it your mission to be in position every day.
Don’t Do It Alone
There’s multiple advantages to be had exercising as part of a group and although lockdown might mean you can’t be there in person, a group mentality mixed with exercise brings motivation, accountability and healthy competition. Studies have found that you’re more likely to complete a weight loss programme with friends than doing it alone.
Likewise, the Köhler Effect is the theory that nobody wants to be the weakest link of the chain in a group setting and if you train with someone slightly better than you, you’re likely to improve your performance as a result.
Ways to make the most of this at home include recording results within a group message environment, making progress public on fitness tracking apps or simply partnering up, albeit online, with a gym buddy.
Clothing Shouldn’t Make Or Break Your Workout
The theory of enclothed cognition relates to the effect of clothing on a person’s mental processes and how they think, feel and function. A notable study found that individuals wearing a coat described as a doctor’s coat had a higher performance in a test than when the coat was described as a painter’s coat. Similar studies have been done for the effects of sportswear on performance.
That said, don’t let clothing become a barrier. There’s been a lot said in the fitness community of late about how you can essentially lift in a pair of vans and jeans if you want. Likewise, there’s army fitness influencers doing it in boots and combats. Find a happy medium. Don’t be using crisp white T-shirts for sweaty living room cardio. Invest in a few comfortable bits and wear them into the ground.
There’s An App For That
Youtube hasn’t gone anywhere; Joe Wicks and Yoga with Adriene will always be there. Both provide useful ways to ease yourself in.
On the app front there’s a myriad of options but ones we’ve enjoyed using of late include FiiT (our go to home workout), Eastnine, Auro, Nike+ Training Club and Trion. The latter has an effective customisable approach to your own goals and availability. If you want to improve athletic performance, for example, it will gauge your current abilities and fitness and then create a bespoke plan according to how often you want to train per week and what you want to specifically work on (legs, arms, chest, back, etc.).
Invest In Some Basic Equipment
You don’t need fancy exercise contraptions to get fit at home. Anything that is advertised on QVC or late at night with a zippy phone number is not going to get you a six pack. Likewise, if you’re going to buy a skipping rope, it doesn’t need to be one that costs triple figures. You shouldn’t feel like you have to spend a large amount of money to get fit.
That said, we can certainly recommend a few items. Firstly, we’ve found a turbo trainer extremely helpful in recent months when cycling conditions have been dangerous for thin tyres and lockdown has discouraged longer rides. The Saris Basic Mag Trainer will do the trick, simply hook up your beloved road bike and cycle away. For advanced features, the Wahoo Kickr range and Elite Direto XR are worth the investment.