How to Stay Fit at Home to Fight the War on COVID-19

How to Stay Fit at Home to Fight the War on COVID-19

stay fit
© Maria Pinay

Confinement day 18. COVID-19 has declared war on the whole world and one of the things we can do to win is to fight battles in our local trenches.


While watching Prime Minister Edouard Philippe addressing France recently, I realize it doesn’t look like we’ll be crawling out of our bunkers anytime soon. Our tactics of social distancing, working from home, and confinement are showing signs of progress, but they can take a toll on our mind, body, and spirit. I’ve learned that fitness and meditation at home can release our inner tensions and allow us to “keep calm and carry on.” Besides that, it also keeps extra kilos off our bodies gained from all that confinement snacking!

When I first heard the news that my Paris restaurants, bars and cafés were ordered to close, I said to myself, “Phew, at least I’ll be able to go to the gym!” Well, whaddya know, 24 hours later all gyms, stadiums, and sports clubs were ordered to close. I felt annoyed, lost, and helpless.

Author at home determined to stay fit. © Maria Pinay

Body craving for exercise at home

If I had to stay home with my kids and husband for two weeks (or longer), how would I be able to cope without my workout ration? I need exercise in my life for three solid reasons: 1) to stay fit and healthy 2) to relieve pressure and stress 3) to keep the kilos off. How could I fulfill these needs during lockdown?

It was time to be resourceful. I thought fast and envisaged myself taking out my hand weights and setting up a mini gym in my living room with an app on my phone as a guide, or YouTube fitness videos. Et voilà! I had the solution.

Even in lockdown at home, there are lots of fitness instructors able to help you get fit. © Maria Pinay

Invite your instructor into your home

I picked up my smartphone and opened Instagram. My eyes grew wide; my heart exploded when I saw my feed! The coaches I follow on social media who work at different gyms and yoga studios came to my rescue! With their generous hearts, they took it upon themselves to go live on Instagram to lead community fitness and yoga classes from their living rooms for free! Incroyable! All at once, a huge wave of fitness classes, yoga workshops, and meditation sessions started appearing. I was over the moon! In no time, I began to have scheduling problems… it was tough to choose between Yoga, Bootcamp, California Barre, Power Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, and meditation sessions.

I’ve tried a lot of the live Instagram classes the past couple of weeks and found that the coaches offered options for all levels from beginner to advanced. Plus, the classes are in English! I found most classes are offered for free but some freelance and independent coaches leave it up to you to send donations to help them out during “Covid-19 wartime.”

No need for props or large rooms. You can do these exercises in a small space. If you’re doing a yoga class, a non-slip mat is great, but anything to cushion a hard floor works. No worries if you miss a live session, the video stays on the Instagram story for 24 hours so you can watch it later.

© Sara Kurfess/Unsplash

Easy to find and access free classes

To take advantage of these sessions, you first need an Instagram account. Once you have that, you have to decide and select the coaches, gyms, yogis, or yoga studios that you want to follow. Then you tap on their daily “story” (the link at the top of the page) to get the schedule for the week. Once you have the time and day of the class, all you have to do is open Instagram a few minutes before the class starts and wait for the “live” icon to appear in the story bar. Once it appears, you tap on the story, and you’re on with the coach, ready to rock!


My 7 Favorite Instagram Fitness classes:

Most of the coaches, yogis and yoginis listed below all work here in Paris in various gyms and studios. It’s a great way to explore what instructors in the fitness world have to offer.

Here’s the lowdown on the classes I did:

@SashaYogaWellness: Creative, all-level yoga based on alignment, inyengar-inspired vinyasa flow. SashaYogaWellness also has a YouTube channel where you can follow her yoga and meditation videos.

@StephNieman: All-around fitness coach from Barry’s Bootcamp in Paris offering classes 6 days a week. Classes are mostly cardio-based. Steph also offers two types of yoga sessions: power yoga, a fast-paced and intense practice focused on core training, and a soft, slower yoga flow with meditation.

@BarrysFrance: Coaches from Barry’s Bootcamp Paris on Instagram live from their house to yours. It’s serious cardio and muscle strengthening with some tempo exercises in order to stimulate a bit of muscle hypertrophy. Classes focus on either upper body, lower body or abs.

@TrainWithMiki:  Miki is the hunk from Hungary who is super flexible! He adds different elements from functional training and qi gong to the base of traditional yoga. Along with an amazing 50-minute vinyasa flow with upbeat zen music, there’s good eye candy here.

@CaliforniaBarre: Sixty minutes of a mixture of yoga, dance, pilates, fitness and classical dance exercises. Sophia guides you through movements small, but so very effective on muscles that it wakes up your body. You may need a chair for this class.

@JessKingOfficial: Live meditation every night at 21:30. Jess guides you through a 30-minute session to evacuate negative energy and make room for positive vibes. The session also addresses mindfulness, being fully aware of ourselves in the present. This is especially helpful during these times when the future is obscure.

@ModoYogaParis: Various yoga classes during the day and every day in French and English.

What I really appreciated about these live feeds is the sense of community they bring during our confinement period. Even if we are alone in our living rooms working out, others participating in the class send messages of gratitude and encouragement. It’s exactly the positive energy we all need to help us get through these challenging times.

I’m loving this part of my lockdown and find myself doing more physical exercise than before! Without it, I don’t know how I would cope. I am grateful to all the fitness and wellness professionals on Instagram and YouTube for giving us this wonderful gift.

For other great ideas to stimulate your spirits under lockdown, click here for INSPIRELLE’s top picks and here for more events with our partners.

Maria Pinay
Maria Pinay is originally from Chicago where she received a BA in Broadcast News and a minor in French. She left her hometown in 1993 for London to pursue a career in IT Training and Development. During her time in England, she met her French husband Christophe and married in 1997. Maria now lives in Paris with her set of girl/boy twins and a son. The entire family never stops enjoying the beauty and vibe of the city of light. She loves sports, plays tennis, reads, tries to eat healthy and is always on the prowl to try new fitness trends.


  1. Brilliant tips Maria! Thanks for sharing your lockdown experience from your living room in Paris! Feeling inspired to try something out myself… In going to download Instagram now


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