Hi friends! I was going to make this blog post into just an Instagram but I figured all of these workouts I’m about to share needed a bit more explanation than just the fact they’ve been on rotation lately. Since I know for the past 11, 12, 100 (it sure feels like) days we’ve all been quarantined inside, we’re still trying our best not to lose our minds during this time. For me, personally, and many of my close friends, working from home is our “normal” everyday situation. When I first left my corporate job, I’d say it took me a solid 3-4 months to get used to setting up my own schedule, fitting in my lunch hour, making sure I got outside at some point and got in a workout. The little things really add up when you’re constantly working from home and it’s even harder when you don’t see civilization for days.
As a homebody, I love staying in, doing my own thing, being alone and having the flexibility of working from home yet even I am going stir crazy with this quarantine. I’ve tried to go for walks outside for movement (pre-pandemic I would go for 4-5 mile walks daily just by going to WeWork, walking to the grocery store, going for daily afternoon walks, etc) but it is absolutely absurd how many people are out on the sidewalks when it’s moderately nice in Chicago. Yesterday I went for a walk and was stunned at how many people (and kids) were still out and about in the park, playing, acting like there isn’t a global pandemic happening right now. It’s hard when you want to go out and breathe fresh air but the entire city is thinking the same thing. You’re torn between wanting to stay safe and wanting to say sane. This “new normal” takes a lot of getting used to but I know one thing that’s been helping and it’s at-home workouts.
Let’s get right into it, shall we? I’ve been an avid workout class goer for over 5 years now and it’s my true motivation. The reason why I don’t belong to a gym or had an at-home routine in the past is simple. I need motivation and I also need a break from my apartment when I’m working inside of it all day, every day. Of course now that things are different, the only option we really have is to workout in our living rooms. While I really miss the community aspect of going to a studio, hot yoga studios and the commute to/from which includes a solid walk most of the time, I’ve been LOVING the options for at-home fitness this month.
So many studios are not only offering free workouts but fitness instructors are as well. I’ve seen everything from Instagram live offerings, apps with free trials (and subscriptions cheaper than a class pack at SoulCycle that’s for sure) and Zoom meetings where you can see everyone on your screen (think a live workout class but via your computer) for a fixed set price ($10-15). Many instructors and studios are offering donation based options but still keeping the classes free, while others are requiring a small fee. I love what these studios/instructors are doing — trying to cultivate a community online, continue to give us the benefits of working out (just from our home) and help our mental sanity. A huge shoutout to all of those continuing to lead workouts, deal with finicky wifi and hustle. Here are my favorites as of now!
My Favorite At Home Workouts:
Studio Three – One of my favorite Chicago based studios and for good reason! All of the instructors are extremely talented, the workouts are physically challenging and they make you feel phenomenal. They’ve been doing 3 workouts a day (Monday through Friday) at 7:30am, 12:00pm and 5:30pm CST. There is usually something cardio, a weight based option (Hi Def, 3×3 or Body Weight circuit) and a yoga flow. I’ve done a few so far and absolutely love it! Each instructor posts a Spotify playlist to the Studio Three Spotify page, too.
Y7 Studio – I always love taking Y7 classes whenever I visit New York and what do you know, they just opened a studio here in Chicago (5 days before closing due to this pandemic, ah!). However, they’re offering 2 classes a week (currently) on their Instagram live FOR FREE and so far I took one last Saturday and last night. Both were amazing — you can hear the music on their end (they also give their playlists to you) very well and the instructors create incredible flows. For those who have never done Y7 before it’s a “flow on your own” kind of structure. They show you what the sequence will be and then let you do it on both sides once through to a specific song with the music very loud. I like to compare it to SoulCycle – dark room, candlelit, heated – but yoga. My hot take/tip: try bumping your heat up in your apartment to 75-80 and get your flow on.
I love supporting local, especially my lovely female friends/entrepreneurs/fitness instructors. I’ve been following all of these women, taking their classes, listening to their cues and how to modify workouts/flows for quite some time and love what they’re bringing to social media right now. Lauren and Mar are both offering sequences DAILY for FREE (donations welcome) and every flow I’ve ever done from them leaves me feeling lighter mentally and physically. I could not recommend more! Rae does 1:1 client coaching, along with owning her own business Ladies Who Lift here in Chicago. Her feed is filled with upper, lower and full body strength-based workouts with PROPER form. Key! Last but not least, one of my favorite humans who basically has saved my life through and through, Justice has been doing 1:1 coaching via FaceTime with clients so you can message her for more information. She’ll also be posting on her feed mobility work, proper form when it comes to certain exercises, what NOT to do (God knows we need that on Instagram these days) and nutrition tidbits.
