Staying fit during COVID-19

A workout plus tips on staying in shape, without a gym, during the pandemic.
Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 8:30 AM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Gyms around Mid-Michigan are taking extra precautions to keep visitors safe, from extra cleanings to keeping machines spread apart. But for those that still feel uncomfortable going into a gym while we’re in this pandemic, ABC12′s Christina Burkhart demonstrates some moves to help you stay fit.

Burkhart met with certified personal trainer Aric Sperling of IMPACTT Fitness who showed her, while practicing social distancing, some moves to help keep you in shape.

“If you’re a little hesitant to get back into the gym through the pandemic, that’s completely understandable, let the fitness come to you,” said Sperling.

You might not want to hit the gym just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work out. Simply use what you have around you.

“All you need is your body weight for resistance,” Sperling said. “So if you have a couch at home, you have a chair at home - I know people that were doing chest presses on the toy box! There’s no excuses.”

Movement is movement, whether it’s 5 minutes or 30.

“You do not need to spend 90 minutes or 60 minutes doing anything,” said Sperling. “Intensity is everything. I’m not disregarding form but any movement is something in the right direction. Go for a 10 minute walk - that is going to yield great success for you, I promise you.”

Start off with some stretching - (1) hug your knee to your chest to warm up the hips and glutes, and get your balance in check.

(2)Follow this by pulling your hips back and reaching down toward your lifted toes, then reach up toward the sky to loosen up your hamstrings and calves.

(3) Then do the Frankenstein, lifting the leg up and reaching toward your toes.

(4) Next bring your heel to your butt, reaching up to alternate. Once you’re warm, move on to the workout!

(5) Begin with push-ups. Make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and push straight up, tucking in your elbows.

“Yes, it’s harder - but it puts the stress where it needs to be, on the triceps and not the shoulder joint,” said Sperling.

This is a common mistake - if your shoulders hurt after push ups or chest presses, bring your elbows in. And a reminder - “a couple days soreness post exercise is completely normal, but if you’re literally having shooting pains through areas it’s something to be concerned for,” said Sperling.

(6) Squats! Use your bench for reference, don’t sit. Put your feet shoulder width apart.

“Toes slightly out - that’s key,” said Sperling. “Think about rotating your knees outward and then pulling your butt back to that bench, just tap lightly, and then push through your heel all the way up.” Initiating with your hips will give you less tension on your knees.

(7) Fire up those abs! Get on the floor or bench, get into a push-up position and bring your knee to the outside, keeping a straight line in your back.

(8) Step ups - stand to the side of the bench and step up.

“This is going to work more of your outer hip,” Sperling said. “Just make sure you keep all of that pressure mid-foot and back as you’re pushing up. Try to keep your shin as straight up and down as you can. That’s going to take the tension off your knee and keep it in your hips.”

(9) Then a take on yoga’s down dog. Using the bench or floor, go from your down dog position to reaching for the opposite foot, taking care to not arch your lower back.

(10) Keep the momentum going! Side squats are up - step to one side, put your hips back and down, then bring your feet back together, alternating sides.

(11) Lastly a single-leg deadlift to work those hamstrings and glutes. Take a soft hinge, staying flat and using your core so that you don’t rotate.

“I want you to think rigid, through your core up to here (points at shoulders), and I just want you to reach, and then come back up, and squeeze your butt together, staying on one leg,” said Sperling.

Remember to take it easy even if you were a gym rat before covid.

“You have to realize that was 7 months ago,” said Sperling. “It’s going to be really easy for people to go overboard and jump right back into that same routine that they were in, but it scares me - they’re going to have a higher risk of injury. So just take the first month or so, three to four weeks to just ease into it. Maybe instead of seven days you do five, maybe instead of five days do three, maybe instead of three you do one.”

With so many of us sitting more for work and school, try to get up every 30 to 60 minutes.

“As everybody’s sitting down, hip flexors are getting tight, the back of your legs, your hamstrings are getting tight, so even if you just take every 30 minutes or so and stretch, move, walk to the kitchen, drink some water, I think you’ll be golden,” said Sperling.

You can do this workout using reps or time, just do what fits you!

Do you have a fitness goal? Aric challenges you to instead make a commitment.

“For me, I’m committed to helping people realize that 99 percent of the battle is here (pointing to head),” said Sperling. “No matter what you want to do, what kind of change you want to achieve, it all starts with your mindset.”

Commit to small changes first. And if you’re having trouble just getting on the 2020 motivation train, Sperling has one word for you - resilient.

“The word resilient came to me because that means really toughening it out and becoming stronger through adversity,” said Sperling. “When we look back at everything we have been through in our small life, and the times that you think - oh, I’m never going to get through it - and you reflect on it, and think- I did! I want everybody to know that you’re going to get through it! We’re all resilient we just have to believe it!”

Sperling can do one-on-one training or something with the whole family. His business is the acronym IMPACTT with two t’s - it stands for Intentionally Motivating, Persevering, And Committing To Training - he believes that if you have a positive mindset, anything is possible, including your fitness goals.

You can contact Sperling at (810)-498-8558 or You can also follow him on instagram here:

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