Stay Home, Get Fit

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Photo courtesy of BigStock/Dean Drobot

Andy Gunsaullus of Uptown Fitness shares tips for staying active while sheltering in place or quarantined during coronavirus.

With businesses closing, more shelter-in-place restrictions being applied, and work being done from home, in a state of emergency, or not at all, many people are finding that their mental—and physical—health are slipping. Whether you’re doing solo self-distancing or quarantining in your home with a family of six, it’s a hectic and uncertain time for all of us.

But just because you’re limited to your home doesn’t mean you can’t stay active. Andy Gunsaullus of Uptown Fitness, which recently closed as mandated, says he’s offering videos for at-home training programs and tips for staying fit with limited equipment for members of his gym.

“A good portion of our membership has chosen to maintain their memberships and train from home with training plans and coaching provided by myself,” Gunsaullus says. “A few have borrowed some basic equipment from the gym, including kettlebells, dumbbells, TRX’s, and resistance bands. While this closure is not ideal for the gym financially, we will be able to weather this thanks to the support of our members and our creativity and planning ahead to stay in front of the closure.”

Gunsaullus says the trainers of Uptown Fitness are available for their clients in different ways, including an instructor who is a school teacher during the day and trains members in the evenings, so he doesn’t rely on the gym being open to make money. Another part-time coach works entirely between multiple fitness facilities, as a yoga instructor, barre instructor, and studio manager and coach at Uptown Fitness.

“In lieu of coaching sessions at our gym, we’re getting in some hours training on exercise instruction and cueing, as well as some of the administrative tasks and membership sales side of the business,” Gunsaullus says. “As for myself, initially I’ve been putting in more hours than before, getting online content out to our members and starting people on their at-home online remote training programs.”

Andy Gunsaullus of Uptown Fitness says that there are plenty of ways to stay fit while staying at home. Photo by Mary McCallum

Having trained clients online for years, Gunsaullus says online personal training is a great option for people for many reasons.

“It provides a training plan, a road map to reach your goals efficiently and safely. It provides accountability. I joke with clients that I receive an email from my training website every morning letting me know what everyone did the day before, as well as who hasn’t logged a workout in a few days,” he says. “Having a coach who will hold you accountable is huge. My favorite benefit of online training is that you can train anywhere you want, at your regular gym, your home gym, or your apartment gym, and you can do it any time you want.”

Gunsaullus mentions an important thing for everyone to understand: Exercise has a significant impact on your physical and emotional well-being.

“It is well documented in research that physical activity breaks, even a walk around the home or around the block, help us become more productive and reduce stress. Exercise and fitness go a long way toward boosting our immune system! Don’t let this time sequestered at home allow you to take steps back in your fitness,” Gunsaullus encourages. “You can indeed use this time to, at a minimum, maintain your current level of fitness, or if you’re motivated, you can continue making gains!”

Though access to an abundance of workout equipment sure is a perk of being a member of a gym like Uptown Fitness, Gunsaullus says you don’t need a lot of equipment to stay fit, just some basics.

“Here’s the thing, when it comes to training and a good exercise plan, boredom can be the number one killer of motivation, dedication, and compliance. Consistency is one of the best ways to get fit. I can write someone multiple workouts using zero equipment, other than maybe a chair or bench and a yoga mat,” he says. “You can get extremely fit that way, but it’s going to be boring. After a while, you will simply tire of doing the same exercises and workouts over and over again.”

Beyond basic bodyweight exercises, Gunsaullus says a set of resistance bands (which can be purchased inexpensively at a sporting goods store or online), will open up many options for people exercising at home. He also recommends a good pair of adjustable dumbbells and a couple of kettlebells.

Photo courtesy of BigStock/dolgachov

Gunsaullus has shared a simple routine to do while social distancing:

Bodyweight Workout:

  • 5 min. – General warmup: can be an easy run, brisk walk, time on a rowing machine, or a bike around the block.
  • 5 min. – Dynamic warmup: should be stretches that are only held for a couple of seconds; the idea is to move your limbs through their range of motion and continue to get the muscles ready for what’s to come. Examples: knee hug, standing quad pull, bodyweight lunges or squats, inchworm pushups.
  • 15 min. – Bodyweight exercise circuit: repeat 2-3 times
    • 20 bodyweight squats
    • 30-60 second elbow plank
    • 10 pushups
    • 8 per side bird dog
    • 20 glute bridges
    • 10 chair dips
    • 10 per leg reverse lunge
    • 15 per side mountain climbers
  • 5 min – cool down: take this time to get your heart rate and breathing down, then repeat the dynamic stretches you warmed up with as static stretches that are held for 15-20 seconds.

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