Once a player at Forest Green Rovers, Joe Stokes now spends his days training others to help them reach their fitness goals.

Working out of Westgate Fitness, Joe works with a wide variety of individuals, from those looking to lose weight to young aspiring rugby players seeking to improve their game.

Yet, following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Joe has quickly adapted his training programmes for online home use. Providing two live classes a day as well as daily pre-recorded workouts, Joe is not short of ideas for keeping fit during the lockdown.

As a result, every week he will be providing everyone with three top tips for staying healthy whilst we’re all forced to stay home.

TIP #1: Aim for 5000 – 8000 steps a day.

Last week I told you to get outside, this week I want you to make sure it’s worthwhile time spent out there. Usually I’d say aim for at least 10,000 steps, however I would now argue the effect of inevitably not reaching this might have a greater impact on your mental health than on your physical health. As a result, I want you to aim a little lower so that it still encourages you to avoid sitting around for long periods of time - but don’t get yourself down for not being as mobile as you think you should be.

TIP #2: Socialising for your mental health.

Staying active and eating well are huge steps towards sustaining good mental health during this time, but I can’t deny the importance of communicating with friends and family on a regular basis. There are so many apps out there that enable you to see others via video including Facetime, Zoom, Skype and House Party. It’s great to see and speak to people outside of your home, to laugh and joke like you usually would. Why not organise a pub quiz with your group of friends? Or a virtual dinner party? Maybe even a bake-off competition (obviously judging decoration only).

TIP #3: Set times for meals.

This is something I know many people are struggling with – without a set routine we lose the consistency of when we eat. This is why I’d encourage you all to set a rough time for when you plan to eat breakfast, lunch and tea. Knowing when you’ll be eating can reduce the opportunity for snacking and add further structure to your day. This element of structure is the most important part as we try to bring some form of normality into our rather abnormal lifestyles right now.