I’ve been in a pretty solid workout routine for the past year or so. I’d spin a couple of times a week and then stretch it out at Reformer Pilates – balance, you know? Unfortunately neither spin or Reformer are on the menu right now, so I’ve had to mix it up and start from scratch when it comes to at-home workouts, which are something that I haven’t really done in years. I always said I needed the motivation of being in a class to really push myself, but it turns out sweating at home is far more effective than I ever thought possible. You can work out in your pants, you’re minutes away from the shower and fridge and if you just want to lay on the floor halfway through – YOU CAN. Amazing stuff.
Some weeks I’m ON IT and other weeks I am not, however I’m sure you can guess what weeks my head feels clearer, I sleep better and I have more energy. So boring to say, but it’s true. So here’s my at-home workout pack; from the amazing professionals who are putting content out there for free – THANK YOU! – to the household essentials you can make into your gym kit and a mini Apple Watch review thrown in there too…
MY FAVOURITE WORKOUTS
BARRE CLASSES VIA @PSYCLELONDON. I AM OBSESSED. Like seriously. I’d never tried Barre before lockdown and now I’m 100% converted and it will definitely be something that I continue to do at home. I’m slowly converting my friends one-by-one. It’s a full body workout that leaves me absolutely dripping with sweat and involves small and controlled movements done in time to music. If you find HIIT a bit boring and repetitive, then this is your answer. The Co-Heads of Barre at Psycle do my favourite classes; Maria and Rod (look out for their classes on IG Live which tend to be on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – although they both upload their classes to their IGTV’s too). Rod is the gateway and brings the FUN, Maria brings the burn and serious motivation. With modifications for beginners and the ability to just flop on the floor because hey – you’re at home – it’s been my favourite method of sweating by far. Not sure where to start? I’d recommend this video.
YOGA CLASSES VIA @FLOWMOTIONYOGA OR YOGA WITH ADRIENNE. I do a weekly Zoom class with Amy from Flow Motion Yoga with Lily and her family and it’s always such a good mix of challenging, with some serious stretching involved. I can *always* touch my toes by the end of the class which is a big result for my tight ol’ hamstrings. And of course it goes without saying that Adrienne’s classes are lush. I’ve been doing them on-off throughout the years and I always come back to them; I’m currently loving her 20 Minute Full Body Stretch video.
PILATES CLASSES VIA BRIGHTON PILATES STUDIO. My local studio are doing twice-weekly online Zoom classes that you can join in live with, or watch later on as they are saved to the online portal where all the previous classes are for your perusal. £14.99 a month to support our local studio which we just ADORE and a local female-owned business. Always such a relaxing part of our week.
ADDITIONAL MENTIONS: If HIIT is more your bag then my local spin studio Cycle City have some great videos up, although I’ve been hearing amazing things about Chloe Ting videos too. Fly LDN do a great mix of videos on their Instagram from Pilates, to Barre and Yoga videos, as do BLOK and Thirdspace. If you fancy getting into running then there’s always the Couch to 5K app, which I’m forever tempted to do. Although cardio-wise for me I’ve just bought myself a pair of cleats so that I can ride on Mark’s bike which he’s turned into a spin machine thanks to some thing you stick on the back of your bike – I have no idea how it works, but I’ll report back!
WHAT YOU NEED
Of course the kit you need is going to vary from workout to workout, but here’s what I’m using most as part of my at-home gym:
Yoga Mat*. I thought all yoga mats were created equal and that just isn’t the case. I invested in this Lululemon Mat* about five years ago now and it’s absolutely brilliant. Super thick and slip-resistant, I’m not sure I’ll ever need to buy another one. The foamy, sweaty ones ain’t got nothing on this. If you don’t have one a towel can work just to pad out the surface a little.
Dumbells*. I made a very hasty purchase of a Dumbbell Tower* back at the beginning of lockdown and I have to say thank you to my past self because I use them all the bloomin’ time for my Barre workouts. They are tricky to get hold of now, so just use filled-up water bottles, tin cans or wine bottles instead.
Resistance Bands*. I’ve had these in my activewear drawer for years and barely ever used them, but now they have come into their own! I use them for the Advanced Barre classes and boy do they burn.
Sliders*. These are the most necessary things are they are mostly only used in the Cardio Barre classes I do once a week, but they certainly help to take things to the next level sweat-wise. If you’re on a slippery surface you could just wear socks, or if your workout space is carpeted use pieces of cardboard or food container lids instead.
Additional Pieces of Kit: For all Barre classes you need a chair, or a high surface to lean on and sometimes a book or a Yoga block and a cushion or towel. A chair, book and a cushion? Easy peasy. There’s no getting out of the ‘I don’t have the right equipment‘ argument there.
SHOP THE AT-HOME WORKOUT EDIT*
A MINI APPLE WATCH REVIEW
I’m adding questions about my Apple Watch to the ‘Where are your hangers from?’ list of FAQ’s (FYI they are from Zara Home many moons ago) so it’s about time I got to it. I have the Apple Watch Series 5 GPS 40mm Space Grey Aluminium Case* with the Apple Watch 40mm Milanese Gold Loop*. I wear it 95% of the time (except sometimes at the weekend when I’m simply moving between the sofa and the kitchen), I don’t wear it in bed and I take it off to shower and bathe. The charge lasts me about two days, so every two days I charge it overnight and I’ve had it since January – lol, could I BE anymore of a New Year’s Resolutions cliche?
Ok, let’s start with the cons. Number one – the price tag. The watch itself and the strap that I have come in at £500 in total. That’s a hella load of money compared to other fitness trackers on the market. It’s also pretty large – hence why I went for the smaller option – but it is very ‘HELLO I HAVE AN APPLE WATCH’ on your wrist (I try and make it a little prettier by using the California clock face on it). Because it syncs up to your phone it does mean that your wrist is buzzing all day and the first time it vibrated I slapped my wrist because I thought it was a bug. It takes some getting used to. Although it has the functionality on it to do a shedload of things, I basically just use as an activity tracker and not much else. So if I wasn’t such an Apple fangirl then it would have made sense for me to get cheaper tracker option.
There is only one real major pro, but it’s a biggie. It motivates me to MOVE. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a nerd who loves data. I find numbers and graphs and all that jazz ridiculously motivating, so watching my rings close on the activity app throughout the day just gets me going. You have a ring to close for ‘hours standing‘ – 12 hours is the goal and you have to stand for just 1 minute of each of those hours to close the ring, a ring for exercise – 30 minutes a day is the goal and you cannot change this (walking counts towards your 30 mins!), and a ring for movement – which is basically additional calories burnt throughout the day (you can set this target to whatever you want). I don’t give a crap that it’s measuring calories as it’s known to be fairly unreliable (it’s worth noting that for some I can imagine this to be triggering, so heads up!), but it’s just a measure of something that I can aim for and compare and contrast my day-to-day activities with. I love that it syncs with my phone, I love that it notes down all my workouts, I love that it gives me ALL THE DATA. Right now when I’m struggling with my motivation and i feel like I’ve got nothing on my to-do list done, to be able to look at my watch and see that I’ve at least closed my standing ring for the day gives me a boost, you know? You take what you can get these days.
Photos by Mark Newton
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