Your at-home workout can be just as effective as your pre-COVID gym routine — here’s how

By Nikhita Mahtani
February 10, 2021 11:53 AM
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We're hardly the first to point out that, 11 months into the pandemic, we are all sick of using our screens for pretty much everything. But with most people's commutes consisting of moving the laptop from the bed to the couch, fitting in meaningful movement is more important than ever, and Zoom fitness classes can help.

Not convinced? Similar to IRL workouts, Zoom options can give you a sense of accountability and let you find out some fun, at-home options that'll keep you consistent and give you the endorphin boost we all desperately need. (Not to mention, there's no need to go out in below-zero temps to get to your barre class — eliminating the easiest excuse for skipping the gym.) 

If you're not sure what kind of workout you want to do, you can always try bodyweight classes online or explore free YouTube videos before you make the commitment. And if you're a studio pro? Simple props like light weights or resistance bands can boost your workout to the next level and make you feel like you're really getting the full studio experience.

Below, check out some expert tips for taking Zoom classes, straight from the fitness instructors themselves.

Credit: Courtesy Rumble
  • Pick workouts for your skill level.

Rumble co-founder Noah Neiman says starting where you're at is key for keeping up a routine. "It's important for clients to pick the [classes] that they feel most comfortable with, so they can improve their skills as they try different options out," he says.

Rushing into something you're not ready for will only exhaust you and could cause injury, so avoid pushing yourself past your limits. Take modifications if necessary, and even ask your instructor for alternative moves. This will ensure you get stronger, stay engaged and eventually be able to take advanced options as time goes on.

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  • Keep your camera on.

Don't cringe! Staying live is key so that your instructor can keep an eye on you and make sure you're working to the best of your ability.

"After teaching hundreds of live classes, I can confidently say that no one else in the class is watching you [specifically] throughout the workout," says Sydney Miller, founder of Pilates and HIIT hybrid HOUSEWORK (pictured). "Everyone is most concerned with following cues from the instructor. I recommend to my classes to keep their cameras on as a way to keep themselves accountable personally during the workout. It also creates a feeling of community when you're pushing hard through a sequence and see a screen full of other people working hard too."

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  • Consistency is key.

"Like everything, you get out what you put in," says Neiman. "Effort and consistency are generally the top two rules for progress and development. When you're picking workouts that are going to keep you engaged, and workouts that excite and challenge you, you're much more likely to keep doing them." This will make sure you get into a habit and improve your strength and endurance over time, just as would happen in a studio setting.

  • Sign into class early.

"Just as you would arrive early to a group fitness class, join the live class a few minutes early to ensure you don't miss any instructions or demos from the instructor," says Miller. "Allowing yourself a few extra minutes to gather yourself before class starts also gives you an important moment to focus your energy and mentally prepare for a great workout. Being grounded at the beginning is so important to your workout being effective." This will also give you the opportunity to make sure your camera setup is right and be able to ask questions about form or specific moves you may be unsure of, so that you can really set yourself up for success.

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  • Have a dedicated workout space.

"The hardest part of taking a Zoom class is often the fact that you are in your home, which is filled with distractions," says Amanda Freeman, founder and CEO of megaformer workout SLT. "I recommend making your workout space as distinct from your work space or where your family is hanging out as possible, in an effort to fully immerse yourself in your workout." Clear a small space in your bedroom or living room, lock the door, and keep your phone far away so that you can feel a distinct separation from home and exercise time.

  • Keep your computer at a height or about a foot's distance away from you.

This will ensure that the instructor will be able to see you clearly and offer feedback that might prevent injury. "This way, the instructor can actually see your whole body, so they can give you form tips when necessary," adds Freeman. "Also, make sure your name is there for the instructor to see, to maximize shout outs."