What better time to train than now?


For many of us facing social isolation this is the perfect opportunity to practice more. This extra time is a gift. It’s what many of us have secretly been asking for. Hours without distractions, no frustrating commute, no colleagues or boss stealing our day with so many tasks. We finally have some time for ourselves.


I know some of you may say, “but I can’t get to the gym” or, “I have no training partner, or equipment at home.” But that’s ok, in fact, that’s good. Often we become attached to those crutches. Now is the time to get back to basics and get back to you. We are here to help. JMT is holding virtual classes throughout this crisis and are happy to provide advice and support,


The picture above is of former South African President Nelson Mandela’s 8ft by 7ft concrete cell on Robben Island. This was his home for 18 of his 27 years in captivity.


In his powerful memoir, A Long Walk To Freedom, Mandela discusses his daily exercise regime and motivation. Despite being forced to do hard manual labour — breaking rocks in a quarry for up to 10 hours a day — the former president stuck to his own exercise routine, inspired by his boxing training as a youth.


“I attempted to follow my old boxing routine of doing roadwork and muscle-building from Monday through Thursday and then resting for the next three days. On Monday through Thursday, I would do stationary running in my cell in the morning for up to forty-five minutes. I would also perform one hundred fingertip push-ups, two hundred sit-ups, fifty deep knee-bends, and various other calisthenics.” He once ran the equivalent of a marathon on the spot in his cell.


For President Mandela, daily exercise was as much about mental wellness as it was about exercise. It served to remind him that no trauma could break his spirit. Through daily exercise he found the strength to handle anything that came his way.


“I have always believed exercise is a key not only to physical health but to peace of mind. Many times in the old days I unleashed my anger and frustration on a punchbag rather than taking it out on a comrade or even a policeman. Exercise dissipates tension, and tension is the enemy of serenity. I found that I worked better and thought more clearly when I was in good physical condition, and so training became one of the inflexible disciplines of my life. In prison, having an outlet for my frustrations was absolutely essential.”


So, what better time than now?


I know some of you are still working. But, take 79-year old Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He’s the smaller, bespectacled man at the White House press briefings. Despite working 19-hour days during this time of crisis, he still runs 3.5 miles a day.


Let’s not waste this time we’ve been given to do things differently. Train daily because you need to now more than ever for mental wellbeing and to keep your body strong against Covid-19, but also so we emerge on the other side ready to tackle our new world together.

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