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Michelle's
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The first two weeks of lockdown were great - but I knew I had to try and stay active somehow

The main barrier that has stopped me getting active in the past was not having enough time to make fitness a habit. Pre-lockdown, I had a gym membership and would sometimes pick a dance class to go to. But finishing work at 6pm, dealing with train delays or after-work socials meant it was difficult to get into a pattern that could be sustained.  

Plus, I found the gym boring! That’s why I’d prefer a dance class, something that felt like fun over exercise, something where I’d be amongst a group and we’d all cheer each other on and have a sense of sisterhood and camaraderie.

But then again, time would often get in the way of that as classes didn’t quite fit neatly around my work schedule. 

The first two weeks of lockdown were great – I indulged, I snacked, I spent hours on the sofa catching up on all my fave TV shows. Life pre-lockdown meant that I was always on the move – running from one meeting room to another, up and down the stairs, the long walk to the train station etc. But being stuck in a one-bedroom flat where the fridge was a mere 10 steps away meant that trouble was ahead. My face started to get rounder so I knew I had to try and stay active somehow.  

The second reason was that I started to find lockdown tough. The loss of structure and variety in my day, plus the feeling of not being connected to other people seeing as I live alone started to affect my mood.  

Scrolling on social to pass the time, I started to come across fitness experts hosting free workouts on Instagram Live. The main ones I followed were @just_geen, @xtinaao_ and @ciaralondon 

What was great was that the workouts had banging music playlists, which made it feel like you were out in the club, plus the live comment section meant we all interacted with each other during the workout.

 People would post water emojis to share that they were dripping with sweat, fire emojis when their glutes were burning and would celebrate when they heard their fave song dropped. It was like being in a class without actually being in a class. 

What this lockdown has given me is the time to really integrate exercise into my workday. I do an IG live workout every lunchtime which gets me away from my makeshift home desk and gives me a mental break 

I find I actually have more energy to power through the rest of the afternoon because of it.

The other great thing is that the classes are so varied, so often I’ll do a pilates or yoga session in the evening to help wind down after work. With the distinction between home and work being really blurred because I’m physically in the same space all day, having that evening session really helps me to switch off and transform my home back into a home for the evening. 

The classes have created an online tribe where we we’ve bonded over our shared experience of pain! I’m half kidding, but I receive encouragement to keep on going when workouts get tough and a safe place to share my progress. What was even more special is that I also roped my friends into it so now we’ve created a side whatsapp group to discuss the workouts, send reminders when the workouts are about to start, share our pics and keep each other accountable.  

It’s great to focus on something other than the strange times we’re in.

Finding my online tribe has definitely kept me going mentally during this lockdown. Plus working out every day means I’m fitter than I was before, something I don’t think I would have achieved without having the time to make it a daily habit. Can’t be mad at that.