by Rachel Werner
‘WFH’ doesn’t only reference the inbox of full emails waiting to be answered each morning in your home office. For optimal physical and mental health, working out while “safer at home” needs to be on all of our ‘to do’ lists.
If struggling to find effective exercises you actually enjoy while quarantined, try these suggestions from two Black women who’ve gained pro status in the fitness industry. Latoya Shauntay Snell is a food and fitness blogger, long distance endurance and a sponsored athlete by Hoka One One. Equally committed to living and promoting an active lifestyle, mogul Erin Duke created BKBootyFitness—a customized sequence of Pilates moves timed to popular hip hop and R&B jams—garnering her videos millions of views on YouTube.
- Figure Out Your Focus
According to Duke, this best way to begin creating an "at home" exercise plan you won’t give up on in a week. “Weight loss? Strengthen? Tone? If you are focused on weight loss, make sure to add cardio to your routine at home,” she advises. “Jumping rope and jumping jacks are great cardio options. Plus strengthening and toning can be achieved by pilates based workouts like we do here at The BKBooty Fitness. Resistance bands are also a great addition to your at home routine. Ideally 20-30 minutes of working out intensely 3-5 times per week is all that I recommend. Get in and get out, consistency is key.”
- Train Regularly
Snell’s perspective echoes Duke in regard to making movement time a top priority. “Every person's fitness needs and desires are going to look different. As a sponsored endurance athlete, I push myself for 1 to 2 hours, 5 to 6 days a week, but the average person could aim for a 30 to 60 minute routine,” she explains. “And let's be honest; this is a pandemic. Sometimes we may not show up in our living room for a workout because many of us are mentally exhausted. Be kind and flexible to yourself if you can only push through a shorter period or schedule on another day.”
Also she thinks “motivation is something that's fleeting during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to quarantine, I heavily relied on a consistent routine. To make things easier on myself during the rough moments, I set aside a week's worth of fitness gear in areas that require me to physically touch it,” she reveals. “Additionally I keep in contact with others in a fitness community to keep myself and others accountable on days that I am tempted to either push too hard or don't want to move at all. Choosing the right person to be your accountability buddy is not something to take lightly. It should be someone who will respect your boundaries and make sure you have a decent understanding of yourself too.”
- Track Your Progress
“I highly recommend evaluating your fitness needs by self-assessing your activity level prior to the quarantine,” says Snell. “If your life was more sedentary before our new normal, aim for 3 days a week and slowly build up over time. And if you were previously moderate to very active, 4 to 5 days is a great target range. Other factors to keep in mind are personal health conditions, injuries, mental wellbeing and energy levels. Try to stray away from the impulse to over-train, especially during this pandemic, as it can weaken your immune system.”
Plus she suggests, if one’s budget will allow, investing in a device to streamline health tracking. “Depending on what works best for your lifestyle, you might want something tangible like a journal or you can solely rely on technology; I prefer to mix it up with a little bit of both,” Snell states. “By using my Garmin Fenix 6s watch, my fitness routine is digitally logged into the Garmin app and automatically transferred over to my running coach through TrainingPeaks and uploaded to Strava—a fitness community where thousands athletes of all backgrounds use to document their progress. Because I want to detach myself from my phone a bit more than usual, I have a pen and notebook laying around during all of my workouts to log in reps, sets and overall feelings before and after the workout.”
- Be Body Positive
Choose to pay attention to the affirming changes you are experiencing rather than a preconceived notion based on appearance alone. Duke recommends, “Forget a scale and invest in a measuring tape used by a seamstress.” Track your bust, waist, hip, and thigh measurements every 14 days. The results will keep you motivated. Trust me!”
“I try to stay focused on all the things I will be able to do once this is over,” she shares. “Your imagination will get you through this. Imagine how good you will feel once you have achieved your #bodygoals. Create a scenario in your head and keep that in mind while you workout. My personal scenario is laying on a beach and sipping on a pina colada with a tight and toned body.”
The best takeaway is to find a mode of exercise you enjoy which is simple for you to execute.
“Crafting an at home workout sometimes gives off the impression that it's either not approachable, mundane or you need an extensive amount of items to build an effective routine. Instead of complicating the process, become friends with bodyweight workouts and being creative with items that you already have at home,” Snell asserts. “Make use of social media and find a video from one of your favorite Instagrammers then save it. Don't be afraid to modify the routine or completely replace it for something else. If you find yourself overwhelmed by too many options, consider sites like Pinterest or Darebee that's loaded with 1400 printable workout routines and categorized towards your needs.”
Share with us a fave fit move you’ve discovered during #quarantinelife below. And if you’re feeling stuck in a wellness rut find yourself stuck, check out Duke’s YouTube or Snell’s Instagram page for fresh ideas.