2020 took a turn for the worst when countries began locking down international borders and government leaders put residents into a general home quarantine. For the first time in forever, no one could leave their homes except for necessary errands. Naturally, offices were closed and people were forced to work from home. Leisure activities were put on the back burner with malls, bars, movie houses, and gyms stopping operations in accordance with government rules. Needless to say, the COVID-19 pandemic shut the world.
It took a while for people to adjust to the new living set-up, completely a 360-degree turn from the lives they used to live. Work from home set-ups was devised. People had to entertain themselves at home because social distancing became the norm. Aside from binging movies and series on Netflix, one trend that boomed is home exercises. We saw the rise of YouTube fitness creators such as Chloe Ting and Pamela Reif who had everybody rolling their yoga mats to stay active at home while the gyms were still closed.
It didn’t take long for people to miss people. Gyms work because there is a presence of a supportive community of like-minded individuals who share the same goal of living an active lifestyle. The good news is we live in a digital era and even though we are physically apart, the Internet can of course be used to bridge us together. Here are 8 steps to make the most out of your next home exercise session with friends.
1. Choose an app to use for your online group workout session
With offices and schools closed, everyone turned to online video conference platforms in order to keep operations running. Zoom and Google Meet became the frontrunners with the former allowing a free 40-minute session while the latter did not set any time limitations for free users. For bigger groups and recording requests, Pro and Premium accounts start at $14.99 dollars and $6 respectively.
You and your friends may download or install the app of your choice on your phones and laptops. If not the two apps mentioned above, you may always choose to use social media messaging platforms that also allow video group calls such as Messenger or Viber. You’ll convene amongst yourselves the best possible time that you are all free for the workout session. This may be a chore especially if you have different work schedules but once the date and time are final, someone will just have to set the meeting and send the link to the whole group. Voila, the session is set!
2. Prepare your exercise from the home set-up
Even though you’re at home, the conditions including one’s environment play a major factor in your motivation to stay active and move. There must be ample space for your yoga mat to fit and your whole body to be able to stretch without knocking over any furniture. For your convenience, put your water jug, towel, and dumbbells within your reach. The FlexiSpot adjustable dumbbell is a perfect choice for weightlifters because it doesn’t take much space with already five weights installed in one compact set. It’s easy to change from one weight to another by just twisting the body to your desired weight. The dumbbells are durable and can last an entire lifetime without a change in performance.
Of course, you must also find an area for your laptop, phone, or tablet that you will need for the video call. You may choose from FlexiSpot’s All-in-One Desk Bike, Monitor Mount, height-adjustable standing desks, and/or Standing Desk Converters that will give your gadget some height while you exercise. These are all easily adjustable and can be moved from time to time depending on the exercise that you are doing.
3. Assign roles to each of your friends
To avoid delays or conflict within the call, it is best if your workout group assigns roles to one another. One person will be responsible to host the meeting; another will play the exercise and monitor when someone requests for a pause; one will keep track of everyone’s vitals to check each of your progress by the end of the workout program. If you’re not following a workout online, one person should be assigned to lead for everyone to follow his or her moves.
4. Pick a workout of the day that everyone will agree on
Picking a workout is better to do before the call but if it’s too late, there are tons of workouts available on YouTube for you and your friends to follow. It’s important that each member of the group is aware of their fitness level to make personal modifications accordingly.
When picking a workout, it could be either based on the body part that you and your friends want to work on and the type of exercise you want to do for the day. You may opt for high-intensity interval training, a yoga strengthening class, a leg day, or abs and arms day. You may also have Zumba or if each of your friends has the FlexiSpot’s All-in-One Desk Bike, you may have an impromptu spinning class at home.
5. Twist it up
It doesn’t mean that once the video conference is done that you can’t help one another reach your personal fitness goals together. You could still be one another’s cheerleaders or workout buddies by helping the group members out in terms of nutrition and tracking progress.
6. Make it fun and interesting by starting daily or weekly challenges for the workout group
Everyone loves a good, healthy competition for a sprinkle of motivation. Whether you’re competing against yourself, a sibling, or your friends, you can make your workout program exciting for everyone by posing a daily or weekly challenge. Say it could be to run 100 miles or do a handstand after a week or finish Pamela Reif’s 15-minute ab workout without resting. It’s up to you and your friend group if you want to reward yourselves after completing a challenge or simply hit the next milestone.
7. Eat right and be one another’s accountability partners
The 80% diet and 20% exercise have been a general rule of thumb. If you want to see change within your friend group, watch out for what you eat. To build lean muscle, bulk up on protein; to lose fat weight, cut the carbs. Make sure that you eat the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats every day. Eat fiber-rich food such as oats and bananas for more energy throughout the day. Drink lots of water as well, around 15.5 cups for men while 11.5 cups for women.
It’s hard to count macros especially when you’re feeling lazy which is why an accountability partner in your friend group may come in handy. You could share recipes and make meal preps together.
8. Exercise individually but monitor your group progress through these apps
There are tons of apps out on the Web where you can find a community of users who are also dedicated and committed to their active lifestyles. Some examples are listed below:
Nike Training Club. Download it for free on your phone, follow workouts you want to do based on your target, and share your progress on social media. You may also connect with other athletes by looking for them in the app. In the events tab, you’ll also see nearby activities you may join.
PumpUp. It was designed with a woman in mind but men decided to pick it up as well. Much like Instagram, it is an app that lets users post photos on their feeds and caption them. It can also track one’s exercise, allow you to share your progress with the other fitness users in the group, and provide insights.
Strava. The app can track any fitness activity you get into plus record your distance, pace, speed, and calories burned. You may also add your Facebook friends and contacts to Strava so that they could see your stats once you post them in the app.
Your workout friend group may use these apps to track progress and you could compare your stats after a certain period of time.
Humans are not isolated beings. Some may be introverted, some extroverted but all of us yearn for a sense of belonging to a certain extent. We look for communities with similar interests as ours and once we find our group of people, we may pursue individual goals but we do it together.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on our connections and has kept us separate from our friends physically. But in this digital day and age, the possibilities to connect with other people might be different than what we are used to but have proven to be endless. Even though we can’t leave home, we owe it to ourselves to take care of our mental health, check in with our friends and do activities such as group exercises at home. Bear in mind that the most important thing is to grow together and have fun while at it!