Have you added online workouts to your pandemic fitness life yet? So many friends in the “220 in 2020” group I’m in have been posting about online group workouts of various kinds. Friends who live in different cities from one another are suddenly announcing that they got to work out “together.” I was already well-immersed in the Yoga with Adriene universe for the past three months, making it part of my daily life while I was on a sabbatical leave in Mexico. But what I’m talking about now are interactive group zoom workouts with Cate’s fabulous trainer, Alex, and other people (even people I know!)!
After just three sessions, I am sold sold sold. My activities have been consistent and sustaining. But after months of walking and Yoga with Adriene, with some light running thrown into the mix, I started feeling starved for three things: (1) a reason to get out of bed in the morning, (2) company, (3) hard training. The Superhero workouts have met all three needs at the same time.
(1) a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
I’m an early riser usually and I like to meditate first thing. Since I got back to Canada from Mexico in mid-March and started my pandemic life at my parents’ house, it’s a rare day that I’m on the meditation cushion before 8 a.m. To me, that’s a late start. Well, after I signed up for the 3x a week version of Alex’s Superhero classes, I’ve had something to get out of bed for: a 6 a.m workout. It’s hard to understate just how energized this made me feel. It’s not easy to get out of bed at 5:40 a.m. (the advantage of not having to leave the house for the workout!), and it requires some planning the night before (workout gear set out, lights out before 11). But oh how good it feels to get up for a scheduled workout commitment with other people.
And then there is the added boost of being able to say, at 7 a.m., “I’ve done my workout for the day!” It’s been awhile since I could say that.
When Sam and I first started the blog in 2012 to document our Fittest by 50 challenge, I mostly worked out alone and I thought I preferred it that way. Over the years, that has changed a lot. I’ve worked out in the pool in the early morning with a triathlon group. I’ve joined running clinics to train for various distances. I even spent a couple of winters with Sam in her cycling coach’s basement doing tough group work on trainers.
My workout life has merged in lots of ways with my social life. My usual routine when I’m home includes meeting a few friends for Saturday morning yoga and then going out for breakfast together. Then a similar gig for the Sunday morning runs. I’ve been away from home since December 31 and the thing I was most looking forward to was resuming those habits, reconnecting with my people. But then, Covid-19!
Last week when I logged into Zoom for my first Superhero class, I didn’t know any of the other early birds at the 6 a.m. session and I hadn’t yet met Alex. But the simple facts of being able to see other people doing the same workout, and of Alex interacting with us, observing and giving personalized tips on form, encouraging us and checking in periodically gave my workout a new energy. I mean, running alone and yoga with Adriene are great and all, but the social dimension adds another layer. And then at the Saturday 10 a.m. class, I actually got to work out with friends — Cate, Kim, and Anita were all there, as well as Maryjean from the 220 in 2020 group.
We didn’t get to go out for coffee or breakfast after, but at least we got to sweat together and I got to see their faces.
(3) Hard workouts
My routine of late, since I stopped personal training almost a year ago and suffered a running injury that limited my distance and effort for close to a year as well, has been active but not hard. Lots of yoga and walking, so certainly not nothing. But my level of exertion hasn’t been particularly strenuous.
Enter Alex’s Superhero workouts. OMG. Each time I feel as if I can almost not do it, but then I do it (or at least I approximate doing it). It is hard. I come away with a sense of accomplishment and an awareness of just how much I have not done this kind of workout in a long time.
They’re mostly body weight movements with very little equipment needed. A chair for step ups or tricep dips (this morning we did step-up burpees and tricep dips), a mat for floor work, and occasionally a broom handle, resistance bands, light weights (Alex told me cans of food will usually do, and you’ve seen Cate’s book bag solution), a belt or towel. Alex emails us the night before to let us know what we need.
Each workout has a warm-up, followed by three timed segments involving several sets of several exercises, back to back intervals with a teeny bit of rest in between that never quite feels like enough (sort of crossfit style). That provides a combo of strength and cardio work that makes you have to push yourself if you want to stay in the game. Alex is great at creating tough, challenging workouts and offering options that let everyone push themselves appropriate to their level.
What I like a lot about doing it on Zoom is that though I am aware that there are other people, because of the screen size and layout (where everyone is just a thumbnail) I can’t really see what anyone other than Alex is doing. And no one other than Alex can really see what I’m doing. So I’m less likely to compare myself to others and I just focus on what I’m doing–which is needed. Because it’s hard work. (That said, I have a feeling I’m working out with some kick-ass, super strong, super agile, superheros with perfect form on each thing we do).
If you’re interested in checking it out, Alex offers several different sign-up options and you can find her website here. I went for 3x a week (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday), that gives me a choice of 6 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and a Saturday at 10 a.m. class. But you can do more or less than that (the more being 5x a week; the less being Saturdays only). If you want a hard workout, company, and a reason to get out of bed in the morning, I recommend giving these workouts a try.
Here’s my makeshift workout space at my parents’ place, where I’ve been hunkering down during the pandemic so far and will likely be for at least another month.
What does your workout life look like right now?