#TheSelfCareSeries: The Beginner’s Guide to Fitness

So remember when we thought that we would only be quarantined for 2 weeks or so? Me too. Things transitioned into remote schooling and work, malls being closed, indoor dining being put on pause, and most importantly (to some people)- gyms being closed. While some are slowly transitioning into opening back up, while they were closed many of us had to take matters into our own hands and figure out ways to work out without having access to gyms.

Now I haven’t always been big on fitness. While I did spend last summer taking kickboxing classes, the job I started working at didn’t really give the scheduling privileges to continue. I stopped working at that job and a little over a month later- here comes COVID. In the beginning, two of my friends (shoutout Teya and Mercedes) and I decided to do a series of at home workouts, where Mercedes would send a YouTube video of workouts that we’d do for the day. However, scheduling conflicts left things disheveled so we stooped. I then started working out with a friend who lived near me (Hector if you’re reading this ily). He then ended up moving to a different borough, which left myself and these 3 friends to all workout on different schedules. I then had to workout by myself, and let me tell you- it was TERRIFYING.

Here’s what has helped and still helps me- a beginner; workout successfully.

Nike Training Club app is a free app that provides different workouts that you can do inside and outside of the gym. You can not only find certain workouts according to your desired workout and activity level, but there are also Premium workouts that you can do. Some of these workouts are guided by famous athletes. One of my favorite beginning leg day workouts is Christiano Ronaldo’s Quick Hit Lower Body workouts.

Another beneficial app for me is the Activity app. This app works in collaboration with my Apple Watch to count my steps, how many calories I’ve burned, my heart rate, how long I’ve worked out, and more. In addition, you can share activity with friends who also have Apple Watches and use the app. I especially love this because while my friend and Hector and I can’t physically work out together, we can still stay updated on each other’s workout progress.

When it comes to workout necessities, I think anyone interested in working out, especially from outside of the gym should have these 6 items:

  1. Water Bottle: I personally use a Brita filtering water bottle, which was purchased from Target.
  2. Yoga Mat: I workout on an outdoor track and field, and especially on hot days, the turf can get really hot. It also is nice to have something to workout on, so you’re not directly lying or sitting on the ground. The one I currently use was also purchased from Target.
  3. Dumbbells: Arm days are way more fulfilling when you have an extra push, and my dumbbells are mine. While it’s almost impossible to find any nowadays, I purchased the ones I currently have from Target as well.
  4. Jumprope: Not only is jumping rope fun for me, but it’s always a way that I get my blood pumping and keep my body in motion after stretching and before my workout. The rope I currently use is from you guessed it- Target.
  5. Duffel Bag: These are convenient for carrying my equipment for my workouts, but when gyms reopen they’re good for carrying change of clothes, toiletries, etc. I currently use a Nike duffle bag (Aren’t you glad I didn’t say Target?)
  6. Resistance Bands: I was recommended to use resistance bands by Glenny, who I featured on the AsToldByShalayna Instagram. Her fitness tip of the month was to use resistance bands in order to take any workout to the next level. (p.s.: she recommends cloth resistance bands).

All in all, working out can be scary. I didn’t set a specific goal for working out, but regardless I’m proud of the growth. I didn’t aim to necessarily lose weight, however working out has not only helped me stay occupied and it has helped keep my asthma under control. On top of that, working out is FUN.

I’m in no way shape or form a fitness guru, but hopefully talking about my fitness journey inspires others. The good news is gyms are reopening soon, but if you’re not comfortable with going back, the resources I provided can help you too!

* sidenote: if you’re looking for a good stretching playlist or a more upbeat gym playlist, I got you.*

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