How to keep fit and stay motivated while gyms are shut and it's freezing outside

Laura Hampson
·4 min read
There are plenty of no-equipment exercises you can do at home this winer (Getty)
There are plenty of no-equipment exercises you can do at home this winter (Getty)

A new year, a new lockdown.

The start of the year is, traditionally, when gyms see their highest sign-up rates as we all try to valiantly stick to our new year’s resolutions.

This year, with gyms shut and a new lockdown until mid-February (at least), we’re looking to home workouts instead to keep us fit and healthy.

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Watch: Twin sisters Jeannine and Nathalie provide a free PT session to help workout your upper body and core

Luckily, with two lockdowns already under our belt, we’ve had a bit of practice at this already.

“The first lockdown gave me the opportunity to do things that I loved again. Working out was one of them. I started doing home workouts because it’s fun and because it gave me an outlet to channel my stress into,” Somriddho Dasgupta, an androgynous model and activist, tells Yahoo UK.

“I created a routine that consisted of workouts that I have always enjoyed: strength, resistance and cardio workouts. I use things that are easily available, as workout equipment. For example, coffee bottles as weights and sofas as a step,” adds the 20-year-old.

Kelly Newton, 49, says that, ironically, even though she was working in a medical centre based in a gym before lockdown her hours meant that she didn’t have time to work out regularly at a gym.

Personal trainer, Hayley Madigan, suggests investing in some dumbbells if you can (Getty)
Personal trainer Hayley Madigan suggests investing in dumbbells if you can (Getty)

When lockdown hit, Kelly joined Jemma’s Health Hub which offers live workouts three times a week and also signed up for virtual personal training sessions.

“During lockdown I contacted a PT from work to do some one-on-one sessions and I really noticed my fitness levels improving so when she offered group Zoom sessions, I decided to go for it,” Kelly adds.

“The classes that I do are only 30 mins long so it's really easy for me to get it done. I find little and often works for me.”

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According to research from Bulk, a sports and active nutrition brand, 85% of Brits now prefer to workout from home compared to the gym.

Hayley Madigan, Bulk ambassador and personal trainer, says: “There is no pressure in the comfort of your own home and you are free to feel at ease in your living room or kitchen, while working up a sweat.

“Also, you can squeeze in that all important workout in your lunch break, between emails, or simply by rolling out of bed.”

The best bodyweight exercises to do from home

“A lack of equipment is not a problem when working out from home, in fact it’s a great opportunity for us to focus on bodyweight movements,” Hayley says.

“Low-impact bodyweight exercises, such holds or pulses are brilliant for engaging the core. A circuit of 20 minutes, five exercises, 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off of the below is enough to get your heart racing. Repeat the exercises for four rounds.”

  • Mountain Climbers

  • Plank

  • Static forward lunge

  • High knee skips

  • Prisoner Squats

The best equipment-based exercises to do from home

Hayley says dumbbells, a set of resistance bands and a mat are the only pieces you may need for at-home workouts.

“These workouts tend to involve dumbbells (or one single, heavier dumbbell), as we look to tackle big muscle groups with single exercises,” Hayley explains. “For example, you can complete the below full body weight strength workout by utilising just one dumbbell.

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Hayley recommends doing 3 sets of each exercise, 8 to 12 reps each.

  • Tempo Goblet Squats (3 seconds down, 1 second up)

  • Dumbbell staggered stance RDL

  • Alternating shoulder press

  • Bent Over Row

  • Floor Chest Press

Watch: Low impact workout - you can find other at home workouts here

The best at-home cardio exercises

A quick 20-minute cardio circuit to get your heart rate up when it’s too cold outside is best, Hayley says - 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off, and repeat for five rounds.

  • Chest to floor burpee (no jump)

  • Tricep dips (utilising a chair)

  • Prisoner Squats

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