How to Gym (without a gym)



UK gyms won’t be opening on July 4th.

The UK entered full lockdown on March 23rd with gyms closing alongside pubs, restaurants and non-essential services. 

After restrictions were eased on May 7th, a Government document revealed that it was likely they’d open alongside other non-essential businesses in the next phase.

UK Active (the industry’s trade body) planned to open several “show-home” gyms to demonstrate how fitness centres could open safely during the pandemic.

Many hoped to see the fitness industry back up and running (pun intended) by early July.

But last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the next set of measures to lift lockdown and whilst that included hairdressers, pubs, cinemas and restaurants, it did not include gyms.

One exception to this was for outdoor gyms which will be allowed to open up. 

It’s easy to be disillusioned by the news but it’s important to remember.

1) You’ve made it this far without a gym. 
2) It looks increasingly likely that gyms will open up again in mid-July, so there shouldn’t be much longer to wait.


Why Aren’t the Gyms Opening?

COVID-19 isn’t spread through sweat.

But gym users could be exposed to infected respiratory droplets either in the air or on surfaces.  Without proper care and due diligence, gyms have the potential to become a hotspot for viral transmission.

We want to see gyms opening up and partly because exercise plays a big role in boosting the immune system.

If you’re waiting for your gym to open, we’ve come up with a few reminders of how you can stay fit until it does. 

Whether you’ve been smashing it since mid-March or you’re just getting motivated, there’s plenty you can do to keep yourself active even when you can’t get to the gym.

  1. With the gyms likely to be open by the end of July, now’s a good time to download a themed or timed fitness challenge.  Setting a short-term goal or objective can be a great way of focusing on a problem area or on something you’re looking to improve. We’ve found the 30-day plank challenge to be a pretty good option as are squat and sit-up challenges.  By the time you hit the last session, you should be back in the gym and back into your routine. 

  2. Gym accessories can offer a tough and satisfying workout without the commitment of bulky machine weights or barbells. Resistance bands are an effective and affordable way to build strength and are easy to store when you’re not using them.  The same goes for skipping ropes, too.  You can burn off more calories by skipping than running and they don’t take up any space in your home, either.  Check out the GymHugz store for gym accessories.

  3. If you’re heading back to the office, use your commute to your advantage: take the stairs at the train station or park your car further away from the entrance.  You’re more likely to sustain a brisk walking pace for longer than a slow jog, so it makes walking a great low-impact option than can get your sweating and increase your heart rate before you’ve even got to your desk. 

    Many of us are guilty of caning it in the gym but being lazy outside of it.  See where you can get the additional kilometres in.

    Walking to a podcast or playlist can help you get back into the habit of workout out by making the effort seem less intensive and making the process enjoyable.

    Borrow a dog if you have to or take your own out.

    If that’s a little bit too soft for you, you can always do a hike or pack a bag with filled water bottles, bricks or weights and take a walk.  You might want to add wrist and ankle weights, too.

    Weights are weights because they’re heavy, so don’t worry if you don’t have an official barbell or dumbbell set: you can use household items or anything heavy.

  4. Lockdown could be the excuse you’ve been looking for to set up your garage gym.

    No one likes seeing membership fees dropping out of their bank account each month so why not build your own at-home gym.  It doesn’t have to be a choice between the gym or home, either, as you can easily use both.

    Home gyms are certainly more convenient than going out to one and with concerns about hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic, you might prefer to clean your own equipment. 

    You can buy barbell sets through GymHugz and build up your plate collection as your strength grows.

  5. Don’t forget you can use your body weight for an effective workout.  There’s a ton of videos and playlists on YouTube demonstrating how to build strength without the need for equipment.  It’s an ideal way of staying in shape without investing in equipment just before the gyms re-open.

  6. Outdoor gyms will be open from July 4th.  If there’s one near you, then remember to pack hand sanitizer and wipes before using it.

  7. We’ve been writing about at-home workouts since the COVID-19 lockdown began with many classes still running online via Instagram, Zoom and other online platforms.  For some people, online workouts can’t take the place of a real-time instructor or physical gym but it’s a handy stop-gap for the time being.

  8. Don’t forget either that you can hire a PT online and do your sessions via Skype.

  9. Check with your employer if they have a cycle-to-work scheme.  Cycling is a superb form of cardio exercise and if there is a program at your place of work, the government will offset a portion of your bike’s cost.

We love the gym, but we’re also loving the way lockdown has made us evaluate what we do when we are there and whether we can replicate that outside.

You might think it’s a hard no.

It’s not always a perfect compromise BUT there are ways of working out now that will see you return triumphantly to the gym (hopefully) in the next few weeks.

And if you’re not confident yet about returning to the gym because of the pandemic, you can always bring some of that equipment into your home.





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