Lockdown has hit everyone in different ways, but most of us are united in the damage it’s wrecked on our waistlines. Locked away at home with nowhere to go, and no-one to see, who didn’t adopt a uniform of stretchy loungewear and feed their boredom with the entire contents of the fridge?
With Covid measures now lifting and the promise of a relatively normal life resuming by mid-summer, it’s time to pull ourselves out of our pandemic slump and get back to fighting fit.
Who better to put a spring back into our step than fitness champion and model Michelle Lewin? The Venezuelan star is an ambassador for STRONG Nation, which combines HIIT with powerful cardio and muscle conditioning for effective workouts you can do without equipment at home.
The inspirational model took five minutes from her busy schedule to talk to us about the past year and the secret to a great workout routine.
How have you kept your spirits up in lockdown?
Living in Florida has probably made life easier for me than it has been for most of the world. I’ve watched the lockdowns on the news, but I’ve never really felt it. Sure, I was following the ‘mask on, social distancing, working out at home’ procedure, but I admit that initially, I had a hard time understanding how big the pandemic would turn out to be.
My husband and I both fell sick with Covid-19. We thought that everything would be alright as we are both ‘fitness people’. I recovered quickly, but to make a long story very short, my husband’s most vital inner organs failed, all at once. After a replacement of the aorta and a heart valve, he began recovering.
My motivator has consisted of being the best possible supporter for my husband and seeing his progress as he very slowly becomes himself again. There is no doubt that this has kept my spirits up for the second half of lockdown.
What’s the first thing you’ll do once restrictions fully lift?
I will travel, and I have some catching up to do! It doesn’t really matter where, but I don’t want to go to any of my favourite places - I want to see something brand new.
What was your guilt-free pandemic purchase?
Online singing lessons! Practicing my breathing techniques in front of the laptop and giving my vocal chords a challenge when I’m alone and I think no one can hear me. I think I’m doing quite well. My dogs say I am doing well, but my husband has not said anything yet.
We’ve been sitting around watching Netflix for the best part of a year. How can we start improving our fitness?
First off, have your partner change your Netflix password, because you won’t need it for the first few weeks until working out is part of your daily routine. I understand motivation might not be at its best right now, but that’s ok.
Your discipline will help drag you to the gym or download an app so that you can do home workouts. Then start focusing on your fridge: unhealthy stuff, out. healthy stuff, in. No one can keep their favourite chocolate at home, thinking they won’t eat it - because they will.
To really kick start your new workout routine, try STRONG Nation. It’s crazy awesome and effective. You can also download the app Fitplan before you go to the gym, and do one of my workout plans; beginner or advanced, whichever you prefer.
How can STRONG Nation help towards fitness goals?
STRONG Nation has been a real help during lockdown. Firstly, you don’t need any equipment. Secondly, along with cardio, it features strengthening exercises that use bodyweight resistance, meaning you can easily do it at home.
Then there’s the music. It’s the only HIIT workout where the moves are synchronised to the music to help motivate you - and it works! I’ve been involved with STRONG Nation for some time now and have seen a lot of people transform their fitness level and their body shape using the workout, in combination with a healthy diet.
Tell us more about the monster 12-hour event
STRONG Nation has instructors in over 100 countries. The Stronger Together 12-hour event on April 24 is made up of around 50 Master Trainers and a number of fitness influencers from around the world coming together to do a 12-hour livestream. It will be 12 separate one-hour classes, back-to-back. It’s free to join.
The idea is to remind fans that the workout they are part of is a global movement, and to give new people a chance to give it a try. It’s surprising how joining a livestream class and doing the workout in real-time with like-minded others lifts your spirit in these difficult times.
What’s the one misconception you want to clear up about working out?
It’s never too late. Google the name ‘Josefina Monasterio’, and then try to find an excuse. She started when she was 50!
What are your favourite fitness products?
Definitely the tiny little home workout equipment called Lewin Fit Base. It’s crazy versatile.
Best sports bra?
I love the STRONG iD Reflective Mesh Bra. It’s the perfect balance of control and comfort without compromising on style. The strategic panelled design really helps to keep you secure and supported whilst enhancing your shape at the same time. I love it The sports bras from One0One also offer rock steady support and are among my favourites too.
Walk us through your beauty routine
I drink a lot of water and all of that, but nothing beats a good eight hours of sleep. Happiness will make you shine, so strive for positive energy in your life and try to eliminate everything that has a negative impact on you.
How do you relax when you’re not training?
Sofa, skinny popcorn, Netflix. Surrounded by unconditional love from my dogs and their unconditional desire for a dropped popcorn or two. And yes, you can watch Netflix too, when working out is a part of your daily routine and you are motivated enough to stay that way.
And, of course, if your partner remembers the new password they changed it to.
STRONG Nation is holding a marathon 12-hour virtual workout session on April 24 to help inspire more people into fitness. Entry is free, register here.