It’s official: the country is back in lockdown. Like the last two times, we’ve seen restaurants, offices and gyms close their doors, while a tonne of incredible fitness brands have pivoted to up their online offerings. But unlike last time, we’re hoping there’ll be less chatter around ‘lockdown glow-ups’, which in all honesty just feels like adding unnecessary pressure to an already stressful time. To be clear: you do not need to emerge with newly chiselled abs at the start of spring. Okay?
However, as we all know, exercise is an excellent way to boost your endorphins and create some routine during these long days that all seem to blend into one gigantic ‘meh’ (just me?). During the next surreal few weeks, working out or focussing on other aspects of your health (including your mental health) can be an excellent survival tool. It can also be a great way to alleviate some of the boredom, or anxiety, which can easily set in during these tough and surreal times.
Here, fifteen incredible fitness experts share what they’ll be doing differently for Lockdown Number 3.
1. Start the day mindfully
“Personally, I love to get up early. I always feel good for doing so and it allows me to get some morning rituals in. One thing I’m working on is being a little more mindful, so I’m aiming to commit to a morning meditation each day. Getting up early allows me time to do so without feeling rushed. I also love the Admiral William H. McRaven quote, ‘Want to change the world? Start by making your bed every day’ and really buy into it.” – Ben Davie, Head of Matrix HIIT at Digme (who offer live and on-demand home workouts)
2. Design a 30 Day Challenge
“During the first lockdown, I was very stern with myself and exercised most days, but [now it’s] colder and darker. Instead, I’ll be listening to my body more on the days that I’m just not feeling it, while still working out when I can (it always leaves me feeling happier and more productive). A great way to feel on track during this lockdown could be to set yourself a 30 day challenge: plan a month’s worth of activities, including fun things for ‘off days’, like watching your favourite films. For your ‘on days’, your task could be something like ‘complete 30 squats’ or ‘do 50 kickbacks’, as opposed to a full-on, heavy routine. Even ticking off something small will give you a real sense of achievement and routine.” – Meggan Grubb, PT and Fitness Influencer
3. Look at your health holistically
“I’m taking a more holistic approach to the time I spend staying fit – taking into account my mental wellbeing, physical efforts and nutrition. I’ll be making use of the extra time by making my breakfast nutritious in creative new ways and working towards a new fitness goal that I wouldn’t have had time to invest in before. What have you been ignoring that might need your attention over the coming weeks?” – India Bailey, Head of Cycle at Core Collective
4. Focus on technique
“Instead of just bashing out an exercise, use this time to really learn the technique of how to do the move properly, in a correct postural alignment. It’s about quality not quantity. I also plan to finally open a beautiful recipe book of vegetarian Indian dishes that I’ve had for years and teach myself to cook more exciting veggie meals. Now is the time to set up good future habits.” – Monique Eastwood, celebrity trainer and Founder of virtual training programme Eastwood Movement Method
5. Try a stress-busting class
“I’ll be adding more of our new-generation yoga, BODYBALANCE, classes to my weekly workout regime and plan to encourage my virtual clients to do the same. They’re a great stress reliever and have been proven to help with sleep too. The idea is to emerge from this lockdown feeling less overwhelmed with everyday stressors and more prepared for daily life.” – Sarah Durnford, Master Trainer at Les Mills
6. Count your steps
“As someone who’s usually very active in my day-to-day, I don’t tend to find much benefit in counting my steps. However, as lockdown begins and the majority of us will be stuck indoors a lot more, I’ll be dusting off my tracking watch to set a daily target of 10,000 steps (as advised by the NHS). I’d really recommend this to anyone feeling stuck in a rut and unsure about where to start with exercise during lockdown. Remember, even something as instinctive as walking is cardio too and will burn calories (it’s like running, only slower!). I prefer using a tracking watch as it means I can leave my phone at home while walking.” – George Palmer, personal trainer
7. Boost your vitamin D
“As it’s dark by mid-afternoon, I’m prioritising making sure I’m getting enough vitamin D. I’ll be exercising outdoors earlier in the day, as not only will it mean getting a hit of natural sunlight, it’ll also allow me to start my day positively.” – David Wiener, Training Specialist at AI-based fitness and lifestyle coaching app Freeletics
8. Diversify your activities
“During previous lockdowns the majority of my daily activity consisted of home workouts. This time, I’ll be diversifying my routine to include regular long walks, cycling and running. To achieve progress, it’s vital you choose a style of exercise that you enjoy doing and ensure the approach you’re taking is achievable with your work schedule and other daily routines.” – Ollie Thompson, Personal Trainer at SIX3NINE (who offer bespoke virtual PT sessions)
9. Prepare for life after lockdown
“Life is so up and down right now. One minute I was excited to be back to training full time, now I’m suffering from an injury and we’ve re-entered lockdown. As a sportswoman, I’ve learnt that preparing for better days is key to overcoming setbacks. I’m doing that by focusing on what I can still do, like yoga in the morning and rehab in the afternoon. There are lots of movement and mindfulness tips, plus workouts, on the Sure Instagram channel too.” – Fran Kirby, England and Chelsea football star and Sure ambassador
10. Stretch and run
“I’m going to try and run 5km per day for the duration of lockdown. To be that consistent will be a big challenge for me but to get outdoors once a day is so important for mental wellbeing. I’m committing to 15 minutes of stretching per day too, as it’s something I never prioritise.” – Rich Edmonds, CEO of Runderwear, PT and running coach
11. Enjoy the slower pace
“Last year was been a massive emotional rollercoaster for everyone, so I won’t be putting too much pressure on myself to be ‘achieving’ every second of the day. Getting outside for a walk or run every day will be a priority, alongside running my business and my online strength and HIIT workouts. It’s amazing how just a short amount of time spent surrounded by nature changes the tone of my day. I’m going to soak up the slower pace of life.” – Nicki Petitt, online fitness coach at Nicki Petitt
12. Focus on what you can do
“The last lockdown taught me it’s better to stop panicking and be proactive. I always tell my clients that while your environment may have changed, your goals haven’t – so adapt. Focus on what you can do right now, not on what you can’t. Switch to virtual training or prioritise moving more throughout the day. Focus on quality nutrition and better sleep. I’ve also learnt to be more creative with my workouts despite having limited resources, for example I’ll use household objects like sofas or books, and increase reps and sets, or take shorter rest periods.” – Aroosha Nekonam, Personal Trainer at Ultimate Performance
13. Workout with a friend
“I’ll be carefully scheduling my workouts and classes by pre-booking and adding them to my phone calendar, ensuring sure I’ve carved out the time I need to do them. It makes me more accountable. Secondly, I’ll be booking them with my sister; we choose a class via the Openfit app, either live or on-demand, and then do it together. It’s great for extra motivation! I love our Zoom protein shake catch-ups after too.” Nicole De Souza, Trainer for home fitness and nutrition app Open Fit
14. Consider quitting booze
“I’m giving up alcohol. I’ve never been a massive drinker, but I really want to keep my mind and body as fresh as possible. I also think going booze-free will help me maintain a more positive mindset while separated from friends and family. I want to get back into distance running too as it gives me time to clear out any negative thoughts, something that’s so important when your normal routine is out the window.” – Gary Williams, Head Coach at UN1T
15. Put yourself first
“This time around I’m going to take it easier on myself – 2020 was one hell of a year and it’s now time for a moment of acceptance. Accept that we can’t be all things to all people. During the first lockdown I didn’t take a day (or even half a day) off and I’m not going to make the same mistake again.” – Chatty Dobson, Yoga Teacher & Owner of FLEX Chelsea
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