Four Tips for Staying Fit at Home

Indoor-Workout-1With long hours at home seriously disrupting the natural lifestyle rhythms we most often associate with physical fitness, regular exercise has never been more important.

Or easier to avoid.

That’s why we checked for some quick tips to keep your baseline training going or get into some new at-home workout habits. Because the good news is, even if you’re at home with no access to fancy (or even not-so-fancy) gym equipment, you still have plenty of options.

1. Get Motivated

Humans are social animals, so staying at home can put a serious damper on our motivation for staying fit. That means you’ll need to fight harder than usual against your inner slug.

Remember the benefits of regular exercise that best fit your current situation, and keep them in mind to help push yourself. Because even if you’re staying home, you’ll still want to:

  • Reduce and relieve stress
  • Get high-quality, regular sleep
  • Maintain a positive outlook

…all commonly-felt results of regular physical exercise.

And if that doesn’t work, a few selfies might do the trick.

2. Broaden Your Cardio Horizon

Unless you live in a region where lockdown terms have specified otherwise, solo running and cycling are still an allowable (and more enjoyable than ever) form of cardio exercise. Keep it up if you’ve been sticking to these, but you may also want to explore a few new options in case conditions change.

Getting in a good cardio workout from the confines of home can be a challenge. Not everybody has a treadmill, for example – or even stairs.

Fortunately, there are plenty of enjoyable aerobic exercises that don’t require more than a rearranged coffee table and an open mind.

If you have a preferred method of doing cardio – let’s say you’re a runner or a triathlete – now’s the time to try new things. Look into new crossfit routines, dance workouts, drill exercises for a sport you don’t regularly play, guided yoga or boot camp videos.

New Cardio Options – Not sure where to begin?
Kickstart your heart with HOKA x POPSUGAR Workout Videos:
25 minute runner’s recovery workout
Low-impact dance grooves workout

The goal is to challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone. You’ll probably get a great workout, but you’ll definitely get a break from the usual routine.

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3. Go Back to Basics

Calisthenics – the practice of using one’s own body to exercise large muscle groups – traces its origins to ancient Greece. That’s one reason why circuits of calisthenic exercise are the perfect way to work out at home. After all, the ancient Greeks also didn’t have access to modern gym equipment.

With an arm’s length of personal space, you’ll have all you need for nearly endless variations of a few time-honored exercises:

  • Sit-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Dips
  • Burpees
  • Planks

If you have a reliable (please, safety first) bar, you can also mix in pull-ups, chin-ups or front levers. And you can try some handstands as well, using any support wall you don’t mind scuffing a little (and help from a friend who can spot you – again, safety first).

Since calisthenic exercises are all about working large muscle groups, you won’t get as targeted a workout as you would in the gym, but you can loosely target upper, lower body and core – and get more specific to certain areas with slight variations in setup such as chin-ups versus pull-ups.

As for actual rep counts advisable for a good workout, they vary by level of fitness. Since you’re mostly using your own body as a weight, repeating until failure is a viable option.

Shoot for a long-term challenge like completing a full deck of cards workout, and alter your focus between upper body, lower body or core exercises.

4. Get Creative

In the absence of workout equipment, you can still find plenty of household objects that fill in as reasonable substitutes. Water is a great weight at over 8 pounds (3.78 kg) per gallon. Sand or gravel are even heavier. And depending on how you’re moving, a simple can of soup might add all the weight you need to make each set more challenging.

For example, you can try the following:

  • Integrate crossfit exercises into your calisthenic workouts by replacing the kettlebell with a full jug of milk, large laundry detergent container, bucket loaded down with books, or duffel bag stuffed with clothes
  • Strapping on a weighted backpack – think “first day of school” with every textbook you’ll need for the semester – for extra impactful lunges and squats
  • Try a few push ups with a kid or pet on your back, with your hands or feet balancing on a basketball, or on an incline or decline from a folding chair
  • Do sit-ups with a dictionary or cast-iron skillet folded under your crossed arms
  • Experiment with band workouts using a towel, rope, bungee, or length of hose
  • Jump up and hit the door jam at the apex of every burpee
  • Make sure you’re using proper form for a set of laundry basket deadlifts

One benefit of working out at home is there are now even fewer people around to judge (not that anybody was anyway). Now’s the time to use your imagination, as long as you’re not putting yourself – or your back – in harm’s way.

