3 Experts weigh in on how to keep fit at home

Lifestyle adjustments under the latest COVID-19 restrictions see us spending more time at home. While gyms have reopened, many people still prefer to exercise caution by chasing their personal body goals at home instead.

Either way, big ups to all of us for adhering as best we can to health protocols.

And with scores of us still working from home, even those who don’t have enough time on their schedule to incorporate a fitness routine into it, are no longer getting incidental exercise from commuting or running errands.

Not having access to your set timetable of fitness classes can also throw you off your usual routine.

But perhaps it’s worth taking 30 minutes out of your day for a quick, easy workout. It’s been proven that regular exercise is not only good for physical health but mental health too. These benefits include reduced anxiety and stress levels, improved sleep patterns, and a limited risk of serious illness.

However, if you have recently recovered from COVID, sporting and cardiology experts advise that you wait two weeks before getting back into training again.

So if you’ve been meaning to get back into a fitness routine but don’t know how to approach it, we’ve done some of the legwork for you.

We spoke to a celebrity fitness trainer, an aspiring competitive fitness enthusiast, and a body-positive fitness personality about easy yet effective home exercises to keep you in peak condition.

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Jenni has been keenly involved in the fitness circuit as a presenter in the UK, Europe, and South Africa. Having trained celebrities such as the late Princess Diana for almost a decade, model/actress Elizabeth Hurley, and Imran Khan - positions Jenni as one of the best in the personal fitness arena.

Here, we take notes from Jenni on keeping fit without leaving the house:

What form of pick-me-up exercise starts your day?

I teach three Zoom classes a week with my "Train like a Woman" formula. It covers an 11-minute HIIT (high-intensity interval training), resistance training, mobility, and flexibility.

In between, I walk barefoot in the wonderful grounds here in Cotswolds. Best pick-me-up ever!

With the pandemic still raging on, what three workouts can those who prefer to exercise at home do without gym equipment?

I teach an 11-minute HIIT workout called Sprintone8, which according to research, burns more fat off your body than running on a treadmill for two hours.

I also get my Zoom tribe to train using a chair for certain exercises and teach them how to use their own body resistance for best results. Pretty much how Bruce Lee trained.

I vary the workouts so much that they never ever get the same workout in a week.

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Does wearing the correct fitness gear, even at home, influence one’s determination?

Yes, I absolutely believe that if you feel good in what you wear, then it will motivate you to workout better. Wear good support trainers and bras.

What are your personal preferences when it comes to sportswear and fitness gear?

I only wear fitness ranges that are well-made and look “ready for business”.​

To learn more about Jenni Rivett’s fitness recommendations, you can stay up to date with her page here.

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Growing up, Zeus Feni had always been a student athlete. After high school, he wanted to maintain his fitness habit, so a good friend introduced him to CrossFit. Now, he continues to challenge himself - so much so that he is working towards competing in open CrossFit competitions and Sparta races.

These are the fitness nuggets Zeus has to share with men training at home during lockdown:

What’s your easy yet effective morning pick-me-up exercise routine?

I’m up at 6:45, then I drink lots of water first thing in the morning.

On a good day, I do 100 push-ups and a 3km run outside. I like to sometimes incorporate a 35-minute strength workout from the Puma Fitness App into my weekly workouts as well.

My favourite pick-me-up exercise is a sprint and squat for three minutes - it really gets my heart rate going.

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Name three workouts we can easily do at home without equipment?

The first one would be plank toe touches to push-ups. This is a very challenging exercise because it works for multiple muscle groups at once, but requires minimal movement so I love it.

The second one would be any ab workouts; plank variations, leg lifts, or crunches/sit-ups. The core can always use more strengthening so I'd advise that people continuously work on it.

The last home workout I'd recommend would be yoga. It's really relaxing. Plus, stretching is great for before and after intense strength training workouts.

How important is it to wear the correct fitness gear even when you’re working out at home?

