Covid-19 is a game-changer for fitness. In the present scenario a unique story has emerged involving both the fitness enthusiast and the industry in general. With no access to gyms, sporting facilities and other recreational centres, people have no option but to explore innovative ways of staying fit at home. Over the last month, live online fitness classes are progressively gaining popularity as a solution.
Online fitness courses were always around. A subscription would permit you to access premium fitness videos for a DIY type workout. Now instead of pre-recorded videos, fitness coaches are conducting live online sessions. This makes the courses a lot more interactive and lets the coach monitor your progress, check your form and give you feedback in real time.
Let’s face facts. People are not wired to stay in isolation for any length of time. We all know about the industrial and scientific revolutions. They leap-frogged mankind’s progress beyond what could have been imagined at that time. But what is often missed is the cognitive revolution that dates even further back. It is when humans got together to dream and to collaborate on the birth of social structures.
Because of our social nature, most of us are not mentally prepared to be in isolation. Perhaps that is why these online fitness courses are a welcome breather. They provide a little social interaction on an otherwise mundane lockdown day.
But conducting a fitness programme online is a challenge for any coach who is not used to it. There are space constraints, inability to physically aid the client in executing the movements, spatial orientation, and directional issues. Furthermore, teaching a skill based programme such as Karate to children compounds the problem many times over: holding their attention span for an extended time period and establishing group rules and discipline in a virtual environment are tough. These need innovation, adaptation and a high level of skill on the part of the coach.
Which brings us to a very important question; what should we look for when we sign up for an online fitness programme? Below are a few pointers:
- The coach should be associated with an establishment such as a gym, yoga or martial arts studio.
- The coach must be experienced and duly certified.
- The coach must have adequate communication skills to effectively deliver the programme.
- The coach, during the initial interview, should carry out an assessment of the client’s overall health and fitness prior to starting the programme.
- It is within the rights of the client to ask for a demo class. Bear in mind that this has its own internet security challenges and the coach may not agree. However, an initial short subscription of classes should be permitted for the client to test the programme.
- Finally, remember that post-lockdown, you may wish to carry on with the programme. Therefore, it is always advisable to sign up with a local fitness organisation giving you the option of continuing your training in their brick-and-mortar establishment!
As a client, all you will need is some empty space, a good internet connection and (preferably) a laptop. Although a large-screen mobile will do just fine!! So let’s work boredom out of our lives during this testing period by joining a good online fitness programme.
The writer, a martial arts and fitness coach, is the founder of Mike’s Martial Arts, a Calcutta-based martial arts and advanced functional fitness studio.