As we approach week 3 of “lockdown,” some of you may have been away from the gym for almost 2 weeks. Given how long it can take to adapt to drastic change, most should be close to adopting some sort of daily routine. I mean who doesn’t love a good ol’ routine. After all, we are creatures of habit. Wrong! We are actually creatures of our environment, and this couldn’t be any more fitting right now. During times of adversity, our actions and responses to the said environment are crucial to building new habits.

For the regular gym goer, the thought of not being able to go the gym fills some with fear. The old me (or younger me rather) would be in exactly the same boat. The very act of actually getting out of the house/office, and going to the gym plays such a big role in so many of our lives. Not being able to partake in a class setting, or put a heavy load on your back for a while has had a few wondering what’s going to happen to all that hard work – for good reason. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be back to square one when we revert back to the norm. Strength levels last for longer than one might think. In fact, it can hang around for up to 30 days (based on inactivity) and can vary from person to person – dependent on age, lifting experience etc. Even then, the detraining process is gradual. For cardiovascular fitness, the research indicates that it can be a little more sensitive to time – dependent on the level of intensity. While the system may suffer from less high-intensity exposure, typically, the aerobic base will remain unharmed with continued maintenance. In a time when we need our immune systems to fire on all cylinders, avoiding too much high intensity is advisable.


For many of us, this will be a time when we can’t force the needle. Trying to get stronger is going to be tricky, so use it as an opportunity to keep the body moving and loading where possible. If you don’t have access to weights, there’s still work that can be done using your body weight that will be a benefit for you out on the road. Play around with the tempo of various exercises and keep on top of your mobility. If your overall training frequency and volume has been curtailed somewhat, this is a great opportunity to work on areas that have proved to be problematic in the past, ensuring that you’re in the best possible physical state come the return of normal proceedings. If you’re a regular runner, you can still exercise outside (winning) so it’s business as usual. If you’re a regular cyclist, once again, you’re allowed outside so you can still get those rides. If you don’t have a turbo, some of the more intense interval sessions may have to wait, but it’s a great opportunity to keep the intensity down a little and work on your aerobic base. If you’re a regular swimmer (myself included), I’m afraid you’re just going to have to bite the bullet on this one.

In a time when we’re not supposed to be outside for long periods, you can still maintain your fitness on reduced training hours. It’s not all doom and gloom, there’s plenty of work that can be done. Keep the body moving, use regular “move and groove” breaks from the computer, get regular aerobic exposure (walking, running, cycling),  keep loading the body where possible and stay mobile. Get plenty of rest in between training sessions (easy to do now), and supplement your training and immunity with good nutritional practices.


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