Yoga With Adriene – If you’re looking for a good stretch, a flow anywhere between 20-45 minutes, a good workout, something uplifting and some good breathwork, check out Adriene’s videos on YouTube. All free and great to stream onto your tv! Her space is so calming and bright too. No music so it can get a bit boring if you’re like me and need music to flow too but I love the availability. She also does 30 day yoga challenges.
ClassPass Live (App) – I’ve been a ClassPass user for a MINUTE and couldn’t rave about it more. Without it, I wouldn’t be going to nearly as many workout classes as I do but it makes it easy to get around the city and try new things. While all in-studio classes are off limits now, they have a huge library of videos ranging in times and include everything from yoga, hiit, cardio and focused strength options. I just did a 30 minute lower body workout this past Monday and I am still sore… I kid you not. The workout was 4 different moves in 4 rounds. Super quick and effective. If you click the link above you can get a free 2 week trial!
Zen Yoga Garage – This is the studio where I did my yoga teacher training last year and I’ve never taken an instructor there that I didn’t love. They’re doing all of their classes that they have in-studio now on Zoom meetings. As far as I know it is usual pricing and typical structure but when you sign up for a class on their site which leads you to MindBody online, you will then get a link into your email for Zoom to take the class a few minutes before it starts. One of my favorite studios in Chicago and I like that they’re giving virtual classes now since I never went nearly enough before (since it’s decently far from my apartment). Pricing: $150 monthly (reoccurring), $25 for a drop-in and first week free.
Peloton (App) – I had heard SO much about Peloton but had no idea until maybe a week ago that they offered so many workouts on their app. It’s so much more than just their cycling and treadmill workouts. The best part is? They have an app on the Amazon Fire TV, haha! I had been struggling with Instagram live workouts since I somehow am incapable of streaming/mirroring them onto my tv so seeing that Peloton has an app for my TV made life so much better. I really like their 20/30 minute strength workouts but they offer yoga (I tried 3 different videos and disliked them all tbh), walking (need to see what this is all about!), cardio (dance options!) and more. My favorite part is you begin with a FREE 90 day trial then it’s only $13 per month. So essentially 30 days of workouts for the price of 1 studio drop-in class? You have me sold.
Melissa Wood Health – I have yet to try this and the following two mentions but have heard wonderful things from friends and fellow bloggers. Melissa’s workouts include a FREE 7 day trial and are only $10 a month or $100 a year after that. She focuses on yoga and low-impact, pilates-based movements.
Obé Fitness – Similar to ClassPass and Peloton, Obé has over 4,000 on demand classes includes SWEAT (cardio-based options like dance and hiit), DEFINE (strength based classes like pilates and barre), and FLOW (yoga and restorative stretching). They sell ankle weights, sliders and resistance bands for select workouts. The fee is $27 per month (cheaper than ONE SoulCycle class and similar to most drop-ins at yoga studios in Chicago) and every account starts with a free trial. I’m hoping to start sometime soon so I’ll let you guys know how it is but your girl can only do so many workouts at once… 🙂
Housework with Sydney Miller (Livestream) – Sydney is such a gem and one of my absolute favorite fitness instructors (she teaches at SoulCycle in NYC), specifically when it comes to cycling. She’s a certified pilates instructor too and created her very own class/brand, Housework, which is pilates set to house music. Does it get any better than that? She also loves Kaskade as much as I do so her classes are always the best, super high energy and make you feel 10/10. You can sign up on her site (linked above) to take her class via live stream for just $13. $2 of that $13 is donated!
Other options: Amber St. Peter for yoga (Limited subscription for live on demand yoga classes for $30 a month), Megan Roup’s Sculpt Society for cardio and dance (includes a 14-day free trial and is $20 per month or $120 per YEAR – includes an app), Barre3 online workouts (I used to do these in college and it’s my favorite barre studio/workout — free 15 day trial), Rubie Canton (Shadowbox Instructor here in Chicago whom I just adore — she does HIIT/boxing style workouts on her Instagram every day!) and Charlee Atkins (all free body weight exercise options and stretches in her Instagram feed).
I hope you guys enjoyed this post and it helped you navigate all of the millions (it seems) of workouts floating around on the internet right now. I also know how it can feel when you see so many people working out and you feel guilty for not doing a single thing or going anywhere but your bed. Trust me, I’m with you. I think in times of stress, worry, anxiety and high emotion, sometimes just making your bed and sitting in it with a cup of coffee is enough. Listening to a Spotify playlist on my couch is sometimes all I need, instead of an intense workout. If you don’t workout for a day, or two, or a month, or more… it is truly no big deal. At the end of the day we’re all trying to stay on top of our mental health and just survive. Whatever that looks like for you, stick to it. We’re always evolving, changing and no two days are the same. Sending good health, light and all the love to you. Thank you for reading, always.