I stopped my regular workouts for two months since the circuit breaker started. And now the Ritual Anywhere app has got me going again.
“3…2…1… switch sides,” Ian Tan’s – Ritual Gym’s co-founder – rang out through my phone’s speakers.
I drove down with my foot, placed my hands on my sides, and raised my butt off the floor. I was in the midst of a single-leg glute bridge, and I was struggling. My non-existent muscles, after two months of no exercise, protested.
It felt like I didn’t have any glutes. But I concentrated hard, tightened my core – something the trainers at Ritual constantly drill into our heads – and I managed to do several pulses.
By the end of five sets, the pre-set workout for the day, I could manage several lifts per side. It was helpful the Ritual Anywhere app came with gifs for this particular movement. In this case, the single-leg glute bridge was new to me, as it was not one of the exercises done at the gym.
From zero motivation to showing up
Here’s a little about myself. I am a paying member of Ritual Gym, and have been for the last two years.
For the uninitiated, Ritual’s classes are conducted in a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) style, where one would give your maximum effort with short windows for recovery. Workouts are centered around functional exercises with the help of suspension ropes, dumbbells and medicine balls, and are limited to 10 people per 30-minute slot.
There are three levels of progression, including one for beginners. You can even mix and match the designated movements of the day, should one exercise feel too easy. This accommodates everyone, from me the rotund working adult to the muscular athlete with washboard abs. The beauty of Ritual is that you do your own thing, as there’s no time to compare yourself with others when you are panting and looking forward to the next recovery break.
But due to Covid-19, everything has shuttered, gyms included.
As I was on Ritual’s mailing list, I knew about the Ritual Anywhere app, but didn’t bother to download it.
My regular exercise routine before the pandemic was playing floorball twice a week, and heading to the Holland Village Ritual gym twice a week. Since the circuit breaker started, I never subscribed to any home workouts. For me, home is where I rest, and as such I have zero motivation to exercise.
The most exercise I did these two months were the many trips to and from the kitchen and fridge, taking my dog out for his daily evening walk, and hiking up to the top of Bukit Timah summit on Sundays. Having to write this article was exactly the boost I needed to download the said app and get moving.
An overview of Ritual Anywhere (at home, where else?) app
The Ritual Anywhere app is simple to navigate. The homepage reflects an Intro Session and Today’s Session.
Today’s Session will ask you what equipment you have access to, and recommend a daily workout tailored to your fitness profile. While the format of the workout may differ, the targeted muscles will always be the same.
There are even reminders at the bottom for each exercise, which run the gamut of remembering not to let your knees cave in during squats, and keeping the abs and butt tight.
As I’m not comfortable with doing push-ups on the ground due to a wrist injury, I’m glad there are variations offered to me, such as doing push-ups on an inclined surface like a railing or counter top, which reduces the stress on wrists.
This is what I love about Ritual, and now, the app. The workouts are flexible, adapt effortlessly to what each person can do, with the aim of giving you a great, full-body workout.
There’s even a Spotify button that leads to Ritual’s playlist, but be warned, it’s hard to hear the prompts from the app when the high-tempo songs are playing.
With the app, I can work out anytime with minimal planning on my part. No need to log on to an online class at a pre-set time or think about what exercises to do for the day. Similar to heading to Ritual Gym, all I needed to do was just to show up.
The moment I start a session, I’m in the zone. I dutifully follow the prompts for each exercise and rest breaks according to the in-built timer. During the 20 minutes, my mind only busies itself with making sure I complete each movement in the best form possible, and looks forward to rest times to catch my breath and sip some water. Before long, time’s up.
When I completed my very first workout two weeks ago, the feeling and burn after the session was something I haven’t felt in months: accomplished, and riding an endorphin-high. In short, it felt good.
The Ritual Anywhere app is great, but I still miss the gym
I’m proud to report that this article got me completing the app workouts thrice-weekly for two weeks. This may be child’s play to some, but to me, it’s a start. Until the gyms reopen and life returns to “normal” (whatever that means), I’m planning to continue with this plan.
As much as I’m satisfied with the Ritual Anywhere app (free for members indefinitely; free for non-members until end June 2020), I’m looking forward to stepping into a physical gym again – even if it means shelling out $30 or more per session. Pre-pandemic, I paid for memberships in six-month blocks, which worked out to be slightly less than $30 a session.
The one thing the Ritual Anywhere app lacks, is being able to provide the camaraderie at the gym.
There’s something about trading small talk with session coaches Hafiz, Raimi, and Shazni (how they remember my name, one of the hundreds in the crowd, is beyond me), their constant encouragement throughout the workout, plus the collective groans with every kettlebell lift and sharp breaths thanks to yet another burpee – of nine other willing sufferers. For me, these are key motivators for working out in the gym.
I also miss the fist bumps post-workout, and wobbling home with jelly-like legs while feeling like a million dollars.
For now, I’ll have to settle with virtual high-fives and fist bumps.
PSA: From July 2020, the Ritual Anywhere app will cost $12.99/month for non-members.