13th April 2021
They kept clients moving during lockdown but how did they keep themselves motivated, and what have they learnt? Amanda Loose chats to local fitness experts
Hannah Nicol of The Old Stables Pilates Studio
“When we had to close our studio doors in March 2020, my husband Gary and I (with A LOT of help from Kirstin Crane of Visualade) set up an online subscription to our Pilates classes via our website www.oldstablespilates.co.uk. We wanted to try and help people to stay positive, active, and to keep moving!
“I’ve always exercised, it’s been a huge part of my life and I’m lucky that it’s also my job! What I hadn’t realised until lockdown is just how much I rely on exercise for my mental wellbeing as well as my physical health.
“I’d gone from teaching face-to-face every day for years, to suddenly having no contact with my clients. I’ve found that quite tough, and like everybody else whose daily work routine has changed, it’s affected my motivation. But… what really keeps me going is the memory of how amazingly fantastic I feel after exercise. That memory alone is enough to get me out the door!
“When we exercise, our body produces natural feel-good chemicals, and I cannot stress enough how important it is that we release them. After exercise I know that I will feel more positive, I know that I will have more energy, I know that I will feel happier, I know that I will have more patience. And… I know that I’m nicer to live with!
“Try and do something every day. If you wake up tomorrow and feel like going for a brisk walk, then that’s brilliant. If you feel your body needs a Pilates stretch, then that’s fantastic. If you fancy a bike ride or a run round the block… awesome! You’ve moved, you’ve exercised, you’ve released those feel-good chemicals.
“Please just don’t be too hard on yourselves. Don’t put pressure on yourselves or make promises that you may not be able to keep. Be kind to yourself, get outdoors, breathe that fresh air in, or join me online for some Pilates and feel proud of yourself that you did something positive today!”
Jake Platten and Fay Collins of Platten Fitness
During lockdown 3.0, Jake and Fay ran online boot camp classes for their clients. Since lockdown eased, they have reverted to outdoor in-person Covid secure sessions in the Fakenham and Wells area, but their experiences these last months are motivational.
“There’s so many ways to keep fit from home and outdoors. We are lucky to have a variety of gym equipment that we usually use in our Boot Camp classes, which we used at home. But even if you don’t, you can fill up bottles of water to use for weight or do body weight exercises.
“We recorded two body weight workouts for our Ultimate Boot Camp members per week. They tended to be high rep, high intensity workouts – you can get a lot done in 30 minutes!
“We introduced challenges for all of our members and us to complete throughout each month. We individually utilised the great outdoors, doing power walks, runs and incorporated our weights, adding in squats and lunges. We beat our own times on planks, wall sits and press ups! Everyone then posted their videos to the private Facebook group to share their achievements and motivate others.
“The biggest struggle was not being able to workout with other people in venues. Your environment and shared goals help you keep going. That’s why our online classes were so important for us and our members. We kept that connection, still working out together every Monday and Thursday evening. If we hadn’t had that it would have been a lot harder!
“Sometimes you feel motivated and other times you don’t. It’s discipline that keeps you going. Also remembering that motivation tends to come from action, rather than the other way round.
“So just make a start on your workout, even if you just commit for 10 to 15 minutes, even if you don’t feel like it at first. You will be surprised at how motivated you start to feel as you get going, and who knows, you might just end up doing 30 minutes or an hour!
“Remind yourself of how great you will feel afterwards. Exercise boosts your mood and is a natural antidepressant. Keep your goals in mind and always have several reasons for working out. It’s so much more than just losing weight or building muscle. It’s about improving our physical and mental health with every single workout.”
Marie Isaac, yoga instructor and meditation teacher
“Lockdown 3 has been a challenge! It’s felt very different – a bit heavy, a lot more boring, Groundhog Day ring any bells…
“Motivation, or the lack of it, can really amplify those feelings, in turn lowering our mood and reducing our confidence. Did you know that how we spend the first 30 minutes of our day, has a trajectory on the rest of our day?
“Changing our mindset is the key to making positive impacts in all areas of our lives so we can reap the rewards of self-love, satisfaction and happiness.
“1. As soon as I wake, I sit to meditate. The practice of meditation is my absolute essential tool to keep me present in the moment, and prevent my mind wandering on worrying thoughts or catastrophising situations. I’ve really had to call on this practice more over lockdown to help keep me in the reality of the situation rather than adding to the anxiety.
“My advice for anyone starting off is begin small. Just sit for a minute or two, slowly building up. We have a collection of five-minute daily mindful musings which really help to re-set and bring a focus to your day ahead.
“2. I reflect on the power of gratitude, mentally listing the things I already have in my life to be grateful for which instantly makes you feel abundant – health, home, a bed to sleep in, food in your cupboards, water from your taps, the people we love in our lives…
“3. I show myself self-love and motivation with a positive mantra or intention of how I see my day ahead to be… “I am grateful for this new day. I am calm, I am positive, I am stronger than you think.”
“4. I practice yoga daily as well as my online teaching so I can truly embody the practice. It’s not all headstands and arm balances, it’s often just connecting with my breath, stretching and easing into my body. It’s honestly the only thing I do that makes me feel like I’m home!
“5. I choose the foods my body deserves. Making healthy whole-food choices has a huge impact on how you feel about yourself, your energy levels and how you feel mentally.
“Like anything, starting is the most difficult, be kind and gentle with yourself but START, you’ll be so happy you did!
“We have a collection of daily mindful musings to re-set and bring a focus to your day ahead, an online eight-week meditation programme, and live or recorded yoga sessions. You are so welcome here.”
Jane Sebburn, Pilates teacher/ personal trainer
“How I have kept motivated during the lockdown is having the interaction with people in my class while keeping them in shape.
“Exercise has evolved since the pandemic began, with people keeping fit at home. Since March 2020, I started teaching my private lessons and classes online with Zoom. I found by helping people both in body and mind has kept me focused!
“I’ve learned from this lockdown to be happy with who you are, and have appreciated spending time with friends and family, when restrictions have allowed.
“Connecting with nature has been my fitness break from home, walking along the marsh, beachcombing, and noticing the crystal clear open spaces through the different seasons.
“I have also taken up learning Spanish, completing home improvements, and finally finding time to read a daily newspaper.
“Though this journey, I have missed socializing, Stansted airport and a sneaky glass of fizz down the pub!”
The three tips Jane has found most helpful are: “Try and live in the present. Exercise is essential, and laughter is good for you!”