'It’s helped me during lockdown': Meet Newcastle United's answer to Joe Wicks
Allan Saint-Maximin has been live streaming the drills he’s been doing in his back garden during football’s suspension..
However, one Newcastle United footballer didn’t just settle for keeping himself fit at home during the coronavirus pandemic
Jamie Sterry has followed in the footsteps of fitness coach Joe Wicks, who has been running morning YouTube classes for children and their parents from his home since the country went into lockdown in March.
Sterry has been helping others keep in shape since the country by putting on live high-intensity interval training sessions (HIIT) on social media site Instagram in recent weeks.
A number of Sterry’s United team-mates, including DeAndre Yedlin, Sean Longstaff and Tom Allan, have joined him in the sessions, which started after a request from one of his friends early in lockdown.
“I was doing a few HIIT sessions with my girlfriend,” said the 24-year-old, who has almost 20,000 followers on Instagram. “My mate messaged me and said ‘would you do a few sessions for us’. It all started off with a group Facetime session with my mates. I put on a few HIIT sessions for them.
“Then I just thought about doing them on Instagram live for people. I put a poll on to see how many people would do it, and the response was really good. I thought I might as well give it a bash and see how it goes.
“I was really nervous for the first couple of sessions, but that was it, really. It just went from there.”
The sessions have been good for Sterry’s confidence and mindset as well as his fitness.
“I’m loving it – I’m really enjoying it,” said the Newcastle-born player. “The first couple of sessions, I was quite hard speaking to camera with no response from anyone.
“It’s helped me during lockdown and built my confidence back up. That’s a good plus side form it.”
The online feedback to the live sessions has been positive.
“The feedback has been much better than I thought it would have been,” said Sterry “Now people are saying they look forward to it. It’s been good hearing they’re looking forward to the next session.
“The main thing is the enjoyment and getting people fitter, stronger. Hopefully, when I do go back to playing, people can carry on doing the fitness and a bit more exercise.
“As long as people are still enjoying it. It helps me out, rather than just doing it by myself. It’s helped getting the other lads on the split screen I’ve been doing. It’s a lot easier speaking to someone during the session rather than just talking to the screen.
“Everyone’s finding it tough. It’s a session you can make as hard as you want or as easy as you want. They’ve all smashed it out. You’ve just got to keep going. I’m thankful the lads who’ve joined us.
“It takes a bit of time to make sure the sessions are right, and I’ve got to do the sessions first. I’ve been trying to do alternatives, so if people can’t do something, there’s something easier for them to do. It helps the mind as well.”
Sterry knew he had to find something to keep him occupied during the lockdown, which was eased last week.
The right-back – who has started doing yoga at home with his girlfriend – set about trying to improve areas of his fitness.
“When the lockdown was announced I knew it would be down to the mindset,” said Sterry, who is out of contract this summer. “I’ve worked with a mental skills coach for nearly a year now. That’s helped so much.
“I knew that during the lockdown it was going to be a lot on the mental side of it. For example, what if I become bored? What if I can’t see family? What if football doesn’t restart for a while?
“I knew I could get prepared for these things even before it happened. Instead of trying to hide from it, I thought I’d try to deal with it straight away. What we worked on was where I could get better during the lockdown in terms of my fitness and the mental side.
“I’ve tried new things. Me and my girlfriend have been doing yoga.”
The idea was to get into the best possible shape for his return to action.
“That was the plan,” said Sterry, who has made eight senior appearances for Newcastle and has had loan spells at Coventry City and Crewe Alexandra.
“You can try and stay as fit as possible or improve. I feel like I’ve improved a bit during the lockdown, but obviously when you go back to football you have to hit the levels. It’s going to be harder either way. It’s a little bit different.”
Meanwhile, United’s players will return to small-group training tomorrow after being tested for coronavirus on Sunday.
The Premier League could follow the lead of the Bundlesliga, which resumed behind closed doors over the weekend, and restart next month.
Newcastle, 13th in the league, have nine games left to play.