By Ryan Burke

Although no one savors the idea, if you want to exercise in public, you must wear a mask. In addition to being mandated by the state, it is the responsible thing to do during this pandemic. While inconvenient, it is vitally important to remember that the benefits of exercising with a mask far outweigh the consequences of not exercising at all.

Since the pandemic began, One on One has been developing solutions to overcome this roadblock. Consider the following tips to get the most out of your training as we navigate this new reality.

For starters…be positive and simply give it a try! Our experience has been that after a couple of weeks, you get used to wearing a mask. When put into perspective, exercising with a mask is a relatively small inconvenience, especially when compared to not being able to exercise at all. Imagine the change in your perspective if that were the case. You would almost certainly do anything to be able to exercise again. I know I would. The inconvenience of the mask would be the furthest thing from my mind. I’d just be grateful to be able to move again.

Regarding the best type of mask to exercise in, it comes down to personal preference. Most people seem to find the basic blue masks as good as anything else. One client found these nose bridge strips for his masks and swears by them. Experiment with different types and find out what works best for you.

Focus on strength training in the gym. Cardio and HIIT training places a high demand on your cardiorespiratory system, necessitating heavier breathing. Accordingly, do most of your endurance and conditioning training outdoors or at home where you can breathe mask-free. When at the gym, take advantage of the equipment it provides and focus more of your time on strength training. It is just as important as anything else and requires less heavy breathing, making the experience more tolerable.

Invest in your home training experience. If you decide that training at home is going to be your primary fitness strategy, take the necessary steps to ensure success.

Here are our home-training recommendations:

  • Create an open space dedicated for training. Clear out any clutter and create plenty of open space for you to move. This may sound like rudimentary advice, but don’t skip this step if you want to transition seamlessly to an effective home workout experience. Take the time to create a dedicated space for training.
  • Minimum equipment recommendations include a foam roller, resistance tubing and a few sets of dumbbells. Additional equipment to consider are kettlebells, a TRX, a bench, as well as your favorite piece of endurance equipment, such as a bike or elliptical.
  • In regards to your programming, avoid random, “cheap intensity” workouts. Your training sessions must be purposeful and align with your goals and limitations. Additionally, your home exercise experience must be fun and invigorating. It’s difficult to adhere to a program if you’re dreading it. Most active-aging adults need some combination of corrective exercise, resistance training, and endurance training to feel their best!

Here is a sample training session that you can try at home.

Regardless of where or how you choose to train, don’t let wearing a mask become a roadblock. Instead, find solutions that suit your preferences and move you closer to your goals.

Ryan Burke is a Partner and Director of Business Development at One on One. You can contact him at