In 2020, the world as we knew it changed entirely. The things we could do and the places we could go temporarily closed down so we could all stay safe during a global pandemic. But in the true fashion of human nature, we found ways to keep moving forward! Virtual fitness classes were such a lifesaver - when we couldn't meet in person, we could gather online and get ourselves moving, even from home! Virtual classes are now a part of our regular repertoire at Yvonne's Fitness. If you're new to online classes, or looking to improve your current at-home workouts, here are some tips for virtual fitness!
Get Yourself Online
Let’s get honest for a second - technology can be frustrating. There are always multiple ways to be online and they change or update on a regular basis! Start by finding out which platform (also known as program or application) your instructor is using to run their classes. At Yvonne’s Fitness, we run all of our classes through Zoom. Zoom is free to use and seamless to set up. Once you have an account, you will be able to access all of our class links that are sent to you on a daily or weekly basis! The easiest device to use is a laptop, since it is portable and has a good-sized screen! However, Zoom does work on all other devices.
*An important note: be mindful of updates! Zoom improves its technology on a regular basis, and your computer, iPad, or iPhone should let you know when a new update is available. If you don’t update, Zoom may either run slower or not run at all until you do the update. This may sound frustrating, but remember, the updates exist to improve your online experience!
Set Up Your Space
Some of us have an at-home gym or a room designated to exercise at home, and that’s great! However, a lot of us are accustomed to exercising away from the house, and therefore don’t necessarily have a pre-determined space to stay active at home.
Begin by considering where you have the most space to move around. Is your living room fairly open? Do you have a nice open corner in your basement? No matter which classes you take, whether it’s Zumba (or any of its alternatives), Strong Nation, or Yoga, you need space to move forward and back, side to side, or lay a full length yoga mat on the ground. And it’s more than just floor space! If you have a light fixture overhead, will it be in the way when you throw your hands up in a fit of Zumba joy?
Once you’ve decided on the area that has the most open space for moving every which way, take stock of any items you may need to move. If you’re in your living room, think about moving that coffee table off to the side during classes rather than standing in front of it. If you have kids or pets that leave things lying around, make sure you’ve moved any items off to the side so you don’t step on them during class. Make your safety a priority with every class!
Know Your Space, Know Your Body
We can only do so much to create a perfect makeshift home workout space. Once you’ve found the best spot and made it as roomy as possible, start to think about the best workout practices for your actual body. Most of us are not accustomed to wearing footwear in the house, but this is absolutely essential with most at-home workout classes (Zumba and Strong Nation in particular)! However, if you are on carpeted flooring, having shoes with a strong grip may not be ideal - the carpet will be more likely to catch on the tread of your shoes, making it harder to move and making you more prone to injury. If you are on concrete flooring, perhaps in the basement or the garage, consider purchasing an insole for your shoes if you haven’t already. Insoles will provide extra shock-absorption for higher impact movements, relieving some of the pressure your joints take when you jump up and down throughout a class (and we do love to jump up and down!)
Of course, proper footwear isn't the solution to every home workout problem, so learn to modify your movements! Take the movements down to a lower impact level so that your workouts are both safe and effective.
Optimize Your Virtual Fitness Experience
Now that you’re set up both online and in your physical space at home, you are ready to jump into a class! However, there are some additional steps you can take to enhance your virtual experience, particularly for virtual Zumba classes where optimal audio and video experience are important.
Wi-Fi is an amazing part of our modern technology, but it isn’t perfect. If your space is set up near your internet modem, consider hardwiring your computer right to the box! This helps to eliminate some of the less trustworthy aspects of wifi, such as slow streaming or temporary disconnections that can come from bad weather or too many people online!
If you can’t directly connect to your internet modem, consider asking anyone else in your home to limit their streaming for the hour that you are doing your virtual Zumba class. The more people using the internet in your house, the slower it will run - it can only do so much at one time! Perhaps you can offer your family/housemates a special reward for letting you monopolize the wi-fi for an hour - or better yet, invite them to join you! The more the merrier!
Some additional things to enhance your experience can be connecting to your TV or connecting an external speaker to your device. To connect to your TV requires additional cables and current technology (older laptops and tablets may not have the necessary plug-in ports to make this happen). However, if you are in a room with a larger TV and would prefer a larger viewing screen, do a little research to find which pieces you need to connect your devices and TV. While not at all essential to participating in class from home, it certainly is the next level step to really bringing the party into your home. You can also crank up the volume by plugging into an external speaker! Laptops, tablets and smart phones have limited volume capacities. If you have an auxiliary cord or a bluetooth speaker available, set that up with your device and crank up the music! This is our favourite way to turn our home spaces into real-life dance parties!
Human beings are social creatures, and one of the best parts of Zumba classes is the people you get to move with when you show up to an in-person class. The first few online experiences are always new and exciting, but we totally understand that it can start to feel a bit lonely or less engaging to dance alone at home. Don’t let that discourage you! There are ways to stay connected to each other, even online!
We LOVE the Zoom chat function. When we do Livestream classes at Yvonne’s Fitness, your video and audio are off the entire time - it’s set up so that you can’t accidentally turn it on! As a result, though, we start to miss you. But thanks to the love chat function on Zoom, we can still communicate with you, and you with us! You can also communicate with each other! Regardless of whether it’s in a fitness class or not, it is so important for us to stay connected to each other. Open up that Chat Box and get chatting!
Whether you’re a long-time Yvonne’s Fitness participant and already have tons of friends in class, or are a first time participant and don’t yet know anyone, the chat is open to everyone. However, it can also be helpful to get a friend to join you in your virtual Zumba or Yoga classes! Knowing someone else is out there in their own homes moving and shaking along to the same class as you can increase your motivation to keep showing up.
And finally, try holding yourself accountable by sharing selfies on social media and tagging @zumbawithyvonne! This is one of the ways we get to see your face, but it can be equally as helpful during times of dwindling motivation to put it out there that yes, you were there and you worked hard!
Nothing beats an in-person Zumba class. The energy is amazing and it’s so wonderful to simply be together. However, even now that we’re able to resume in-person classes, it is so great to have a virtual option on those days where you either can’t or don’t want to leave the house! If you’re ready to start your virtual workout from home, get in touch with us. We are here to support you right from Zoom sign-up to class interaction. Whether it’s decompressing with Yoga, dancing your worries away with Zumba, or pushing your limits with Strong Nation, we are here to get you moving. “See” you in-class!