At home workouts: how to keep your body moving and stay sane
Okay so not everybody loves the gym. Some find it intimidating while others prefer getting outdoors to work up a sweat. Whether gym’s your jam though, one thing is for certain – the importance of exercise for maintaining your physical and mental health. Perhaps, now more than ever.
With gym and fitness centres now closed for the greater good health of the general population, (ironic right!) and social distancing rules now in play, many of us are left without workout spaces, buddies and, if you’re anything like me, motivation. Add to that job uncertainty, a loss of routine, schooling kids at home or trying to work from home, and is it any wonder many of us are struggling to find our workout mojo.
With a view to getting some fitness inspo, I caught up with Mum, Personal Trainer, Manager of Genesis Fitness Cessnock and all-round legend, Sammie Hindmarsh to find out what their centre’s doing to help its members during COVID19 and to get some general fitness tips on how to keep moving…at home.
Q&A with Sammie Hindmarsh
It’s a tough time for many industries including the health & fitness industry, how has Genesis been impacted?
We had to close the doors on March 23 at 12pm as per government rules and regulations around COVID19. So obviously, we have no members in here training now. We have bare minimal staff on at the moment too and we made the immediate decision to suspend all memberships.
The Hunter Genesis franchise has a large member base which is obviously going to have a massive impact on the business’ viability. How did members respond to news of the closure?
“We’ve been absolutely blown away by the community support.”
So many members have called, wanting to continue to pay part or their full membership rate, just to help us get through this tough time. It’s unreal the community spirit.
You obviously have a loyal following at Genesis, how are you guys trying to stay connected with your members during this time?
We’ve been in clubs calling active members where we can, just to check in with them, to reassure them that their account has been suspended and to let them know that we’re here for them.
We’ve also created an online platform called the Home Fitness Network (HFN) so we can continue to support our members with their health and fitness goals.
So, tell me a bit about the Home Fitness Network?
With the HRN you get access to workout videos created by Genesis Health & Fitness and Coaching Zone Fitness professionals, over 100 Les Mills workouts for different fitness levels, Michelle Bridges Nutrition Plans (from her 12WBT program) with 150+ meal plans, recipes and health tips as well as direct contact and support from us.
It even has Mums and Bubs workouts, workouts for kids and older adults as well. We're trying to accommodate all fitness needs so there's something for everyone. The Programs are constantly growing and evolving.
With job losses and reduced working hours, a lot of people out there are feeling the pinch at the moment. How much does HFN cost members and can non-members also get in on the action?
Yeah we’re pretty proud of what the business has put together in such a short time frame and we know a lot of people are doing it tough.
“HFN costs just $5 a week for members and non-members can also join for $7.50 per week.”
Initially we just offered the program to members because we wanted to make sure that they were looked after but then we decided to make it accessible to the broader community because we know health and fitness and in particular, mental health, is just so important at this time.
What can people who prefer group fitness i.e. exercise classes/bootcamp style workouts do during this time?
We’ve just launched Coaching Zone online, where we have live workout sessions with the trainers, interactive group cooking sessions and a group chat and check-in facility too. All the workouts can be done with little to no equipment at home as well.
Just back on the subject of mental health, are there any specific kinds of exercise you’d recommend to people who are feeling pretty stressed and anxious right now?
“Any movement; moving your body is the key.”
I think fitness right now might look like playing with your kids in the backyard, creating a playlist of your favourite songs and dancing away for 30 minutes, setting up a bodyweight circuit in the shed or even just practicing some mindfulness and gratitude through some deep breathing and stretching.
If you can, try and do it together as a family. The more you can, the less stressful the environment is going to be. That’s not to say that exercise and movement will takeaway financial pressures or hardships, but it will definitely help ease that mental workload.
What are your exercise tips for people who feel time poor, especially parents and carers?
I definitely believe the key is to incorporate it into your daily routine. It should be just like brushing your teeth. It’s good if you can get everyone at home involved too, and then it becomes something to look forward to for the day.
If you don’t feel like you can set aside a specific time for exercise though, just try and add more movement into your day. Like when you hang the clothes out. Do it over a few trips back and forth from the laundry instead of one big basket load. If you’re lucky enough to have smart technology in your home, get up and turn lights on and off the old-fashioned way. The more you can do this, the better off your body will feel and therefore your mind will feel.
How can you stay motivated with your health and fitness goals nowadays?
“I don’t think you need to reinvent the wheel. I think it can be as simple as connecting.”
Write down your goals and then find someone you can check in with, like a workout buddy. There’s Facetime and Zoom and other online platforms that you can use to do this. Also, make it fun and make it part of your routine.
The gym [Genesis] has a dedicated Facebook group for the HFN participants, but there’s no reason you can’t do this with your own friends. There’s also lots of Fitness Trackers and Apps you can use to help you goal-set and stay focused.
A lot of people go to the gym for weight training, what can these people do at home instead?
Look for items in your house that you could use to lift or as equipment for body weight exercises. A 3L carton of milk from the fridge could be used a dumbbell, you can practice squats and tricep dips using a kitchen chair or even fill the esky that’s in your garage with water or sand (from the sandpit).
There’s so much around the house you can use if you get a little bit inventive and have a little fun with it. Just make sure you get some professional advice if you’re a beginner on the weights, to avoid any injury.
Playgrounds and playcentres have now been closed and the school holidays will soon be upon us. How can we keep our kids moving at home?
Lots of outside backyard play and exploring if you have the space, dancing to music, creating obstacle courses is fun too.
“But kids can mostly do whatever you do. They’ll be so excited to watch and do exercise with Mum, Dad or someone at home whether it’s the HFN or something else.”
What will you be doing fitness wise over the next few months?
I already have the daily discipline of training so for me it’s about incorporating that into a routine. I’m not sure what that looks like right now, it might be doing a quick half-hour workout in the shed while the kids are doing their school work or putting a Zumba class on the TV that we can all get involved in. More than likely, I’ll be dialling into the HFN because it’s such a great tool.
Any final tips or advice?
Put on your exercise gear when you get up in the morning, so you’re always ready to workout. Most importantly though, just do something. Something is always better than nothing.