With the spread of COVID-19, many of us are working—and working out—from home. It's crucial that we safeguard each other's health and well-being during the coronavirus pandemic, but staying home doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your fitness goals.
With the right information, preparation, at-home workouts, and nutrition know-how, you can practice proper social distancing and make great progress from the comfort of home.
To that end, we've assembled this complete at-home fitness guide to put everything you need to stay safe and get fit directly at your fingertips—even during the challenging time of COVID-19.
If you're used to training in a gym, the prospect of working out at home can seem a little daunting. When you're accustomed to using a wide variety of machines and equipment, a more limited setup may initially feel restrictive. Once you get started, however, you'll quickly discover that training at home is accessible, easily customizable, and highly effective.
Home Gym Workouts
If you have a well-equipped home gym, we have several plans you can quickly pick up and even customize to your needs. Since it's unclear how long gyms may be closed and most of us will be training from home, you may want to adopt a longer 12-week training plan to remove the guesswork for the next several months.
- Your 4-Week Summer Shred
- Ultimate 4-Week Training Plan for Muscle Growth
- 12-Week Challenge for a Successful Shred
Minimal to No-Equipment Workouts
No home gym? No worries! We have plenty of at-home workouts to make the transition easy. In fact, we're posting free home workouts on our Cellucor and C4Energy Instagram pages from our team and community members, like this Tabata-inspired scorcher featuring goblet squats and mountain climbers. (Be warned: Tabata workouts look simple, but they get difficult quickly if you're going all-out.)
Follow each of our IG pages for ongoing workout content and inspiration, both in the main feeds and our stories. As a bonus, tag your own workouts with #C4AtHome for a chance to contribute your sweat sessions to the growing library.
We also have pro workouts from our athletes, like this do-anywhere HIIT workout from celebrity trainer Ron "Boss" Everline, which makes for a great solution when you need a bodyweight workout to incinerate calories quickly.
This full-body workout from fit phenom Demi Bagby is equally intense, if not more so, and will challenge your energy systems, mobility, and bodyweight strength.
And this bodyweight workout from Scott Mathison that will build your chest, shoulders, and triceps. The best part? You can bust it out anywhere!
If you do happen to have a barbell at home, check out our "Ultimate HIIT Barbell Workout" for a great high-intensity challenge. You'll develop your work capacity, energy systems, overall performance, and torch no small number of calories.
While achieving a solid muscle-building stimulus is a little more difficult without a home gym since you can't replicate every exercise or precisely adjust the load, remember that you can still use common household objects (gallon jugs, five-gallon jugs, bags of dog food, and more) in place of traditional weights. You might have to up the overall volume, or the number of reps and sets, to achieve a similar training effect as your standard dumbbell hypertrophy workout, but you can still push yourself and challenge your fitness level in unique ways.
"Odd objects," or things like sandbags and large bags of dog food, provide a particularly good challenge to your stabilizer muscles and core because the load shifts as you carry it. Farmer's carries, squats, cleans, and loaded sprints gain an extra level of pain with a sandbag, and spending 15-20 minutes with one or a string of those movements can quickly deliver a brutally simple conditioning workout.
Effective Training Templates
With the right training template, it's easy to quickly program a wide array of workouts. Just by using the following two training styles, you can build a nearly endless list of conditioning workouts.
Tabata Training: Tabata is a style of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, that alternates 20 seconds of work with 10 seconds of rest for a total of four minutes. You do 20 seconds on, take 10 seconds off, and repeat until you hit four minutes (for a total of eight 30-second rounds). That's it!
Because of the short duration, Tabata is best done all-out with compound or full-body movements. You can go for broke with a single movement, which we'd recommend to start, or alternate movements to string together a more dynamic workout.
Effective moves to try include:
- Bodyweight squats
- Jump squats
- High knees
- Kettlebell swings
- Goblet squats
- Mountain climbers
- Assault bike (if you have one and feel brave)
EMOM Workouts: Keep your at-home training from getting stale with an EMOM workout. EMOM stands for "Every Minute on the Minute." You choose an exercise to complete every minute for a certain number of reps. When the reps are done, you rest until the next minute hits, and then repeat!
You can use the same exercise or alternate exercises to string together a complete workout. Depending on how much equipment you have and the training effect you want to achieve, great at-home exercise choices include:
- Bodyweight squats
- Jump squats
- Jumping Jacks
- Kettlebell swings
- Jump rope
Don't Forget About "NEAT"
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, is basically the energy you expend (i.e., calories you burn) for everything that isn't directly related to exercise and sport. Since you may be sitting more often than usual while working from home, remember to keep your NEAT high by implementing these easy tips:
- Stand up from your desk at least every hour. Good for your posture, joints, and mobility.
- Work at a standing desk or at a countertop.
- Take a 10-min walk for every 1-2 hours of work.
- Use a tracker to set a daily step and move goal. Even if you can't train as intensely in short bursts as you once did, you can rack up a lot of calories and movement distributed throughout the course of your day.
- Walk or stretch while on conference calls.
- Go outside for a short walk as often as you can. Not only is this beneficial for your activity levels, but it's great for mental clarity and productivity.
