Sport can be quite a polarising subject. I find that some people love sport, while others abhor physical exercise. The #SportForEveryBody campaign from Decathlon aims to show that sport is just that, for everybody.
I am a member of Decathlon’s Blogger Community and for me, the campaign has kicked off at a rather sensitive time. I’ve never been hugely into team sports, but have always been a runner.
Going back to my school days, I was in the cross-country team and always took part in the grueling 400m sprint, never coming less than third.
Injury struck in my teenage years when I tore all the ligaments in one of my ankles. In a case of shocking timing, I broke the same ankle just six weeks later. You might think this bought my running days to an end, but it didn’t. I’ve always run to keep fit and I am also a very keen inline skater.
That old injury caught up with me about 20 years later, just before the birth of my second daughter, Izzy, who is now six. I was hoping to run in a 10k but after doing practice runs, got pains in my knee and hip. I ended up having surgery to remove some bone spurs that had grown in the ankle joint that were affecting my entire leg. Following surgery, I continued to run, but have always taken it carefully.
Until now, that is. Over the summer months we moved family home from London’s suburbs to a more rural location. This made it easier for me to go for longer runs. Unfortunately, my ankle objected to this and I am facing the fact long-distance running is simply too high-impact for me. I shan’t give running up altogether, but the days of 5K or 10K runs are behind me. Most of my running is presently taking place on a treadmill.
In its place, I am looking at taking up cycling. I have also taken up working out using a Domyos DS compact bodyweight rack.
Yes, okay, using a bodyweight rack is more of a form of exercise that a sport, but it is keeping me active. I am also finding it very enjoyable and, dare I admit this publicly (I’ve made enough shocking public confessions recently), I am building up muscle on my upper body and developing a six pack, but I will spare you the photographs.
Although I feel my long distance running days are over, I feel it is very important to carry on exercising and involving myself in sport. Firstly, I need to ensure my young daughters, Helen and Izzy, understand the importance of leading a healthy, active lifestyle. Second, I spend much of my time doing school runs, doing domestic chores or running the kids to after school activities. It can be easy for any parent to slide into a lifestyle where they aren’t active and I don’t want that for myself. Staying active does a huge amount for my personal well-being.
About the Bodyweight rack
What appealed to me about this rack was the fact it is genuinely compact. It’s 99cm wide, 71cm deep and 226cm high (although it is recommended you have a minimum ceiling height of 245cm for doing chin ups). I managed to find a corner of our garage where it fitted in perfectly.
It may be compact in size, but the rack is incredibly versatile. Chin ups are the obvious exercise you would use this for.
There are a couple of arms that you can move into position as required. These enable you to do knee raises. In addition, there are some removable bars, known as ‘compact handles’, that you can move into various positions enabling you to do push-ups, horizontal pull-ups or dips.
The rack arrives flat packed. The instructions stated it would take 45-minute to build. I confess I didn’t keep a clock running but I think it took me about an hour to build and this included plenty of interruptions from my daughters who were keen to see the completed product.
I only had the one issue while building the rack. The arms had stickers on to show which was meant to go the left and right and the stickers had been placed on the wrong arms. This only took a couple of minutes to correct but I was initially baffled as to why the arms wouldn’t sit in place correctly!
My experience of using the Domyos DS compact bodyweight rack
The versatility of this product is amazing. I can’t stress that enough. The number of exercises you can use it for means it never gets boring and in one session, you can give yourself an amazing upper body work out.
Adjusting to exercising this way was a bit of a wake-up call. Even if I say so myself, I am quite physically strong and would think little of lugging two bags of cement around in one go (to put that into perspective, that’s 50kg).
Despite being quite strong, I am not going to tell you how many chin ups I could do when I started using the rack (I have made enough shocking public confessions recently). Let’s just say I was unpleasantly surprised to find I couldn’t even break double figures.
Acknowledging my limits, I was sensible about it and invested in an assistance band. Using that I have had much greater success and been building up my muscle.
I have made up my own routine that generally includes dips, to exercise the triceps, chest and shoulders. I’ll also do knee raises, to exercise the abdominal muscles, and chin ups to exercise the biceps and lats. Depending how I am feeling (read: Depending on how tidy the garage is because of the extra space required) I may also do horizontal pull ups and push ups.
The bodyweight rack is also perfect for a busy father such as myself. Once set-up it is incredibly low maintenance and you don’t require any further equipment to use it. Squeezing in a quick work-out is very simple as it only requires a quick trip to the garage.
In terms of cost, this is a very affordable bit of kit. At the time of writing it was available from Decathlon for £109.99. I am wishing I had invested in one a long time ago.
That’s a little bit about the Domyos rack and how I have been keeping fit. I hope that shows you don’t have to spend a fortune on gym membership or join a sports team to keep active. While some love keeping active this way, the thought of regularly going to the gym or attending regular practice sessions can be off-putting to some people.
In fact, I was a member of the gym at my old workplace. Coming face to face with a naked work colleague in the showers the first time I visited was enough to put me off ever going back.
Every day for the past couple of weeks, Decathlon has published a video on its Facebook page featuring a member of its blogger community. We’ve all explained what sport means for us and one message has come through time and again: To stay active, you should do what makes you happy and what you are comfortable with.
The community is made up of a very diverse bunch. Yes, there are a few personal trainers in there, but among them there’s also Kevin, a single dad of two and a very experienced long-distance runner, Former dancer turned personal trainer Natasha Wynn, and Stephen Morrison, a fitness blogger who was told he’d never be an athlete. Then there’s me, in my early forties with two kids of whom I am the main carer. I think we’re doing a pretty good job of showing that sport is indeed for everybody.
Disclosure: This article was sponsored by Decathlon. I am a part of the Decathlon Blogger Community. Thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.