Home Workouts: The New Normal

We are half way through 2020 and who would have thought that our year of 20-20 vision has become a year of a “new normal“. In many ways, big and small, COVID 19 has changed our lifestyles. From the way we buy our food, to how we make a living, to how we strive to stay fit, our modern and fast-paced way of life was unexpectedly brought to a screeching halt.

Many of us now rely on food couriers to get our meals delivered instead of going to the supermarket. Working on a laptop at home has become the new norm for corporate workers, instead of staying in their offices. And for us fitness lovers, it’s clearing out a space at home to workout instead of going to the gym and see our buddies.

From Gym to Home Workouts
Personally, my training didn’t only shift from the gym to my house, my fitness goals also switched from strength training, to something I’d like to call functional endurance training.

Functional endurance is a fitness goal that incorporates compound, multi-planar exercises with cardiovascular exercises done in a circuit style of training. Think of it as moving a weight in all directions for a long period of time. Talk about HIIT and strength training in one workout!

For me, this combination is the best to stay strong, keep a fast metabolism and maintain a high work capacity with minimal to no equipment at home. You simply use your own bodyweight or basic implements such as dumbbells, kettlebells or odd objects for resistance.

When lockdown was announced, I knew I needed to invest in space-saving implements that can both build muscle and endurance. A kettlebell and a pair of dumbbells should do the trick!

Here’s a sample of an easy functional endurance workout you can try. You’ll need a jump rope, an exercise mat, a pair of dumbbells and a kettlebell.

Warm up
3 sets
1 minute Jump Ropes
15/ Side Windmills
12 Pause Bicycle Crunch
8 Pause Kick Throughs
5 Pause Kang Squats

Here’s a video of me doing the warm up.

3 sets
AMRAP 4 minutes
9 Dumbbell Thruster
7 V Ups
3/ side Hang Kettlebell Cleans

*Rest 2 minutes in between sets

Here’s a video of me doing the workout.

On Warming Up
Start off with a minute of Jump Ropes done in a relaxed manner. Follow it up with Bodyweight Windmills to activate shoulder rotation, oblique stability and hamstring flexibility. Next, we use a Paused Bicycle Crunch to prime the core with abdominal contractions and rotations. The added pause gives more time for specific ab muscles to wake up. Lastly, finish up Kick Throughs, a larger, more dynamic movement that primes coordination. The goal in this warm up (and all warm ups) is to slowly increase the heart rate with something easy and low impact. It’s also equally important to use exercises that prepare the primary movements in your main workout. In this case, it’s our legs, shoulders, core and cardiorespiratory system.

The Workout
I wanted a long and sustainable workout that has a higher skill movement built-in. Here, the Dumbbell Thruster and V ups are low skill movements with low rep ranges, allowing you to get them done quickly. The Kettlebell Clean is more complex, requiring good technique. By the time you reach this point, your primary muscles are taxed. This creates scenario where you’d have to focus on moving well under fatigue.

Keeping functional endurance in mind, I challenged my aerobic capacity, muscle endurance and kettlebell skill within a single workout. This combination creates a high intensity interval time domain, a style proven to create an afterburn effect while building muscle.

To learn more about the afterburn effect where you burn fat up to 48 hours after your session, check out my previous article, Cardio: HIIT or LISS for Fat Loss?

Going back to the time domain, it is 3 sets of 4 minute work: 2 minute rest or a 2:1 work to rest ratio. Although this is a ratio for the intermediate to advanced trainee, beginners are welcome to try it out. As long as you use a sustainable pace, you’ll be fine.

Remember to always cool down after you workout. A light stretch is best.

Cool Down
15 breaths on each stretch
Quad Stretch
Butterfly Stretch
Pike Stretch
Shoulders and Triceps
Seal Stretch

Click here to see the stretches in that order.

For more workouts and customized online coaching programs, click here.

A busy district in Macau back in December 2019.

The indefinite quarantine has proven that we can always go back to basics. Sadly, our health systems are getting overwhelmed and our economy is suffering from a potential crash, yet amidst the chaos, tough times have proven once again to be a breeding ground for people to came together and rise above challenges.

COVID 19 may be a novel virus but the global ramifications of a pandemic is nothing new. Nature will keep teaching us the same lesson and history will continue to repeat itself if we don’t realize the essence of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

One of nature’s sweetest gems, the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, Philippines.

Perhaps the things we were looking forward to this year are not all lost. Instead, the pandemic might have actually given us a new perspective and a chance to finally get things right.

“It is through adversity that we most need community.” –Anonymous

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