With millions of people returning to the office in this unpredictable pandemic-stricken world, many of us may be losing some of the leisure time that allowed for additional workouts, track runs, and brisk walks in the great outdoors. And, with The New York Times reporting that being locked-down and eating more, while being inactive and binging on Netflix may have resulted in weight gains of 20 pounds or more during the course of a year, never has it been more important to get our fitness goals back on track.

Mike Donavanik, the founder of Sweat Factor, has assembled a team of trainers in the hopes of moving us away from on-demand movies and into on-demand workouts. For those who need to squeeze exercise around busy working schedules, streaming services such as Sweat Factor offer convenience and motivational support. You can give this exclusive workout to try from Sweat Factor team member, Gideon Akande that only requires 20 minutes, a pair of moderate-weight dumbbells, and one heavy dumbbell.

Mike Donavanik of Sweat Factor Teaching a On-Demand Total Body Strength Circuit Workout
Courtesy of Sweat Factor

Now that people’s old office lifestyle may be soon returning, what advice would you give to people who might be tempted to lapse out of exercising?

I think the pandemic has shown people that you don’t need a gym membership to work on your health and fitness, and that you can work out nearly anywhere with minimal, to no equipment. I think as people are heading back to the office, it’s just about reframing your mindset and keeping exercise a priority. Exercising is great for reliving the stress of work, in addition to helping with physical fitness.

What are some of the quickest exercises that people can do?

Pushups, squats, lunges, planks and all their variations, and a ton of abdominal exercises such as burpees. The ones I just listed require very little space and absolutely no equipment or setup time. You could also use a jump rope to bring in more of a cardio component if you like, and again very little space is required.

How can exercise be made fun and suitable for work breaks?

You can try to burn a max number of calories or exercise for a set number of minutes. You could also do AMRAPs (As Many Reps As You Can) or EMOMs (Every Minute On The Minute). These methods can help with accomplishing a lot in a short amount of time.

What are the benefits of on-demand workouts?

On-demand workouts provide structure. It can be daunting to figure out how to program your workout or what to do besides “the basics.” On-demand workouts give you access to great trainers who are experts at their craft. They take away the challenge of designing the workout while making it fun and engaging. They also give you great visuals and cueing on what your form should look like.

Do people need to be of a certain ability to try on-demand or can anyone easily pick it up?

Anyone can use on-demand workouts! Most on-demand platforms know that all ages, abilities, and fitness levels want to participate, so even though a platform may cater to intermediate or advanced exercisers, the modifications and regressions are always shown.

What advice would you give to people who maybe let themselves go a little during the lockdowns?

How do they get back into training? Be kind to yourself. The lockdown was hard on people in a lot of ways: physically, mentally, and of course financially. Cut yourself some slack, be patient and set reasonable expectations.

But when you’re ready to start … just start. It can be daunting to get started again because a lot of self-doubt might be circling in your head, but you just gotta start. Every day is going to get a little easier over time if you stick with the process.

Also, I would say ease into your new fitness regimen, especially if you had previous injuries. If you were inactive, your body is going to need time to ramp back up. You’re not going to be able to immediately jump in to where you were before the lockdowns, so this is where setting reasonable expectations comes in.

What other safety concerns should people have before diving back into training?

The chances are, you’re not going to have the same level of strength, cardio, flexibility and mobility that you had pre-lockdown. You have to recognize that, and respect your body. If you jump right into what you were doing in say, January 2020, you’re probably going to get injured. Your joints, ligaments and muscles need to get reconditioned again.

Jumping back into training like you did in the ‘before times’ will likely result in injury, slowing progress, so take things steady at first and gauge how your body is feeling. You can always progress faster if you’re feeling good, but if you get injured in Week 2, that could set you back from a few days to a few weeks and that would be super demotivating.

How often would you recommend people take the on-demand workouts?

It totally depends on your fitness levels and what else you’re doing. Some people do on-demand workouts every single day instead of owning a gym membership because the on-demand workouts have them covered.

Other people like to lift heavy in the gym, or go for runs outdoors, and then use on-demand workouts as a supplement. Either way, you should try to get some movement in on a daily basis.

Gideon Akande’s 20-Minute Total Body Strength Circuits

This workout is exclusively available to readers of muscleandfitness.com and subscribers to Sweat Factor.

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