With lockdowns continuing across the globe to stop the spread of COVID-19 the idea of exercise and working out has shifted in its definition. With sporting events cancelled, training outdoors increasingly difficult and fitness classes at the gym a no-go, the new normal for keeping fit is your living room. With online fitness platforms like Zwift, Peloton and Ironman’s Virtual Clubhouse, athletes and weekend warriors alike are turning to indoor fitness training. Whilst these platforms are no substitute for being outdoors enjoying your sport, they do provide an interesting way for users to connect virtually and continue racing in events that are set across the globe.
After placing 2nd in the Taupo Ironman, mid-March, Mike Phillips came off the podium and almost immediately went into lockdown in New Zealand. We have been keeping in touch with Mike to see how he is managing his fitness and how lockdown has impacted his training schedule:
A. “Currently in NZ, pools are closed and open water activities off-limits. Obviously, this removes swimming from the agenda. We can cycle and run outside within our local area by ourselves. I have been trying to get out once a day, and also incorporate some workouts at home (cycle + strength and mobility). There is an online platform called Strava which records on segments outside. I have been having a bit of fun trying to capture all the ones close by and try and knock my neighbours off the leaderboards.”
Q. Is your training mostly restricted to inside workouts?
A. “I try to get out once per day, but otherwise there is a lot we can now do inside. With software like Zwift, we can do virtual bike rides and compete against others, this is a great way to stay motivated. There is also a lot of indoor strength and mobility workouts available which I find beneficial.”
Q. How are you keeping motivated during this time? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A. “I have found it very beneficial to get into a routine. Also making the most of the various software and virtual challenges to keep some small goals for myself to work towards.
Q. What difficulties have you discovered from ‘working out at home’?
A. “I find it easier mentally working out with others, being outside in the great training grounds we have in Christchurch. This is of course a little different when trying to do the majority of your workouts from home.”
Q. Can you run through your daily home fitness/ workout routine for us?
A. “Typically I have been doing some mobility work in the mornings, followed by a coffee and some breakfast. I have then been alternating between bike and run, I live midway up a hill, so it makes it easy to get to some isolated training grounds. I typically run around the local park, or cycle up the hill. In the afternoons we have been walking down to the supermarket to top up on necessities, and it's also a good workout walking back up the hill. I will use the indoor cycle trainer in the evenings when I haven't been outside to tick the legs over before dinner.”
Q. How do you think your fellow athletes are managing?
A. “A lot of the athletes in the sport we compete in are highly motivated individuals. We have three sports to train for so the training can be quite diverse. I am sure they are all adapting to the lockdown and keeping active and motivated throughout this period.”
Q. What’s your new training target Mike, are you now focusing on 2021 Events?
A. “I am just playing it by ear at the moment. Kona 2020 is still yet to have any announcements, I think it is unlikely we will race, but let's see how the next few months unfold.”
The endurance sports scene has had to take a shift in operations in response to COVID-19. Triathlon giant Ironman has created a ‘Virtual Clubhouse’ in order to continue otherwise postponed or cancelled races. Here, athletes can link up in Ironman races and be rendered into challenges all over the globe. The virtual races are allowing athletes to race in events they have been training for prior to lockdown disruptions. This clubhouse has enabled athletes to continue business as usual, which will be a relief for many.
We asked Mike his thoughts on Ironman creating a virtual club for athletes:
A. “I think it's a great idea to keep people active and have goals to work towards. I would however recommend not to push yourself too hard during this period. Long bouts of high-intensity exercise can suppress the immune system, and during this time I think we should all keep our immunities up.”
Zwift has also been a popular choice among pro athletes. An online platform designed for runners and cyclists to come together as a community from everywhere and anywhere. Zwift offers multiple plans for you to train, race or just go it alone on a course. Allowing you to connect with people from all over the world be it amateur racers or professionals.
Continuing to stay active and motivated during lockdown is as important as making sure you are recovering properly. This is why Mike uses Myovolt Wearable Recovery to help him recover at home especially now that he is unable to get to his physio. Here’s what he said about his recovery at home:
A. “A lot of the recovery principles remain unchanged. Although I cannot get hands-treatment I still have access to my Myovolt wearable devices, and can also continue to do my mobility/stretching work. I typically do some activation and strengthening work to help keep injury-free.”
These lockdown periods can be used to hone your recovery and have you fresher for when events start back up again. There is no need to skip out on recovery when it is easy to do at home. Using wearable devices like Myovolt gives you the ability to be your own physio at home.
A final piece of advice from Mike to those still working out at home and trying to stay motivated during this difficult and challenging time:
“I would recommend getting into a routine, keep some familiarity to what you would normally do. Get some fresh air once a day, utilise technology and virtual challenges and look after your recovery.”
Look into moving some of your workouts online during COVID-19 lockdowns and keep motivated, we will get through this!