Reporter Santyna Marchesi explores the different ways people have reacted and coped without the gym during the covid 19 lockdown.
ON MARCH 20 last year, England went into a lockdown which meant many places were closed. For example: shops, restaurants, pubs but the biggest disappointment for many people was the fact that the gyms were closed. In the UK one in every seven people is a member of a gym hence so many people becoming upset.
Cameron Hockley, a personal trainer from Waltham Abbey, really struggled when he found out gyms would be closing. Since a young age he has always been a gym lover, and said: “Gym to me is my way of dealing with stress and my way of staying sane so as soon as I heard rumours of a lockdown I invested in dumbbells and a bench.”
Cameron claimed the first lockdown was actually beneficial to him and he had less distractions. For example: going out, drinking and restaurants so he made a lot of progress, however that quickly changed when we entered the second lockdown as his body became used to the workouts he was doing and he only had a small amount of exercises he could do without the gym so he began to plateau.
Cameron lost a lot of motivation and the only thing that kept him going was the thought of gyms re- opening. Gyms re opened on April 12. Now that they have reopened Cameron said: “I appreciate the gym so much more recently and have been training longer and harder than ever before, I’ve seen more significant progress due to the machines I am able to use, I’m feeling so much happier and motivated.”
Cameron is now putting his focus into creating fitness plans for people struggling to get back into the routine of gym and people who want to start working out but do not know where to begin. He specialises in diet plans and has helped many people already.
During lockdown many people began to snack and eat a lot more due to boredom. Daniel Burke, a 19 year old from Cheshunt, had never enjoyed going to the gyms before lockdown and saw it as more of a chore so when lockdown started he was happy to have break. Daniel said: “I went to the gym once a week and was not too bothered on missing days.”
However after almost a year long lockdown Daniel began to miss the gyms. He said: “For me I missed the feeling you feel after you have done a workout and I had no motivation at home, the gyms motivates you because of all the people around you so without that I became lazy”
As soon as the gyms opened Daniel booked his first session and is currently going three times a week, much more then he used to. Daniel said: “I’m so grateful the gyms are open, I will never take them for granted again.”
Daniel has became more body confident already in the small amount of weeks that the gym has been reopened. He will continue to go every week.
Not everyone is excited about the gyms reopening. Talya Selcuk from Waltham Abbey used to love the gym however due to covid 19 she cannot see herself starting again. She said: “I really am cautious with covid and the thought of going to the gyms where people sweat, cough and shower scares me. I cannot see myself going back there until all restrictions are lifted.”
“Even before lockdown I was wary about sharing equipment but now I am extra cautious, I think it’s because I had covid before and it was not a pleasant experience so now I am doing everything in my power to avoid the possibility of getting it again.”
Although the gyms do sanitize and follow PPE measures the uncertainty of cleanliness has stopped Talya from physically going to the gyms and she now enjoys home workouts.
Talya said : “I have gained 6kg since lockdown one and have struggled to stay fit, I love home workouts on YouTube however I don’t think they are as beneficial as the gyms. I have enjoyed walks and runs but nothing compares to the gyms.”
Talya has bought little bits of equipment in hopes it will motivate her to work out before she can re-enter the gyms.
The gyms reopening have had a massive positive impact on many people and their mental health and many people hope they stay open. The gym has restrictions in place for extra safety these are: no use of sauna or steam room, hour long sessions, masks to be worn when walking to different equipment and when signing in and the machines are socially distanced to avoid any close contact.
Main photo: Waltham Abbey Gym after lockdown, taken from Places Leisure website.