When fitness centers across the country closed due to the coronavirus pandemic last year, gym goers had to figure out how to exercise at home with limited space and equipment.
Since March 2020, interest in online alternatives from YouTube videos to Zoom classes has spiked and the at-home workout trend appears here to stay.
From Insanity trainer Shaun T to certified yoga instructor Jessica Richburg, Instagrammers in Arizona have provided free tutorials and practices on their platforms to make exercising accessible during a time when maintaining physical and mental health is more important than ever.
Some of the workouts involve equipment such as dumbbells and resistance bands, while others do not.
Here are eight fitness influencers in Arizona who have made their training available online for free. If you like what you see, you may consider using their paid services and programs.
Baylee Pfister, @Bayleepfitt
Baylee Pfister, the owner of a private training facility in Glendale, can take your leg-day workouts to the next level on her Instagram account, @Bayleepfitt.
One of Pfister’s recent leg-day workout posts involves resistance band squats, step-ups with dumbbells and hip thrusts with dumbbells. It also includes video demonstrations.
Where to find them: https://www.instagram.com/bayleepfitt, https://www.b-pfitt.com.
Deanna and Kurt Mangum, @Coupleyfitt
Phoenix power couple Deanna and Kurt Mangum II “show you how to start feeling better with your partner,” according to their Instagram account, @Coupleyfitt. They share two-person workouts, including one posted on Feb. 10 that uses medicine ball sit-ups, decline pushups and leg-ups.
They also share solo workouts on their individual accounts. Deanna (@deanna.mangum) is a certified nutrition and wellness consultant and Kurt (@kurtmangum2) has a master’s degree in sports science.
Where to find them: https://www.instagram.com/coupleyfitt, https://www.coupleyfit.com.
McCall Tycksen, @Fitnessmccall
Barre instructor McCall Tycksen (@Fitnessmccall) doesn’t want to work out unless she’s “having the time of my life.”
You will find Tycksen dancing in many of her workout videos, some of which can be followed with or without a barre, and incorporate moves such as triceps extensions, kneeling plank toe taps and plié squats.
Where to find them: https://www.instagram.com/fitnessmccall.
Jenna Homsey, @Jennagofigure
Though Jenna Homsey’s expertise is in bodybuilding, she is dedicated to making fitness more accessible and inclusive of mental health, too.
Homsey (@Jennagofigure), who calls herself a “female transformation specialist” and offers online coaching and in-person training, is open about her mental health issues and advocates for resources to be available to people who are struggling.
One of Homsey’s recent Instagram videos is titled “glute torture” and involves lateral squat walks with a resistance band, walking lunges and leg curls.
Where to find them: https://www.instagram.com/jennagofigure, https://gofiguretraining.com.
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Jessica Richburg, @Jessicarichburg
Though Jessica Richburg’s photos that show her in seemingly impossible backbends may be intimidating, her yoga videos are accessible to students of all levels.
The certified yoga instructor posts tips and short videos on her Instagram account, @jessicarichburg, and longer yin yoga, guided meditation and vinyasa sequence videos on her YouTube channel.
Where to find them: https://www.instagram.com/Jessicarichburg, https://jessicarichburgyoga.com, https://www.youtube.com/c/JessicaRichburg.
Coach Pesi will show up in your Instagram feed with a motivational spirit that could inspire you to get off the couch. She captions her Instagram posts on @Lapesi with messages in English and Spanish, such as “Remember: Strength is built in your mind. Not in the gym!”
One of Pesi’s recent videos shows a weighted full-body circuit workout that involves four rounds of exercises such as sumo squats, single-leg pushups and bent-over rows.
Pesi also guides live Zoom classes, some of which are accessible for free.
Where to find them: https://www.instagram.com/lapesi, https://www.empowerbylapesi.com.
Nikky Rivera, @Nikkyrivera
Think you can’t exercise with toilet paper rolls? @Nikkyrivera will prove you wrong.
Rivera’s color-coordinated outfits and equipment give at-home workouts a certain aesthetic appeal. From abdominals to shoulders, Rivera seemingly has an at-home workout sequence for each muscle group.
Where to find them: https://www.instagram.com/nikkyrivera.
Shaun Thompson, @Shaunt
Fitness trainer Shaun T, best known for at-home workout DVDs such as “Focus T25” and “Insanity,” has built a media empire. He hosts his own podcast, “Trust and Believe with Shaun T“; shares short workout videos on his Instagram, @Shaunt, and YouTube channel and counts more than 1 million followers across his social media accounts.
Shaun T is also one of Arizona’s most-followed Instagrammers. In a recent post, he encourages his followers through a seven-minute energy-boosting workout with pushups, pliés and jack feet that aims to beat midday fatigue.
Where to find them: https://www.instagram.com/shaunt, https://www.youtube.com/c/shauntfitness, https://shauntfitness.com.
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How to workout more safely during COVID-19
“Exercising and physical activity are important for physical and mental health,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says — but considering the risk of coronavirus transmission is a priority, too.
If space or equipment to exercise is not accessible and you are considering visiting a gym, consider the CDC’s latest guidelines that state, “COVID-19 has been shown to spread at gyms, fitness classes and studios.”
The CDC published studies in February that contact traced COVID-19 cases to rigorous workout classes at indoor facilities. The agency recommends limiting high-intensity indoor group sessions and wearing a clean mask in the gym.
“If the intensity of the exercise makes it difficult to wear a mask, it is especially important to do that activities outdoors away from others,” according to the CDC.
Exercising outdoors, avoiding bathrooms and locker rooms and doing lower-intensity indoor activities while social distancing and wearing a mask are relatively lower risk alternatives, the CDC says.
Reach the reporter at [email protected] or at 602-444-4968. Follow her on Twitter @kimirobin and Instagram @ReporterKiMi.
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