How I’m Staying Active in Lockdown

So I wasn’t originally planning on writing a post about how I’ve been trying to stay active (and sane!) during the Covid-19 lockdown, because let’s face it – every fitness blogger will be doing the same. But thanks to a stitch-up by (friend and radio host) Richard “Spanners” Ready, I’m compelled to share my fitness tricks and tips! Hopefully some of these will be useful to you or someone you know.

ONLINE CLASSES

There are frankly hundreds of available classes online at the moment, many of them for free, and others for a nominal fee to keep fitness instructors – who have found their income severely affected – financially afloat. To be honest, the amount of choice has been a little overwhelming at times (I’ll be on Instagram and suddenly get alert after alert of gyms and fitness influencers going live) but I’ve found a few that have really worked for me, especially in a small space.

@DanceFitnessWithLily – my friend Becky put me on to Lily, and I’m so grateful that she did! Lily is a professional dancer and choreographer based in London and she has the most infectious energy. She is offering 5 classes a week using Instagram Live, and she saves them to her story afterwards so you’ve got 24 hours to give them a go. They usually last 30-40 minutes, and they’re easy to do in a small space. Lily clearly loves what she does, and when she talks along to the songs with perfection pronunciation you can’t help but smile. An absolute tonic during these tough times. You can also follow Lily’s main account at @lilymaemcgregor.

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Runderwear – Underwear company Runderwear are doing a #60DayChallenge at 10am every day, which you can either do live with them on Facebook or do at your leisure by watching the video back. It’s usually no more than a 15 minute workout, based around bodyweight exercises such as lunges, squats etc. You can sign up to get a daily email reminder and a breakdown of the exercises here.

Magda Dawczak – Magda is an Ely resident and friend of mine who I met when she taught me Zumba. She usually teaches classes at the Hive in Ely, but that has obviously temporarily closed. Despite not having her regular income, Magda has decided to ask anyone who would like to attend her online Zoom* classes to donate money to the NHS using the 70085 number. Magda is one of the strongest women I know, but don’t be scared – her classes are based around cardio, core work and Zumba, which are accessible to everyone. You can find her on Instagram as @happy_fit_uk.

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Jo Hopkins – Jo is another local instructor who I know from the classes she teaches for Sweaty Betty Cambridge. She is an absolute human whirlwind, and not even a pandemic can change that. Jo is running – get this – 4 or 5 classes A DAY, including stretch and mobility classes, daily 30-minute lunchtime family exercise sessions and Saturday night dance parties! You can get involved for £5 a class (paid via bank transfer) or for £15 a week you can do as many classes as you like! Jo is also using Zoom for this, and you can find her on Instagram at @johopkins.moveit. She also has an incredible plant-based food company, so you can follow that at @josvivakitchen for foodie inspo!

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Helena Everdell – Helena is one of my yoga instructors and owner of one of the most soothing voices known to humankind. She’s sharing great little 5 minute videos on Instagram focusing on different body parts such as neck and shoulders, abs and a full body burner, so you can slot these into your WFH days whilst the kettle is boiling. Plus if you’re lucky, her dog Pablo makes a cameo, and we all know that cute dogs make everything better. You can follow her at @helena.everdell.

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Elyte Fitness – it’s not too late to join a gym! My amazing gym, Elyte, has moved to online classes for all of its members, so for me it’s just brilliant to be able to check in with all of my workout buddies and still get my sweat on with them. Elyte even offered for members to borrow equipment so that they could use them in their own homes, including the spin bikes. This goes above and beyond, and reminds me why I’m a member at the best gym round here.

LEARN A NEW SKILL

Ever wanted to be able to do a headstand? Learn to hula hoop? Do the splits? Try couch to 5k? Do a press up? This is your chance. Don’t waste it.

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MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR ALLOTTED OUTDOOR TIME

Whether it’s walking the dog, getting out for a run or jumping on the bike, please make the most of your chance to get outdoors while all of this is going on. We all know how much good vitamin D and fresh air does for us all, and although it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that’s happening, changing your scenery (in a socially distant way of course) will make such a huge difference to your day.

TRY MY WORKOUTS!

If this isn’t enough for you, I even wrote a couple of challenges for my running buddies that you can try at home! Fancy giving either of these a go?

