With the closure of many gyms and fitness facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians have looked to find alternative and creative ways to exercise at home.
Ayanna Gibb, owner and instructor at Inspire Women’s Fitness, an all-women fitness studio in Langley, B.C., says her clients have found a use for numerous household items to complete workouts during her online classes.
According to Gibb, items included using a plastic lid or Swiffer cleaning pad for glider workouts, and using the back of a chair or couch for balancing during barre classes.
While hosting her classes virtually, Gibb says keeping her clients motivated and ensuring their voice is included when it comes to programming is a priority.
“Everybody’s going through something different with this pandemic. Some are financial, some are emotional — mental wellness is down the drain for so many people.”
Luis Argumendes is a co-founder of Centre U Fit, a fitness and training studio in Montreal. Since the closure of the centre due to COVID-19 restrictions, they’ve curated online content for clients to engage in workouts using their own body weight, free weights or household items.
Argumendes says he has previously encouraged clients to fill up backpacks full of water bottles to wear to intensify at-home workouts including things like push-ups and squats. He says he has also seen people lifting couches and using a broomstick in replacement of a bar for various upper and lower body exercises.
“Obviously now with the lockdown and the curfew here in Montreal right now a bit harder for the people that don’t have a normal work schedule,” he said. “But people are finding different ways to work out.”
Similarly, Jenna Doak, co-founder and head trainer of Body Positive Fitness in Toronto, says she encourages people in her virtual fitness classes to use household items like water bottles, soup cans, laundry detergent bottles or books to add extra resistance.
According to Doak, engaging in single-limb exercises can also change up the way people complete various exercises.
“For example, doing a single-leg deadlift. If you only have a couple pounds in each hand sometimes switching up to a single leg deadlift makes it way harder on the hamstring and the glute and the core rather than having both feet on the floor,” she said.
‘Ditch expectations and celebrate any moment’
Additionally, many people have found difficulty in finding the time and motivation to engage in working out, especially after working a shift, taking care of family members and other daily tasks.
Robin Lacambra is the owner and creator of GOODBODYFEEL in Hamilton, Ont., a studio aimed at creating a safe and empowering space for all communities and uncovering the intersection between mindful movement and social justice.
“We deserve to be loved, feel beautiful, feel empowered in our bodies regardless what our body looks like, regardless of our access to wealth or access to other resources,” she said. “It’s the commitment to self-awareness, it’s a commitment to acceptance.”
When it comes to finding motivation, Lacambra says to “ditch expectations and celebrate any moment.”
“Often, people have expectations around what counts as exercise like it has to be at least an hour or it has to be in a quiet space or involving machines or equipment.”
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