Gym regulars stay active with fewer resources

By: Cheta D. Akaluka

Gym-goers are relying on their home workout gear to get them through the lockdown./JMH WELLNESS.

Fitness enthusiasts have been forced to be creative with their at-home workouts, and some are struggling to keep themselves motivated. The province announced on Nov. 12 that gyms and fitness centres must close, per the government’s guidelines for critical level (red) restrictions.

Avid gym-goer Marshall Nino said the updated public health orders have made it difficult to work out. “The way I work out has changed due to a lack of equipment,” said Nino.

Minimal equipment has created a big problem for Manitobans who intend to remain active at home throughout the second wave of quarantine.

Deborah Nkiasi, a basketball player at the University of Winnipeg, is getting creative by using household items to maximize her home workouts.

“I lift a baker filled with water because I no longer have access to weights,” the Wesmen forward said.

But gym closures have become strenuous on people like Boma Okorosaye, a Winnipeg nurse, who depends on the gym’s equipment to keep up with his fitness goals.

“COVID-19 has shattered my workout routine,” Okorosaye said. “Home alternatives like push-ups and boxing do not measure up to the gym equipment I am used to.”

The cost of most equipment has made building a home gym impractical for many. Standard dumbbell sets can cost more than $100. Manitobans may hesitate to make that investment, given the uncertainty about how long gyms will be closed.

Nkiasi said training without the hands-on support of her coaches and teammates has presented an entirely different obstacle. “It’s challenging to stay motivated,” she said.

Head of physical and health education at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute, Morgan Cheyne, said picking exercises you like is essential to stay motivated. “It would be helpful to do activities that we enjoy for home workouts.”

A cost-effective alternative to buying gym equipment is doing bodyweight exercises or video routines. Red River College provides several exercises on their website for students and faculty to do at home.

If COVID-19 cases decrease in the coming days and weeks, the provincial government could look at opening workout facilities once again. Until then, gym-goers may have to keep lifting water-filled bakers.