29th March 2020, 14:33 | Wigan
Story from wiganwarriors.com.
In unprecedented times like today, there are calls for acts of kindness and that cannot be more said for Wigan Warriors back row Willie Isa.
Like all professional athletes, Isa is having to adapt to a new lifestyle due to the UK, essentially, being on ‘lockdown’ because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But this new routine is allowing the 31-year-old to show his goodwill towards the elderly within his neighbourhood and towards those widely effected by Covid-19, by becoming a National Health Service (NHS) volunteer.
Samoan forward Isa signed up to the scheme on Tuesday night and is one of the 505,000 British public volunteers - announced by the government on Wednesday - who enlisted to help battle the coronavirus.
Isa said: “We have to help each other, our neighbours and the community the best we can do in these difficult times. I’m doing the best I can to live my life every day and help those people who are not doing so well.”
Whilst helping others around him, Isa has been getting used to new and different training schedules and workouts.
With Wigan and the rest of the Betfred Super League suspended at least until 3rd April, there is a need for all players to remain in fit shape.
“It’s put things into perspective,” he said. “I’m doing the best I can to stay fit. It is hard but there is a bigger issue than rugby league at the minute.
“I’m pushing myself to keep to a decent shape and to get the best out of myself.”
Training at home and in the back garden has seen Isa get creative through using a makeshift gym to accommodate his usual Wigan training programme.
“I’m going off what we have previously done in training. I’ve got some ‘jail’ weights and I also use my two bins to do some dips on them. I put the bar on top of the bins and start squatting.
“I’m in contact with our coaching staff in terms of the schedule they want us to do each day. As no one knows when we will return to normal training, everyone is trying to keep fit at the minute. I also use the one ‘exercise a day’ wisely and go for a good, decent run.”
With the inability to train with a rugby ball or practice any rugby-based skills, the second row, who has played in all seven of Wigan’s league games so far this season, admits he has transferred from the normal day-to-day grind into pre-season mode.
He said: “I’ve turned my schedule into a mini pre-season. It’s about doing the long runs, long repetitions on the weights and doing the best you can.
“I thought I was slowly getting into the game fitness, but you can’t replicate that when there’s no games. That’s the hardest thing for players – trying to replicate that game fitness and at the minute, the only way to keep that up is going back to that pre-season mindset – trying to keep yourself as fit as possible in the legs with what you’ve got at your disposal.
“It’s about stripping back to the basics and remember to what I was doing when I was a kid and what my dad taught me. It’s about the pure old school running and push ups. I’m lucky that I’ve got a bar here and a few weights too.
“It tests you as an athlete – it’s not about what you’ve got, it’s also about the mindset you’ve got. I take my 31-year-old self to that 12-year-old Willie Isa where I was determined to do whatever I could to get myself fit.”