For group fitness instructors, personal trainers and gym go-ers alike, the closure of gyms due to the Coronavirus threw a massive spanner in the works in terms of our personal training and fitness goals. Despite being a necessary measure to help combat this pandemic, it still kinda sucks. Those of us who teach for a living may have seen our activity levels drop hugely, from doing over 15 hours of exercise a week to counting a trip upstairs as cardio. To avoid the first class or session back in the gym feeling like you’ve been hit by a tonne of bricks, what steps can we take during quarantine to keep our fitness up?
The first and most obvious way to keep fit is to keep doing some classes, either via a streaming service like Les Mills On Demand or on YouTube. Being the participant in the workout gives you a different feeling than instructing it and you are often able to push that intensity a little harder as you don’t have to worry about talking over a microphone or coaching.
Exercise is one of the only reasons we are allowed out of the house at the minute so take full advantage of it. If you have access to a garden, use it to set up your training space. If not, find an area of park or open space to train in (remembering to maintain good social distancing). You could always just go for a jog around your local area. Not only will training outside help keep your fitness levels up, you also get some much needed Vit D and fresh air.
Use this time to work on your weaknesses
It’s rare that as group fitness professionals we ever get to take a break from exercising like crazy, step back and look at our own training. Use this time to work on yourself and work on your weaknesses. Personally I struggle with very tight calves and a niggling knee injury which makes me shy away from too much impact, such as running and plyometrics. However, I know the things that my legs need to become stronger is running and plyometrics… So I’m taking this time where I have reduced activity levels to focus on building that strength. I’m trying Les Mills BodyAttack classes in my front room and practising sprints in the park outside my flat.
Try something new
Now is the perfect time to try something completely different and out of your comfort zone. Mix up your training and you might find something that you love. If you do a lot of cardio classes then maybe try adding some more strength workouts into your day. If you always do HIIT training, try slowing things down and adding some tempo based workouts or endurance training. Try that virtual ballet or dance class that you’d normally be intimidated to go to!
Take some extra rest and recovery.
Maybe the one thing your body needs most to keep healthy during quarantine is the chance to recover a little. Many of us push our bodies close to their limits on a weekly basis so our long term health and fitness may well benefit from a bit more time off. They say that the adaptation happens when we are resting, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel like maintaining the same amount of activity you do during normal times. Enjoy the reduced working volumes and rest if and when your body is telling you to.
Before the pandemic hit, personally I had been struggling with fitting in my own training due to the high volumes of exercise and work I was doing each week. This crisis and the fact I have been forced to slow down and stay home have got me excited about training again, remember how it feels to be a participant and bring home just how much I love my job. Whatever steps we take in quarantine to maintain some sort of instructor fitness, that first class back is probably going to kick our butts. However, I’m sure it’s going to be the best feeling in the world.