While gyms and exercise centers have reopened, with the rate of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, many people in the RGV are still opting to stay away. But that doesn’t mean they cannot maintain their level of fitness.
Local personal trainer Nelda Perales says there are exercises relying solely on body weight one can do to work out the same muscles that the heavy, expensive equipment from the gym targets.
“It’s just a matter of being able to get creative,” said Perales, who has been working with her clients via Zoom video conferencing since April. “It’s absolutely possible to keep your muscle.” A few exercises she recommends are planks to work the abdomen, squats, pushups for the chest and triceps, and glute bridges for the hamstrings and glutes.
And to increase the effectiveness of the workouts, she recommends investing in a few pieces of equipment.
“A jump rope is always good to have because it adds that cardio, a set of dumbbells of any weight to start off, and a mat,” Perales said. “Then, there is Youtube, so people can look for classes on yoga, Zumba … pretty much anything you want is out there.”
Perales admits when the pandemic first hit, she was nervous. But she found the adjustment to virtual training to be smooth. Even when things return to “normal” and physical meetups no longer pose a danger, her training will likely remain, in part, online.
“As far as the industry goes, people are already offering online, but this has opened the doors for a lot of us to continue to connect with our clients in different ways,” she said. “So we’re realizing we don’t need the gym to do this and once everything gets better, I’m probably going to do maybe half, if not all of it, online.”
On average, she does strength training with clients four times a week, which she said is enough to “keep fit.”
“We still need to see people sometimes and hear from people and have that person know we’re here for them,” said Perales, explaining that this also allows her to correct her client’s form to avoid injury.
Perales can be reached via her Instagram, @sweatrgv, where she also shares her workouts.
Bad Boys Boxing Club in McAllen has also been providing their clients with workouts to complete from home. While they have reopened and incorporated extra sanitation practices — along with social distancing and limiting the number of people in the building — manager Ashley Tovar says a percentage of the members are still more comfortable working out remotely.
“The biggest challenge is that they can’t have the one-on-one of getting in the ring, but other than that, everything is coming into place and working out well,” she said, adding that boxing entails more than just sparring with a partner.
The exercises are meant to strengthen the core and legs and provide a full-body workout. And the sport has the added benefit of relieving stress and aggression, which Tovar said is one of the primary reasons people get into boxing. Others join for weight loss or self-defense.
As for how the members continue boxing from home, they receive a weekly workout plan set by USA Boxing, which includes instructions for both a warm-up and workout six days of the week. For instance, Monday’s warm-up involves two rounds of jogging in place for one minute, 20 jumping jacks, and 20 high knees. It is then followed by the workout of 15 pushups, 20 mountain climbers, 10 alternating lunges, one minute of jumping rope, 20 bodyweight squats, and 50 toe touches — repeated three times with a one-minute rest between sets.
And for those who want a semblance of group interaction, the gym also offers online classes of cardio kickboxing. All that is required are a jump rope and light dumbbells (or makeshift weights), making the plan easy to follow from anywhere.
“Also, the personal trainers we provide are sending nutritional plans so they can maintain their weight and are not as tired whenever they do return back to the gym,” said Tovar, explaining the plans are devised after taking an in-body analysis of the client, which details their body composition in terms of the amount of fat, lean body mass, minerals, and water.
Though they are making the best out of the situation and providing virtual resources, Tovar said she and the rest of Bad Boys Boxing Club community are looking forward to the day everyone in their roughly 300-person membership returns.
“That’s the main feedback we’ve been getting: how they miss going into the gym and being around everyone’s good energy,” Tovar said. “It’s not just somewhere you come in and get your workout and go. We take care of each other like we’re a family.”