A common question we are all asking right now is, how do we keep fit in isolation? With many races cancelled and even regular exercise restricted for athletes right across Australia, our routines have to change. That can be hard, both physically and mentally, and many athletes feel that by slowing down they will lose their fitness, or miss out on key sessions with others, or (horror of horrors) gain weight.
Learning to step back and take a breath will actually work in your favour – especially if you nail your nutrition in the off season. It’s not realistic to maintain race weight all year round, so eat well, eat consistently and stay hydrated (this is especially important in winter!).
How to Keep Fit in Isolation
Use the off season or isolation time to ease off a little and try some new activities. If you’re a road cyclist, try heading out into the bush and hit the trails on mountain bikes. Not only is mountain biking probably the most fun you can have on two wheels (getting air over a jump will make even the sternest riders laugh in delight) but it builds stamina, strength and bike handling skills.
There are fantastic trails all over WA, but down south here the trails are world class. With several great apps available listing course maps, difficulty ratings and approximate completion times, there’s no excuse for not getting a little muddy!
Our Favourite Apps:
✔ Margaret River Find The Fun
✔ Trails WA
Best Isolation Workouts:
To keep fit in isolation, strength training will go a long way towards boosting your power to weight ratio on the bike, and strength in the pool too. Core, glute and quad strength will work in your favour once training ramps up again, and let’s face it, many athletes do let strength work fall by the wayside in favour of long endurance rides. Checkout Workout Women App for simple, free strength sessions you can do at home (not just for women though!)
Swap out the speedwork and slow the pace by grabbing some paddles and a pull buoy to build up shoulder strength in the pool – this also works to correct body position in the water. Just remember to ease into it! Knocking out 3km with paddles straight off the bat might result in you not being able to lift your arms past your chest!
With the winter weather filling pathways and roads with rain water, why not hit the hills for some trail running. Grab a friend and concentrate on some long slow trail runs, which build stamina and strength. Trail running utilises different muscle groups than running on bitumen, as your whole body responds to changes in elevation (hills), surface textures (rocks, pea gravel, riverbeds) and surrounding obstacles (branches, undergrowth, prickles and eeeek spiderwebs!) meaning you become more intuitive and fast acting – think mountain goat!
Avoiding weight gain in isolation
Rest and recovery can’t happen without providing your body with the fuel needed to support its engine. It’s time to focus on your daily Supergreens to ward off the winter lurgies, and protein powders can be the basis of a yummy smoothie which can be a lighter breakfast opti0n. Swap out carb mixes for Sugar-Free electrolytes to keep well hydrated in the winter months.
Take your time and find new ways to enjoy building your fitness in isolation!