Anyone who moves a little knows the name Hanka Kynychová. She is over fifty, but she still looks great, thanks to a lifetime of exercise. Hanka loves movement of all kinds, but like other fitness workers, she is now struggling with government regulations. Her gym had to close, both Hanka and her clients are getting fat and the athlete turns every penny over to keep her business afloat. Hanka and I talked not only about exercise and the coronavirus, but also about strengthening the lungs, which is more than needed nowadays...
Hani, how are you getting by? In January, gyms are usually bursting at the seams…
Of course, the post-Christmas attendance at the gym is always higher. Again, for us running a gym, a liquidation matter. Since we didn't open in January, there will be no profits. We expected that January would save us a little from the previous months, when we were closed, and that we might even save a little for things that the state did not completely cover for us. This didn't happen, so the only thing I can do, thanks to online training, is watch how many girls sign up, how the nation is doing, how active my own or other clients are, and that's the only feedback we get from girls who want to lose weight after Christmas.
Is there an increase of so-called "January newbies", new clients, this year as well?
I saw it after getting online in the first days of January. Suddenly I saw that 22 people were signed up, which is great for online lessons, at least for me. But then, of course, there were fewer the following week. I'm not surprised, though. The online world is getting on their nerves. Kids learn online, you shop online, my daughter even has training online, I broadcast online, it's crazy. You want to get up and go for a walk. It is a completely devastating time. A lot of people who were lazy, but at least had the opportunity to go to the gym here and there, will stay lazy because they lost motivation. I think it affects the psyche. I see it in my daughters, who have a lot of energy, we have to go out for at least an hour and a half every day, I have to come up with activities for them. Before, it was easily solved with after school clubs, the children were taught by the teacher and the parents could rest. It is very demanding.
Can you do one-on-one training? Coach and client?
I can no longer make sense of those regulations, so I don't take any chances. It changes way too often, you can't even process it, in 24 hours it's different again.
Do clients not want to train alone with you, for example in the park?
They would like to, they tried to persuade me. I wouldn't go to the park, for me, training means that we will sweat. I like the active approach, my training goes for 45 minutes at an enormous pace and you burn calories. Outside it's drafty and you're sick right away. I'm not doing that, maybe with the arrival of spring, if they don't open stuff up, I'll start training outside again. I recall that when the first closure of the gyms was announced in March, the very same day I posted on social networks that I would be training in Kavčí Hory, and the girls came there because it was warm. Maybe in the spring, not now in the winter.
In Fast Confession, you said the losses were great. Is it liquidating, or is the state contributing to at least keeping the gym itself from going under?
Well. The state contributed, and hopefully will continue to contribute, to the payment of rent. But it doesn't give me any percentage of the profit I would generate there, it's not like that.
So you must have had huge losses. You are already established, so people feel it, but the small gyms are pretty much done for.
If the rent is acceptable, the gyms will survive. Everyone thinks running a gym is a breeze. I don't know how other people do it, but I have to really work hard, I train fifteen hours a week so that I wouldn't need to hire that many instructors. When we were open, I trained a lot of clients and you can make a nice living out of it, but it's not about putting x thousand in a drawer every month for worse times. There are smaller gyms and then those that are a chain. I have no idea about their economical background. I can only speak for myself. I have some income from online classes, from being a company employee, so I get some money. There will be enough for food.
Gyms have closed because people gather there and they can become infected.
But we all know, there are already studies that only a small amount of people became infected in gyms during the opening hours, and the numbers keep growing, even when they are closed, even though people do not meet.
Do you have information that someone became infected in your gym?
Do you have any experience with people around you who had the virus?
Not at all.
You haven't had it yet?
How important is it to exercise regularly during the coronavirus?
We all know that any disease will affect people who already have a civilizational problem. They've either caused it themselves or gained a handicap that limited them when it comes to sports. If someone has diabetes or high blood pressure, they are more likely to catch any flu or sore throat than someone who is physically fit. How does physical condition improve? Either you run, ride a bike, utilize any other of your indoor activities or go to a gym, where you need to have a motivator and a coach who sets the pace and makes it enjoyable. We are all involved in getting in better physical condition because then we have less internal fat, our heart becomes stronger, lung capacity expands, we gain muscle and so on. The fact that sports for both kids and adults have now been made impossible, will make the population go to hell at a terrible pace, the population will be devastated.
How long do you think it will take for this to be fixed? The population's physical condition?
I'll take it from my point of view, I've also gained three pounds after the holidays. I take it pretty lightly because the three pounds are still those post-Christmas pounds, when we've all indulged a little more. I have skipped training for four days during Christmas too, that makes a huge difference. If I can gain three pounds with this somewhat higher calorie intake, how much do people who do sports once a week, or not at all gain? These are the pounds that stay, they are stored in the internal muscles, they are dangerous. It will take a long time to fix it.
