Stay fit at home while Valley gyms are closed

Amber Gardner, of Selinsgrove, and Lindsay Phillips, of Sunbury, often work out together at the gym but are now motivating each other to stay on top of their fitness routines through texts and social media.

LEWISBURG — Amber Gardner has spent the past several months working out five to six days a week and watching her diet. In that time, she has dropped 50 pounds and said she’s become “obsessed” with staying fit and healthy. So when word came that area fitness centers would be shutting down temporarily, she knew she had to come up with a plan to keep moving forward towards her goals.

“My typical schedule was going to bed between 8-9 p.m. and waking up at 4 a.m. to workout either by myself or with friends at 4:30 a.m. at Planet Fitness,” she said. “We would mainly focus on lifting there.”

Gardner would then make her way over to Trot Fitness’s Selinsgrove location for a 6 a.m. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout.

“I would try to get to Planet Fitness at least three times a week and would work out at Trot Fitness around 6 times a week,” she said. “I also would meal prep my meals in advance so that I was also meeting my macronutrients.”

Whether you’re a fitness fanatic who needs a daily workout like Gardner, or just someone looking to find ways to burn off some energy and stay active while stuck at home, there are still plenty of ways to get it done.

Now that she doesn’t have either place to go to for her workouts, Gardner, like many others, is working out at home. Trot Fitness, she said, has provided live videos for its members.

“I still workout at 6 a.m. like normal to keep a routine going,” she said. “I also love a good challenge so I found some free workouts from darebee.com and I incorporate those as well as try out more challenging moves (adding weights, using mini bands, etc.).”

To stay motivated, she still checks in with friends to make sure they are also being active.

“It is not only still keeping me physically motivated but also mentally motivated during these times,” she said.

Things to do at home

Nicci Snyder, of Middleburg, said she believes exercise and fresh air are the best possible ways to combat the physical threat and the emotional stress associated with CV19. She credits her workouts (also at Trot Fitness) with helping her stay on track while everything is closed.

“As a longtime client, I was sad to learn that Monday was our last live, face-to-face opportunity to attend HIIT classes,” said Snyder.

Members of the gym were informed Monday evening that trainers would provide them with at-home workouts to help them stay on track and achieve their goals.

“This, combined with daily walking, jogging and biking, is keeping me (and many others) from getting the corona blues,” she said.

At CrossFit in Lewisburg, owner John Rowe, is pointing fitness enthusiasts to the internet during this unusual time.

“The internet is a great source for home workouts,” he said.

And while you may not get quite the same type of intensity, Rowe pointed out, “no workout is a bad workout.”

“Find something you want to do to keep motivation up,” he advised. “Assign yourself a simple goal you can try to meet in two weeks, then two months, then two years. Start a habit now, and keep it going.”

Some simple but great options are any bodyweight Tabata movements including push-ups, sit-ups, squats, jumping lunges; sprints (running doesn’t always have to be endurance, he noted) — sprint 100 meters 10 times with one-minute rest in between; and stretching.

“Classic gymnastics stretches, yoga, partner-assisted ... they are all great,” said Rowe.

Staying committed

Johnson is a group fitness instructor at the YMCA at the Miller Center in Lewisburg. She is certified to teach the Les Mills Programs of Body Pump (high repetition using low weighted weights), Body Step (step aerobics), CXWORX (moderate intensity core workout for 30 minutes with or without weights and resistant bands) and GRIT (HIIT — High-Intensity Interval Training with or without weights and a stepper platform).

She concedes remaining dedicated is the hardest part of any workout, whether you are at the gym or home. 

“Having said this, staying in your routine of working out means you just forge forward,” said Johnson. “At home workouts can be just as challenging if not sometimes more rewarding because you are the one who’s in charge of your push and drive through the workout.”

For those struggling to find resources at home, Johnson suggested checking out YouTube videos and websites. 

“Being a fitness instructor at the YMCA at the Miller Center in Lewisburg, we have offered a special website from a world-known fitness company called Les Mills. This site offers over 180 workouts with different types of classes for different fitness levels.”

Visit watch.lesmillsondemand.com for more information.

If you don’t have weights at home to do the workout, Johnson suggested substituting things such as gallons or quarts of water or canned goods.

Casual exercise 

If you’re not looking to push quite so hard, but still want to remain active, she suggests taking a walk outside and getting some fresh air. It’s also a great way to get the entire family together for some quality time.

“Walking is a fantastic way to get an overall good workout,” she said. “Just move … that’s the ticket. Cleaning the house is another great way to burn some calories. Spend time with each other and laugh and if the weather permits, hiking, bike riding, or walking to your favorite spot are fun ideas too.”

Lastly, Johnson noted, staying on top of healthy eating habits can help reduce the chances of falling out of shape fast.

“Limiting proportions is an easy way to cut back on fats/calories/carbs,” she said. “Planning meals ahead of time is another fabulous idea as you can stick to a planned and balanced meal. Fruits and veggies as well as just eating all the food groups will not only help with keeping weight down/off but will keep you healthy which is super important in this troubled time of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Overall? Just be safe, make good choices and of course, she said, wash your hands.

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