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Meaning Thru Movement with Alison Désir

Named by Women’s Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and the world, Alison Désir is an endurance athlete, activist, mental health advocate and HOKA ambassador.  Alison is the founder of Harlem Run (an NYC-based running movement), Run 4 All Women  (an initiative that has raised over $150,000 for Planned Parenthood), and the Global Womxn Run Collective (an organization that empowers womxn leaders globally that are not given a seat at the table). We’ve partnered with Alison and her Meaning Thru Movement Tour, a nationwide series of events designed to bring the conversation about mental health and well being into the running and fitness space. We asked Alison to share more about herself, this tour and why it’s so impactful.

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📸Amir Figueroa (@amirmfigueroa)

Growing up, I was very fortunate to have parents who introduced me to sports at an early age and supported me in running, soccer, basketball, gymnastics (to name a few!) As a first generation American, my parents did their best to afford me every opportunity they did not have in their respective countries of origin. My mother, in particular, was always so proud of me and reminded me that when she was growing up in Colombia, she couldn’t even leave the house without her brother as a chaperone let alone assert herself through sports. Having this perspective growing up was refreshing because it showed me how much things can change for the better from one generation to the next when you are intentional.

Very early on, my father gave me the nickname “powdered feet,” a Haitian Kreyol nickname which describes somebody so active that you never see them, just the footprints of where they’ve been in powder. This nickname has truly come to define me and my personality. In middle school, I made it to the Junior Olympics in the 80-meter hurdles, and in high school I focused on the 400m and 400m hurdles, regularly setting and shattering records at my school. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that I ran my first marathon after going through a period of depression and seeing how a friend of mine’s life changed for the better through his own marathon training. So I started running distance for my mental health and have since created several communities (Harlem Run, Run 4 All Women, and Global Womxn Run Collective) that give people the opportunity to connect with others, feel part of something bigger than themselves, and create social change. During this same time period, I also went back to Columbia University to earn my masters degree in counseling psychology and spent some time practicing as a therapist while pursuing my license until being a mother took priority.

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📸Amir Figueroa (@amirmfigueroa)

The Meaning Thru Movement (MTM) tour is a nationwide series of events designed to bring the conversation about mental health and wellbeing into the running and fitness space. I see the MTM tour as the culmination of all of my work as a fitness advocate, mental health professional and community activist. Running made such an impact on my life – to be honest it saved my life – and led me on this path, and I feel it’s really my imperative to share what I’ve learned with other people. I’m very excited that this tour is free, making it accessible to communities across the United States, and hopefully providing an opportunity to normalize conversations around mental health, particularly in communities of color.

So what can you expect? Each tour stop will feature some combination of the following components:

  • 1:1 Conversation with a Mental Health Expert: Topics include therapy in marginalized communities, normalizing mental health, improving health seeking behavior, holistic wellness
  • Therapy Consultations with Local Practitioners: These consults will be optional for participants and will be scheduled prior to the event
  • Movement through Yoga or 5k Run: These activities will be designed with the novice in mind so that they are accessible to people of varying abilities
  • Meditation and Journaling: By combining meditation and journaling, participants will be able to broaden their awareness and access deeper levels of understanding

2020 tour stops for the MTM tour include NYC (5/30), Santa Cruz (7/11), Detroit (7/18), NYC (8/23), with Boston and Austin stops to be scheduled for early fall. In each city, I’ll be working with incredible local practitioners who have also dedicated their lives to the wellness of their community members; click HERE to see the growing list. I really hope that this tour is just the start of making conversations about mental health as commonplace as heading out for a run is for so many people.

As I reflect on being able to produce a tour like this – I think about how, eight years ago, I NEVER would’ve thought any of this would be possible. Getting to this point was really a series of smaller steps building upon each other and seizing and creating opportunities through connections with people I met along the way. For anyone reading this who wants to make an impact and start their own movement, I would say that the most important thing is to understand your why. Your why is your reason for being and what you will return to when things get really difficult or you don’t see or feel like you’re making any “progress”. Your why will also help you make decisions about what you say yes or no to (think: is this in line with my “why”? Does this align with my values?). Once you have your why in place, just start. Don’t wait until you have every question answered, perfect marketing materials, etc., because to be honest, if you wait for all of that, you may never take action!