If you can, I really think it's important to get yourself the right gear when working out. More than fabric technology that literally improves your workout, having the correct gear helps with motivation purposes.

In the long term, it might also influence how consistent you are and consistency always yields the best results, especially in terms of physical health.

Tell us about your favourite training shoes.

I am a big fan of Puma gear, especially the First Mile collection. The material is breathable and comfortable, which is the top priority for me when exercising.

To feel motivated and keep up with Zeus Feni’s personal fitness progress, you can follow his Instagram fitness page.

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From a young age, Tracy-Lee Lusty knew her life’s purpose was to help, motivate, and inspire the world around her. As both an attorney and a plus-size fitness personality - who’s managed to lose 33 kilograms in 12 months - she says she’s been able to achieve that purpose.

Here, Tracy-Lee shares exercise tips and motivation for all body types:

What form of pick-me-up exercise starts your day? How effective is it?

My day begins with my morning skincare regimen before I train or meditate. I’ve recently started boxing twice a week, which I’ve incorporated into my exercise schedule. Besides boxing, I like to push for two to three home workouts.

I try to keep these to 30 intense minutes, rather than faffing around for 60 minutes. My home workout is split into 1 x lower body, 1 x upper body, and 1 x full body and core sessions.

My favourite pick-me-up exercise has got to be a booty band workout. I can literally lie on the floor and watch the latest Netflix show while still getting a sufficient booty burn.

Are there specific exercises for plus-size people or can we use the same pace and method as everyone else?

I’m a firm believer that we are not limited by our size. Society loves to make us plus-size people feel like we don’t belong in a gym or we shouldn’t attempt straight-size exercises. I think I am a perfect example that is not the case. In fact, oftentimes, we are a lot stronger than we think.

With that said, of course, being in a bigger body may mean that we could struggle with certain exercises, so moderating an exercise works well. Rather moderate the exercise than not attempt it all.

Did you experience any challenges when you started training? If so, how did you overcome them?

I was incredibly gym phobic when I first started out in 2016. I had this crippling fear that everyone was looking at me and laughing at me behind my back. I was convinced that the men in the gym were taking photos of me attempting to squat or lift weights. But I quickly realised that the only people they were looking at were themselves in the mirror, [laughs].

Gym phobia is real, and I know lots of women struggle with this. To them I would say, it’s not about other people, it’s about YOUR journey. Stay in your lane. Never compare yourself to anyone else.

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What three workouts can we do at home if we prefer not to go to the gym?

Yoga: there are so many free online yoga classes and apps for all levels, and you only need a mat, towel, and a water bottle.

Virgin Active App workouts: If you’re a member of VA, you will have full access to their large library of at home workouts, where no equipment is necessary.

At-home body weighted workouts: There are so many workouts you can perform at home just using your own body weight. For example, a lower body workout can include body-weighted squats, lunges, donkey kickbacks, fire hydrant, in-out jump squats, calf raises, and floor thrusts. For the upper body, you can do push-ups, diamond push-ups, plank shoulder taps, side plank, incline push-up, triceps dips on a chair; to name a few. Most core exercises don't use any equipment.

Does wearing the correct fitness gear - even at home - influence one’s determination?

I like to be prepared for whatever I do and this is true even when I train. For me, putting on a cute gym outfit, tying my shoelaces, and putting on my weight training gloves really helps me get into the zone, and motivates me to train harder. I’ve always found that I work out better when I’m in the right gear.

The most important factor when working out is to make sure you are comfortable. If that means baggy pants and an oversized tee, then that’s great. Some like to feel snatched and prefer streamlined tights and a crop top. I do prefer the latter.

What are some of your favourite kits to wear when working out at home, gym, or out in public?

Two of my brands of choice are Adidas and Cotton On Curve. They have recognised the need for greater body representation within their clothing ranges and have launched some beautiful gym wear for fuller-figured women.

With so many options to choose from, I pretty much live in athleisure and these brands have made it really easy for me to feel comfortable in my skin.

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