From free insta-workouts to PAYG yoga, these Mancs are keeping spirits up and bodies healthy
For the next three weeks, the United Kingdom is on lockdown and everyone has been told to stay in their homes unless heading out for essential stuff (e.g. medicine or food) or a very careful, socially distanced, walk.
It’s important at the best of times to keep your body moving but with most of us relying on our daily outside world routines to get those steps in, we’re all going to have to make an extra effort to do at least 30 minutes of dedicated physical exercise a day. Getting into a set exercise routine helps with mental health too - much needed as the cabin fever starts to set in.
You don’t need any special equipment, you can use a couple of tins of beans in lieu of dumbbells
So how to go about it? Some people have living rooms full of gym stuff and bags of self discipline, others are dusting off the Wii Fit, yet others have dug out that box of workout DVDs from the attic with whatshername from Eastenders. But while all these things are great, sometimes you just want to feel a part of something that’s happening *now* with real life people. Well thanks to the internet and some savvy self-employed fitness instructors, you can do that - we’ve done a few already and it’s actually a really uplifting and 'social' experience.
Here are some we reckon are worth a go.
When: Daily at 10am and 6pm
How much: £5 to drop in, £75 monthly pass
Teresa and Kevin are a husband and wife team with many years of yoga practise and teaching between them. They usually teach in various gyms around Manchester as well as their own Yoga Loft and can often be found organising yoga retreats in places like Ibiza. Now they have adapted to offering classes via Zoom that can be paid for either on a drop in basis or with a weekly pass. Teresa’s irreverent style with catchphrases like ‘are you squeezing your anus up?’ and ‘grab hold of your knicker-elastic if you can’t reach your thigh’ has earned her an army of fans. You'll giggle your way through your asanas.
When: Pre-recorded online content
How much: £50 one-off fee
Determined to stay hench while you’re locked down? Maybe you'd like to emerge from your quarantine triumphantly with a brand new set of guns after a dramatic transformation like an eighties movie montage? The community of professional personal trainers at Intensifit are here to help. They normally do one-to-one sessions and specialise in incredible transformations (see the pictures on their site) but have adapted to online content for their members. These are intense online workouts using your own bodyweight as well as dumbbells, kettlebells and other items you might already have in your house even if you don’t normally train at home. For a one-off fee you can gain access to all their video content as well as macro-balanced meal plans, nutrition advice and healthy recipes.
What: Dance Like A Mother
When: Weekdays, various times
How much: £4 per class
The only equipment needed for this class is a baby and a baby sling. Former disco-dancer and Zumba instructor Nikki created DLAM back in 2016 after having her daughter. She wanted a way to make exercise fun and baby-friendly for new mums (or dads) with a focus on baby bonding, making friends with other new parents, helping to boost confidence and even easing the dreaded post-natal depression. Nikki is also a trained SlingaBaby Babywearing Consultant and can help new parents to safely wear their babies in slings, so safely that they can dance while wearing them. The classes are now available via Zoom to existing members this week and will be open to the rest of us from Friday 30th with other types of classes including kids dance sessions to be added to the timetable too.
When: Several times a week on Instagram live
How much: Free
Fiona Ledgard is a fully qualified fitness instructor who also happens to play drums in a really cool band called ILL. She normally leads classes at Man Met Uni and Platt Lane Sports Complex but has now taken her enthusiasm onto Instagram. These live general fitness classes are fizzing with positivity and Fiona’s energy-boosting good vibes are aided by her playlist of bangers - she even takes requests. The classes will vary in style but are suitable for all fitness levels and you don’t need any special equipment; you can use a couple of tins of beans, tetrapaks of your alternative milk of choice or maybe the cat* in lieu of dumbbells. There isn’t a fixed schedule yet but follow her on Instagram to see when the next live class will be. She is also working with MMU to put together a packed home workout timetable with other instructors. Keep an eye on their website for more info coming soon.
