Quick Word on Staying Fit in these Difficult Times

I have seen and answered quite a lot of questions recently on Quora regarding training while in isolation, so I thought I would put a small post together just to help with this subject.

First things First

You don’t really need the gym, or at least not as much as you thought you did, the vast majority of us that are looking to stay in shape can do so quite easily from home, but we are sold the Gym story because it makes money for others and we buy it (on the whole) because it gives most people the best excuse for not working out, if I can’t get to the gym I can’t train, but the reality is (and if we are honest with ourselves) this is exactly what it is an excuse, I am not knocking Gyms, far from it but right now in this moment you haven’t got that as an option so let’s work a way round it, I put a previous post on about working out with an old log or tree stump located here but you don’t even have to go to those extremes, there are a few simply rules to remember and you will be just fine.

  1. if you no longer have access to a wide range of weights, slow down your repetitions and use increasingly concentration exercises, so this would mean concentration curls resting your elbow on the inside of your leg, or lunges instead of squats.
  2. Anything can be a weight if it weighs something, sounds simple but it doesn’t have to be a bar with plates on it, logs, stones, paving slabs anything that weighs something and you can pick up will work, just remember to be careful of sharp edges and any dirt falling into your eyes and so on, apply common sense.
  3. As long as you stress the muscle or you push cardio capacity till you are out of breath you are going to adapt it is simple, so go out for a run (on your own or with members of your household) and push yourself.

Desperation is the Mother of Invention

Remember that you can think a way through anything, in fact a little time having to invent movements will probably do us all some good, consider the muscle group you are wanting to train and think about what movement involves that muscle group, then perform the movements slowly and deliberately, try and feel the muscle group working under the weight, not only will this help with the mind muscle connection when you go back to the Gym but you will find that using heavy objects that are not always completely centred or are awkward to pick up will help recruit supporting muscle groups as well meaning that you can push more weight with the main group as it now as much more support.

Sticking Points

Chest, is always going to be a difficult one, as the normal way of training is to be on a bench allowing greater movement of the elbows, but you can just as easily lay on the floor and do flys, again just slow down and feel the movement, press-ups are of course the staple and see if you can get someone to place a weight on your back while you perform them, cross bench dips can be replicated with two chairs just be careful that one of them does not tip over, I would say just use one and place you feet on the floor. elevating your legs during press-ups will also help engage your upper chest, but not too much as your blood pressure will rise easily in this position.

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga

I cannot stress this enough, if you are looking for a way to improve overall health and wellbeing as well as improve muscle tone and burn fat and you only have restricted space, you cannot beat Yoga, there are a million and one videos on YouTube that you can just put on and work along with, you will feel better for it, I know that for some the idea of Yoga seems a little hokey but believe me I have such an admiration for the strength, flexibility and durability of Yoga practitioners since I started doing it, and my flexibility has improved no end.

Above all

This time is unavoidable, you cannot do anything different because this virus has taken those options away, but although it is controlling our lives now, don’t let it win in the long run, think a way round the limitations and work to emerge better, stronger and more educated when all this is done, and reap the rewards of a bit of time away from keeping up with the virtual Jones’s

Practice the Preaching ep10

So tenth episode, I have to confess that I wasn’t that sure where I was going with the episode idea but it seems to have worked out fairly well, there is an odd sense of obligation when you have stated in print for the world to see ( or at least the three followers I had at the time one of which was me and another my wife), and in fact I credit a lot of the habits I have built up in the past few weeks to my self-obligated reporting of my progress to you my readers (and the wife).

So I would like to encourage anybody struggling to start a new regime, or move their diet to a healthier one to write down their goals and keep it somewhere they will see it upon waking, although studies have shown that it can be 18 to 254 days to form a habit, in those early formative days you will need the written reinforcement to remind of your goal, bear in mind that if you are working toward productive healthy habits I would be willing to bet there are several bad destructive ones you have to break as well!

So for the first few episodes there are ones missing, some posted late (for various reasons in my defence) and as we go further they become more consistent, when I first started I picked 4:30am as a waking up time because it seemed to give me the right amount of time before work to take care of what I needed to do, and I nearly made it for the first few days but not quite, the snooze button was remarkably easy to find with tired eyes !

Now however I am waking up nearly the entire week before the alarm goes off! much to my wife’s relief she doesn’t need beauty sleep but she does like it !

I thought additionally this morning as it is a Yoga day I would share what YouTube videos I follow below.

I do look at others but have found these two to help the most at my level, and I am progressing quite well.

So keep up all the good work you are doing and always move forward even if it is only a little bit, I have taken quite literally tiny steps in my journey but now on reflection have travelled some distance, just remind yourself everyday of the changes you are making, through a written declaration to yourself and before you know it, they will be second nature and you will start to feel odd if for some reason you can’t complete a workout or study session, this in turn will make those activities more pleasurable and once you start to enjoy something you start to absorb it.

Practice the Preaching ep3

Ok so this morning was a prime example of a perfect storm, I was up late and I had to be in work very early for a change that I was implementing, so as I have said in the past I had to prioritise, ultimately bread on the table always has to win, all other efforts are to support this not in spite of this so there was no walk, no hour of cardio followed by half hour of Yoga, I followed my emergency morning routine.

  • Planks on front, both sides and back held for a minute each.
  • Seated splits stretch held for a minute
  • forward fold held for (you guessed it) a minute
  • Bridge pose held for a minute
  • And finally deep goddess pose ( I wish it was a little more manly ) held for a minute

This is by no means a comprehensive workout but it does help to wake the body up and not let it get even remotely comfortable with the idea of a sedentary life again, remember every time you do something you reinforce it and eventually it becomes habit and then second nature.

Practice the Preaching ep1

As a counterbalance to the vast majority of these types of sites where readers get preached at and are then subject to perfectly timed updates about the authors activities seemingly agnostic of time and the requirement for sleep, I am starting this series of mini posts (they will all be a lot shorter than this one) to catalogue my progress, because I believe each time we do one thing toward a goal no matter how small it is progress.

So if one is late then I probably did it late, if one is missed I probably had something to do other than yoga for instance, but I will try and make them as close to the time I complete the progress as I can, they will never be on a timed publish to appear that I am up at 5.00am when in fact I am tucked up in bed with my cuddly toys counting sheep!

So for this morning, I am going to do 10 minute Yoga routine for flexibility (I am 43 and really need that), a 10 minute Yoga routine for core and pelvic strength (see reason above) and then for cardio I will put in a 45 min power walk (just going quicker than usual with the family dog)

See you all later!