Workout Plans COVID-19

8 Tips for Transitioning Back to At-Home Workouts During the Pandemic

Dana Bender
Dana Bender
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With COVID-19 numbers rising exponentially across the country, many avid fitness center enthusiasts might be concerned that their local fitness center will close again due to safety precautions and local regulatory guidelines.

These individuals might have just returned to a consistent fitness center routine, having adjusted to wearing a mask while working out while at their health club, and are not looking forward to a second disruption to their program.

Although a second fitness center closure may or may not happen, it helps to prepare for either outcome. This preparation can help ensure that there are no gaps in exercise consistency with individuals still being able to achieve their fitness performance and health goals.

See the NASM Course on COVID Management for more great tips. 

Pivoting in the pandemic

At the onset of the pandemic, fitness center enthusiasts quickly pivoted and transitioned their regular gym routines to in-home routines out of necessity. These individuals committed to what was possible based on their in-home equipment and space.

Many overcame this challenge and successfully transitioned their workout program to an in-home program. This step might not have been easy for many individuals, and the thought of having to go through it again might be worrisome for them. Additionally, transitioning a second time may affect personal motivation, commitment, and consistency, depending on the person.

During the initial closure, many individuals were able to replace their fitness center routines with outdoor fitness and wellness activities, with spring giving way to summer.

Unfortunately, this option would not be available for many (depending on where they reside) during the second round of closures. For individuals living in a climate with cooler weather this time of the year, the option to transition exercise programs to the outdoors might not be available late fall into winter. For those living in a warmer climate, the information included below can still be applied, but can be done alongside other outdoor activities such as walks, runs, and bike rides.

Since the pandemic is still a significant health concern, fitness center enthusiasts must be prepared if fitness centers close again due to local guidelines. The key to effective preparation is to create a plan that one will use just in case. Planning and preparing are crucial to ensuring that there are no gaps in efforts towards personal fitness goals.

Listed below are tips from a fitness professional on how to restart an in-home exercise program if fitness centers close for a second round. These tips are designed to help make the potential second closure just as successful as the first while keeping motivation levels high and consistency on par or above than before.

#1 Reflect

First and foremost, it is essential to reflect on what you did when fitness centers closed back in March.

During the reflection, it is vital to ask the following questions: “What worked well when I followed the in-home program last time?” “What part of the in-home program did not go as well as you had hoped?" and “What could you change to be more successful?”

#2 Start Planning

After reflecting on what went well, plan and commit to restarting what was most successful. This provides a starting baseline to measure your progress against. Revise what did not work in the first round and add that change to your in-home workout plan. This can take several forms.

For example, you might realize that doing cardio every day was not productive, so you may decide to reduce the number of days in a week when you do cardio to ensure you are more successful in staying consistent with your program.

Another example could be changing your strength training routine; instead of two to three full-body workouts each week, perhaps commit to a push day, pull day, and core day. Whichever plan you decide, write it down to have the information organized just in case you need it.

#3 Include What You Enjoy

As stated above, it is important to set a plan that accentuates what worked well. Similarly, it is also essential to make sure the program incorporates activities you enjoy as well. This will make a difference in how active an individual is in-home and will likely result in a more successful implementation with long-term consistency.

#4 Consider New Equipment Options

If during the initial fitness center closure, you mostly used resistance bands or dumbbells, consider purchasing new equipment that makes you excited to work out in-home. Consider purchasing a kettlebell, TRX suspension trainer, or body bars if you do not have them already.

Another option is getting a door anchor for your resistance bands that help replicate fitness center cable machines. In addition to purchasing equipment, another option is to utilize items you have within the home that you might not have taken advantage of last time.

For example, use a chair in your house to do split-squats or elevated glute-bridges, and/ or use a couch for tricep-dips.

#5 Try a New Format or App

Another way to be successful is to try a new exercise format or app. Have you always wanted to try a specific exercise format but have not yet done so? Perhaps that format is Pilates, yoga, Zumba, Strong Nation, or HIIT? The great thing about working out in-home is that you can try something new virtually with less stress of comparing oneself to those at a more advanced level.

Additionally, consider trying a new on-demand app solution such as the Peloton app (which you can download and pay for regardless of owning a Peloton bike or treadmill). Finally, there is always the option to try a new format with a free class on YouTube or Facebook Live.

For virtual coaches or personal trainers who want to give their clients a convenient learning platform, try the NASM EDGE personal trainer app

#6 Consider the Space

If having limited space to work out in was a barrier the last time, consider a way to change the in-home workout environment. Could you move a piece of furniture to give yourself more space to move?

Are there any spaces you have not yet considered in your home? If neither of these options is possible, pick exercises and movements that work best for your space, so you still maximize the workout benefits.

#7 Elicit Social Support

If fitness centers close a second time, it might help elicit your social network (for example, family and friends) to commit to a virtual workout program. This could make the experience unique and motivating this second time around. For example, choose a workout class that you will do weekly or biweekly with your spouse or friend virtually to help to honor your commitment.

#8 Appreciate Your Efforts

The pandemic has affected many individuals’ routines. However, it is essential to note that it is not under anyone’s control. The most important tip is to do the best you can to maximize your fitness efforts within a home environment and appreciate your own efforts along the way.

Practicing gratitude and self-appreciation on what you do accomplish in an in-home exercise program can help sustain motivation, build consistency, and lead to success.

Overall, having fitness centers closed a second time around is not an ideal situation. Still, it is best to be prepared in the event it does occur so that our fitness goals continue to be met through adaptable consistency in our efforts.

The Author

Dana Bender

Dana Bender

Dana Bender, MS, NBC-HWC, ACSM, E-RYT. Dana works as a Wellness Strategy Manager with Vitality and has 15+ years experience in onsite fitness and wellness management. Dana is also a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, an Adjunct Professor with Rowan University, an E-RYT 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher, AFAA Group Exercise Instructor, ACSM Exercise Physiologist, and ACE Personal Trainer. Learn more about Dana at


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