These past few weeks, everyone’s routines have been turned upside down. Gyms and yoga studios have closed their doors and we are left to our own devices at home. If you’re finding it hard to motivate yourself to put on a workout video instead of watching Netflix, you’re not alone! But now more than ever, your physical and mental health need some love. A virtual workout routine with friends is the perfect daily care for your body and mind!
But why include friends?
Isn’t it easier to work out alone? Sharing a workout with other people is a huge motivator. Laughter, friendly competition, and high fives can make any grinding workout a lot of fun. Simply having other people around, sweating alongside you in silence, makes it less tempting to give up. Creating a daily workout routine with friends takes a bit of work to set up, but it’s well worth it! Here’s everything you need to know.
Before you start inviting friends, first decide what routine works for you. Pick a daily time and block it off in your calendar. Make it the same time every day. That way it’s easy to remember and it builds a stronger habit. Keep in mind that a lot of people are working from home nowadays, so if you pick something in the middle of the work day, fewer people will be able to join. Convenient times tend to be the early morning, lunch time, or the evening. The workout can be as long or short as you want, but 30 minutes is a good place to start. Remember that you’re doing this daily, so don’t go too hard at the beginning! You can always adjust.
What kind of exercise?
Next, ask yourself what kind of exercises you want to do, and if they are possible in the space that you have at home. Some great living room-friendly options are yoga, kickboxing, and bootcamp-style bodyweight movements. Try to pick things that don’t require a lot of equipment. For example, not everyone might have a stationery bike. There are a lot of exercises that you can do with just your bodyweight in your living room.
If you don’t want to design the workout routine from scratch, you have many options. Simply Googling “30-minute home workouts” will give you a TON of ideas. The best part is that once you have found your workout friends, they can participate in planning the workouts too. Maybe Mondays are ab days and Fridays are yoga days. You can search online for creative ideas to keep it interesting, like using everyday objects as props. You’d be surprised how many exercises you can do with a can of tomatoes!
But to start, you just need to plan the first couple of workouts that will be used to attract your friends. The easiest way to attract compatible workout buddies is to use social media. You may do your first couple of workouts alone, but if you regularly post them and call on people to join, you will start getting messages in no time! With everyone staying at home these days, you can bet that they are checking social media and craving motivation to get off the couch!
Set your goal
Make sure that it is clear that you want people to join you, and that you consistently post every day on your platform(s) of choice. What you share could be just a photo, a time-lapse video, or you could even go live. Most iPhones and Android phones have a time-lapse video feature somewhere in the extra settings. If you don’t have a selfie stick or tripod, just prop up your phone on a bookshelf, the sofa, or in a pile of pillows on your bed. Before and after selfies are funny and motivational, especially if you work up a good sweat. Whatever you do, make sure to say “Join me tomorrow! Just message me!”
Once people start messaging you, all you have to do is give them a way to join. There are a lot of video conferencing options, and most people are already familiar with them. For free video calls, Google Hangouts can host up to 10 participants, and Skype and Facebook Messenger can host up to 50. Zoom offers up to 100 participants (what a workout party!), but limits the call to 40 minutes for free accounts. WhatsApp can video call with up to 4 people, but is only available on mobile. If possible, you’ll want to use a laptop or desktop monitor and webcam for video calls. It’s hard to see your phone screen when you’re doing jumping jacks or downward dog!
One last thing- make sure you schedule at least 10 extra minutes before and after the actual workout. People will need time to settle in, drink water, and stretch. You’ll probably want time to introduce each other and chat about the day’s events. Think of it as time in the virtual change room to frame your workout. Once you’ve shared a few workouts between each other, you’ll know what to tweak. The timing, the types of exercise, and the video platform are all things that you can change if they’re not working. You’ll know that your virtual workout routine is just right when you and your friends look forward to exercising together every day!
All you need to do to start a virtual workout routine with friends is:
1. Schedule a recurring time in your own calendar.
2. Plan a workout routine, or find one online.
3. Post your first workout on social media to invite your friends.
4. Set up a video call so that your friends can join.
5. Keep posting your workouts and tweaking things until it’s just right!
Breaking a sweat and sharing a smile with others is a guaranteed stress reliever. Just like going to a real-life workout class, doing it with friends makes it way more fun. Plus, you hold each other accountable for showing up! There’s a lot to worry about in the world right now, so the best gift you can give to yourself and your friends is a daily dose of positive energy. Sharing a virtual workout every day will bring your friends closer while keeping a safe distance. Go for it and make the new norm to stay in shape while staying at home!