Surf Fitness and Covid times.
Firstly, I am going to branch out and share a few things, related to our times, not just fitness.
We are in an era that most will find nothing that can compare. There are comparisons with both World Wars, but whilst most did not experience that, it could also be considered disrespectful to compare those times for those who did suffer against our current Covid Pandemic.
It is certainly a ‘Plague’ of immense proportions. Whilst some estimates calculate the death rate to be under 1 %, there is a factor that many do not take into consideration, that of the residual and permanent lung damage that affects many. A respiratory degradation is obviously going to have a massive change to someone’s life ongoing. Those unfortunate people will need to enhance their respiratory fitness ad infinitum.
Another, and typically unspoken issue, is one of mental health and depression from the ‘new way of life’. Our Social interactions (should) have changed, although there are still people in denial. This, for many, can cast a large majority back into their homes. Many live alone, many have no immediate relatives. Even with a ‘circle of friends’ the communication and ways of interacting have changed. If this gets bad, you’re not alone, as these are indeed unique circumstances, do not be afraid to reach out for help.
I live alone, I have found in the last week that I have not surfed much, too much wind, no swell etc. My work went from 12 hours of college teaching and 15 hours of training clients to zero hours in one ‘Covid’ day. I have now clawed my way back to between 6-9 hours/week. I was lucky for a while because I did Pre-Season prep for a USA Soccer Athlete. Something that activated the grey matter and something that provided great motivation (for me) to achieve the highest standard of outcome. We worked well together, but he has now gone to the U.S.A. and I am missing the mental stimulation. I cherish the interaction with the clients I have and love the (distanced) chats down the beach when there’s waves. I love bashing my drum kit, but there are no gigs to aspire to. I am certainly not prepared to go back into the gym, I am now training everyone outside, in an Oval at Mosman, for safety reasons. However, the Sunrise and fresh air is a delight, even if the mornings have been cooler because of winter.
So, I too, have experienced some ‘funky’ and ‘lost’ moments of late. I will survive, but mentally I am tough. Luckily, I own my own home, so that helps. I cannot even begin to imagine or understand the hardship some must be experiencing. We all need to reach out and spread the love. I’m good and will bounce back, there are far worse off, but just sharing.
Exercise, of course, is a known anti-depressant. Whilst the gyms might not be considered by some to be safe environments currently. Choosing your exercise ‘foil’ can be a challenge to stay safe, however, the stimulation of new ways and means can also be extremely motivating. Saving money is going to be a prime goal for many during this period of hardship. However, good footwear and sensible clothing gets you out walking for starters.
I got cast from my work into the dilemma of no income for two weeks, then 2 hours a week to now the current 6-9 hours. I needed to re-invent. Having a great toolbox of knowledge helped, but I still needed to be resourceful and think on my feet.
I possessed one low/medium Strength band (a gift from the Australian Strength and Conditioning Conference) and one 8kg kettlebell (also sometimes disguised as a doorstop)! Now what was I going to do?
My two hours a week were a ‘House Call’ with a loyal long-term client. I needed to go ‘outdoors’ to put food on the table, there were no gyms open. Slowly a few clients filtered back, and I started to get my head around my new ‘outdoors gym’ design.
The new Gym with clean air.
I looked for safe but challenging surfaces. I found concrete surfaces and steps. I looked for ways to increase loads and resistances, so I started to gather/buy more adjustable dumbbells. There were challenges, pieces of rust (with a weight attached) were fetching premium $ and were in short supply. I ordered more strength bands from a major company who stated new stock in next week and promised dispatch with 8-10 days…. more like 6 weeks!
Here is my new Gym Build (for all).
What you need,
Safe and solid surfaces.
Safe and solid increased resistance surfaces (steps).
Upright fixed attachment points (poles/support girders).
It should be noted here that trees do not take kindly to having straps put around them, it strips the bark and damages them. Also, one should be cognisant of destroying park benches/marking paint etc.
Adjustable resistance, this could be as simple as a strong back with the addition of bricks in the crudest sense. However, the chrome adjustable dumbbell bars with the screw on/off collars and (thin, so you have more room) plates are extremely useful.
Strength-bands, not the flimsy ones, it is good to invest in a higher quality band. A breaking band under full load is a recipe for disaster. With that comes band care, with regards to attachments. Have a look at the photos and you will see how I have modified the band attachments. I have even in one instance used the ankle strap from and old leg rope! Basically, the rule should be NO metals touches the Strength-band ever.
Balance work, outside I feel the Bosu is too vulnerable to sharp grit etc, plus cumbersome to transport. The small oblong blocks work well as a substitute.
Farmer’s Walk, carrying dumbbells up and down a series of steps another great easy to do exercise. An example of combining the above.
I have managed, with a combination of the above ingredients to put together quite an effective ‘outside gym’. I use several strength bands of different resistance and set ups to provide variety and increased training stimulus and weight/resistance variants.
I was a little skeptical at first, and somewhat nervous to see if I could provide an effective training session. However, when my clients said they had DOMS after their initial session, I was on the road! (DOMS) delayed onset muscle soreness.
If you are in the Rawson Oval area of Mosman in Sydney, give me a shout, and come and join us!
Please check the images for further clarification on the above, I have tried to show how straps can be set up and attached, plus showed the ‘tools of the trade’ for my outside ‘gym’.
If you purchase the two ‘packed with information’ manuals from baliwaves.com you will get all the exercises explained and will explain how to use the ‘tools’.
Bali is doing it tough, so I have reduced the price to a giveaway of $30 for two manuals and Slim and his family will get the Lion’s share.