There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now and things have changed drastically in a short amount of time – more for some than others.
It seems so surreal that Covid-19 is able to change how we operate in practically every area of our lives. With all these changes it’s easy to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and helpless – but you don’t have to be!
Even though there is so much outside of your control at the moment, there is still so much in your control that you can take advantage of to help you continue to improve your fitness and personal development goals.
Because, if we’re being honest, prioritizing your health is THE best form of preventative medicine – period. And although you should’ve cared for your body all along, there’s still plenty that you can do to continue to improve your health, develop your physique, and develop personally while in quarantine.
These can be applicable well after quarantine as well but what is most important to recognize here is that you can accomplish so much in a restricted situation – you just need to adapt to the right strategy! It all starts with how you structure your day though.
With working from home becoming more prevalent, understanding how to manage your time becomes more valuable as well. Time blocking is a scheduling strategy that has personally changed my life. It’s a productivity strategy used to maximize your time, remove decision fatigue, and stay on target with your tasks.
When you time block all you’re really doing is setting specific start and stop times for specific tasks so that you can give that one task your undivided attention. It’s like budgeting your time for the day.
You start this by setting up a list of priorities you’d like to get done for the day. Once you got that in order, then you plug in your high priority and time-sensitive tasks first. Anything that needs to get done today gets priority time slots. Then you can plug in the remaining tasks that you have to fit your day. Here’s what my time block schedule for today looks like:
Key things to schedule:
- Morning Routine: how you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day, make sure you start with positivity and a good headspace.
- Movement: Being stuck at home makes it easier to get stuck in your chair too, make it a point to get up and walk for at least 10 minutes 2-3 times a day.
- Breaks: Get a snack, text a friend, play a game on your phone, just take some time to relax between the day.
- Designated Email Blocks: Don’t check your email just because you have a notification. That makes it really easy to fall off track with what you’re doing and lose momentum. Give yourself 2-3 windows to check your email throughout the day.
- Fill Your Commute Time: For most people, working from home adds 1-3 hours to their day that they would’ve spent commuting. Use this time to develop a skill, cook your meals, or even get some more sleep!
Also, the biggest key to using time blocks successfully is having a strong start and stop times that you follow through with! So make sure they’re realistic and be ok with scheduling more time to do a task than you think is needed just to have some extra cushion in your day.
Training For Your Goals
Training at home is going to be a lot different than training at the gym that’s for sure. However, you can still get a great workout for your goals with minimal to no equipment at all! This first starts by clearly defining your goals for the next few weeks.
Weight Loss or Maintenance
If your goal is weight loss your goal should already be to maintain as much muscle as possible while on a deficit. That isn’t going to change here.
The good news is that the training volume you need to maintain lean muscle mass is much easier to achieve than the training volume needed to build lean muscle mass. Which makes successful at-home training possible with just bodyweight exercises and a couple of resistance bands.
The reason this is possible is because your muscles are dumb. They don’t understand how much weight you’re lifting, they don’t know that you’re using that fancy new machine, and they don’t know how much load you’re putting on it. They just know 2 things:
Mechanical tension – aka muscular force or the amount of demand placed on the muscle
Metabolic stress – more commonly felt as the “pump” you get from training.
So by getting a good pump in your muscles and establishing a strong mind-muscle connection to create more tension in your movements you’re able to create what your muscles do understand which is mechanical tension and metabolic stress.
In this situation, it’s typically best to train using a full-body split 3-4x a week. You want to make sure that you hit the following movement patterns on a daily basis:
-Squat or lunge variation
-Upper body push variation
-Upper body pull variation
-Anti-movement core training
Since you’ll be using resistance bands, bodyweight, or lighter dumbbells you’ll need to challenge yourself in different ways. You can alter your training to include more of the following to help get your muscles working a little more.
Time Under Tension: Slow down the movement you’re performing in both the eccentric and concentric patterns.
Partial Reps: Finish off the exercise you’re doing with 5-10 half reps. (i.e. after 12 bodyweight squats do 10 more squats – but only the bottom half).
Uni-lateral: Doing single-arm and single-leg movements will create more tension on each side.
You can get a free copy of my Quarantine Training Program by clicking here.
If your goal is hypertrophy, getting some equipment will make this much easier to achieve. I would suggest a heavier pair of dumbbells and a set of rings/TRX/suspension trainers.
You can still achieve this goal with lightweight or bodyweight but having a few options wouldn’t hurt.
It’s important to note that hypertrophy occurs between 5-30 reps before failure. Failure is the absolute max number of reps that you can complete for a given exercise. So we want to get as close to failure as possible with each and every set.
Now that we know that, structuring your training program becomes the next big thing to accomplish. You want to start with your hardest exercises, the ones that are the most difficult for you to perform (pullups, plyo push-ups, pistol squats, etc.).
Once you go through a number of sets performing your most difficult exercises you can move on to complementary exercises that are easier to perform (inverted rows, bench dips, glute bridges). These typically easier to perform exercises will feel much harder to perform after going through the more difficult exercises and will give you a greater stimulus as a result of that.
Change In Calorie Intake
If you maintain your NEAT activity and you train the same number of times a week using bodyweight exercises you probably don’t need to change anything. Difficult bodyweight movements will have a similar caloric expenditure to training you would do in the gym.
If you are decreasing your training frequency from 6 days a week to 4 days a week for instance then you can consider cutting your calories between 10-15% to match but for the most part, you don’t actually have to change much if you’re keeping up with your movement and continuing to train at home!
Calories are still king so if you find it hard to hit all your macros properly – don’t sweat it! Focus on hitting your calories and protein daily while actively training at home and you’ll make it through this quarantine without missing a beat! If you’d like help creating a more individualized plan for you and your goals click here to schedule a free strategy call!