Olympic gold medallist Steve Hooker’s guide to home fitness

Living Well | Sue Hewitt | Posted on 16 April 2020

Stay motivated to move with Steve Hooker's expert tips for exercising at home.

Olympic gold medallist Steve Hooker has swapped the track for a suit and tie in his current role as chief executive of property developer Resimax Group.

The Australian former pole vaulter and father of three is running the business from home but he continues to make time for his daily exercise routine.

These are his expert tips for keeping fit and staying motivated while quarantined at home.

Olympic gold medallist Steve Hooker at home gym

Olympic gold medallist Steve Hooker in his home gym.



Steve Hooker's expert tips for staying fit at home


Do what you enjoy

I call it “Doing You”. Figure out what you really enjoy doing. If it’s running – is it sprints and short bursts that you enjoy? Everyone responds differently to different activities and motivation can be tough if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. Choose something that makes you feel good for the rest of the day.

Create a routine

Motivation comes down to routine. Plan your day with exercise as part of it. I wake up and get the kids [a seven-year-old, four-year-old and five-month-old] breakfast and play with them, before heading to my home office for some work. I then do a quick workout of 30 to 45 minutes before a quick lunch. In the afternoon I sit at a table outside to work for a change of environment and when I’m finished I play with the kids. I break up my work and use exercise as a reward not a chore. I make it part of my daily structure.

Don’t worry about goals

Unless you’ve got a big event, having a number in mind isn’t going to work. This isn’t normal advice but my goal is to be really in the present – to switch off and get lost in the activities. If you immerse yourself in the exercise then the outcomes take care of themselves. Whether it’s weight loss, improving strength or building endurance, when exercise is part of your lifestyle your goal will take care of itself.

Keep it simple

Decide on 12 exercises that you can do well without hurting yourself – four each for the legs, upper body and core. Learn to do them properly and that’s enough variety. You can pick two from each and do a circuit. That way you don’t have to waste time thinking about what you’re going to do. As an athlete I have a whole shelf of activities to choose from and just jump into routines I know.

Protect your back

When we’re sitting around a lot and not doing enough steps, our backs go out. Handstands against a wall are great for improving posture and balance. Kneel with your hands flat in front of you then walk up the wall until your stomach touches the wall. You might only be able to stay there for five seconds before you start shaking but you’ll build that up over time.

Find a hill

If there’s a hill nearby you might want to try some hill sprints. You want to do 500 to 1000 metres of sprints, so if your hill is 100 metres long, start with five reps and build up to 10 over a couple of weeks. Just make sure you walk down the hill; don’t jog, you could hurt yourself, especially if you’re older.

If you buy one thing...

The best simple purchases you can make for exercising at home are a set of Roman rings or TRX suspension trainers that you hang from or do chin-ups for your upper body. You may have been doing push-ups or squats but these pulling exercises, or hanging from them, work the body in a different way. You can hang them off a tree or a door [top] instead of working on the floor.

Ultimate investment piece

A bike ergo that you can fix your road bike into makes a great long-term investment in your fitness. You can adjust the resistance as your strength and fitness improve and keep things interesting by linking to a virtual cycling app on your phone or computer. I’ve got a Wahoo Kickr to ride and use Zwift which allows you to ride together with friends or with others around the world and do sprints and intervals. Zwift lets me ride the streets of London, Central Park in New York and Innsbruck, Austria. The program lets you set goals for speed, power or endurance.