Lockdown Lowdown – Staying Active and Motivated During COVID-19, Tips from Sale Sharks' Byron McGuigan
This unprecedented period, which has seen the world remove itself from regular routine, has affected the daily lives of us all. Those whose professions depend on outdoor and public activity may find the Government’s necessary directive to ‘stay at home’, particularly daunting.
Morson has an illustrious history of sporting partnerships, from supporting boxing legends Ricky Hatton, Anthony Crolla and Callum Smith to sponsoring Manchester’s rugby pride, Sale Sharks and Salford Red Devils; but we, and our sport stars, have never encountered what faces us now, a world, temporarily, without sport. Indeed, athletes across a variety of fields face a lengthy time away from competitive action and will instead, like the rest of us, make use of their surroundings at home, in order to stay focused and fit.
Maintaining physical activity, when many of us are confined to our home environment, is essential for staying mentally alert, positive and motivated. Therefore, over the next few weeks our sporting stars will be giving us their hints and tips for staying active at home and revealing how they are dealing with life away from the teams and sports they love.
First up we called Sale Sharks and Scotland winger, Byron McGuigan, to hear how he has adapted to such a drastic change in surroundings, from leaving the camaraderie at Carrington to individual work in self-isolation:
“This has been a bit of the unknown for all of us, we only got told a week ago that we won’t be playing for a while. From this week we’re housebound and I’m spending plenty of time on the Wattbike and luckily the weather is being kind to us so I’m taking the opportunity to do weights in the back garden. In total, I’m probably able to average around two hours of training per day at the moment. Additionally, getting fresh air where I can is really important and I’m using the one opportunity for outdoor activity to walk the dog.”
This time will undoubtedly be mentally challenging for many. For those individuals whose normal day to day activity would revolve around being part of an active team, self-isolation and limited interaction with family and friends will be a challenge. However, McGuigan reiterated that the health of those closest to us and reducing the strain on our public services takes priority:
“No one’s too sure when the virus is going to pass and when the season’s going to kick on, but we have to remember that this is much bigger than rugby and sport. Maintaining people’s safety by following Government guidelines is the most important thing in the world at the moment”
Within the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it sometimes may be difficult to get the right balance of work and family life, and Byron believes that these weeks are important for valuable family time:
“I’ve been playing this game professionally for 10 years, so I’m seeing this time out as a positive. It will allow me the time to rejuvenate my body and, as long as I ensure I keep mentally strong and focussed, come back to the game better than ever. I’ve been away with Scotland and Sale over the past year, we train and play week in-week out. This next few weeks gives me special time with my family, which I haven’t had in a long time and that is great. Quality time at home and letting my body recover is massive”
The prolific winger also stressed how vital it is to keep communicating with each other, even if we can’t do this face to face right now. McGuigan gave an insight into the various ways in which he has been interacting with teammates and friends in the past week:
“It’s important to stay as interactive with others as possible at this time. All the lads are in a WhatsApp group, so we’re always in touch on there and I’m FaceTiming and calling my friends each day. Obviously, there’s a brilliant machine called the Playstation 4, so I’ve been catching up with AJ and a few of the other lads on Fortnite in the evenings which has been good fun and brought some laughter”
Aside from working towards returning to training and playing with the Sharks in the future, Byron is also using this time to plan for his next coaching venture, as it was announced earlier this week that he’d be joining Preston Grasshoppers as their new Backs and Defence coach next year:
“I’m planning for my coaching next season and making sure I’m ready to hit the ground running with that. I’m setting up some drills, some defensive principles and some attacking plays, just things like that”
Byron ended the call by offering his advice to other athletes and anyone else who may be initially struggling to adapt to this change in lifestyle:
“My advice to everyone would be to listen to the Governments advice, stay at home, look after yourselves and most importantly, look after each other. Respecting social distancing but staying in touch with your friends, family and community is incredibly important, not just for your mental health but for others, this, coupled with maintaining an active lifestyle and good nutrition will ensure we make the best of the unprecedented times we find ourselves in.”