Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

A full-body, equipment-free home workout

A “back to basics” approach to boosting physical and mental health

At the heart of the coaching that Brittany Uchach (Personal Fitness Trainer ’05) does with her clients is one simple message: There’s only so much in life you can control.

That is, other than following current government directives to stay home, wash your hands and quit touching your face, you can’t do much about the COVID-19 pandemic. For that reason, says Uchach, “I’ve been talking to a lot of my clients about focusing on the things you can control, which is what you’re putting into your body, how you’re moving your body, and what you’re allowing into your mind.”

Our media consumption can be managed easily enough, the veteran Edmonton-based trainer points out. Chuck the smartphone in a drawer now and then. Nutrient-dense, whole foods are still on store shelves (even if the toilet paper is gone). And, though the gyms have closed and we’re virtually housebound, we can still keep fit.

“I’ve been talking to my clients about focusing on the things you can control."

To counter the sudden lack of barbells, medicine balls and stair climbers, Uchach suggests a “back to basics” approach. “I’m really talking to people about movement. Let’s take away even the word exercise.”

Here, Uchach offers two equipment-free routines for varying levels of fitness, both involving the real-life movements of functional fitness, and a warm-up. “I recommend three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps for each exercise,” says Uchach. Fifteen to 20 minutes every other day will do, she adds.

“We’re releasing good endorphins, we’re getting mobilization, we’re allowing for blood flow to elevate, heart rate to elevate. I think we all need to release some energy somewhere.” Fortunately for many of us, our ability to do that remains well within our control.

Warm up for both levels


Level 1 – Low impact

Day 1 – Squats, pushups, lunges and more


Day 2 – Core, triceps and more


Day 3 – Planks, squats, burpees and more


Level 2 – Higher impact

Day 1 – Squats, pushups, lunges and more


Day 2 – Core, triceps, bear crawl and more


Day 3 – Squats, core, lunges and much more (good luck!)


Mental health booster

Personal trainer Brittany Uchach is a firm believer in “peak fit all the way around.” That means focusing on mental, physical and emotional fitness – anything that can elevate the body or mind.

That’s why, with herself and her clients, she focuses on mental health as much as physical. Here are things she does to ensure a well-rounded approach to fitness.

Know your “why” – Keep a clear view of the reason fitness is important to you. “Who are you playing for: your family? You? What gets you out of bed in the morning?”

Focus on gratitude – Once you’ve identified the why, pause frequently to consider your gratitude for it.

Read to grow – Daily, Uchach reads 10 pages of a self-improvement book. Pick a topic that resonates with you and curl up.

Limit media – We’re bombarded with “intense negative energy constantly,” says Uchach. Stick with the news you can use and leave the rest for Twitter to crow about.

Journal every day – Getting your thoughts down on paper can be cathartic and clarifying.

Pursue progress – Set reasonable goals as ways to chart forward momentum. It doesn’t have to be an extra three reps in one of Uchach’s demanding Level 2 workouts; it could be as simple as an extra half-hour of sleep this week, she says.

Celebrate – Whether that progress comes from working out, sticking with nutrition goals, or staying positive in tough times, Uchach celebrates all of it with her clients, and hopes everyone will do the same.

“We’re pumping each other up,” she says. “We’re sharing wins.”


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