It’s perfectly okay to worry about gaining weight while staying at home during a pandemic.

Some body image influencers want you to believe that you shouldn’t worry about gaining weight while cooped up in your home during a pandemic.

Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty just because your awareness of potential weight gain has been heightened by “lockdown” orders.

Weight Gain While Staying at Home During a Pandemic

It’s easy to sometimes feel a great loss of control over one’s life when something we can’t even see has taken over the world in the form of a pandemic.

We can’t stomp on it like it’s a spider. We can’t trap it like it’s a mouse. We can’t swat this invisible virus away with a fly swatter or track its movement in the air.

These facts can have many people on edge, reinforcing perhaps a pre-existing feeling of helplessness in their lives.

The two things we CAN control are our eating and exercise habits.

If we allow ourselves to gain excess fat simply because we’re under a directive to stay home, this will compound feelings of powerlessness.

During a time of crisis and uncertainty, you must realize that holding onto good health and fitness is your key to preserving mental health and managing anxiety.

If you allow yourself to gain unhealthy fat weight, this will worsen your already dampened spirits.

A 10 pound weight gain can lead to a 40 pound weight gain before you know it.

Quite frankly, if you’re pissed off at how the world has been running lately, you can reclaim some level of control by sticking to a healthy way of eating and maintaining a home workout regimen.

Some people already have home exercise equipment, but what about those who were caught off guard by the pandemic?

How to Work Out with no Equipment 

If the exercise equipment you want to order is out of stock, here’s how to work out at home and help prevent putting on unwanted weight.

Bodyweight Exercises

Some great exercises are depicted below. If you’re not very fit, you can modify these movements.

Standing Squat

Squat up and down repeatedly and/or hold the squat position. Don’t forget to toss in the squat jumps.


Chair Squat

This is ideal for novice exercisers, but the more experienced can try this with one leg. BruceBlaus/CC



Pushups come in many varieties for all fitness levels. Shutterstock/Alexander_Safonov


Lunge Varieties

If you happen to have dumbbells, lunge and push them overhead. Shutterstock/Paul Aiken


Or hold the dumbbells with straight arms while doing stationary or walking lunges. Shutterstock/Artsplav


Got a tension band? Lunge with a simultaneous shoulder flexion. If you don’t have weights, bodyweight-only lunges can be quite challenging. For example, do alternating jump lunges in place for up to 30 seconds. Shutterstock/OSTILL is Franck Camhi



Dips can also be done on a sturdy chair or piano bench.


Triceps Press

Put that medicine ball to work for presses. Though this is an advanced exercise, novices can place their hands close together on the edge of a countertop and lean into it for presses. Another modification is to press off the ball but with your knees on the floor. You can also hold the top position for 30 seconds for an isometric core exercise.

Do you have a staircase?

• Go up and down, up and down, for 10 or 20 minutes nonstop.

• Fitter people can bunny hop up the steps for interval training.

• You can also go up and down two steps at a time. Go downward backwards one or two steps at a time as well.

• If you have dumbbells, carry these while stepping.

• You can also do step aerobics off the bottom step.

• Push the dumbbells (or a heavy ball if you have one) over your head while doing so.

No staircase? Do you have a step or two leading to your front door? Use that for stepping exercise.

Home Deadlifts and Squats

Stuff a box with weighty items, seal it with strong tape, and lift it repeatedly from the floor (keeping arms straight to mimic a deadlift) using good form.

If you have dumbbells, place them on top for a more challenging workout.

Hold the box at chest level and do squats. You can also simply walk around carrying the box — think of it as an alternative to the farmer’s walk. Holding the box against the torso will work the arms BUT also the core!

Aerobics and Yoga

Trot around your home (include the staircase) while holding light dumbbells or soup cans. Run or jump in place. Throw kicks and punches.

Work on your yoga moves. Or take up yoga for the first time and challenge yourself.

Preventing Weight Gain at Home

If staying at home has you feeling defeated, do not turn to food for comfort. At the same time, do not starve yourself or try any radical diets. Just be sensible.

Do not let a limitation on fresh produce lead you to stuffing yourself with junky non-perishables.

Adopting a “coping” type of eating habit can lead to skipped exercise sessions.

However, if you’ve gone off the wagon as far as eating healthfully, do NOT let this stop you from working out!

While you shouldn’t panic over gaining weight at home, you SHOULD make fitness and weight management a priority rather than neglect them.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 
Top image: Shutterstock/Inspiration GP