Staying fit after gyms closure

Health & Fitness

Staying fit after gyms closure

Rosalyn Mugoh, Zamara Kenya Managing Director, exercising at home. PHOTO | COURTESY

It’s been said that “exercise is a celebration of what your body can do, not a punishment for what you ate.” During this stay-at-home period, several people are struggling to adjust to not going to the gym. There are those whose metabolism has slowed down, others are not sleeping well, while others have started regaining weight lost because of eating excessively.

BDLife spoke to Rosalyn Mugo, the managing director of Zamara Kenya and Bryant Swenson, a crossfit trainer, and founder of FirstPower Fitness on what it takes to exercise at home.

Rosalyn Mugoh, Zamara Kenya, Managing Director

What does fitness mean to you?

Fitness is about finding a balance between a healthy body, mind, and spirit. I got into fitness to strengthen my mind and started enjoying the physical benefits that came with it and now it has become my lifestyle.


Looking after my health is a demonstration to my children that the state of the body, mind, and spirit are important. Before, my daily routine would begin with a one-hour workout at the gym with exercises ranging from cardio, weights and Thai boxing which is a perfect total body workout.

What is the relation between exercising and mental health?

The link between exercise and mental health cannot be understated. Exercises lower my stress levels and boosts my mood. I work in a high-pressure environment and exercises make me more productive to engage with various team members, solve problems and manage disruptions.

What kind of exercises are you engaging in during this quarantine period?

I admit to being one of those people who were thrown off when the gyms were closed. It took me a couple of days to come up with a routine that works.

First, I bought stackable weights, resistance bands, and a yoga mat. I then asked my fitness trainer to draw for me a daily workout programme. It includes high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises, area-specific workouts such as lunges, mountain climbers or crunches. And finally, I incorporated fun activities that would allow me to exercise with my family.

The programme allows me three days for myself and three with the children. Working out with the children is much more fun – it varies from Zumba YouTube videos to other simple video-streaming exercises.

How do you ensure you stick to the exercise schedule?

I have an accountability ‘squad’. We plan targets for our daily workouts, record videos and share them on the WhatsApp forum to keep each other accountable.

I am an early riser and I used to be at the gym as early as 5am.

But now, I have reversed my timing to working late into the night. That means that I exercise at 8am. For instance, today I did a total body circuit that included dips and dead lifts.

Bryant Swenson , Crossfit Trainer and Founder, FirstPower Fitness

What does fitness mean to you?

Being fit for life in all areas. This includes physical, emotional, and spiritual.

How does exercising help in mental health?

Apart from the obvious benefits of exercise, it plays a key role in a strong immune system and acting as a stress reliever. During this time in quarantine, we must keep the body fit by developing an exercise routine that works with the unique needs of being at home with family.

What kind of exercises are your clients engaging in during this quarantine season?

At FirstPower, we are doing live online classes so that our members cannot only keep fit but also connect and workout together. We have four to eight clients per class on the live workouts, but it’s gaining a lot of popularity.

We have adapted our programming to only include body weight movements and lifts that can be done with common items found around the house. You can use just about any weighted object such as a knapsack with books, water jugs, and cans of food.

How are you ensuring your clients maintain their fitness goals?

We plan to start lending out some of the gym equipment, which is largely sitting dormant.

Can people relax their diet plans or it’s all about movement?

Nutrition plays a key role in physical and mental fitness. What we eat fuels our performance. Like a well-tuned race car, our bodies need the right fuel. If you put cheap petrol in a high-performance race car you would get terrible performance. In the same way, when we eat poorly, we will see a terrible performance not just in our physical energy, but in our mental acuity, and emotional health.

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