Utah Stories

Working Out At Home During COVID

During quarantine, avid trainers and body builders found themselves without a designated gymnasium. Local personal trainers took innovative approaches to assisting their clients. Many suggest using items found around the house as makeshift workout equipment.


Personal Trainer Brittany Bonya. Photo by Andrew Wankier.

With the Utah economy reopening, many Utahns still fear entering gymnasiums. The fear is not unfounded, as the National Institute of Health’s studies reveal that harmful bacteria thrive on common gym surfaces such as treadmills, yoga mats, and weight machines. COVID-19 has been no exception. 

During quarantine, avid trainers and body builders found themselves without a designated gymnasium. “I’d never worked out anywhere besides a gym, and I don’t have a home gym with weights” says Jordan McKendrick of South Jordan, Utah. “When I tried to find home workout equipment, like weights or body bands, everything was cleaned out, even online.” As a result, home workouts and YouTube workouts skyrocketed in popularity. 

Local personal trainers took innovative approaches to assisting their clients. Brittany Bonyai, of Ogden’s Timeless Fitness, turned to Zoom to guide her clients through their workouts. “At first people were a bit hesitant because they didn’t like being able to see themselves on the Zoom interface. They lacked confidence,” she notes, “but after a few workouts, people really enjoyed it.” 

working out at home

Many of her clients use items found around the house as makeshift workout equipment. “For people who don’t have anything at home,” Bonyai remarks, “we use laundry detergent bottles for arm exercises, or sofas or dining room chairs for tricep dips. I’ve even had clients use paper plates as sliders for mountain climbers or  for ab workouts.” 

Newfound at-home workout enthusiasts agree. “Since I don’t have any weights at home, I’ve held my 30-pound dog to do step-ups on my stairs,” says Andrew Emerson of Salt Lake City.  

Bonyai encourages any additional weight, such as a backpack of books or gallon milk jugs, to use for resistance training. “I’ve even had clients hold liquor bottles for shoulder flys,” she laughs. The University of Utah-educated personal trainer also emphasizes that, when working out at home, she focuses more on time intervals for exercises rather than counting the number of repetitions. Intervals can last vary, usually between 30 and 60 seconds; a 30-40 minute workout is standard. 

To monitor weight gains or losses, Bonyai recommends the home-scale and using a soft tape measure. “You should also try on your pre-quarantine clothes,” she suggests for comparison. 

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Although Utah gyms have started to reopen, capacities are limited, and Bonyai has found that several of her clients prefer the Zoom workouts, noting the alleviation on commute times and less reliance on child-care. “Elderly clients especially still don’t want to return to the gyms,” she says, “but the good thing is that those who have are more germ conscious, cleaning their workout equipment, phones, and earpieces.” 

For those afraid of beginning a new workout regime altogether, daily step tracking can be an effective start for weight loss. “Remember, being active doesn’t have to be a lot of exercise. It’s important to get outside.” Walking and hiking fall within Utah’s social distancing guidelines


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