Fitness experts made the most of the lockdown. Did you?

Niki Bruce
·5-min read
Angela Lee Pucci and Bruno Pucci. (PHOTO: Angela Lee Pucci)
Angela Lee Pucci and Bruno Pucci. (PHOTO: Angela Lee Pucci)

Yes, phase two has begun and we are starting to leave our homes a little bit more, but that doesn’t mean you can’t - or shouldn’t - keep up with your home fitness activities. We spoke to some top fitness experts to discover how they stayed focused and on top of their fitness routines while at home.

Fitness is always important...

The amazing Angela Lee Pucci, the MMA 5-Time World Champion - and her equally fit husband Bruno Pucci, the two time IBJJF NO GI World Champion - have both made the best of the lockdown period to keep up with their fitness routines.

“Fitness is important to me because the physical benefits of exercising are also very beneficial to my mental and emotional well-being,” explains Lee Pucci. Her husband agrees, saying: “I believe that not only for me but for everyone, the practice of any kind of sports is indispensable. An active life is directly related to increasing body and mental health, thus improving the quality of life in general.”

These full-time professional fit people aren't alone in identifying fitness as being important to overall well-being.

“I am constantly on my laptop the whole day, and I get lethargic by the end of the day. Moving helps me maintain both physical and emotional health during this stressful time,” says Ms Reta Lee. Her Instagram Story account has been filled with shots of her workouts during the lockdown period. (Disclaimer: Lee is the editor-in-chief for Yahoo Lifestyle SEA).

(PHOTO: Queenie Azabeth)
(PHOTO: Queenie Azabeth)

Queenie Azabeth, one of Singapore’s top fitness trainers and the founder of Sun Bae Bootcamp, says that fitness improves her energy. “I [feel] more energised after working out every single day. It's important for me as it has become a lifestyle and it has taught me many good habits that I would like to keep.”

For Gisele Lim, the IFBB Figure Athlete Olympia Amateur Hong Kong 2017, fitness is linked with living a happy and healthy life. “Beyond the physical aspects, the passion, dedication, discipline, strength and grit that I drew from fitness manifests in the other aspects of my life and makes me a better person.”

These happy fit people say that staying fit during the recent lockdown has been important to help them deal with the issues of isolation and creating a new routine.

(PHOTO: Borja Renedo)
(PHOTO: Borja Renedo)

Fitness model Borja Renedo says that sports and fitness activities have helped him to separate work and leisure time.

“Prior to the lockdown, I visited the gym at least four to five times a week,” explains Lee. “Ever since the Circuit Breaker measure was put in place, I need to continue with my exercise routine. A routine helps keep me focused, and that includes exercising four times a week at home.”

“Fitness has been one of my constants during this lockdown. It has given me a schedule to stick to and something to look forward to every day,” says Lee Pucci.

For Azabeth, it has also led to her working on creating content to help other people stuck at home: “During this lockdown, I had a goal in mind to help as many people as possible to stay active at home. I started creating more fitness videos and live streams for people to do anywhere, anytime, and anyplace.”

(PHOTO: Gisele Lim)
(PHOTO: Gisele Lim)

Yes, you can always work out at home

All of our fitness experts had to change and tweak their workouts at home, but say that it added a new dimension to their workouts.

“... This time has allowed us to focus more on our own health and fitness. We've been learning a lot more about nutrition and what works best for our bodies. The extra time has also allowed us to implement a regular lifting schedule at our family's gym,” says Pucci.

“Before this lockdown I used to spend hours at the gym, doing heavy weight sessions while I also practised dragon boat [racing]. But since all the gyms were closed and public activities were not allowed, I had to rethink how to keep fit,” explains Renedo. He chose to pick up calisthenics and body-weight workouts, plus cycling daily.

For Lee, staying motivated was a problem, but she worked through it: “I find that it can be difficult to push yourself at home. However, when you make plans to workout with a friend online, it always works. I do have several off days when I don't feel like exercising. So I'll make myself feel better by eating cleaner or work harder the next day!”

(PHOTO: Reta Lee)
(PHOTO: Reta Lee)

“I had to change my training from strength-based training to functional/endurance-based training,” explains Lim. “I've discovered the joy of running outdoors during this period. The biggest challenge would probably be the lack of equipment for strength training.”

Azabeth says the lockdown has led to her being more creative with both her workouts and creating fitness content for her followers and fans.

As for what these fitness gurus will be doing right now - just after the lifting of the full lockdown - well, most of them will be heading to the gym.

“I can ensure you; I am going to smash the gym,” says Renedo. “They will have to put a bed near the bench press because I am going to spend the whole day there!”

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How to avoid post-lockdown burnout

There is an upside to quarantining with your toddler, according to ‘toddler whisperer’ Dr. Tovah Klein

Why family rituals are so important (and 8 ideas for how to incorporate them at home)