An at-home workout from the Lila Live Facebook page. (Portland Phoenix/Shannon Bryan)
advertisementSmiley face

When it comes to my home workout routine, I prefer to keep it simple.

I start with one set of arm curls followed by standing in the middle of the living room watching a rerun on “Nova” about the rise of mammals on Earth after an asteroid took out the dinosaurs. Then there’s a set of reverse lunges, starting with the right side, then a break to browse the kitchen cabinets, eat a spoonful of peanut butter and return to watching “Nova” for another four hours.

Workout complete. 

It’s possible my home workout motivation is lacking. I can’t help that “Nova” programming is so compelling or that peanut butter exists. But I can set myself up for better success with a little more structure, ideally in the form of a scheduled class, experienced instructor and the camaraderie of other people who are working out at home at the exact same time. 

This concept isn’t new. Streaming classes – via platforms like Zoom or Facebook Live – have been around for a while. But with fitness studios and gyms across the country smartly closing their doors to slow the spread of coronavirus, the online offerings have gotten decidedly more robust as of late.

Here in Maine, many trainers and instructors are moving their classes online, and students are following. 

Online classes make a whole lot of sense, particularly now when we’re all being mindful of social distancing and limiting our trips out of the house. Starting and keeping a fitness routine is also helpful both for our physical health and mental wellbeing – two things we need to maintain as we weather COVID-19. We’re all about to get stir crazy, and none of us wants to be the neighbor who gets all “Heeeeeere’s Johnny” on our loved ones, and exercise will do us good. 

It’s also one way we can support those local gyms, studios and trainers we love so much (even if we didn’t make it to the gym all that often before). These small businesses are feeling the pinch already; paying for an online class or membership (or keeping a membership we already have) can help them hang in there.

Whatever sort of workout you’re into, you’re likely to find it online. There are yoga and barre classes, dance classes, indoor cycling and strength training (requiring nothing more than a set of dumbbells, which can also be water jugs or soup cans). If you’re in a position to pay for classes or purchase a membership, do it. If you’re hurting financially, too, some studios are generously offering free classes.

Here’s a small sampling from the greater Portland area:

• Train Your Inner Athlete: Classes typically take place at the Westbrook Community Center. In the meantime, TYIA is offering a range of weekly scheduled classes via the Zoom platform, including strength (you need only a set of dumbbells), Pilates, cardio, barre, yoga, and more. The first class is free for new members; $75 for 10-class pass, $59 monthly unlimited. See the full schedule and sign up at www.trainyourinnerathlete.com/fromhome.

• Lila East End Yoga: The studio is at 251 Congress St. in Portland. For the time being, Lila launched a Facebook group called “Lila Live,” where several teachers lead live classes. It’s free to participate, although donations or the purchase of a class pass is appreciated. To find the group, search “Lila Live” on Facebook and ask to join. 

• CrossFit Beacon: Located at 341 Marginal Way in Portland, CrossFit Beacon offers a few options for members and non-members. On their Facebook page, there’s a daily workout post with two versions, one if you have minimal equipment and one if you have none. This is a post with text, not a video, but it’s available to the public. Members get the perk of a streamed workout with an instructor. 

They’re also leading a daily class for members outside at Fox Field on Fox Street. Non-members are welcome as long as they agree to keep their membership at their current gym active or make a purchase at another small business in town. To see the workouts or find out more information go to www.facebook.com/crossfitbeacon/.

• Studio Fit: Studio Fit’s popular classes had been held at Happy Wheels. When the rink closed, they found a new home at Ballroom Dance Portland, 865 Spring St. in Westbrook. Now they’re finding a new home online. There’s a weekly schedule of live classes hosted via the Zoom platform – at least one class every day. Drop-ins are $10. For the full schedule and to register for a class: www.studiofitmaine.com/schedule.

• Jibe Cycling Studio: The Jibe Cycling Studio is at 20 Free St. in Portland. For their online classes, dubbed Jibe at Home, the studio is offering a subscription service with on-demand classes (at least one per day) for $35 a month. Don’t own an indoor bike? You can rent one of theirs and use it until the studio reopens. The cost for a bike and the on-demand classes is $125 a month. Find out more on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jibecycling.

Freelance writer Shannon Bryan lives in South Portland and is the founder of fitmaine.com, where she writes about the coolest ways to be active and get outdoors in Maine.