ACLO wants people to stay active
Jumping around in front of a screen
‘Super nice that you are here! Let’s get rocking.’ Mayke Bosman’s voice on the microphone sounds upbeat. She speaks in English, since her audience is international. ‘I hope everyone can hear me.’
Bosman looks at the camera. Behind her, dumbbells and kettlebells lie unused. Upbeat music is playing in the background. She starts jumping and counting, ‘4, 3, 2, 1!’ demonstrating the exercises. The class takes a little more than half an hour. ‘If you enjoyed this, please give it a thumbs up’, she says, just before the video ends.
How to motivate yourself
- Make your workout fun. One thing you can do is participate in one of the many online challenges. Challenge one of your roommates and turn it into a competition.
- Try to create a schedule for yourself. Walk around the block every morning, for example, or do a small workout every hour, as a break from studying. Start by doing ten squats, or twenty sit-ups. Or do a few push-ups.
- Start small. Stand on one leg for a minute while you’re brushing your teeth, run up the stairs a second time, or clean up the shared living room.
- Do you have a Wii? Play a game of Just Dance with your roommates. That’ll definitely feel like a workout.
- Download the Strava app. Seeing other people work out can motivate you to improve.
Bosman is an instructor at the ACLO, the sports organisation for students at the UG and Hanze University of Applied Sciences. She teaches various classes, ranging from yoga to spinning to body pump. She normally teaches a room full of students and staff, but since the pandemic is preventing that, she and her colleagues are recording workout videos.
The exercises have clearly been adapted so people can do them in small spaces. You barely move from side to side. It makes sense, since most people watching the videos probably live in small student rooms. ‘You have to take the tools and the space that students have into account. We’re not running all over the place and we can’t expect all students to own weights’, says Bosman. ‘That way everyone can participate.’
The ACLO isn’t the only facility to try this new method. The internet is full of workout videos, ranging from core exercises to full body workouts. Some are only a few minutes long while others last an hour. The instructors on screen are all trying their hardest to get people to exercise. Popular videos by Athlean-X, Pamela Reif, Cloe Ting, MadFit, and Nike Training are getting millions of hits.
No exercise buddy
But no matter how accessible the online workouts are, it’s still difficult to get motivated if you don’t have an exercise buddy and the weather sucks, too. Before the pandemic, classes at the ACLO always filled up quickly. ‘We’re really seeing a decline in participants. It’s much easier to just skip a session’, says Bosman.
Laura Pikkaart (22), the ACLO board’s sports coordinator, has noticed this as well. ‘Students don’t want to sit in front of a screen all day for class, so they don’t want to exercise in front of a screen, either’, she says.
Nevertheless, she and her fellow board members, who are all students themselves, are doing everything they can to get students to work out. Irene Boven (21), PR & marketing coordinator for the board, has been working on putting group classes online. At first, they mainly livestreamed and posted on YouTube, but they’ll also be using Google Meet in the hope of creating a better rapport between the instructor and the participants. ‘In the ACLO classes, we’re a little more connected to each other than through videos. You can take your favourite class or follow your favourite instructor.’
Fenne Bagust, a 21-year-old master student of international security, takes an online class now and again. She enjoys zumba and labooca. ‘It’s so cold outside right now’, she says, laughing. ‘It’s not very inviting. I love that we can do it online.’
However, the videos have nothing on the regular classes, she says. ‘It doesn’t quite feel the same and I don’t feel as motivated. It’s also weird to move around in front of a screen. I have big windows and I’m always worried someone might see me.’
Bosman understands the threshold to participate in online classes is higher. ‘People get distracted more more easily. Their cat gets in the way, their phone beeps, they have to pee, their housemate needs to ask them something.’
Normally, she can easily spot if someone is having a tough time or is ready to give up, but now she can’t check if everyone is participating. ‘Who knows, maybe they’re taking shots every time I say a particular word.’
But Laura, who is responsible for the online classes, believes it is working. ‘It’s always better to do it in person, but I like being able to do something for our members.’ She tries to provide as many varied classes as possible. ‘Dance and strength training, but also things that are less physical and more theoretical, like a course on healthy food.’
Irene thinks a fixed schedule helps the students. ‘The classes take place at fixed times. Doing it with a lot of people at once and having to register for it can really motivate them.’
Bosman is determined to continue the online workouts. She tries to keep students motivated by trying to create a personal connection. ‘A lot of people sort of disappear behind their laptop. I hope we can keep people moving, whether it’s through us or other means.’