A virtual workout is a viable option when exercising in person with your workout buddies isn’t possible – whether it’s because of busy work schedules, family responsibilities, or strict quarantine rules like those currently being imposed.
Since working out alone can be not-so motivating at times and downright boring for some, you’ll need to find creative ways to stay connected and active to stay healthy.
From weekly challenges to virtual training apps, here are six ways to set up a virtual workout to stay in touch with your workout buddies. Having virtual support and encouragement will help to boost motivation, have fun, and #StayStrong during those times when exercising solo might seem like your only option.
1. Set Up A virtual Workout via Facetime or Zoom
Since you might not be getting outdoors as much to run or cycle while practicing social distancing during a quarantine, chances are you’re probably working out more in your home or garage.
Instead of feeling like you have to tackle every workout alone when you might be used to group workouts, take advantage of the technology you have to stay connected.
If you already have a dedicated training partner, connect virtually via Facetime, Skype, or Zoom once or twice per week and do a workout together.
Seeing each other getting your sweat on can make you feel a little less alone and motivate you to push harder than you might when no one is watching. Yoga workouts, indoor cycling, and circuit training are all workouts you can do together online.
2. Set a Weekly Challenge
There’s nothing better than a weekly challenge to keep you motivated to workout. For cyclists and runners, it’s also a good way to cross train with activities you might not be as good at.
Here are a few ideas you can use to challenge your friends each week:
- Who can do the most pushups? Challenge yourself and see who in your group can do the most pushups in a week.
- Who can log the most miles? If you and your workout group have a treadmill or an indoor cycling trainer, see who can log the most miles. If you don’t have a power meter to track metrics, you can judge this by the most time spent cycling or running.
- Who can hold the longest plank? This one will take a lot of mental focus, and is a sneaky way to build your core. Try it a few times per day and record your longest plank. Exchange data at the end of the week.
- Who can eat the healthiest? One of the challenges of staying indoors for most of the day is having food around all the time. Use an app like MyFitnessPal to count your calories and keep track of the food you’re eating. Compare with each other and see who was able to eat the healthiest.
- Who can burn the most calories? If you have a fitness tracker, this one will be easy. Do whatever workouts you want, and see who burns the most calories for the whole week.
For anyone who needs extra incentives to win a weekly challenge, agree on a reward for the winner.
3. Start your virtual Workout together
One of the big benefits to having a workout partner is accountability. Unfortunately, you won’t always have someone to come over and knock on your door when you need it. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still hold each other accountable.
Set a time for your virtual workout just as you would for an in-person workout session. Text or call each other when you’re about to begin the workout to let each other know you’re staying on track.
Working out at the same time can also provide a connectedness that can help you push through the grind of daily at-home workouts.
4. Try a Virtual Training App
One of the big advantages of technology is the ability to train on a virtual course while being connected to your friends.
Cycling and running apps like Zwift will allow you to train or race on virtual routes from around the world with varying distances and difficulties. And if you don’t have a dedicated workout partner, you can join in with hundreds of others and ride or run against your peers any time of the day.
Structured workouts with coaches are another benefit of these apps that can help you stay in shape and work towards a specific goal. On days when you’re workout buddies may not be up for a virtual race, you can try live online running and cycling classes from sites like Spinning or Peloton.
5. Follow a Shared virtual Workout Plan
Whether or not you or your workout partners are already on a similar training plan or you just want to create one for the next few weeks while you are forced to stay indoors, a shared workout plan is a great way to stay on track with your fitness.
Either on Zoom or through email, get together with your training partner or group and agree on a virtual workout plan for the next 10 days. Create a shared Google Doc with all of your workouts for each day. When you complete a workout, put an emoji next to it to let your partners know you’ve completed it.
This method will give you the flexibility of working out on your own schedule while still staying connected.
6. Race a Strava Segment
Depending on where you live, you may still be able to get outdoors and exercise while practicing social distancing.
While group rides or runs are probably out of the question, you can still challenge your workout buddies by creating a Strava segment. This will allow you to race a specified distance on the same stretch of road and see who can ride or run it the fastest. Each person can pick a new segment each week, and if you have more than two people in your group you can keep track of a leaderboard to see how everyone stacks up.
Strava segments are a great way to create a fun, competitive environment and continue to push yourself when community endurance events are not an option.
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.