If someone had told me 3 months ago, I would be smashing a load of burpees in my living room, embracing the home workout life I would have laughed, but just like everyone else the Corona crisis changed my work and my fitness regime. On the 20th March the announcement was made that all gyms would be closing which meant that for the foreseeable future not only was I unable to go to work but I was also unable to train in the gym as I would usually. I have never been one to exercise at home and quite honestly it filled me with dread. Prior to becoming a gym junkie my only form of exercise was running but now there isn’t really any form of exercise I love more than a good gym session (or at least I thought!). When I thought about training at home, I had a number of concerns. I couldn’t imagine myself really giving my all to a session, thought I would continually be interrupted by family, would hate not being able to lift heavy and work on my strength and generally wouldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed and get it done. Surprisingly however I feel it has been the complete opposite, but there was some trial and error. For the first few weeks I was still trying to maintain muscle and split my training like I would at the gym (upper body, lower body, push, pull etc), but the thing is, unless you have a full gym set up at your home I just don’t think you can truly replicate this and therefore I just felt completely uninvested in my sessions. So, I decided to take a step back and actually think about what I enjoy doing as well as what I want to achieve from a fitness perspective during lockdown. I wrote these down:
- Improve my flexibility and get back comfortably into my splits
- Trying something new that also helps with my mindset. For me this was online yoga
- Get a bloody good sweat on in sessions! So doing things I enjoy like HIIT, running, dance etc
- Hit a new running target – this was a 10km best time
- Focus on my nutrition and calorie count to lose some weight I have been trying to shift for a while
- Try to achieve 10,000 steps a day for at least 5 days of the week
- Share my motivation and passion to train with others – this became my Instagram lives
- Make the most of the outdoors, reconnect with nature and spend less time in front of the TV
Suddenly as soon as I had written all of these down, I could see clear goals again. I could plan my weeks and structure each day to have more focus on my training and also enable me to reach out and help others, which has really kept me going in this difficult time.
Before I knew it I was setting the 7am alarm every morning, excitedly planning a horrendous HIIT workout to blast myself (and my willing Instagram followers), getting excited about the weekend and whether I was going to beat my 5km or 10km PB on the streets and watching the few pounds I was hoping to lose slowly come off. When you start seeing results your mindset completely changes! I am a FIRM believer that exercise can be a big healer and during lockdown I was struggling with my own mental battles (as I am sure a lot of other people can relate to). It felt at times like a complete emotional rollercoaster but I am confident that exercise really helped me through these difficult times. We sometimes forget just how effective a little bit of movement can be for both our physical and emotional state and even on my darkest of days I felt lifted by a short walk, a dance class or just a 30minute HIIT thrashing.
I know from speaking to others that this journey has not been easy for them. People have been finding the change difficult, struggling to find any form of motivation and generally just perhaps putting their exercise lower and lower down the list of priorities, and I can completely understand this. As a fitness professional I know that it is easy for me to sit here writing about how I did X, Y, Z and found it all fabulous, but I know this isn’t how many people have felt, and are still feeling now! It can be extremely hard sometimes to put yourself and your needs first when your world has been turned upside down and you have family, friends or work relying on you to deliver! Where in this do you even begin to think about your exercise and health?! But it’s beyond important to remember that when you are at your best health (both mentally and physically), you can care and serve for others at your best as well! This is something that is so easily forgotten.
So, I guess the biggest points I wanted to make are to think about number one and to ensure you are always striving towards a goal FOR YOU. No matter how big or small these may be, goals enable us to have focus, motivation, structure and provide purpose to what we are doing. Setting goals is very important and I will do another blog post shortly about how to set specific and measurable goals for yourself (so keep an eye out for this!). Secondly its important to do things you enjoy. There is no point doing 3 or 4 HIIT sessions a week if the idea of HIIT makes you want to curl up in a ball and cry! How is that going to get you excited?! See exercise as YOUR time and make sure you are filling it with things you find fun! Thirdly I would say that this time has meant that everyone has had to adapt, we have had to be open to new ideas and ways of thinking, working and living and I believe we will all have to continue to do so. So be proud of what you have achieved so far, don’t be too hard on yourself, continue to embrace change with positivity and take time to reflect on how far you have come.
And finally, this time as been a huge reminder of the importance of exercise and health on mindset and this should not be forgotten in the months and years ahead of us which could see further uncertainty and troubling times. Exercise really and truly is king!
Oh… and keep up the walking and enjoying the great outdoors …. Its great stuff that!
P.S. I would absolutely love to hear about all of your fitness journeys over the last few months! Please feel free to leave a reply or alternatively you can contact me via the contact page!