When it comes to finding fitness information – or any information at all – the internet has always been a double-edged sword. Yes, there are all sorts of excellent pages curated by experts who know what they’re talking about. The opposite is also very much true. With no gyms to train at and no trainers to set us straight, what’s a poor ol’ quarantined soul to do?
Rather than have you roll the dice and hope for the best, I’m going to share some of the best online fitness and health resources that I’ve come across, resources I direct all of my clients to whenever our sessions are on hold. Whether you’re into strength training, martial arts, gymnastics, mobility, or meditation, I’ve got you covered.
First, though, a word of advice: my goal as a trainer is to put myself out of business. I want my clients to become so skilled and competent that they don’t need me at all. You should strive for this, too. Pay attention to the subtle language of movement – the way the scapula retracts on push-ups and rows, the way the hips open on squats, how your palm position affects chin-ups and curls. Use this time to learn how to train yourself, using exercises that work for your own unique body.
Build your body
Bodytribe: Chip Conrad is not your typical trainer. His approach emphasizes basic movement skills and an oft-ignored factor called “fun” over mindless repetitions. But don’t confuse fun with easy. His Social Distancing Workout Jam Series on YouTube offers excellent instruction through body weight, resistance band, and dumbbell workouts, all of which will leave you feeling stronger and smarter.
Bang: Since 2008, Geoff Girvitz and his intrepid team of trainers have been operating one of the best gyms in Canada. Now, they’re offering a sample of all that knowledge for free on Facebook. Join the Bang Fitness Community Page for at-home workouts and lifestyle habit coaching, then get ready to join the gym itself once their doors are reopened.
ALTIS: Weekend warriors and regular gym folks aren’t the only ones struggling to stay in shape right now. Gyms are closed to the athletically gifted too. If you’re a competitive athlete in need of something more advanced, look no further than ALTIS. Members of ALTIS 360 literally learn training techniques from Olympians. Try it free for 14 days.
GMB: Gymnasts have arguably the most incredible physiques in all of sports, and they achieve these “gold medal bodies” without using a whole lot of equipment. No pommel horse in your living room? No problem! Whether you want to perfect a handstand or simply get more flexible, agile and co-ordinated, GMB’s online training programs are built around body weight movements, with different approaches depending on your goals and abilities.
Hayabusa: One of the most recognizable names in combat sport equipment and apparel, Hayabusa also offers a free online library of boxing and kickboxing workouts led by pro fighters. You can also find articles offering home-training advice for jiu-jitsu practitioners, kettlebell training, as well as tips on cultivating a winner’s mindset while stuck in your condo.
Take a break
Waking Up: Whatever your thoughts are on Sam Harris the author and intellect, it’s tough to deny that his Waking Up meditation app is the best in the business. Not only does this app deliver guided meditation practice to help ease your stress, you can also learn about topics such as the nature of boredom, gratitude, mindfulness, and death. Heavy lifting isn’t just for the gym!
Netflix, Crave, Prime, etc.: Look, I’m not saying we should spend our self-isolation glued to the idiot box, but we all deserve some downtime at the end of the day. For training geeks like me (actually, “training geek” is not the preferred nomenclature. “Physical culturalist,” please) the Big Three streaming services are a treasure trove. On Netflix you have documentaries like Pumping Iron, Icarus, Westside vs the World. Over on Crave, I’ve been forced to re-evaluate the merit of my childhood fantasies after binging on their pro wrestling expose, Dark Side of The Ring. And Amazon’s Prime Video is home to a growing number of sports movies (check out Foxcatcher, Redbelt, Men With Brooms) and documentaries (Born Strong, Iverson, and The Barkley Marathons are a few favourites).
Paul Landini is a personal trainer and health educator in Toronto.
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