fitness, health, personal

Crunches or Couchlock: 8 Exercises You Can Do While You Stream and Chill

As I flesh out the final edits of this post, aggressive wind and rain is rattling around my apartment like it was echoing in my own head. I live in Seattle, and as if the city finally figured out fall is on its way, rain and thunder has poured down on us. I struggle with depression and chronic pain, so the change in weather has definitely precipitated a change in mood. Along with being particularly busy with my other jobs, I just couldn’t push myself to get my posts out on time this week.

When it is already dark out by the time you’re finally leaving the office, it becomes increasingly difficult to motivate yourself to do anything besides crawl into bed when you get home. Even if your preferred physical activity is running or hiking, a constant chill or bouts of rain can be a real bummer factor for your workout. For even the biggest yogis and weight lifters among us, sometimes the absolute last thing you want to do is exercise after a long day at the office without a glimpse of sunlight.

Like a lot of us, I go through phases of activity levels. Some seasons I spend a lot of time going to group fitness classes, using the challenge of accountability and our human nature to avoid embarrassing ourselves in public to push hard. During times of stress, I tend to lean in one of two directions: cardio-heavy HIIT meant to burn off anger and anxieties, or several sessions of yoga a week to release the knots of tension I’ve been accumulating. Lately, my life has been in state of transition, so my workouts have fluctuated accordingly. I’ve been dog-walking as a side gig and trying new classes as they fit in my schedule, but mostly I’ve been taking advantage of the low-cost (free!) of YouTube to fit workouts in whenever I can.

I am an eternal believer in “something is better than nothing.” Ten minutes of stretching is better than not taking care of my muscles – which do work regardless of whether I’m doing a “workout” or not! – at all. A ten minute HIIT makes me stronger than if I hadn’t done one at all. I have discovered that for my mental health hygiene, I need to exercise regularly. One short workout makes me feel more accomplished and inspired than if I had only watched people play The Sims on YouTube instead (another thing I definitely  do anyway).

I mentioned in my last post that there is pretty much one thing besides Halloween costumes and hoards of pies that get me through the doldrums of fall: television.

That’s why my one goal today as a Relatable Person is to show you that you can definitely get in a little bit of physical activity without sacrificing one minute of that sweet, sweet fall television primetime. I present 3 different workouts to pair with my favorite returning television shows this season – it’s like a drinking game, but with burpees instead of beers! These are all body weight based, so all you need is yourself, your living room, and a streaming service.

As always, consult with an expert before trying any new physical activity. I am not a certified fitness trainer, just an enthusiast. Warm-up and cool down every time you do a workout!

The Masked Singer
September 25, 8pm, NBC


This reality show was the runaway hit in our household this past winter. Neither my husband nor I typically follow any kind of reality show that isn’t on the Food Network or hosted by Nicole Byer, but this show hooked us. From collectively guessing most of the Masked Singers’ identities between us and making snide comments about Jenny McCarthy’s apparent inability to know even her own husband well enough, things got heated.

Tabata-Style: 2 exercises per set, 4 sets per round/song; 20 sec on, 10 sec off (03:50 each, 11:30 total)

Song #1 – Upper Bod
Plank Up-Downs + Tuck Jump Push-ups

Song #2 – Lower Bod
Jump Lunges to Squat + Skater Jumps

Song #3 – Core
Mountain Climbers + Butterfly Bicycle Crunches

Here’s a fun to challenge to add if you’re watching with friends, or even by yourself! Pick a Masked Singer to be voted off – if they stay, 20 burpees for you!

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
September 25th, 10pm, FXX


Sunny‘s 14th (FOURTEENTH!!) season drops this month. This is a show that has been on so long it has its own mythology. As a viewer, it may take an acquired taste to like these awful people precisely for being so damned awful. Once you’re hooked, though, these characters feel almost like your own deplorable extended family.

Drinking-Game Style: Complete each set for each instance in an episode.

The Gang Calls Dee an Insult: 10 jump squats (15 if they call her a bird!)
The Gang Gives Charlie “Charlie Work”: 10 push ups
The Gang Asks Frank For Money: 20 toe-touch crunches
The Gang Uses the D.E.N.N.I.S. System (i.e. attempts to pick-up a woman): 10 side plank hip-dips (each side)
The Gang Doubts Mac (i.e. refuses to believe he can scale a building, take on an attacker, conduct an “ocular patdown” etc.): 20 sec high knees

The Good Place
September 26th, 9pm, NBC


This show is comedic gold, a fascinating psychological experiment, and a (excuse my language) total mindfuck. I won’t spoil the eventual reveal that really serves as the foundation for the ethical dilemmas presented by this show, but it is worth a full watch through. This show is truly the poster-child for what I call “comfort food” shows – heartfelt substance with enough biting humor to cut the sweetness.

HIIT -style: 4 sets of 6 exercises; 50 seconds on, 10 secs off, 1 minute between sets (26:20 total)

1. Eleanor’s Flying Shrimp (Down Dog to plank, right knee to right elbow, left knee to left elbow, back to Down Dog)
2. Chidi’s Panic Plunges (tricep dips on a bench, chair, etc.)
3. Tahani’s Curtsies (curtsy lunge to leg abduction, 30 sec each side)
4. Jason’s Football Shuffle (football runs, or “hot feet,” from one side of the mat to the other)
5. Janet’s Jump Into the Void (star jumps)
6. Michael’s Tour Around the Neighborhood (around-the-world lunges: front lunge to side lunge to back lunge, alternating sides)

I hope you were entertained by the idea of doing a physical activity while binge-watching, if not enjoyed doing them yourself! For even more TV-friendly workouts, check out some of my picks to enjoy during any of your favorite shows from the YouTube channels below.

Movie Night Total Body Workout by Tone It Up

The Best Work Out for Watching TV! by Blogilates

10 Min Perfect Full Body Workout by Koboko Fitness

10-Minute TV Time Couch Workout by POPSUGAR

Quiet + Quick Seated Cardio HIIT by Pahla B Fitness


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