 

Running Through Uncertain Times with Pete Kostelnick

If Pete Kostelnick is known for one thing, it’s his endurance. Whether it’s winning the Badwater 135-mile ultra, setting the Fastest Known Time (FKT) for running across the United States, or for running from Alaska to Florida in 97 days (more than 55 miles per day!), Pete knows how to endure the impossible. But how does an endurance athlete approach something as uncertain as the current COVID-19 pandemic? Pete offers his optimistic take below.

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I never got in to running to win races or set records, that kind of just happened.  My first attempts at running started because my uncle noticed I loved pushing myself when we went hiking in Colorado when I was in middle school.  He told me that I might enjoy cross country, but all I knew is I hated running the mile in gym class.

I went to the cross country preseason meeting, but when the coach told us there were enough spots on the team to have all but one of us run in meets, I knew for some reason that I’d be the slowest one standing on the sidelines watching.  I never got the courage to sign up for cross country or track until my junior year of high school.  For the first 5k time trial, I finished last out of dozens of boys to the pity clap.  The irony is that I had too big of a lunch that day, and today I’m notorious for being able to eat a giant meal right before or during any run.

I ran JV that entire year and worked my way up to a marginal varsity runner my senior year.  In college, I gave up running altogether because I thought I was too busy and put on 20-30 pounds.  During the fall of 2008, I found comfort in running again as I finished up my college coursework as I surveyed a collapsing job market.  I found joy and purpose each day in running and finished my first marathon that fall.

Each year from 2009 until 2015 I progressed just a little, running a little further and running a little faster until I started to win races like the Badwater 135 and represented the US in international competition, only things super elite runners were supposed to do.  I went on to break the record for fastest run across America, averaging over 72 miles per day over the course of 42 days from San Francisco to New York City.  In 2018, I set off on a self-supported run with all my gear in a stroller from Kenai, Alaska to Key West, Florida, which I dubbed “Ke2Key:  unlocking my wildest dream”.  When I started, I stood closer to Beijing, China than Key West.  Just under 100 days later, I arrived in Key West, becoming the first person to run from Alaska to Florida.

Just like I only think about the current mile I’m running in, I try to never set goals beyond the year I’m running in–reachable goals, but lofty, nonetheless.  You might call it reckless, but I’m convinced if you want to accomplish anything, you’re either getting closer to or further away from it.

When news of the magnitude of COVID-19 hit recently, I did the exact same thing most of us have done.  I worried about everything, and it just kept getting worse.  For several days I couldn’t even find myself to do the one thing I’ve always gone to for comfort–run.  After feeling like all my 2020 running goals were crumbling right in front of me with cancellations and uncertainty, I went for a run.  But I ran for a different reason that day–because I needed it.  I’ve been fortunate over the last few years to hear so many stories from others about how running or walking has literally saved someone’s life.  I think sometimes we all put personal pressure on ourselves to run faster or further, and therefore on certain days don’t feel up to the challenge of starting at all, especially when we let things we can’t control spill over into the things we can.  It’s very easy right now to think of a reason to get off track.  I have no idea what this year will bring, but I’m just going to promise myself I’ll keep doing whatever I can to put myself in position for my goals, just like when I ran from Alaska to Florida in 2018.  In the end it wasn’t the destination or end goal of Key West that even mattered, it was the journey!

One of my favorite places to run today is a small one-mile loop around a lake just outside my house.  I often run it 20+ times early in the morning before work, on most days not in any rush to get it done.  I get asked often “why I put myself through that”.  Mentally, part of it is probably comfort of daily routine, but I think it mostly comes down to building mental strength.  There was a time when I would have found running a loop so many times unbearable, but over time I’ve genuinely found enjoyment and a sense of strength out of it.  I’ve found that mental strength is as important as anything else in running (and in life) and is not something you can just switch on.  It must be trained.  We might not have many options right now on where we can go or what we can do, but I can’t think of a better time to work on mental strength.  I think most humans would surprise themselves with how mentally strong they’re capable of becoming.

– Pete Kostelnick

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Women Who Fly – Kenyetta Iyevbele

800m specialist Kenyetta Iyevbele is an integral member of the New Jersey New York Track Club, who runs for the team “because of the support. [Coach] Gags reiterates the importance of family and having a common goal to better ourselves.” This kind of support is a throughline in Kenyetta’s life, and with the advent of National Women’s Month, we sat down with Kenyetta to discuss the role of inspiring women in her life.