Don't forget to laugh! Uproarious laughter burns calories, but most importantly, it has tremendous benefits on your mood and outlook.
Support Good Posture
Working at a desk all day, whether at home or otherwise, can take a significant toll on your posture, which impacts your entire physical performance and overall kinetic chain. If you're in front of a screen all day, it's likely that you have slumped shoulders and something called "forward head posture." Use these three easy exercises to support your shoulder and postural health. Taking good care of yourself every day will pay major dividends now and when you're back in the gym.
While workouts tend to take the spotlight when it comes to at-home fitness, nutrition is equally critical. Training and nutrition work together to produce the desired fitness effect. Whether you want to burn fat, build muscle, support your overall health, or increase a specific measure of performance, you need to put the right fuel in your body. Let's take it step by step.
- Calculate Your Calories: Before we dive into what you can eat, it's important to cover how much. Do you know how many daily calories you really need to support your fitness goals? If not, or if it's time to update based on your new weight or activity level, use this calorie and macro calculator to get your calorie goals sorted.
- Research What to Eat: If you already have your diet squared away, you can likely skip this step. However, if you're trying to determine what to eat and what diet to follow, we have solid info to assist. For more details on meal composition and what to eat throughout the day, learn how to "fuel the burn" with this article on building lean meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you're trying to decide between popular diets or eating styles, check out the following articles:
- Meal Plans vs. Flexible Dieting for Fat Loss
- Pros and Cons of the Paleo Diet
- Pros and Cons of the Ketogenic Diet
Shop and Prep: Our comprehensive guide to meal prep is the next best place to point your nutritional research. It includes meal prep tips and tricks for a variety of different diets, including a solid clean grocery list, which you can use to fuel your goals whether you're shopping in the store or with delivery. (These "meal prep 101" tips are also useful for beginner preppers.
On the grocery front, there are several good online alternatives to shopping in the grocery store. From fresh food delivery to meal prep services, there are multiple ways to get clean eats at home. Check out our recommended list:
- Butcher Box: Fresh meats. Check for shipping times.
- Thrive Market: Organic eats and healthy groceries. Check for shipping times.
- Eat Clean Bro: Clean meals delivered to your door.
- Snap Kitchen: Healthy meal service with multiple options.
- Freshly: Clean meal plans to keep you fueled every week.
- Recipes: Once you know how much to eat, what types of foods you want, and how to get them, it makes sense that you'd want some tasty recipes. Here are a few specifics to get you rolling:
- 3 Tasty No-Bake High-Protein Recipes
- 2 Easy Weeknight Low-Calorie Recipes
- 2 Ketogenic Salad Recipes
Low-Carb Baked Corn Dogs
We also recommend checking out the numerous high-quality protein recipes over at the officialxtend.com blog. You'll find the most incredible selection of protein-rich treats. Yes, they look like cheats, but they're guilt-free and made to fuel your goals.
- Hydrate: Last but certainly not least, it's critically important to stay hydrated! Adequate hydration is essential to physical performance and a significant number of bodily processes (learn more in "Hydration 101"), so it should never be left out of your nutrition strategy. If you're unsure how much water to drink throughout the day, check out this video on water intake from Ron "Boss" Everline.
When it comes to getting fit, at home or otherwise, supplements are the third leg of the stool. Training and nutrition come first, followed by a smart supplementation strategy designed to help fuel your goals. Even during the challenging times of COVID-19, we remain open 24/7 online and committed to exceptional customer service and top-notch delivery.
Check out our full range of sports nutrition supplements—including amino acids to help support recovery, whey protein to support muscle growth and repair, testosterone-support products, our complete C4 pre-workout family, and more—to help fuel your at-home workouts and stay on track.
We also have carbonated performance energy drinks to help you unlock superhuman performance at home. Whether you need a case of C4 Energy to conquer your workday or crush your next workout, or C4 Smart Energy to fuel your mental performance, we have you covered.
SPECIAL OFFER: To help you stay fueled and fit at home, try a variety 6-pack of C4 for only $6 for a limited time only!
Additionally, should you have any questions whatsoever about our products or your particular order, don't hesitate to contact us via email, phone, or online chat. We have your back and we're here to help.
Additional Education and Entertainment
Mental health, training, and well-being is an important part of holistic fitness. To help you keep your mind sharp and motivated, check out this compendium of excellent content from our pro contributors.
- Boss Talk: Spend some quality time with pro trainer and Cellucor athlete Ron "Boss" Everline as he discusses a wide range of important fitness topics. Begin your training with episode one, which covers why to take a pre-workout.
- Mental Training with Graham Betchart: Graham Betchart is an elite mental skills coach who has worked with numerous pro athletes. Dive into episode one whenever you need to sharpen your mental edge and boost your motivation.
- On the Go with Ron "Boss" Everline: This three-episode series pits Boss against new fitness challenges including MMA and a punishing firefighter fitness competition.
- C4 Energy YouTube: Check out our full C4 Energy YouTube channel for a variety of inspirational videos, athlete series, product education, and some deep insight into how seriously we take product tasting days at headquarters.
- Additional articles: The C4 Energy Blog is full of additional content that covers the full gamut of fitness, including great articles on building muscle, burning fat, nutritional topics like carb cycling, and so much more.