By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 20, 2020 at 9:02 AM

The coronavirus pandemic has changed our everyday life, but it doesn't need to change who we are. So, in addition to our ongoing coverage of the coronavirus, OnMilwaukee will continue to report on cool, fun, inspiring and strange stories from our city and beyond. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay informed and stay joyful. We're all in this together. #InThisTogetherMKE

Yesterday, it got real.

I can work for home. I have some food. I have some toilet paper.

But yesterday, first they canceled fitness classes and then they shut the gym indefinitely. I, of course, don’t argue that decision, which was surely the right thing to do; I’m wondering what do I do next?

While I’m surely not the picture of a gym rat, for the past five years, I’ve been working hard to keep to a strict running and gym routine so that I could get in at least OK shape and battle the tick-tock of time to stay that way.

Based on the fact that over the past week, there have been fewer and fewer folks at the gym – and I’ve heard the same from folks who go to other places – you might be in the same boat.

"Stay active as best as you can and make do with what you have," suggests Orangetheory certified personal trainer Lauren Saindon-Fullmer. "A lot of people think you need special equipment to get a good work out in but honestly the basics will work: push-ups, pull-ups, body weight squats and lunges.

"It’s important to realize that, during this time, the focus isn’t necessarily to gain muscle but to maintain your lean mass and minimize fat gain as much as possible. Making sure people aren’t just staying on the couch all day but getting up and moving!"

Here are some suggestions for staying fit while the gyms are closed – because, now more than ever, we need to stay healthy and keep our bodies strong to fight off illness.

First off, on Tuesday, March 24 at noon, OnMilwaukee will share an Urban OM yoga class in a Facebook live. Then ...

(PHOTO: PNC Running Festival)

Get outside

It sounds so simple, right? But you don’t need a treadmill or a stair-climber to get your workout right now (though if you have one, that’s another great option, of course).

In the meantime, social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t run outside, cycle or, on a warm day, do yoga in the park. Just remember to keep your distance from others out doing the same.

Last year, I scaled my runs back a bit to fit in some more strength training, but I know that right now the situation dictates I might have to flip back to my more run-heavy routine for a while. It’s OK. Just stay active.

And brush up on these running tips from a pro.

Map My Run & Map My Fitness

These are two free data apps that I’ve used for a long time and have become comfortable with. They are both free – though you can upgrade for a price, something I’ve never done – and you can link them together, which is good. I find Map My Run is, of course, best for tracking runs – though I also enter other workouts in it, just to keep track – but Map My Fitness is best for calorie-counting, whenever I go through that phase. You can also use them to set goals and create training plans.


Emily Laga, who runs long distance races, uses Strava. "I like that I can see other runners, routes and what they are doing," she says. "Annual mileage calculation is great. Also, I set up a group of female runners who can’t run together but can connect virtually. Also, free and no ads!"

(PHOTO: Gold's Gym MKE)

At home

First, many area gyms are offering free online classes and other resources for their members, so check your fitness center's Facebook page or website to see what's being offered.

Next, if you have weights and other equipment at home, you’ve got a head start.

"Ordering a few things off from Amazon could help, too," she says. "Resistance bands, kettle bells, light dumbbells. Honestly, you don’t need much more than 5-, 8-, 10-pound weights. Muscle doesn’t know weight; it knows time under tension. As long as you can elicit that response, you’ll still be able to make improvements."

Still, you can do your yoga and stretching and ab work and other routines without much gear, as Saindon-Fullmer says, but maybe you want more. Here are some equipment-free options, too – most of which are free, because, damn if we don’t also have to worry about money right now.

Daily Burn

This website has a wide range of workout routines tailored to your goals and levels of fitness and even has group exercise classes. It’s not always free but there’s a 30-day free trial and let’s hope you can get back to your gym by then.


Log in, set your goals and preferences and Aaptiv walks you through every step of every activity. The upside is you don’t need to watch a screen; the downside is there’s a $15 monthly fee, but there are free trials, too.

My colleague Carolynn Buser uses it, and she says, "I love that Aaptiv is like having a personal trainer in my ear and the wide array of workouts. I need someone in my head telling me to get a little lower in that squat. I feel like they are there behind me helping me, and it pushes me to have the best workout I can. My fav trainer is Ackeem, but you have so many to choose from."

7 Minute Workout

Because sometimes you don't have a lot of time, and that’s OK. You do what you can do, right? No equipment is required to do these quick-hit workouts, and you can customize the workouts, too. The app is free and compatible with Apple Health.


Tons of classes on your phone, pad, computer or TV, and all free for 90 days. You can combine the classes and workouts to create a schedule that works for you, because it the wide library of classes are all on-demand. You don’t need to buy Peloton bikes or treadmills to use the app.
Wauwatosa-native, Bill Dean, is a fitness veteran and former Strength and Conditioning Coach for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers. His platform, MyNetTrainer, has many options to get your at home fitness going, starting at $29/month.

Orangetheory Fitness

Miss your Milwaukee-area OTF classes?  You're in luck, as classes have moved online.  So go here to get your push and all outs on. 

Elite Sports Clubs

Elite is helping you stay active at home with Facebook videos and more. Check them out here.


More than 20 programs and over 200 workouts that you can do at home. Currently offering one month free.

Alo Moves

Normaly $20 a month (or $199 a year), Alo Moves is offering a 14-day free trial right now, so you can give it a try for a couple weeks. Lots of classes and new ones added each week so you don’t get complacent or bored, and you can use it on your phone, tablet, TV, etc.

"It has tons of classes available – mostly yoga, but also pilates, high intensity, and meditation, too," says Sarah Dosmann, an instructor at at Milwaukee Power Yoga. "Also, 'Yoga with Adriene' is free on YouTube."

Empower Yoga Milwaukee

This local yoga studio's website has free online video classes.

Yoga for Kids

Home Fitness Wisconsin

Maybe what you need is as easy as a new treadmill in your house or apartment. If so, Home Fitness Wisconsin is the Midwest's premier Precor Fitness Equipment dealer and they have great prices on the best treadmills and more. 

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.