Since we’re all stuck at home without our gym memberships, swimming pools and other physical activities we thought it would be a good idea to ask what others were doing in quarantine to stay fit.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard the word ‘unprecedented’ a few too many times over the past month of lockdown. However, there are few words within the English lexicon which would emphasise quite how emphatic the UK’s enforced ‘stay at home measures’ have been on our livelihoods. As sport has ceased (and rightly so), gyms have closed, and other than your daily run, how do you keep fit during the lockdown?
Since being back at home, I’ve eased off into the lockdown period with a mixture of worry, fear, loss and excitement as to what might come over this period of quarantine. My university studies have effectively ended – despite having a dissertation deadline creeping up on me – and I am distant from my sports editorial team, my badminton and cricket teammates, and my university gym.
Nonetheless, other than (like the rest of us), shaving my head and debating whether to shave my ‘quarantine beard’, I’ve been contemplating (and trying) my own ways of keeping fit in these circumstances – keeping my mind off of the very real and constant feeling of fear and destruction.
Back in 2015, I dauntingly attempted Beachbody’s Insanity programme for the first time in a post-exam real fitness craze, in which I attempted to wipe away those exam-time calories and keep fit during the long summer ahead. This summer, as lockdown restrictions began to increase and the weather got warmer, I thought, why not make another attempt?
The programme, fronted by Shaun T and an entourage of fitness personalities, combines high-intensity cardio with elements of body-weight training and calisthenics. It serves as great encouragement to avoid the comfort of the sofa (and fridge) and achieve those pre-lockdown gym “gains” which we all dream of having.
It seems like a lot, given my abidance by my one-hour of outdoor exercise under the sun, and my final year responsibilities. However, I press on, and I’ve (so far) reached day 32 – which I do alongside catching up on Tiger King and the English Game on Netflix, as well as the daily FIFA or Warzone game with distant friends.
I live in Jersey (Channel Islands) and the lockdown is pretty similar to the UK. Like many stuck at home, I am trying to look at the situation with a glass half full.
I play badminton for the uni but sadly can’t train specifically for that at home, as shuttles don’t fly too well in the garden. I do, however, love a bit of triathlon and that’s perfect for a lockdown workout lifestyle.
Given that I am only allowed out for two hours per day, I can’t exactly cycle hundreds of miles in that time. Nonetheless, it doesn’t stop me going out on my bike – Jersey is full of steep, long and muscle burning hills which make for the perfect short, fast and hard hill session to fit into 210 hours. For anyone who knows Jersey, Bonne Huit is a personal favourite – ‘Strava’ making it a nice competition to battle against the other local heroes who have hustled their way up the hill and out of the bay.
As I am sure you are aware, the popular ‘run 5km’, ‘donate £5’ and ‘nominate 5’ friends has inspired me to work on my 5km personal best. This has meant doing some strength and conditioning at home as well as heading down to the local 400m track to work on building up some speed. I’ll be turning 20 on April 27 so I am aiming to run a sub 20-minute 5km before I say goodbye to my teens.
Lockdown has got us all stuck in a rut. Gyms are closed and at first glance we have nowhere to turn. However, this situation has opened up the world of calisthenics, otherwise known as bodyweight exercises.
Cardio has never been my thing, I just can’t see the appeal of huffing and puffing for an hour when you can get an effective workout completed within 30 minutes. The key for me has been replacing volume for intensity, by completing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Raising the intensity and lowering the volume has produced workouts that are not only demanding, but also convenient due to time decreases.
I have explored doing total body workouts, as well as shorter, muscle-specific calisthenics. My advice: mix it up. Variety ensures that you won’t get bored of your workouts, so keep it fresh.
In addition to these workouts, myself and a couple of friends have been completing exercise challenges in order to keep pushing ourselves during isolation. We recently completed a press-up challenge and are now in the middle of a burpee challenge. These challenges have provided a stimulus to keep exercising whilst in isolation.
A final point, keep the nutrition in check. A good nutrition plan will provide the energy and motivation needed to keep fit in the confinement of your own home. You will reap the benefits.
Tatenda Desmond Mombo
As someone whose primary motivation comes from the thrill of competition, and whose stability is far too dependent on playing the sport I love (ultimate frisbee), lockdown has been ‘an adjustment’. I don’t want to complain too much, as ultimately, I have my health, and in the grand scheme of things, if not being able to play organised sports for a few weeks or months is my biggest problem, then life is alright.
In lieu of actually being able to compete, I have fully embraced the fitness freak caricature, most notably, instigating a 5-stage challenge between our club and other Universities’ around the country, and have been able to successfully lure 6 teams to compete with. The premise of the challenge is there are 5 different home exercises, the first club to do, and document 10,000 repetitions of that exercise, wins the stage, with 50,000 total reps being the goal, so it has been aptly named, 5 x 10: Road to 50,000 – if you want to follow the carnage, be sure to follow @mohawksultimate on Instagram.
Now that my psychotic desire for competition has been satiated, I’ve also decided to develop my cerebral understanding of the game taking part in near daily seminars and forums about different aspects of the game hosted by different organisations throughout the world, so in a strange twist of events, after x amount of months of lockdown, and being unable to practise or play, I may come out of quarantine a better and more effective player.
Seeing as all sports seasons have been cancelled, the only viable option left to me is to become fitter than ever before. Isolation means being bored enough to work out twice as much as you did normally. My goal was to run. A lot. I had to create a challenge for myself when running. I decided I have to make myself run for 30 days straight, something that is indeed daunting.
The challenge is for two things in particular. For one, it is to get and keep fit. In a time of literally sitting in one spot on my xbox or watching the entirety of YouTube’s content, my step count was maybe 1000 steps a day. And the other thing is purely because it gets me out of the house in some of the most amazing weather I have seen in England. Ironic right?
There is no lying that this has been hard, both the quarantine and the running. The aches in my legs come back every time I run, not just in the muscles but in the bones, screaming for me to not do this run, today is a day off. As of day 22 I have run over 120km, so nothing crazy, just consistently 4-6km a day. The days where I did only four were especially hard, leaving it until just before sunset when I dragged myself out to trot around the block.
After the challenge a day off, or two, will certainly be needed, but at least I’ll know I haven’t been a complete slob during this time.