Here we are again. Lockdown 2.0. I call it that because I'm secretly referencing Justin Bieber's iconic My World 2.0 album and I feel like I'm being incredibly witty (I'm aware that it's a feeling and not a reality dw). It all feels very familiar except from the fact that I am considerably less tanned, considerably colder, and constantly have the theme tune for Strictly Come Dancing going round in my head. Equally familiar is the drama and panic surrounding how on EARTH we're all going to stay fit during lockdown and avoid the apparently inevitable spiral of DISASTER (apparently weight gain) and HUMILIATION (apparently weight gain)? Well panic no more, I am here to help.
First up, lets just have a little reality check. The world is in a bit of a state right now (and that might be the understatement of the year). I'd actually propose that if your biggest anxiety at the moment is how you can maintain your fitness or avoid impending weight gain doom, then that is actually quite concerning. And I'm not saying that in a mean/rude way, but genuinely could be a sign of an eating or anxiety disorder and I'd encourage you to talk to someone close to you about it. That being said, it is certainly natural to feel anxious, annoyed or upset about a change in routine, and exercise should play a nice big part in our daily/weekly routines. There are lots of ways to incorporate movement into your time at home.
Yes it's chilly, yes it's wet, yes it's dark and no, I don't enjoy exercising in any of these conditions. So what are the alternatives? During Lockdown 1 I really enjoyed attending Carly's Project HB classes every week. I picked two - Monday morning barre class and Thursday morning HIIT and Chill, and I really enjoyed having that structure and being part of a little Zoom community! I find it SO hard to motivate myself through YouTube workouts but this is a completely different story. I always rave about Carly so hopefully you've already checked out her website (no, I'm not paid for this, I just adore the woman) but if you haven't, find out more and book here: https://projecthb.co.uk/. I guarantee she will brighten up your day EVEN if it has been the worst day ever. 🤗
I have also launched my own online zoom class - HIIT, FIT and LIT (absolute banger of a name, I know). For the rest of November until the end of Lockdown 2.0, I will be running a 30 min Zoom workout at 6pm on Wednesdays and Sundays! It is open to absolutely anyone and is designed to get you movin' n' groovin' without any kind of expectation or judgement. I think I've managed to make a recurring meeting now so the link should always be this: https://tinyurl.com/y5vj8f82 Meeting ID: 941 5176 7199! I'd love you to join so get it in your diaries! It's completely free to join but I am accepting donations which are all going straight back into my little business at the moment - support is appreciated but never expected!
If online classes are not your thing and if you're missing resistance training, I would recommend investing in some resistance bands. You can do a massive amount with them and they aren't too expensive. I'd recommend buying from a proper sports company but I understand that cost might be a barrier. There are sets on Amazon from about £6. If you google 'resistance band workout' then there are loads of different ideas for you to try. If you can find dumbbells that aren't hugely overpriced then feel free to get them, but you can do quite a lot with household items such as tins of beans or milk bottles (fill with water to limit potential disastrous spillages, or sand if you have it for extra weight). Fill a rucksack or a suitcase with books for bear hug style squats. You shouldn't have to rely on gym machines in order to remain fit. Be creative and use your brain. You can also drop me a message as I'd be happy to come up with some ideas that might work for you and your training level/needs.
Another form of exercise that I've been doing more of recently is called Calisthenics. When you set foot in the gym and are instantly surrounded by high-tech machines, it's easy to forget that none of it is actually essential. Training using your bodyweight can still have the most incredible fitness results and calisthenics forms the basis of most military fitness tests around the world. Following a calisthenics workout plan is something that would easily carry you through lockdown training if you are doing your best to minimise muscle atrophy (losing muscle). Squats, press ups, pull ups, single arm press ups, squat jumps, leg raises, tricep dips.., the list goes on and there are ways to make each exercise harder or easier depending on your fitness/strength level and ability. I like calisthenics training as it is very functional - these are push and pull movements that we use in daily life for things like opening doors, lifting things, climbing up stairs. We should be training our bodies to carry us through to old age with minimal injury or pain so it's important to train functionally and holistically (this is a bit of a dig at my brother who goes to the gym to lift enormously heavy weights but can't run for 100m without difficulty). I found this 7-day guide to Calisthenics really helpful.
Youtube workouts. Fine. I accept that there can be some merit to a youtube workout. Firstly, there are about a billion out there so the chances are you'd never ever have to do the same workout twice. There are also so many different types of training - zumba, dance workouts, high intensity, yoga, pilates, martial art workouts... take your pick. The one thing I would implore you to do when choosing a workout to follow is: pick the instructor wisely. Are they qualified? Are they promoting a healthy and positive message? Are they reinforcing fitness/gender stereotypes (e.g. women focusing solely on 'booty workouts')? Do they make you feel motivated and happy, or self conscious and miserable about your body? You might never have given a second thought to who you get up on screen to take you through a workout, but it is really important to evaluate whether or not they are doing more harm than good. Put yourself first. Exercise is supposed to make you feel good!
Here are some Youtube Workouts that might work for you:
- The PERFECT Home Workout (Sets and Reps Included) - gym bro central, but I learn a lot from Jeff (would recommend for those who are a bit more comfortable in the gym environment).
- BODYCOMBAT INVINCIBLE Workout #1 - missing your Les Mills gym classes? There are actually a number of v high quality filmed workouts on youtube. This BodyCombat series builds up in technicality and difficulty in each video.
The conclusion is this: try not to let the diet culture rhetoric make you feel bad about yourself or worried about putting on weight during lockdown. If you're stressing about food and worried about eating too much, it will usually lead to feeling really out of control around food. Movement is a remedy for soooo many things including pain and muscle soreness, low mood and depression, poor sleep, poor appetite, low energy levels, heart health, blood pressure... Our bodies are made to move (and definitely not constantly attempting to shrink themselves).
Bear with me with this: Do you care or judge yourself in comparison to what brand of shower gel your mates use? Nope, because 1) it doesn't matter, 2) it doesn't affect the relationship you have with them, 3) everyone goes through different phases and has different needs, 4) shower gels all do very similar things anyway, 5) why would you even know what shower gel they use as it doesn't need to be a topic of conversation? Now replace the words 'shower gel' with 'exercise'/'movement'. Find YOUR thing and do it for YOU. Oh and also come to my classes on Wednesdays and Sundays xxx