It's February, and your resolution to hit the gym five days a week or get out for a run every morning has been stymied by the fact that it is cold AF outside and frankly, your apartment (and warm bed) seems like a much better place to be. Fair enough—but just because you're snowbound doesn't mean you can't squeeze in a workout, even in your studio apartment that's devoid of any fitness gear. Put on those gym shorts, and pick one of the following workouts.
Get limber with a few yoga sun salutations: Stand up straight and tall, lift your arms to the sky, then hinge at the hips into a forward fold. Bend your knees to get your hands to the ground, then walk your feet back into a plank before slowly lowering to the ground. Do a baby cobra by setting your hands far and wide in front of you and lifting your chest. Slowly lower back down to the ground and reset your hands by your chest before pushing back up into a plank and walking your feet back up to meet your hands. Repeat three or four times.
Then, jump into this circuit for four sets, pausing for 10 to 30 seconds between each exercise, and for two minutes between sets.
(Pro tip: Use a free app like Intervals to set your phone to beep every 30 seconds, alerting you to when you're done.)
•30 seconds: Walking lunges around your apartment, holding gallon jugs if you have them, but unweighted is fine too. Focus on making sure your front knee doesn't come forward over your toes, you're aiming for a 90-degree angle there.
•30 seconds: Push-ups (using this article to pick your push-up style if you can't do a full push-up… Avoid the knee push-ups at all costs!)
•30 seconds: Squat with a gallon jug. Who needs kettlebells when you're well-hydrated? If you have a gallon jug in the fridge, use this. If you don't, you can make things even more challenging by filling a bucket or pot with water and being ~very~ careful to avoid spillage. (This will actually end up helping you maintain proper posture while squatting!)
•30 seconds: Air-punching. Boxing is super-trendy right now, and you can take out some aggression by doing some shadow-boxing, punching the air in front of you with serious energy, for 30 seconds. This is going to boost your heart rate a bit, to give this set a high-intensity segment.
•30 seconds: Clamshells. This Pilates staple, done lying on your side with your legs bent at the knees, starting together, and lifting the top leg at the knee, works your hip adductors and abductors. (Tutorial here.)
•30 seconds: Bridges. If you've been to a yoga class, you're likely familiar with bridge pose. But instead of holding it, this time, you're going to slowly lift to the full bridge, then slowly lower to the ground and repeat. The way down should feel just as hard as the way up! (Tutorial here.)
•30 seconds: Plank. Yeah, this one is no fun, but it's a classic core strengthener! For added challenge, alternate lifting one arm, or one foot, off the ground while maintaining a strong core—try not to let your butt start sagging.
That membership at the studio down the road doesn't mean shit if you don't actually go to classes. Good news, though: You don't need a yoga mat, block, or strap to be a stay-at-home yogi. Just a you-shaped spot on the floor where you can fully stretch out, so push your coffee table out of the way and salute the sun even when it's hidden behind very gloomy skies. There are thousands of great yoga videos available for free on YouTube, and even more if you're willing to pay $18 monthly for Glo, which is essentially the Netflix of yoga. For free, well-done video workouts, though, I'm a huge fan of Tara Stiles, founder of Strala Yoga. Her no-BS videos range from five to 30 minutes of flows that can relax you or make you sweat like crazy, depending on which ones you choose. (Another great use for these: Pick one of her short flows to do before and after a strength or cardio session to extend your workout and get some flexibility work in at the same time.)
Your ideal weekly workouts should include strength, flexibility, and cardio, but cardio can be the toughest to rally for when you're stuck at home. But it's possible! Thirty minutes of cardio without a treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike? No problem—you'll get sweaty without them. Find a very peppy playlist to get through this tough set, and modify to make it as easy or hard as you need. You can easily slow down each move to make it easier if you're new to working out, or drop the time spent resting between exercises if you need a bit more "oomph" as an already-super-fit badass. Do this circuit, repeated five times, with 15 to 30 seconds between each exercise, and one full minute rest between sets.
•One minute of jumping jacks
•One minute of burpees (need help with a push-up? Start with just doing a plank instead, but read this article to build up your strength!)
•One minute of jumping rope. No jump rope? Just mime using one, circling your wrists and hopping lightly
•One minute of running in place (think high knees, and pump your arms)
•One minute of mountain climbers (hands planted on the ground, bringing one knee into your chest at a time, repeated vigorously)
Okay, this one isn't technically a workout, but if you're waffling between getting out for your run or binge-watching Riverdale on Netflix, compromise with 20 minutes of meditation. Meditation has been shown to boost energy levels, according to one 2017 study, and if that isn't enough, research also shows it can significantly improve attention, creativity, immune function, emotional regulation, self-control, cognitive and school performance, and healthy habits while also reducing stress. So why wouldn't you try it? Use a free app like Oak that offers guided and unguided options, along with white noise options and timers that you can set. Find a comfortable spot, hit "go," and enjoy your 20 minutes of Zen.