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HOKA: As a leader on the NJNY team, can you talk about what the women’s team means to you?
Kenyetta: I am so blessed to be on a team with such incredible women! We all come from different backgrounds and have so many unique experiences. Everyone’s story is special and with those come strengths that we all learn and gain from. This team represents discipline, heart, and family.

HOKA: Your mom passed away not too long ago; can you share how she inspires you in running or life in general?
Kenyetta: In September 2017, my mother, Tonjia Gladney, passed away from Stage IV breast cancer at the age of 47. She was an 18-year survivor, first diagnosed at the age of 29, then having a recurrence in her liver 10 years later. Her poise and will to never quit taught me what it meant to always remain faithful and believe that I can fulfill any goal no matter the circumstances. She raised my two sisters and me to be more than just conquerors. She taught us that prayer is real and that if we believe it, we will receive it. Fighting for your life is something that requires a great level of resilience and tenacity. I remember once in a hospital room my mother used a walker to walk back and forth to gain mobility in her legs again. She looked at me and said, “I am not a loser. I am a winner. Winners never quit and quitters never win!” This is our motto. While she was running her race for her life, I continued running mine.

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HOKA: What is something you wish you could share with your younger self?
Kenyetta: To my younger self: Continue being fearless! Don’t ever think that you can’t because you most certainly can. There are going to be times of doubt and lack of understanding, but God will carry you places beyond your wildest dreams. When doors open, believe that they’re yours and run right on through! May you also remember that it’s okay when other doors are closed. You are chosen for this so trust that you’ve been equipped with everything you need to succeed!

HOKA: How do you hope to inspire the next generation of women and runners?
Kenyetta: I’d like the next generation of women and runners to know that they can achieve the desires of their hearts! If you want it, you can and will get it. Beyond working hard and giving everything you’ve got, success is a mentality. If I’ve learned anything at all, I’ve come to understand better than ever before that being victorious in life starts with the attitude of knowing that you are capable. It takes practice though. No, I am not always the most motivated and honestly sometimes I just don’t feel like it, but staying committed and being disciplined will keep you going. Continue striving for your very best. Each day is one step closer to where you WILL be!
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Women Who Fly – Jenna Hinkle

According to Jenna Hinkle, “my favorite part about running is that it provides me with a sense community, while giving me the opportunity to be outside and explore places in ways few other things can.” It should come as no surprise, then, that Jenna is now an assistant coach at the University of California Santa Barbara, as well as the leading scorer of the 1st-place Aggies team at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships.  With the advent of Women’s History Month, we sat down with Jenna to discuss the influential women in her life and how she brings that experience to her coaching role and beyond.

HOKA: Tell us about yourself.
Jenna: My name is Jenna Hinkle. I am a professional 1500m & 5k runner for the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies Running Club, as well as an Assistant Track & Field and Cross Country Coach at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB).

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HOKA: Who are some women who have inspired you (whether in running or life in general)?
Jenna: The first female I remember idolizing as a child was professional soccer player Brandy Chastain. As a 90s kid, I grew up playing soccer in the wake of the World Cup victory that put U.S. women’s soccer on the map. When my parents showed me the video of Chastain’s World Cup winning goal, I was mesmerized. As she ripped off her shirt and whirled it in the air, I saw a woman taking ownership of her body and athletic ability in front of the world. Chastain was powerful, uninhibited, highly accomplished, and all around badass.

Sport became the vehicle for which I sought after and eventually experienced this empowerment in my own life. Like many young girls, it was instrumental for me to see a female athlete achieving at the highest levels and defying what was deemed acceptable and possible for women.

More recently, a woman I have found much inspiration in is Lindsay Crouse. Crouse is a reporter for the New York Times who spearheaded the opinion pieces featuring athletes like Mary Cain, Allison Felix, and Alysia Montano. These pieces covered issues from body shaming and mental abuse in sport, to female athletes’ lack of pay during pregnancy and maternity leave. Crouse brought national attention to the some of the injustices women often face in sport and how these are indicative of larger cultural problems.

Personally, Crouse gave me and the female athletes I interact with the opportunity to have honest conversations about the issues in our sport that are often considered taboo. The reactions I saw to Crouse’s work, opened my eyes to how predominate these experiences are for women in my sport and emphasizes the need for growth. In my own life, Crouse has inspired me to intimately examine my own philosophy as both a coach and athlete, and the culture that I am cultivating around me as a result of those roles.

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