As many of us are aware, the Coronavirus has made itself well and truly present in our conscious minds. The virus has caused chaos around the world, with many countries introducing extreme methods in an attempt to control the virus. This situation is one that is extremely tough and one that none of us expected to go through in our lifetimes. So we spoke to one of our ambassadors, Yiannis Christodoulou, to learn some home training tips, how to keep fit, and stay motivated whilst on lockdown.
Lockdown & fitness
As an Athlete and Interim Head Coach of Canterbury Harriers, Yiannis himself shares frustration, like many of us, regarding training plans and it is with these training plans up in the air, he has made sure to remind everyone that not training is a waste.
He said, “being part of clubs has changed my life and helped my physical health and wellbeing, as well as my mental health.I have made lots of friends too, so it will be hard for a lot of us through this difficult time.”
As Yiannis says, firstly it is important that we listen to guidelines set by the Government so that this can pass quickly. It’s important to stay calm, stay positive, and keep moving forward. We can beat this together.
“If you’re struggling for motivation, do something even if it’s just for 10 minutes; get out, go for a walk or a run, for example. If you’re not feeling it after 10 minutes, just go home but it’s likely you’ll stay out much longer whatever you do – that’s the first step.”
Like many people, many of Yiannis’s targets and goals have been disrupted due to the virus, Yiannis was training for his first important race. When we first spoke to Yiannis, he was still able to train as normal, using swimming pools and gyms. However, with recent announcements, this will now have changed.
At a time like this, safety is very important so it is important that people do what they have to do to stay safe and well. So with races, parkruns, and club runs being cancelled, Yiannis made the conscious effort to change his training routines up, especially since it would be too early to peak for the European Sprint Triathlon Championships in August. Additionally, with the universal uncertainty around upcoming sporting events, it is hard to know what will go ahead.
“No training is a waste, firstly by training you’re looking after your health,wellbeing, and mental health, and you are actively boosting your immune system and keeping fit. So it’s important to keep training, whether that is done safely outdoors or inside”.
Exercises to try at home
If you are unable to carry out some of your usual activities like swimming and going to the gym and wondering how to exercise at home without equipment, try some of these exercises to help your core strength:
- Press ups
- Sit ups
- V Sit ups
- Planks & side planks
- Jumping lunges
- Shoulder wall slides
There are plenty of videos online that will provide you with some guidance on exercises to do at home, as well as some small cardio workouts.
What about running?
Given that the UK government has put restrictions in place to say that you can leave the house once a day for exercise, as a run, either on your own or with a family member. However, if you have a treadmill then you can pretty much do all your running on the treadmill, no problem.
If you don’t have a treadmill and are not allowed out the house but can get into the garden, then perhaps you might want to consider using your garden to your advantage – try running up and down your garden. If it’s too small, then try doing drills and working on your running form. Yiannis recommends drills like high knees, steps, heel flicks and strides as these will help your form.
Cycling in lockdown
Now, cycling can easily be done indoors with your bike/exercise bike. Your bike will need a turbo trainer or rollers, you can buy these online for a reasonable price to allow you to do training just like you would outdoors. There are plenty of programmes you can follow online and even virtual rides will keep you motivated. You might want to consider hooking up with friends and training buddies online for some friendly competition.
Remaining positive & motivated while staying at home
As advised above by Yiannis, there are many ways you can still train, but he has noted that it is important to stay motivated. A simple one to do is to have a break and a recovery week. “Use this time to think about what you want to achieve and focus on in the coming months. There is nothing worse than pounding your body all year round and then only resting once you’re broken”, says Yiannis.
“Remember that somebody believes in you. This somebody could be a coach, manager, trainer, fellow athlete, or loved one. They will have the belief in your ability that you currently may not have. There is no harm in asking them for reassurance”. Yiannis is a big believer in always thinking positive.
Positivity can be developed by assessing each training day and competition sessions. He advises that you should assess your own positivity through forms of achievement, such as your technique, practice, and movement. Thinking positively leads to better mind and body balance. As said by Yiannis, “positive thinking enables the neural pathways within the mind to operate with clarity and purpose”.
Here are some tips for remaining positive during these testing times:
- Understand that it can be done – try to embark on each training session as a champion by having a clear and defined plan. Have patience and believe in yourself.
- Stay in control of the controllable – maintaining the controllable builds self-confidence as it provides you with a sense of focus. It is important to remember that you can never control what other people are doing but you can control what you are achieving. Do not lose sight of the controllable.
- Recall previous success – a mantra that Yiannis uses is related to distance travelled. Think about previous successes that you have had and how it made you feel.
- Set short-term goals – most athletes suffer from low self-confidence as they do not deal with issues bothering them and as a consequence, fail to deal with the problem head on. To rectify this, set yourself short term goals to strengthen your confidence. Short-term goals should be related to progress that is achievable.
The situation we are currently in is very unprecedented and extremely worrying, however continuing to exercise is very important. There are many options available to you, regardless of the closing of gyms and swimming pools. It is important to keep smiling, remain positive, and move forward in a safe way.
It can be tough to stay motivated but we hope that the tips above help. Set yourself small goals each week and take each day as it comes – in this current climate, this is one of the best ways to move forward.
To learn more about Yiannis Christodoulou, check out his YouTube Channel, featuring his helpful training videos.