We’re all stuck at home and gyms are closed. Keeping your progress without a gym can seem daunting but it’s really not that hard if you know what you’re doing. Whether you’re working out at home or in the gym, your body’s physiology doesn’t change. The same rules that you follow to make progress in the gym still apply when you’re at home.
If you want to gain muscle and strength, you need to be progressively overloading week after week. You also need to be eating enough protein and fiber, 0.6-1g/lb lean body mass and 30-40g respectively each day.
If you want to be losing fat you have to be in a calorie deficit. Your diet always has and always will drive fat loss.
While you probably don’t have as many weights as you do in the gym and definitely not as many machines, you can tweak a couple elements of training to continue to get results. First I’ll talk about them and how to implement them in your training, then I’ll go over some programs that I recommend.
Intensity, Volume, Frequency, Rest
These 4 variables are present in any training program. The definition of volume varies from person to person, essentially it’s the total weight lifted during a training session. Intensity is essentially how hard a set is. Often a scale known as the RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) scale is used to measure intensity. A 1 on the scale is very easy, something you can do over and over without being exhausted. A 10 on the scale is your 1-rep max, something that you literally can’t perform another rep. Frequency is how long you rest between training sessions. Rest is how long you rest between sets or exercises and is something that is manipulated within each training session.
Structuring Effective Home Workouts
In order to make progress while at home, it requires that you follow the SAID Principle and continue to progressively overload. While increasing volume is the most difficult to do at home and in most cases it will go down, you can increase frequency and intensity and decrease rest. Good home workout programs will manipulate frequency, rest, and intensity properly, not with AMRAP Box Jumps or Burpees, but with safe and appropriate exercises. How these variables are manipulated will depend on your goals.
Less rest and higher intensity seems to be the theme in the thousands of home workouts that have popped up recently. This isn’t inherently bad but it needs to be modified correctly in order to see results.
A quick note: if this quarantine and physical distancing (not social distancing) ends up only being another month, I would consider it a win for most if they were able to maintain their current level of fitness. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to maintain muscle, in fact it can take as little as 40% of that was needed to gain the muscle. If it goes longer, it might be worth considering working towards a different fitness goal that isn’t muscle and strength related, like flexibility, working on your self-image, getting or cleaning up your handstand, etc.
Options for Home Training
Constructing a home training program is just as important as a training program in the gym. Infact, in many ways it’s more important to have a well constructed home workout program because of the limiting factor of available equipment.
These are programs that I either have tried or recommend based on their creators.
Danny knows his stuff. He’s young but don’t let his youth keep you from learning what he has to teach you. He’s been a trainer for just under a decade and has trained so many clients. I appreciate how he shares his fitness advice. It’s easy to understand and it’s not tilted towards one modality or another. Danny has a handful of programs that he offers, two of which are ideal for people stuck at home with none or minimal equipment. These 2 programs are both $25.
The advice that Phil and Martina share on their Instagram page is funny but also helpful. If you are looking for more than just advice from IG, they offer coaching to help you reach your goals.
Anywhere is a minimal equipment program focused on building muscle. If your goal is to build muscle while stuck at home this is one of your best options. You’ll need a pullup bar, a yoga ball, a pedometer (fitness tracker or your phone) and a dowel/broomstick. It is a 4-week program so it is shorter than most programs. When I went through the program, I was surprised at the results I got. MAPS Anywhere is $97. For the month of April, they are doing a 50% discount with the code “WHITE50”.
Prime Pro is a program tailored to correctional exercise. It helps you move better and with less pain. It’s not designed as a traditional training program, but it will help you get more gains with your training now and in the future. I highly recommend this program, it’s very helpful. MAPS Prime Pro is $167. For the month of April, they are doing a 50% discount with the code “PRIME50”.
Mike Matthews publishes some of the most detailed, helpful fitness content out there. He also makes the best supplements out there through his company Legion. He recently posted a mega guide with almost anything you’d need to know about working out at home that is definitely worth checking out.
GMB Fitness – Elements, Integral Strength, Vitamin, and Mobility
GMB is all about helping people move better. Their flagship program, Elements, is all about just that. Helping people move better in their bodies. Integral Strength is a bodyweight program with the goal of building usable strength that improves your daily life. Mobility is their newest program and is obviously geared around becoming more mobile. It uses a combination of stretching and strength to help you get more range of motion in the areas you are looking to improve. Vitamin is a daily bodyweight program that helps you connect to your body and learn new movements, many of which you have most likely never tried. It is not about mastery but rather is about exploring new patterns of movement. All their programs are $95.
Making the most of this unique time to become better and learn more about how you can make the most of your training at home will only make you better for the future. I’ve benefited from each one of these trainers or programs and I highly recommend them.
I’ve trained on and off in a gym and at home and while the equipment at the gym is nice, for me training at home is so much better for so many reasons. Hopefully, this unique time will help you enjoy your at-home training more as well.
Stay strong, stay safe.