Foundational Habits During Lockdown

Offered By Opex Bristol

The fitness industry, as with a great many others, has been transformed during the global lockdown thanks to COVID-19. With gyms shut, we in the fitness industry have had time to reflect and speak candidly with our fellow coaches about the effects of the pandemic on the profession itself, as well as discuss different strategies when it comes to staying fit in the current climate.

Fitness Going Forward

While we may have passed the peak, and with what we hope is the beginning of a steady drop in infection rates, we must acknowledge a simple fact: the Health and Fitness industry will take time to come back to some form of normal, and it may not look like it once did for a long time, if ever.

More and more people have been forced to address some key questions surrounding their health and fitness; mainly how do we stay fit with no gyms, and limited resources? Today we will look at some important strategies on how to keep fit during the lockdown, some key factors to consider, and why lockdown may be a blessing in disguise for long term health.

Young woman stretching after home workout

Acceptance is key

The first thing we must understand is accepting our current situation is imperative. We must have a realistic understanding of what lockdown means for our health, fitness and lifestyle. While some of us may have home gym equipment, most of us do not. This means we may have to consider adjusting our goals, what we are looking to achieve in fitness, and being OK with it.

Looking to set a new Personal Best in the Deadlift is likely not a realistic goal right now. Looking to add 5kg of muscle, or two inches to your biceps, and training with performance goals in mind are likely to be counter productive...there is nothing worse for one's mindset and sense of accomplishment that setting poorly thought out goals, and then proceeding to miss them. Instead, adjusting our intentions towards MAINTAINING our fitness and health are likely far more productive... and achievable.

Opportunities not obstacles

As the famous martial artist and actor Bruce Lee once said, “To hell with circumstance, I create opportunities.” So many of our beliefs about the world are influenced directly by how we choose to frame them. It is all too tempting to see isolation as something that has happened to us, and to see it as limiting.

But re-framing these events can go a long way in helping us keep our sanity, and help us maintain our health and fitness. Instead of seeing lockdown as a restriction that robs us of our ability to go to the gym, or simply be active, look at it as an opportunity. As a health and fitness coach, something that I have come to understand is that physical training is but one small piece of an otherwise larger puzzle.

The journey to fitness and health, especially in the long term, does not begin and end, as many believe, with physical training. The bedrock that forms the foundation of long term success in health and fitness are great lifestyle practices. Great habits around sleep, nutrition, hydration, and your daily routine are the difference makers. THOSE are what move the needle.

Happy young woman holding water bottle with thumbs up

The truth, while uncomfortable for some, is that now is quite possibly the best opportunity we will ever be given to put great lifestyle habits in place. Granted, lockdown has come with some unique challenges, such as children at home 24/7.

But perhaps this is it's own opportunity, to establish a great foundation for your children and introduce sound lifestyle practices early. So I encourage everyone to see this opportunity for what it is...a chance to make some real changes for the better, without the added pressures of daily commutes and limited time schedules.

So, we have accepted our reality, and re-framed our circumstances to see opportunity. You may well be thinking now, “that's great, but where should I start? What areas should I be focused on to create positive change, or at least be maintaining my health and fitness?”

Sleep

One of the single most over looked aspects of health and fitness is sleep. These days, getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Sleeping any less than 7 hours will impact your recovery from exercise, dampen your motivation and energy levels, and can often impact food choices in a negative way.

Those who are tired due to lack of sleep tend to make poorer food and lifestyle choices than those whole sleep 8 hours. If you do have a goal of losing body fat during lockdown, not sleeping enough is a great way to help ensure you keep the weight on.

Young woman asleep in bed

Keep a Routine

Routines form habits over time. A great way to create great long term habits that will last when lockdown ends, is to develop a routine and rhythm to your day. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day. When you do wake, have a shower, get dressed, and do not stay in your robe or pajamas.

If you work from home, have a work station, and keep that as your work station for the duration of lockdown. And on the topic of work, have a start time and end time, and do not neglect setting time for yourself. Even if you can't leave the house as much as you would like, scheduling in time to read or watch TV is just as important, don't forget to do the things you enjoy doing.

Nutrition

If there was ever a time to focus on developing better nutrition habits, it's now. With restaurants and takeaways closed, or at least operating on smaller scales, we are now in the position more than ever to prepare meals at home. Make this a focus. Preparing your own food creates a deeper connection to what we eat, and home cooked food is almost always healthier.

The hard truth is this: you are stuck at home. You aren't on the go like you used to be, and you are relegated to a shop about once a week. Plan your meals for the week the day you intend to do the shop, and buy only those things you need to prepare those meals. There is no excuse on this one, we are now more than ever in complete control of what we put in our mouth.

Would you like to up your vegetable intake? Buy more vegetables. Want to cut down on sugar? Don't buy sugar. Generally, you know what to eat and what not to, the choices are yours.

A key to fitness is well balanced nutrition

Move

When it comes to exercise, make a plan, and stick to it. If you need to, work with a coach, or take advantage of one of the many online or virtual services that have popped up due to the current climate. This will help you remain accountable, and help you build a routine. Intending to exercise without a clear goal in your sessions will hinder your motivation, and lead to little or no progress.

It doesn't take much. Move for 30-60 minutes everyday. Now, this can and will look different for different people. Moving can be bodyweight exercises, a run, a cycle, or a simple walk outside. It can mean strength training if you are one of those lucky folks with a home gym. The point being, just because we are in lockdown, does not mean we have to be completely sedentary.

Onwards and Upwards

Looking ahead, if long term health and fitness is something you want, then focusing on the above areas are a great start. All of these things can be accomplished during this difficult period of lockdown, and if mastered, will set a great foundation for any and all fitness goals one may aspire to.

While some of these topics can be fairly deep subjects, the positive is you now have a resource where we will explore weekly all of these topics in depth, to help you along in your journey towards health, fitness, and longevity. 

 

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