One of the big casualties of the pandemic could be gym memberships. This is not so much because it will be hard to keep gym equipment clean, but because millions of us have got used to working out at home or in our local parks for free.
This trend is likely to continue when you consider that some gym memberships cost more than £150 a month and often require an additional joining fee to be paid upfront.
What you save on your monthly fees can be spent on kitting out your home. Which is why sales of at-home gym equipment have soared during lockdown, whether it be a couple of cheap dumbbells to whizzy bikes that are connected to the internet and let you take part in classes, even if you live on the other side of the world.
Do it yourself: A home workout class with Peloton has everything you need
‘Many workouts can be done on the spot, you just need to push aside a sofa or kitchen table to make a bit of space for your mat,’ says Joe Corrie, head trainer, at Core Collective (corecollective.co.uk), which has recently launched an on-demand fitness streaming service, CCTV.
So, here are some suggestions for keeping up a regular routine of daily exercise at home.
Many of us have an internet-connected television, making it easy to turn our living rooms into a gym.
‘Something as simple as a quick 20-minute body weight sweat in front of the TV will do wonders,’ Corrie says.
Along with CCTV from Core Collective, Fiit is a homestreaming service, that aims to become ‘the Netflix of fitness’.
Members are sent a Fiit device in the post that tracks heart rate, reps and calories burned and given access to thousands of classes from strength to cardio ( fiit.tv, from £10/month).
Be ambitious: Many of us have an internet-connected television, making it easy to turn our living rooms into a gym
If you’re missing your Pilates classes, turning a bedroom into a studio is easier than you think — all that’s needed is a mat and a laptop to stream a class.
‘One of the biggest challenges I’m hearing from clients is they miss their routines,’ says Hollie Grant, owner of PilatesPT. ‘It’s so important right now to mimic your usual routine while we are uncertain of how long this situation may last.
‘My busiest classes are first thing in the morning. If you can roll out of bed and have your class ready to go, you’re even more likely to attend.’
For Yogis, it doesn’t get much better than a Yogaline mat, which comes with customised alignment guides.
The mats have markings with the optimum position of the hands and feet in the most common yoga postures, including downward dog and plank position, based on each person’s unique physiology (yogalinemats.com, from £109).
For a workout in a confined space, there are plenty of small kits that will help you build up a sweat.
‘It’s incredible what you can do with what some might deem minimal equipment,’ says Nick Meaney, CEO at W8 GYM.
W8 Gym has recently launched its GYM in a Box which can be used to complete a full-body workout in a 2m x 2m space including resistance bands, dumbbells and a floormat (from £109, w8gym.com).
Go for it: The W8 GYM in a Box has everything you need for a serious workout
For a cheaper kit, Unit Nine has a Sweat Pack that includes skipping rope and sliders among its gear to help you through your workouts (£55, unitnine.eu).
There are some high-tech options, too. JaxJox is a smart kettlebell that you digitally set to a desired weight and as you proceed through your workout, the device automatically adjusts to the best weight (£229, jaxjox.co.uk).
If letting off steam in the ring is more your thing, Hykso’s boxing gloves have trackers which measure your hands’ movement 1,000 times per second to detect the number, the type, and the velocity of all your punches — like a FitBit for boxing (£407, shop. hykso.com).
The whole package
Total room conversions don’t have to cost the earth. Argos has a large selection of bikes (£39.99), treadmills (£99.99) and rowers (£79.99, argos.co.uk).
One way to update a dusty treadmill to gym-quality standard is by adding on the NPE Runn, a speed tracker which lets athletes virtually run along on apps such as Zwift with a community that even includes Olympian Sir Mo Farah (£77, zwift.com).
Meanwhile, if you want a rowing machine that looks good enough to be on display in an expensive gym, check out the Natural Rowing Machine by WaterRower (£999, conranshop.co.uk).
Money no object
For those with no budget restrictions, the ultimate in home fitness is the Peloton bike.
Peloton’s success hinges on its remote spin classes which are filmed from live studios and replicate the experience of being with an instructor and other riders to compete against (from £1,990, onepeloton.co.uk).
The company, which has hordes of celebrity fans including David Beckham and Leonardo DiCaprio, also has an app which allows users to stream cycling, running, strength, HIIT, yoga, and meditation classes (£12.99 a month)
Echelon is the slightly cheaper version of Peloton bike, minus the built-in tablet display at £1,238.99 (echelonfit.uk), while the CAR. O.L. exercise machine claims it gives you the same cardio benefits of a 45-minute jog in less than ten minutes.
It is expensive at £2,995, but then, we’re saving on those gym fees (carolfitai.com).
Or, if you’re wanting a break from reality, then consider the Icaros Home, a high-tech machine that simulates flying through the air by strapping users into a VR gaming system (from £1,800, icaros.com).
What your home really needs is a bistro set
Opinions differ on the roots of the French word ‘bistro’: options include bistrouille (a mix of coffee and cognac) and bistreau (an innkeeper).
Some contend it is a version of the Russian word for ‘quick’: the Cossack troops occupying Paris in 1815 liked speedy service at a bar. These cafe society links are the reason why a pair of outdoor chairs plus a table are called a bistro set.
It may be difficult to catch the waiter’s eye at a bistro in Paris at the moment, but the experience of sitting at a tiny terrace table, engaging in witty chat or staring into a lover’s eyes, can still be enjoyed.
It is the item your home really needs this Bank Holiday to spruce up a balcony or terrace.
Like Paris cafes, bistro sets come at every budget. At B&M, the Sorrento costs £40 (bmstores.co.uk; at Dobbies, the Folding set is £119 (dobbies.com), while the Marks & Spencer Rosedale is £249 (marksand spencer.com).
Prices for the Cox & Cox models (coxandcox.co.uk) start at £250 for the Faro to £495 for the Riviera, pictured.