The country went into lockdown just as I was getting very serious about my gym routine. With a different pair of trainers and colour coordinated workout gear for each of my four workout days of the week laid out, the vision was ABSolutely clear.
So to say I was gutted would be putting it mildly. Now the only muscle I flex these days is the one I've developed from all my series/movie marathons over lockdown weekends, while my yoga mat collects dust.
Personally, gym workouts are more exciting to me than home fitness routines. There's something about the dull vibrations of the ambient electro/house music that you wouldn't listen to by choice, hitting your ears in between the very brief silence of song to song transitions of your own playlist. The meeting of weights in between reps creating their own rhythm, people's thudding feet on the treadmills, and the collective energy of people who are on different personal body journeys.
See, home workouts are just too quiet for me - I need the organised chaos of a gym. But even though our gym accounts are unfortunately currently frozen, it appears that during the course of lockdown, the fitness industry has seen a spike in attention never seen before.
People are downloading, streaming, video conferencing and logging in to all kinds of fitness sessions. Irrespective of whether they were active prior to lockdown, the mental state of being cooped up has everyone hungry for exercise. Claire Bowen from Shower to Shower says that she feels that exercise has been critical to mental wellbeing during the lockdown period, “Exercise has long been associated with helping to manage stress and anxiety levels and it can also be very helpful at improving your memory - despite this being a time we’d all prefer to just forget.”
This would explain why the lifting of the ban on recreational running and cycling has been such a breakthrough for many - under Level 4 lockdown, you can cycle, run, and walk within your neighbourhood - within 5km - and not in a group.
But some still prefer indoor training and for that, there are apps. I have downloaded the PUMATRAC training app. Yes, downloaded it - that's progress. The app offers over 2400 minutes of training for free. You can also sign up for the free app on Google Play or the App store and invite friends to join workouts scheduled for a specific day and time to keep each other motivated.
Takkies training for PUMATRAC. Image supplied by Puma
Nike also has a virtual training club. The app offers workouts, nutrition advice and expert help, so "we can all come back from this stronger than ever," the brand promises as they encourage fitness enthusiasts to "join in with a community of living room athletes." Nike Training Club is available for Android and Apple.
However, if apps aren't quite your thing, Thabang Glen Dladla, or “Fitnessbang” as he’s affectionately known, the first Shower to Shower Men MH #BeastMode winner and the owner of Bang Studio in Centurion - has 10 tips for your overall health and fitness during lockdown.
1. Avoid salty high processed food
Eat clean where possible – what you put into your body is as important for your physical physique as exercise is. Don’t think that just because you’ve done a workout that you’re able to eat whatever you like. But in the same breath, we'd say don't punish yourself by not eating food every now and then you enjoy just because you have been working out. It's important to still maintain a healthy relationship with food.
2. Always have a balanced healthy breakfast
Thabang expands on the above point by saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and gets your body and mind off to a good start. Choose a breakfast that is low in sugar and will keep you satisfied until lunch.
3. Say no to sugary drinks and alcohol
Soft drinks and alcohol are both extremely high in sugar and an unnecessary part of your diet that add no nutritional value. Saying no to alcohol is a given during this lockdown anyway.
4. Get a detailed weight and cardio training programme
Getting a weight and cardio programme that suits your body is important. At a time when we’re not able to leave the house, spend time researching what activities would be suitable for your age, weight and health conditions and make informed choices.
5. Try new exercise challenges to keep you going
Much like the hamster on its wheel – if you choose the same programme every single day, you’re likely to get bored and abandon the schedule. Find exciting new challenges to keep you interested. One example might be to time yourself doing an activity each week. You might find that a personal challenge to improve your time makes you more motivated to get better.
6. Prioritise your sleep
Nobody can function effectively without sleep. Make sure you’re in bed early and you rise early to keep a healthy schedule. A minimum of seven hours sleep is important when you’re exercising and improving your health.
7. Sign up for some app assistance
There are many apps on the market that assist with keeping you honest when it comes to exercise. Certain apps track distances, activities and even what you eat and drink. Noting it all down often helps to keep motivation levels up.
8. Train in a group of motivated people or with a partner
As with everything in life, a little competition never hurt anyone. Find a friend, or a group to help get you up and active each day. Set challenges and help each other along.
9. Schedule your training workout as you schedule your meetings
Many of us are already living in the age of scheduled WhatsApp calls, ZOOM meetings or Skype sessions. Make sure that your fitness schedule appears in your diary too, otherwise it’ll drop off your radar completely.
10. Move your workout routine outside
... if you can.
Otherwise while we’re all challenged in terms of group gatherings currently, when the time comes that we’re able to move freely once again – take your fitness routine to a park, mountain or greenbelt – being in nature can be an incredible motivator.
How have you been keeping fit during lockdown? Tell us here.
Additional information provided by Republic PR.
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