*we tried it with the cat and it didn't end well
What: Suzanne Yoga
When: Daily variety of classes
How much: £3 to drop in, £11 weekly pass
Bury-based Suzanne is a qualified teacher specialising in pregnancy yoga and core strength vinyasa flow. She has adapted her popular classes to online versions while we all adapt to staying home as much as possible. Her daily range of classes offer everything from gentle mum and baby yoga to pregnancy yoga to the hardcore yogashred ® - a mixture of yoga and HIIT to really get your muscles working. For those that are still working (from home or otherwise) there are early morning and evening classes too. You can pay a one off fee to drop in or order a weekly pass. The classes are free for those who work for the NHS or are currently self employed. Suzanne also does a free four-minute guided meditation every day on her Facebook page at 11:56 which is apparently the most stressful time of the day for mums.
What: Pilates by Cordelia
When: Mornings and evenings daily
How much: £8 drop-in, £35 5 class pass, £45 8 class pass (valid 28 days)
Pilates is a very gentle form of exercise that is safe for people of all fitness levels but it can be surprisingly challenging and you will feel it in your muscles the next day if you do it right. The main focus is on building core strength and correcting bad posture which leads to revitalised health and wellbeing. Some of its fans describe it as life changing. Freelance pilates instructor Cordelia’s classes were previously held at beautiful local spaces such as Whitworth Art Gallery and Didsbury Parsonage but she has now taken them online and is using Zoom to host them live several times a day. Cordelia is qualified in ballet and contemporary dance and has been practising pilates for over ten years. Her classes are inclusive and welcoming and she has a gentle, clear manner of teaching.
What: Siren Asylum
When: Content added daily (not live)
How much: £30 per month
If you're looking for a completely different type of workout than pilates, aerobics or anything you'd find at the average gym, Siren Asylum might be your jam. In real life, this is a body positive, female only gym in Salford that specialises in pole fitness, burlesque and aerial classes along with the more usual circuit training and yoga options - although they will make you bounce around the gym on a space hopper even in those. The classes - taught by a colourful team of qualified, badass, rock n roll sirens - are designed to get you comfortable with your body and feeling 'sexy as fuck.' The team has now temporarily transitioned to online content via Patreon and you can access all of their video lessons for just £30 a month.
What: Bespoke Fitness Training
When: 11am daily
How much: Free
Gav Clarke of Bespoke Fitness Training is is certified kettlebell trainer and martial arts instructor from South Manchester. His classes are normally held in parks and sports centres around Chorlton and South Manc but he has taken his skills online for awhile. Offering online classes for free at 11am every day, his mission is to help as many people as possible stay fit while they are staying home. Join Gav in his living room for a bodyweight based class that will get you sweating as you try not to accidentally swipe everything off the mantelpiece with your enthusiastic arm flailing. To get involved, just stick your name and email address on his mailing list and he’ll be in touch.
What: Fallon’s Fight Club
When: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 7pm
How much: £3
Galled by the government? Spitting feathers at selfish panic shoppers? Purple-faced about people not following protocol? When shouting at the TV/internet won’t cut it, boxing is a great way to let go of that pent up rage. Lindsey Fallon is a Hatton Academy certified boxing instructor who usually works out of sports venues in Levenshulme and Reddish. She specialises in ladies only boxing classes for all abilities. Her classes are now running online for her regulars and she’s hoping to get a few more people fighting fit as well. So if you’ve never boxed before and just want to have a go or you’ve been doing it for a while and want to keep your fitness level up, this might be what you’re looking for.
What: Seven Movement
When: Seven days a week 6.30am-8.15pm
How much: Free seven-day trial then monthly paid for full timetable
Seven Movement is a class-only gym in Stockport with ‘no egos, no mirrors and no posers.' Their usual modus operandi is to help busy parents to lead healthy, active lives by offering HIIT, circuit and weights classes in a fun, inclusive environment. Now moving classes online for their members, they are offering a free seven day trial to anyone new to the gym who wants to see what they’re all about. If you like the classes, you can then pay monthly to continue and will be able to use the gym when it eventually reopens. Apart from classes for the adults, there will also be afternoon/early evening kids fitness classes starting soon. If you want a taster of what they do, there are some eight minute blaster videos on their Facebook page.