Although people will come here, I will have to slow down in my class, which I will be very happy to do. But a lot of people won't come here at all, because they're lazy or an illness has caught up with them. I have information from social media from clients who work from home with their partners that their psyche is going to hell. It suits a lot of people that they don't have to go out and meet people, which is another problem in our civilization.
Seeing people is necessary. For example, a year ago it was said that non-profit organisation should get subsidies, so that they could make sure seniors would not be alone. This is now happening in the general population, people are terribly alone. It's already a subject of public discussion. There is still the perception that the coronavirus is a virus that will kill us, but nobody speaks of the flu or any other epidemic anymore, even though it was common a year ago. In my opinion, it is a vicious circle of the media, the pharmaceutical lobby and us as tools that will be driven into a corner, we'll give into fear and comply with what is wanted of us.
You said athletes have better lung capacity. The lungs are closely tied to the coronavirus. What would you recommend to people, even if it is not possible to do it at the gym, to strengthen the lungs?
Lots of people started running.
But it's cold, it's freezing.
That's it, it's not ideal for the lungs. So if you don't have a treadmill or an elliptical trainer at home, I recommend practising tabata at home, it drives the heart rate up a lot. It's great training for lung capacity. I would recommend everyone to get home equipment. As an online trainer, I would recommend that you set up a home gym, a small home gym. Take what I always use - balls, an exercise roller, a jump rope, so that people can keep fit by exercising at home. It's terrible, we're going back to the days when gyms didn't exist and we exercised at home.
Doesn't your family get on your nerves at home? How do you handle it mentally?
I am an empathetic person. When I see that my daughters are starting to behave abnormally, that is, they are screaming more or running around the house, I know that they have a lot of energy in them. That's why I reduced our sugar intake a bit at home. When they have online lessons, sit on their butts and only have a 15-minute break, they don't need as many calories. I'd rather give them more protein, I don't give them juices and the like. I think a little more about what the composition of the diet should look like, because when there is a lot of sugar, children get really hyper because of it, so I try to improve our diet.
Don't they protest?
Not at all.
But they're pretty big already, aren't they?
They are thirteen.
Maybe they should be protesting, they're in their teens.
They appreciate the work I do. I encourage them to know what individual foods contain. So maybe in the evening, I'll say, Alex, do you really want some more pasta? Okay, I'll make it for you, but you should know it's an intake of compound sugars, and if you end up having trouble sleeping, remember what I said, that maybe you should have had what I prepared for you.
What would that be?
Something like meat. I lead them to not stuffing themselves with things that I know are high in calories in the evening.
What do you eat yourself?
I try to eat a lot of meat and a lot of fish, but in the evening I really don't indulge in side dishes. I used to train for three to four hours a day, now I only have one online class. I can see for myself that I don't need so many calories anymore. It's more of a gluttony problem, because you have nothing to do, I watch myself. I cooked sourdough starter soup, for example, I make a lot of lentils, vegetables, borscht and things like that. I try to get as much fiber and vegetables in as possible. Fortunately, we like it, we have no problem with it. But I'm not saying that every meal is fine. When I'm in a hurry, the girls get gluten-free pasta and I'll make them tomato sauce. I'm also an ordinary woman. But when I think about it, I try to shop in a way that makes it more diet-friendly.
What about your son?
It's clearly set for him, he is gluten-free and lactose-free. He is twenty-one.
Because he wants to or has to?
He has to, since the age of two. He realizes that when he eats something bad, his digestion suffers and it's not good for him. He's really picky. When he has a craving for something, for example what the girls are having, he only takes a small bite. Fortunately, it doesn't hurt in small doses, he would have to eat badly all day to feel sick. So he is thin. It probably annoys him a little, he would probably want to have more muscle. He is an adult. A month ago, he decided to exercise and do lifting twice a week.
How are you, covid disregarded? What are you looking forward to in the new year?
I haven't had time to think about it yet. I'm looking forward to the children experiencing a normal life again. They will meet their friends, at home they will talk about what this or that friend or boy are like. I would love to once again hear at home what used to annoy me before. I'm looking forward to having a full gym again, coming to the gym and talking with everyone. I really like it, when I go there, it's like going to a local bar. Just as a waitress talks to guests, I talk to my clients. I like it, I miss it. If someone claims that energy doesn't exist, it's bullshit. Online, I feel it exhausts me. When I'm alone in the gym, it depletes me to try and motivate myself. It is extremely pleasant to feel human warmth, smiles, any communication. I'm mainly looking forward to that.
Of course, even if we are all healthy, first of all, if God forbid, an illness crept in, it would complicate this situation even more. I always hated ice skating, I was always very cold. But five years ago, I got into it because of the children, because of the atmosphere. I'm looking forward to when our pond freezes and we will be able to go skating. I'm glad nature sent us some snow.
Some may not like that the numbers will go up again because people were hanging out outside, but it's not possible for us to be home at all times. Everyone should go through it, after all. We are artificially kept in isolation, I don't know if this is really a wise solution.