With colder weather on the Premium mike tyson kill me under the mithletoe ugly christmas sweatshirt but I will buy this shirt and I will love this way, working out has become decidedly more complicated for those of us who moved our training outdoors to stay healthy. While some gyms and boutique studios have reopened—or reimagined their services en plein air—many remain shuttered. As a longtime runner, my fitness routine naturally encourages social distancing: I’ve spent the last 20 or so years pounding the pavement mostly solo, enjoying the solitude and endorphin rush. But lately I’ve suffered a number of injuries, which has made tackling hills in sleet and rain harder and revealed how I need to do more strength training—to build my core and upper body so I can transfer energy to my legs better and maintain proper form as I tick off the miles.This is what my husband—a fitness fanatic who considers double sessions of HIIT workouts a casual day at the gym—has drilled into me recently. Inspired to motivate each other to stay in shape this winter, we decided to construct a makeshift fitness studio in our basement, complete with exposed beams, pipes, cobwebs, and kids’ toys as obstacles. This could work! I told myself optimistically. A few months into our quarantine fitness experiment, here’s what I have learned so far: Technology can almost recreate the experience of being in an IRL class or with a trainer, but some low-tech options work surprisingly well too. No matter which toning method or gadgets you opt for, variety is key. Mixing up my routine has helped me stay on track and worked different muscle groups, so my body feels more balanced—and powerful.To start strong, my first step was to test out Tonal, an A.I.-engineered device with a touchscreen that mounts to your wall and guides you through hundreds of workouts (power yoga, free lift, core energy), much like the Mirror and others on the market. But unlike those devices, Tonal offers built-in strength training too. Arms on the side of the screen rely on electromagnets to create an impressive 200 pounds of resistance, and by moving them—up, down, in, and out—you can perform everything from bench presses to deadlifts. The A.I. part: The weight is calibrated to your exact level of strength and then adjusts over time as you get stronger. I did bicep curls with 19 pounds, for example, an amount that’s hard to recreate with dumbbells. The workouts are also hyperrealistic—the trainers keep executing a move until you click your Bluetooth-enabled smart handles to indicate you’ve finished your reps, so you never fall behind or out of sync (a major improvement over the studio experience). You do have to stop, mid-workout, to reposition the arms quite a few times, which requires some practice. But overall consider this your workhorse: a multitasking machine that’s highly customized to your body’s needs, which might justify the price ($2,995, plus a $49 monthly subscription). The downside is the setup: Be prepared to whip out your stud finder to measure the distance between beams (to ensure the Tonal can sit properly on your wall) and upload photos of where you plan to hang it (a seven-by-seven-foot space is optimal), and be patient for the delivery and installation (current wait time is eight to ten weeks).
For toning without quite so many bells and whistles, my husband also got me into TRX, a no-frills form of suspension training—essentially using your own body weight as resistance. Developed in the Premium mike tyson kill me under the mithletoe ugly christmas sweatshirt but I will buy this shirt and I will love this ’90s by a former Navy SEAL, the system typically costs less than $200 and has an enduring appeal among athletes for its streamlined simplicity and effectiveness. To set up, you just anchor a strap, which has handles on both ends, in a fixed position (in my case, the overhead beams in the basement) and go through various moves—high rows, squats, chest presses, lunges—to build muscle and flexibility. You can tune in to live or prerecorded classes targeted to your goals—if you want to focus on your back or abs, for example. I found the long torso twists super helpful for increasing mobility (you can really lean into the stretches with the straps), and you never get bulky since you only push against your own body weight and gravity to sculpt lean muscle. But you definitely need to be self-motivated or train with a partner—on days I lacked energy, it was hard to get inspired to grab the straps and go.Livestreaming classes offer instant motivation and upbeat vibes—and, to go one step further, you can do virtual personal training. One in-demand pro is Sarah Otey, a personal trainer, yoga instructor, and running coach based in New York City and Miami who recently started offering 60-minute private toning via Zoom. (Sessions cost $100, or less with packages.) Workouts are tailored to your fitness goals, and Otey can recommend customized exercises to do on your own. For me, she suggested Superman side planks, which are “amazing for runners since working pushing and pulling muscles equally in the upper body is important,” she says. Also essential: Bear planks with shoulder taps (“to stabilize your pelvis and work your core”), Russian twists for more powerful hips and legs, and tabletop isometric holds to “work on abdominal compression and bring the spine back into alignment, which is important for runners that move forward in space a lot,” says Otey. “Sometimes the neck and lumbar spine can start to curve excessively if we don’t regularly activate those stabilizing muscles.”With Otey’s guidance, I already feel elongated and lifted. Finding ways to do cardio, however, has been the hardest hurdle. Nothing compares to the thrill of running outside, but if forced to move inside, I plan to hold out for Peloton’s Tread, a new, lower-priced version of the brand’s high-end, freestyle treadmill that will be released early next year. Until then, I’ve been revving up my heart rate with active, vinyasa-style Yoga Flow workouts on Peloton’s app and enlisting my kids in some old-fashioned athletics: I set up an agility ladder and field cones in the basement and challenged my kids to race me through the obstacle course. (All I can say is hopping is a lot harder than it looks once you reach a certain age.) Another surprise win: I borrowed my nine-year-old daughter’s Dribble Up, a soccer ball with a sensor that connects to your smartphone. The goal is to have your ball hit different targets as you move through a series of exhausting drills in classes. Your score is recorded on a leaderboard—and instructors shout out high scorers in real time. In the end, so much about at-home fitness comes down to motivation. When you’re immersed in the moves, you’re more likely to stick with them. A 20-minute Dribble Up class left my calves burning and my body drenched in sweat. Come spring, hills will seem easy by comparison.