Staying fit during quarantine: Tips from a personal trainer

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Maggie Thornton

Trying to work out when all the gyms are closed can be intimidating. When you are used to having access to all of the equipment a full service gym offers, you may be left not knowing how to get the same burn without the same equipment.

If you’re struggling to work off those quarantine snacks, certified personal trainer Samantha Wellington has you covered. 

Wellington stressed how important it is to stay active in some way during this quarantine. This can be as simple as going for a 30 minute walk around your neighborhood, as long as you are safely practicing social distancing. 

“If you stay sitting down in stagnant positions all day, your joints will start to feel stiff and you will feel a whole lot worse when this is over,” Wellington said. “Anything you can do to get your heart rate up and use your range of motions will help your muscles to stay conditioned and keep your heart in shape.” 

Wellington said there is a misconception that you have to use weights to build muscle and stay strong.

“Any burn you get from using weights you can get from using your body weight by playing with the timing, “ Wellington said. 

Wellington outlined exercises anyone can do using just body weight. 

Glute Bridges

Instead of putting both feet on the ground, Wellington said to put one leg on the ground, while extending the other one out, and then when you raise your hips, hold and count to five. This puts stress on your muscle longer than just going up and down in a quick motion would, so it burns that much more. 

Squats

Wellington said the best way to squat without heavy weights and still get the same burn is by doing a deep squat. This is when you squat down with your feet flat on the ground, not rolling inward or angling outward excessively and your knees are not collapsing in. Then you go all the way down where your butt is almost touching the ground. For an extra challenge, you can hold at the bottom for five seconds.This improves your hip mobility, your flexibility in your calves and shapes your muscles really well. 

Pistol Squats

Wellington said single-leg squats are a great way to target your lower body and improve your balance. To do this, pull up a chair behind you and on one leg sit down, tap your bottom to the chair quickly and then stand up. Once you feel strong enough, you can remove the chair and try to go even lower. You have to use extra control and strength because you are only using one leg, so it targets those muscles even more. 

Deadlifts

For deadlifts, Wellington said you can get into the position, keeping your feet facing forward and your hip-length apart, and then on the way down count to five and then squeeze your glutes on the way up. To make this more challenging, you can do this same movement but one leg at a time. Wellington said what is key here is focusing in on the movement. 

Chest Press

If you don’t have weights but enjoy the burn you get from chest press, you can target the same muscles with pushups. Wellington said to get into plank position, do one push up and when you are at the bottom of your push up, count three seconds and come up. This doesn’t just have to be done in replacement of chest presses because the plank position and push ups are just great for the entirety of your upper body, Wellington explained. 

These are just a few examples and Wellington said really any move you normally do can burn without weights by playing with the timing or doing a single leg or arm instead of both. Wellington suggests for more help with what workouts to do to take advantage of Youtube and the fitness influencers who are offering free at home workout videos during this time. 

“You don’t have to have a super structured, hour long exercise prepared for each day,” Wellington said. “Just choose five exercises you want to do from anywhere on the internet and do 12 reps of each and then repeat three times over and you will get a good workout in.” 

Wellington recommends regular cardio training and taking this time to really increase your cardio aptitude. She said lifespan and cardio are connected.

“This is a really unique opportunity for some, in that you have all of this extra time where you are just sitting at home and that time can be used to better yourself,” Wellington said. “Take this time to focus on your health and you can potentially come out of this glowing and healthy.” 

Features reporter Maggie Thornton can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow Maggie on social media at @maggie_thornton