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All around the world, in millions of houses, billions of long-ignored to-dos are suddenly getting some love now that everyone’s trying to wait out COVID at home.
Those dressers that had been disorganized since they first held your drawers?
Sorted on day two.
The yucky grey glop formerly known as crispy green broccoli lurking in the crisper?
Evicted from its flophouse on the bad side of the fridge.
That cycling class you’d meant to try way back in the days when you could go places and do stuff and the world wasn’t ending?
Wait, you’ve never taken a cycling class?
Seriously? It’s literally never been easier to do from home.
For one thing, it’s literally only been possible for a little while, and there hasn’t been much variety to the offerings. That’s changing now, especially with so many studios starting to offer virtual classes on Mindbody.
Even better, there’s no room full of strangers at home to judge if you fall down your first time up on the bike—just rooms full of (possibly strange, probably bored) family members.
One place where rookie riders can run into difficulty is with the special cleats people wear in spin studios. “If you’ve never used clip-in cleats, it’s great to get comfortable with them at home before trying them in class,” says Libby Acquafresca, an instructor at Cycletribe cycling studio.
If you already have a bike of your own, all you really need to purchase is something called a bike trainer. It holds your bike in place but offers resistance to the rear wheel as if you were riding on the free road.
(If you’ve never played around with a bike trainer, it might be worth setting up a video consultation with your local bike shop. Lots of them are still open, even if it’s only for service calls and contactless sales, like Foothill Cyclery in San Luis Obispo, California.)
Don’t have a bicycle of your own? A smart option is to rent a spin bike locally. Since most spin studios can’t hold classes in person, some are renting out their equipment—an arrangement where everybody wins in the interim until the pandemic passes.
Once you have the equipment you need, the most important thing is to make sure it’s set up the right way.
“Bike setup is key,” says Libby, the Cycletribe instructor. In fact, she says, people riding at home have a certain setup advantage. “A lot of times people don’t show up to class with enough time to set up—or even learn how to setup.”
She recommends new riders “try out different seat and handlebar heights to find their perfect match,” something they can do at their own pace without the pressure of class start time looming. To get the seat dialed in, Libby suggests you “stand next to the seat. Hip height is a good place to start.”
All that’s left at that point is the easiest part: browse virtual cycling classes on Mindbody!
If you try a couple classes that you don’t enjoy, you still have a perfectly good exercise bike. Plus, with everyone adjusting to life with COVID, more and more fitness studios are moving online to stay open. Even if cycling isn’t for you, you’re sure to find something else you love.
You find another healthy hobby you love—AND you return to society with quads and glutes strong enough to crack walnuts.
Not only that, once the world opens up again and you’re able to try out your first live class, you’ll already be a grizzled veteran.
“The experience would be almost the same working out at home,” even if you lose the feeling of being among your teammates,” Libby says. She points out that by starting out at home, you can “work on certain moves we do a lot in class, like tap backs, handlebar presses, and figure 8's.”
Ah, 2020—the year that truly put our sanity to the test. On top of that, something that most people use to navigate through a tough time has essentially been stripped away from us—our normal workout routines. I don’t know about you, but even skipping a week at the gym can send me into a tailspin. But several months of sheltering in place and being forced to adapt to this new normal?
That’s a different story.
While I think we can all say we’re grateful that fitness studios were quick to offer virtual classes when COVID-19 hit—there is something about constantly working out by ourselves that may trigger some of us to hit pause on our workout routines and start turning towards less robust habits. *Reluctantly raises hand*
The other day I came across a stat that really set off some alarms. According to a recent study, Americans are spending an additional two hours each day on their couch since March 2020. As of recently, I can say I’m totally guilty of a little too much R&R. While an evening of Netflix and wine once sounded like heaven on earth for most of us, I think it’s safe to say the repetition of this is starting to get kind of old. Also, Schitt’s Creek is over now, so I really don’t have any excuse to not dedicate my free time to jumping back into my at-home workouts.
I started pondering what made dial back my fitness routine in the first place? Was it a lack of motivation? No, not really. Screen fatigue? I think my Netflix history outlined above would tell you that’s a solid ‘no.’ Then it hit me—the thing that motivated me to stay on top of my fitness goals was being around other people with the same goals. Pre-COVID, going to my favorite spin studio and the local yoga hot spot was how I typically spent my social hour during the workweek. I realized the best way to amp up my at-home workout routine was to re-connect with my workout buddies and start doing virtual classes together to create that sense of community I craved.
If you’re also experiencing some form of live stream lull when it comes to your workouts, then getting a virtual workout buddy may be exactly what you need. Here’s why:
Just like in-person workouts, making plans to sweat it out with one of your friends motivates you to show up and be your best self. According to the Mindbody Wellness Index, 25% of the folks we surveyed said they found it difficult to hold themselves accountable to their workout goals on their own—and an additional 20% of people said a lack of support was responsible for missed workouts.
Everybody enjoys a little friendly competition, right? Maybe you have a friend who is a powerhouse at virtual HIIT—try signing up for a class with them to help you take your workout to a whole new level.
Getting a workout sesh in with a friend is the perfect time to try a new exercise such as virtual yoga or virtual barre. Trying something new can be scary—I get it. But by trying a new type of exercise with a friend, you can both give each other a confidence boost by acting as each other’s personal hype man.
Look, we’re all craving human interaction these days—and I know I’m not the only one who is missing weekly happy hours with friends. Luckily, fitness studios are getting creative with their virtual offerings post-workout, too! When we asked members of our MindbodyOne Community how they are keeping things interesting for their students in the virtual space, they said they are hosting monthly virtual wine dates to share fitness stories and personal victories. Not only do you get to drink wine, but you and your buddy get to meet other like-minded people at the same time.
As 2020 winds down (thank goodness), you have a unique opportunity to reconnect with your friends and take your workout sessions to the next level with a virtual workout buddy. So, why not start now? Book a virtual fitness class and encourage your friends to show up for you and themselves today.