At-Home Workout Motivation Tips and Tricks

With many public gyms still closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, working out at home requires some extra motivation and creativity

By: Caitlin Jones, 10th Quarter UWS Doctor of Chiropractic and Sports Medicine student

StayFit Caitlin Blog

This past year, with the temporary closure of UWS’s campus fitness center and all of the gyms in the Portland area due to COVID-19 restrictions, getting a good workout in has required some creativity and a massive amount of internal motivation. Especially since my workouts typically consist of weightlifting and power lifting, and buying a barbell isn’t quite in my student budget. Luckily, I have a sandbag, some resistance bands and a great playlist!

In the beginning, the hardest part was trying to figure out what to do each day and to get the motivation to step away from studying (and Netflix) to workout. So, to help myself, I break it up throughout the day.  I wrote down a list of movements such as squat, lunge, single-leg Romanian deadlift (RDL), push-up, pike push-up, handstand work, mountain climbers, and the dreaded core work such as planks and Pallof presses. And just like we ask our patients to do McKenzie protocol every waking hour – I do 10-30 reps of a movement every waking hour. At least, when I’m not actively in class or clinic! This has helped keep my brain awake for all of the online lectures and it’s easy to fit in, because it only takes about 1-2 minutes. If I have some extra time or motivation, I do a couple of different movements or go on a long walk while listening to a podcast. 

The key to any workout routine is to schedule in these little bursts. After every lecture or Panopto recording I watch, I do a few movements. For the days when I’m wanting or needing more, I design a quick workout of 5-6 movements and complete 3-5 rounds of them. I’ve even started adding some sprints into my routine even though I hate running. But sprinting is at least over in a few seconds! So, if you hate running like me, then give 20 second sprints a try. Just be sure to ease into them so you don’t strain your hamstrings (but if you do, go see your favorite intern at the Campus Health Clinic)! 

The need to be extra creative with home workouts has been going on for 10 months now, so I try to switch things up to keep from getting bored. I’ve attended a few Zoom yoga sessions and worked on skills like handstands. Though it’s still a work in progress, it’s a fun way to stay active and challenge myself! But the best part about living in the Pacific Northwest and trying to find ways to be active – there are a ton of hikes in the area. It’s a great workout, a chance to get some vitamin D and there are plenty of terrain and elevation options. Now that it’s winter, the trails have thinned out and the rain and mud just add to the experience. Just be sure to bring a mask if you head out to the trails!

If you need an idea for a quick workout you can do with no equipment, give this a try!

3-5 Rounds

  • 20 jumping squats
  • 16 lunges
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 dips (using a chair or couch)
  • 100m sprint
  • 30-second plank hold