With the recent implementation of the recovery movement control order (RMCO), gym trainers Deborah Chong and Nolan Chee recalled their days during MCO without the gym. And before gyms reopen on June 15, they both shared about their time away from their fitness haven during the Malaysia lockdown.

Keeping fit doesn’t necessarily involve going to the gym

With the recent implementation of the recovery movement control order (RMCO), many sectors reopened and back in business. However, there are still several other sectors that were held back until further notice as the government is still drafting the standard operating procedures (SOPs). One such sector include gyms, which will open their doors starting June 15.

Recalling her days locked behind doors, unable to go out and meet her clients due to the previous restrictions, gym trainer Deborah Chong went digital world to ensure her clients stay fit and disciplined in their training.

Deborah Chong.

She explained that initially, it was difficult for her to train her clients and the closure had affected her economically. Furthermore, even as an athlete, she could not leverage her participation in competitions to obtain sponsorships because sports events were cancelled.

Nonetheless, the resilient sportswoman said with the right mindset, it is possible to stay lean and in shape. “Discipline is the key to maintain yourself along with having the right meals and diet.” According to the 44-year-old, she convinced her existing clients to take up online training by posting meal ideas in a group chat and follow her training sessions through videos on a daily basis.

In the group chat, Deborah and her clients share ideas and get creative in preparing healthy meals that still taste delicious. Besides that, her clients were all given an hour to do their online training every day. “I scheduled each client’s time so that I can monitor their online workout individually.”

“In the beginning, it was tough for them to follow. But eventually, after the second week, my clients became used to it. Witnessing their own progress and results became a motivation for them to continue their online training and diet,” she said.

Similar to when it was done before, Deborah advises her clients to only pamper themselves with a cheat meal on weekends. “Although not all clients can accept this new norm, thankfully I managed to get enough clients for me to get by the MCO period.”

While it can be challenging to maintain a disciplined workout at home, Deborah revealed that adapting to change is possible. “With the spare time available during MCO, I focused on morning empty tummy cardio to burn stored fat. In the evening, I did simple workouts such as using my body weight to do push-ups, planking, Bulgarian squats using the sofa and others.”

Nolan Chee.

Meanwhile, body-builder Nolan Chee said that he managed to cope with the MCO despite many sectors closing down. “One thing that I enjoyed the most was staying at home spending quality time with family.”

Being an athlete, Nolan shared that there are countless ways to keep fit, “And that doesn’t necessarily involve going to the gym.” He shared that one of his favourite home-training programmes was the full-body workout with resistance bands.

“Surprisingly, resistance bands worked as good as using free weights. Having said that, I also watched what I ate daily. One particular way of staying lean for me throughout the entire year is the intermittent fasting method,” said Nolan.

As a sportsperson, he maintained his body by fasting for 16 hours with only an eight-hour window to eat in a day.

Nolan Chee.

Tips to maintain fit during the MCO by Deborah Chong

Depending on your body goals, diet is still the main key. Eat at least five small meals with a balanced diet. Two small snacks in between breakfast, lunch, and tea break, along with dinner with supper.

Deborah Chong.

It is actually important to keep our metabolic rate high so that we can increase our metabolism to burn fat. If we don’t eat enough or don’t eat at all, our metabolism rate will go down and therefore our body will be too ‘lazy’ to burn fat and eventually store it.

For women, lower bodies are important as women don’t need a wide shoulder, bulky chest or muscular bodies. Rather most women prefer a smaller waist to round hip ratio, hence, they need to focus more on glutes and leg exercises.

Exercises such as High-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT are simple exercises that focus on lower bodies such as squatting, stay still lunges, walking with forefeet, push-ups, planking for the core, wall exercises by leaning against the wall at 90-degree position for the leg, glutes kick up exercises and many more.