For most of us, our daily routines have been completely altered in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As college students, our busy days of classes, extracurriculars, internships and jobs have been replaced by remote learning and working. It can be difficult to find structure and stay motivated when the entirety of your daily tasks can be completed on a laptop inside your home. For me, this sudden lack of motivation carried through to my normal workout routine. In the absence of the Simon Recreation Center and my favorite trails in Forest Park, I suddenly had little desire to exercise. But staying healthy—both mentally and physically—is as critical as ever during this stressful and uncertain time. I decided to take advantage of the multitude of free online workout videos. Not only are they a fun way to get your heart rate up, they also allow you to focus all of your attention on the 10-, 30- or 60-minute video, giving your mind a much-needed break. Here are my top five favorite workout videos I’ve tried during quarantine.
Disclaimer: I wish the names of these videos weren’t as calorie-focused, because exercise should be about feeling healthy and strong, not burning calories or trying to look a certain way. Regardless, I still think they’re great workouts, so just disregard the titles!
1. Burn 600 Calories in a 60-Minute Workout with Jeanette Jenkins
As I was mindlessly scrolling through TikTok one evening, I saw a video of someone doing this POPSUGAR Fitness video and subsequently raving about how good of a workout it was. I decided to give it a try the next day, and I wasn’t disappointed. Trainer Jeanette Jenkins is encouraging, enthusiastic and extremely easy to listen to—somehow, she made me feel like she was invested in my personal workout success! After a 10-minute warmup, Jenkins starts with a “Metabolic Boost” circuit designed to get your heart rate up (and it definitely will!). The “Metabolic Boost” section was, in my opinion, the most difficult part of the 60 minutes, so once you’ve completed that, it gets easier! From there, Jenkins moved into a “Cardio Kickbox” section, which made me realize how uncoordinated I was—but from the privacy of my basement, it was a lot of fun and worked a lot of different muscles. The third section was “Butt Blaster,” followed by an ab circuit and then a brief cool down. Each move was well explained and relatively easy to follow along with—and thanks to Jenkins’s energy, the 60 minutes went by surprisingly fast.
2. 45-Minute Calorie Burning Ab-Blast Workout with Jeanette Jenkins
I enjoyed Jeanette Jenkins so much that I decided to try another one of her videos, and once again, she didn’t disappoint. Following a 10-minute warm up, the first section is called “Metabolic Abs Circuit.” It’s designed to raise your heart rate, using movements and exercises targeted towards your core—four exercises, repeated twice. The second section is “Ab Blast,” which consisted of seven different core exercises. They were hard, so I stuck with the modified versions. The third section was “Cardio Sculpt Abs” and mostly focused on the obliques, which I loved. At this point, my body was feeling extremely tired, but Jenkins announced the fourth section, “Power Abs,” with such excitement I couldn’t bring myself to shut off the video. After I sweated my way through the fourth and final section, Jenkins led us through a refreshing cool down.
3. 30-Minute No Equipment Cardio & HIIT Workout
Thirty minutes is the perfect amount of time if you want to raise your heart rate and break a sweat but don’t necessarily want to commit to a longer 45- to 60-minute video. As per any HIIT workout, this one consisted of circuits; in this case, there were three—about 10 minutes each. Each exercise was well explained, easy to follow along with and the ideal mix of fun and challenging.
4. 20-Minute Full Body Workout
This workout consisted of a series of simple exercises that worked all the muscles in my body. The first section was cardio, and the second section consisted of a series of strengthening and toning exercises. The trainer Maddie Lymburner constantly told viewers to pay close attention to form and engage the core—and in doing so, I quickly realized there is a difference between doing half-hearted jumping jacks and jumping jacks that truly target my legs, arms and core. Lymburner was adamant about the fact that simple exercises can be very effective when done properly, which was a helpful reminder not to just go through the movements. She also provided varying options for each exercise, depending on how much you wanted to challenge yourself.
5. Take 10 to Tighten and Tone Your Waist With This Abs and Back Workout
For slower, lazier days when the motivation to exercise is minimal, shorter workout videos are a great way to still get your body moving. This video is only 10 minutes, but it got my heart rate up and left me feeling more refreshed afterwards. After a brief two-minute warmup, trainer Rebecca Louise leads you through a series of low-impact exercises. Each exercise was done only once, which was a nice change from the circuit training of most workout videos.