By Ann Mbeke

Indeed, the lockdown was not a favourable idea or a best practice for anyone whose life revolved outside the house or home. I remember when everyone including my parents had to be home by 7 pm because of the dusk to dawn curfew which was declared by the president.

To many people, the biggest worries were job losses and managing meagre incomes and more. However, being a student, my worry wasn’t losing a job because after all, I didn’t even have a job to lose. My biggest distress was managing my weight which was getting out of hand. By the time lockdown and curfew were being introduced, I was already doing some little exercises which I believed would help me cut the weight and maintain my body mass index (BMI).

With the majority of the members of my family being home almost 24/7, some working some studying including myself, our four-bedroom house appeared like a bedsitter, and at some point, I started to feel uncomfortably squeezed and lacking freedom. My dad had moved to work from home after they were asked to do so, my little brother was already home since the schools were closed due to COVID19 outbreak, my elder sister and cousin who works for the same company were all at home and hardly saw the veranda. Everyone was glued to their machines and books and no one was interested in knowing what was going on beyond the fence.

Since we did not have a home gym and the one I used to visit had been shut down as per the government’s directive, I had to strategize and rethink about my weight. Reinvention hit me for the first time in my life. I had to maximize the minimal space available just to watch my weight.

I would wake up very early ahead of everyone but my mom who had to catch up with the first matatu to town, and in fact in some instances, her movements while preparing for work got me up. I would do a few exercises around my bed without interfering with my sister who slept on the upper decker.

I had no fitness coach and who would take me through the process, so I would take the initiative of training myself to endure the discomfort and pains that came with keeping fit. Since our house was connected to the internet, I thought of YouTube. I looked for various videos about keeping fit. 

I would then follow the steps as demonstrated on the videos and after a few days, I was adapting. Within a few days, perhaps two weeks, my body had started gaining some shape. Most notable were my legs. I was so much impressed by my individual effort and discipline.  

I hardly noticed that my sister had been watching my ways through from the first days of the workouts. I only realized she started on her own and was borrowing from my efforts and the YouTube videos. When she realized how hard it was becoming to keep the discipline alive, she asked me to be her fitness partner. I did and all of a sudden we were progressing well.

Before we could evaluate the progress, my dad had already joined and enjoying the dance moves with us as we did aerobics, cool-downs and warm-ups.

This has become a norm in our family and no one is willing to pay for a gym or a fitness coach anymore; just us, the internet, our discipline, and our consistency. In terms of weight loss, I thought mine would be the most significant. I didn’t see my dad lose weight from 102Kgs to 84Kgs within two months. Though not so much, I also made significant progress of cutting my weight from 68Kgs to 57Kgs and I am currently working hard to maintain it there.

Look, you don’t have to have too much money to keep fit. It only requires a little bandwidth and commitment. Coaches are on YouTube for free. Don’t lose your shape in the name of unavailability of gym or coach; be like me and embrace fitness by YouTube. You can do it!