A Millennial Fitness Trainer’s Tips for Taking Your Pandemic Fitness Habits Back to Your Workplace

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By: Melissa Schenkman, MPH, MSJ

Whoever thought a day would come when the ease of movement itself would no longer be easy?

Well, when gyms and fitness centers closed across the country for months in 2020 that’s exactly what happened. Without access to equipment, group classes for comradery, and the accountability of our personal trainers, the ability to exercise and stay in shape became more complicated than ever before.

And little did we know how much those 10,000 steps per day we could once easily achieve, could really affect our overall fitness and health.

Fitness trainer Brittany Noelle experienced it firsthand. The 32-year-old, personal trainer with almost a decade of experience, works with ladies in Southern California and through a virtual platform to keep them physically fit and inspire confidence in their abilities to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle. Even for her, that inability to get steps in and having to move less while being at home made it harder to maintain her own weight in the pandemic’s first few months.

Brittany Noelle

“When I thought about it, you were no longer going on a quick errand to the mall where you would pick up another 3,000 or 4,000 steps. You were not walking around the grocery store as much or even walking through parking lots. You don’t realize how much those kinds of day-to-day activities really help you with maintaining your metabolism and burning extra calories versus when you’re at home, walking only from your room to the kitchen.”

Fortunately, during the past 18 months we have had the opportunity to develop new exercise routines in our homes—sometimes improvising equipment, especially free weights which were often sold out—and to find new ways to get steps in, including walks exploring our own neighborhoods.

But now as many of us have committed with regularity to new ways of keeping fit, companies are calling people back to the office. So, how do we maintain our fitness routines while facing commutes and in-person meetings again?

Noelle shares her top tips for keeping millennials’ fitness on track:

“Be committed to being adaptable and to the journey.”

For many routine-based people, Noelle finds, you get into a fitness routine and the second the routine changes you don’t know what to do. So, you give up because you don’t know how to adapt. Instead, think about it this way: If during the pandemic, you came up with a really good system for a 20-30-minute workout, but now you have to go back to the office and can’t work out in the same time slot because you won’t be home, just evaluate where in your new daily schedule that 20-30 minutes can now fit. This way you can still get your work out in.

For example, let’s say you know that you will be in the office 9am-5pm on Wednesdays. You know that you are going to have to leave your house by 8am, so consider getting up at 5:30am or 6am to work out because remember that during the pandemic you have felt way more energized and less achy on the days when you worked out. Or, if you’re not a morning person, think about after work. Commit to coming home, eating really quickly, and then working out before bed. There are lots of ways to fit your work out in, you just need to be adaptable.

Rely on the Positives

When you think I can’t workout anymore because I have to work from the office now, write down or reflect on all the positive ways that working out and having this way of eating and moving have affected your life. If you can really hold onto those, it will give you something to rely on. So, when you do return to the office on a hybrid schedule or full time, exercising will be non-negotiable.

Make It Non-negotiable

Finally, instead of making your fitness a negotiable part of your day make it a non-negotiable with yourself! Put work out time on your schedule same as you would for your work time and drive time. Once you figure out when you can work out each day, schedule it like an appointment, same as you set up a meeting. Would you cancel a meeting that you set up for colleagues at work? Not typically.

Stay in the habit of having flexibility and adaptability but also reconnecting with your “why” and actually including that on the scheduled time in your calendar.

All useful advice for millennials transitioning back to the workplace and motivation for those continuing to work from home.

For more tips on how to tackle the health challenges of transitioning back to the office, visit YMyHealth’s Making a Healthy Office Comeback page.

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