Five things I have learned from doing All The Workouts in my house*

Confession: although I present as a super-social extrovert (#greatactor), I actually function as quite a homebody. If given the opportunity to stay home a lot more, I’m in heaven. So having to do a whole lot of working out from inside the house is not a terrible hardship for me. (Nor is it problematized by children or others for whom I am a carer, and I recognize this makes me unusual and lucky.)

Still, this is a unique and weird situation, and more than once I’ve had to convince myself that it is actually ok to stay home and work out rather than head out into the gorgeousness. Sometimes I don’t want to go out! And sometimes I really don’t want to stay home.*

So over the last three weeks I have Zoom-yoga’ed, Zoom-trained, Zoom-tabata’ed, ridden my bicycle trainer even when I might have gone outside for a ride, and decided to count cleaning up the garden as a workout (it seriously killed my shoulders so, like, duh).

Here are five unexpected things I’ve learned.

  1. If you did not love the class IRL, you probs won’t love the class over Zoom. This relates to a yoga class I did two weeks ago via my super-local studio, just down the block. They offered an unlimited Zoom class 7-day pass for $45 and pledged every penny to the teachers, who were obviously totally out of work. Right now I’m lucky to have full-time work from home as a salaried professor, so I’m trying to spend my money supporting local workers in need as much as I can. At this particular lunchtime, though, I signed up inadvertently for a class that I’ve taken before IRL, and have struggled through: the teacher, who is warm and skilled and very strong, is just WAY TOO DARN QUICK with the instructions, and the whole thing moves a lot faster than, IMO, yoga ever should. For me, yoga is about flexibility and core strength, and my usual practice is Iyengar-based. So maybe it’s not a shock that I don’t love a flow-style class that works on fast forward, where every vinyasa is over before I’ve adjusted the screen. Over Zoom, I swear the teacher was even faster than normal! I hated it, but forced myself to complete it, though I think I regretted that choice later. I mean, I’d bought an unlimited pass for Pete’s sake!
  2. My dog is an epic coach. Emma the Dog is her own personality; when she gives me the side-eye, I know I’m in trouble. What I never expected, though, was that she had my back, coach-wise. As soon as I’m in my padded shorts, she’s all over me with the woofing and whining. HURRY UP AND SET THE DAMN BIKE ON ITS STAND!!! she’s saying; she knows I’m about to start a trainer sesh and she is VERY keen to begin the herding process. Now, I’m aware that she is some kind of shepherd-smoosh (she’s a rescue among rescues, that one), so the idea of me “moving” but “not moving” for 90 minutes is, like, the dream come true. Still, I imagine that, deep down, she knows I’m behind on my training plan and she’s just doing her part to help me achieve my goals.
  3. My kitchen floor: not as clean as I’d like to think. The problem with doing All The Things at home – and by All The Things I mean here yoga and training over Zoom – is that you’ll spend some time looking at your floor, and then up at your ceiling, and you’ll go, “hang on. I totally cleaned the floor two weeks ago. WTF?” Also, I was shocked that skylights get dusty! And then this morning, after 60 minutes with Cate’s AWESOME trainer Alex, I went, “hey; when was the last time I dusted that ceiling fan?” Two hours later I could definitively say that during a pandemic you can spend two hours standing on a ladder on your dining room table with three wet cloths and a screwdriver and IT IS CONSIDERED TOTALLY NORMAL.
  4. You don’t need lots of stuff. I’d been missing weight training, so I emailed my trainer, Paul, and asked for a workout I could do at home. He asked if I had weights; I cavalierly said I could get some. (The Canadian Tire website suggested I could, for curb-side pickup, but neglected to mention off the bat that none of my local stores had any stock.) Anyway, he sent me a good short workout, but I needed 12lb, 20lb, and 35lb weights to make it go; no dice. Then Cate reminded me her AWESOME trainer Alex was hosting sessions on Zoom with NO special gear required; better yet, she had a freebie coming up. I jumped on the stream and had an epic, invigorating 60 minutes of pikes and lunges and star jumps, oh my. Aside from peeing myself during the stars (Cate assures me this is normal and I need to do kegels), it was delicious. More Alex is def in my future.
  5. You also don’t need to be local. So back to the future: I am thrilled I could support my local yoga instructors with that $45 week-long pass, but the truth is I don’t really go to that studio all that often (#seeabove). Rather, I heart my people at a distance, and this time of everybody doing things in house/online is making distance a lot more relative. Friday mornings I do Zoom Iyengar with my usual people from the outstanding Yoga Centre London, with our teachers instructing the pose and then watching each of us (there are only 10-12 per call) carefully to check alignment. Working out with Alex, who teaches at a gym 60km from my house, is a similar pleasure, and one I’d never have encountered except for this moment of total social weirdness. These are wins! Like I’ve been saying to anyone who will listen, it’s not Social Distancing; it’s Physical Distancing, plus a whole lot of learning about how to be more social.

Emma the dog, experiencing indoor cycling, cross training and yoga, respectively. 

How about you, friends? Any weird and wonderful discoveries while working out inside? Let us know!

Stay strong,


*OK, so not “all” the workouts. I’m still riding my bike outside, roughly twice a week. I’ll continue this – mindfully, and packing all the stuff I need to repair minor mechanical problems on my own – unless my local and regional authorities deem it unsafe. Whether or not to ride outside during the pandemic has become a somewhat controversial issue in the last couple of weeks; I’ll blog about it next month, by which time I expect the landscape will have shifted again. Look out for that one the first week in May.