1000 Rep Challenge

You can do this either as it’s written, or by breaking it down into 5 rounds:

50 x mountain climbers
50 x press ups
50 x burpees
50 x jump lunge (per leg)
50 x sit ups
50 x tuck jumps
50 x plank up downs
50 x plyo star jumps (hands to the floor)
50 x squat jumps
500 x skips (or high knees if you don’t have a rope

7 Minute EMOM

And EMOM means you start each exercise every minute on the minute. When you’ve finished the exercise, you can rest for the remainder of the minute. Repeat 4 times (28 minutes total).

10 burpees
40 flutter kicks
20 squat jumps
20 leg raises
10 surfer burpees
40 russian twists
20 squat thrusts

Let me know if you try either of these, and if you’ve discovered any other online gems I’d love to hear about them!

*Zoom is a video conferencing programme that has become INVALUABLE during this time. You can get the app and sign up for an account for free, and then people like Magda and Jo send out the link to the meeting (class) to attendees who have signed up and you’re good to go! Just remember that if you turn your camera on all of the attendees can see you, so think twice before doing a class in your underwear.

The 2019 Running Awards

So last week I was lucky enough to attend the 2019 Running Awards, as thanks to the votes from you lovely lot I was shortlisted for best personal blog! I had such a great running -centered day meeting some of the awesome folk from the wider UK running community.

I arrived in London a little before midday, getting to my hotel near Tower Bridge in time to get changed for the Secret London Run that the Running Awards had put on in collaboration with the brilliant Runderwear. We had all been generously gifted with personalised kit from Runderwear, and I rocked up in my new gear to see a sea of recognisable faces including Emma from Lipstick & Trainers and Jordan from ProjectMarathonGirl.

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Photo credit to Runderwear

We all split into groups, and then Matt from Secret London Runs took our group on a journey across the Thames to discover the murky history of South London. During our run we took in sites including the remains of the Roman London Wall, St Dunstan’s, Winchester Palace, Cross Bones and the Guinness Partnership among others. It was such an inspired way to see our capital, and forced all us runners to actually pause and look up once in a while!

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After a fantastic 4-odd miles, we all rushed off to get ready for the awards, which would be taking place on board the wonderful Dixie Queen on the Thames. I was lucky enough to have my brilliant Aunt Kathleen as my date, and there was much excitement on board as we all waited for Tower Bridge to open so that we could get on our merry way for the next 5 hours. It was at this point that I met parkrun legend Paul Sinton-Hewitt, and nattered his ear off about the brilliant impact that Littleport parkrun has had on our local community.

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The guest speakers during the Bloggers Forum were brilliant. Led by Claire from Wild Ginger Runs, we had talks from World Marathon Challenge record holder Susannah Gill (7 marathons in 7 continents in 7 days – yes really), Eric Keeler who ran 3700 miles across the USA despite not liking running (yes really) and Mark Atkinson, author of Run Like Duck and winner of the Gold Award for Best Book at the awards. You can read about his blog of the blog awards here (a blog mentioning a blog about the blogging awards – that meta enough for you Mark?!). We also had a great demo from Enertor showing us just how amazing their innersoles (favoured by Usain Bolt) are at absorbing impact (we were gifted a pair of these and I can’t wait to try them!), and we heard all about how founders Jamie and Richard built Runderwear.

After a quick buffet meal, we then went on to the awards themselves, and those of us who had been shortlisted were invited upstairs to watch the ceremony and Kathleen and I managed to blag a space on the table with Mark and his lovely wife Cloë. I wasn’t remotely surprised when my name wasn’t announced as the winner of the personal blog award (that honour went to Running Mr Jones) but it was great to watch Mark go up and collect his award and have a  hold of his hefty trophy! I also saw some of those I had voted for winning their categories, including the awesome Running Shoes Guru and the brilliant Runderwear.

After disembarking from the Dixie Queen we all headed off across London and beyond, and I’m sure many of those who would be running the marathon just 36 hours later were enjoying the relatively peaceful streets ahead of the awesome madness that awaited them. I had such a brilliant time in London, and my place there wouldn’t have been possible without those of you who take the time to read my witterings. I am so incredibly grateful to all of you who took the time to vote for me. Same time next year?

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