How does one stay fit at home when your self-isolating? During these strange times of ‘social distancing’, many of the gyms, boot camps, public pools and your favourite pilates class have closed. I spoke to a few fitness legends in the industry for some advice in finding alternative ways to maintain a healthy routine.
Speaking with Michael Cunico, National Fitness Manager for Fitness First Australia, we needed to define what your definition of ‘FIT’ is exactly. Is it to squat four plates, or run 10 kilometres at a 5 minute a kilometre pace? Or is it too simply just to maintain some type of an exercise routine? While building herculean strength with your rusted 5kg dumbbells may be a stretch, there is no reason why you can’t perform some form of movement daily.
ROUTINE – you must find a routine. If you are working from home or self-isolating your normal trigger to exercise or attend a gym or training facility, even if they were open, has gone out the window. The morning before your working day, or the lunchtime class that fits strategically into your schedule is no more, so you need to build a strategy and protect. We all may have experienced the temptation to simply wake up at any time now, or put off the workout you know is beneficial from your own garage, and before you know it another day goes by where good intentions are replaced with a harsh reality. Find your routine, lay your workout clothes out the night before ready to get your sweat session done first thing, or set an alarm in the middle part of your day to trigger your lunchtime workout.
GET UPRIGHT – the temptation to binge the latest Netflix series will be huge, and we have all been guilty of pressing that ‘next episode’ button just one more time! Meanwhile the easiest, cheapest and most readily available option for all of us is the great outdoors – and we may not have access to it for much longer. “So Get Upright, extend through the hips and swing one foot in front of the other, take your partner, your kids, your dog or simply plug into a podcast and experience the great outdoors”.
ENERGY BALANCE – if keeping fit to you means not having to change which notch you use on your belt then be mindful of your Energy Balance – i.e. how much energy you expend vs how much energy (calories) you consume. Having a fridge full of your favourite cheeses only a few steps away may be too hard to resist. “Don’t have them in the house if you don’t believe you will be able to control the temptation, interestingly in all the chaos of CV-19 I am yet to see my local Woolworths run out of apples, bananas and sweet potatoes. So ditch the high energy value treats and stick to your fruit and veg, and cross your fingers you can find a nice T-Bone!”
BE OPEN – while this may sound like a call to be open-minded in these challenging times, I am actually referring to your body. Planting yourself into a reverse plank on the couch will be an option, however so will opening up some key areas of your body while you have the flexibility to say, work from home (see what I did there?). “How can you Be Open? Plant yourself into a 90/90 Stretch, exhale into a variation of a pigeon stretch and extend your thoracic spine over a roller, or a towel if this is all you have available.”
Team training that is life training with Lauren Vickers, Athletics Team Manager for F45. Agrees with the importance of maintaining a routine while we get through this pandemic together, albeit a safe social-distance apart.
One thing Lauren has mentioned is that we readily overlook the blurry lines between your normal and consistent, well-curated boundaries can lead to insomnia and the feeling of never really switching off. Many people also report feelings of anxiety and loneliness. Keeping a sense of normalcy and keeping a daily structure during challenging times is incredibly important to help keep your focus on track. At F45 they love a community.
SEIZE THE MORNING – at night, before you go to bed, lay out your workout clothes. It helps eliminate those excuses in the morning. Set your morning alarm for the same time every day and if you don’t trust yourself with the snooze button, put your phone in the bathroom so that you have to get out of bed to turn it off (a great trick learned in university days that ensures no oversleeping).
KEEP UP THE EXERCISE – thanks to the marvels of technology, there are a range of exercise solutions to keep you engaged with your workouts. The new F45 At-Home Workouts is available to all of F45 members across the globe – all you’ll need is a water bottle, a mat or towel and enough space to do a burpee and jump from side to side. It will lead you through the workout and you can get those endorphins pumping in no time, all from the comfort of your living room!
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET – self-isolation is the perfect time to master your meal prepping skills! Dust off those cookbooks and whip up some of your favourite dishes that you wouldn’t normally have time for. Cooking big batches to divide up for the week will help to ensure that you’re eating sensibly and not just out of boredom. Raw Caramel Slice or Coconut Bounty Balls anyone?
MINDFULNESS – setting aside 10-15 minutes a day can do wonders in clearing your mind and recalibrating to be able to process the unfolding situation around you. If you can, take a walk outside in nature (remember to practice good social distancing technique), write in a journal, try out a daily meditation. Being stuck at your desk/kitchen bench for the last few hours, 15 focused minutes of stretching can do wonders in helping you to unwind, relax and calm your mind during this stressful time.
CHECK-IN – if you’re used to the busy hum of the office, little chats over the water cooler, and the odd birthday cake and coffee with your colleagues, self-isolation can feel lonely and disconnected. Make sure you’re checking in regularly with family and friends as well as your workmate.
Undercard trainer Jessica Arrowsmith shares her quirky at home workouts with us using wine bottles and one with a wine case. Mind you I’m sure there are other household items or non-equipment exercises you can use. Jessica is also offering virtual PT sessions using FaceTime.
Her top tips to keep fit whilst at home include
RE-SHIFT YOUR MINDSET – have fun finding new ways to stay fit and healthy at home – from working out with wine bottles/cases to picking a daily challenge (yesterday’s being 150 burpees for time!). Keeping yourself on your toes physically will also keep you fighting fit. It’s the perfect time to break away from the norm and really test yourself physically. Hello, 5-minute plank hold!
MOVE – doesn’t mean rolling over in bed, make an effort to move around – even just in your living room, it gets my blood flowing and keeps your muscles active.
LIVE WORKOUTS – Find the right app, Youtube video or even ask your gym (they might have started an online webinar) that you’re interested in tuning into and add them into your diary as if you were going to the class itself.
GREENS – try to eat as many greens as possible. If you don’t have access to fresh produce, stock up on frozen spinach, kale, berries etc. Smoothies are a great way to get all your necessary nutrients in one hit. I’d also suggest buying a super greens powder. 1 tablespoon in a smoothie or water a day will keep you fighting fit, without any deficiencies in sight.
Get Peachy at Home with Tori and Bec. Loved by women in over 24 countries across the globe, the online program by Peaches Pilates are home workouts reimagined. No wanky, un-relatable fitness instructors with a cheesy large smile plastered across their face, or no sign of sweat, fatigue or burn. The Peaches girls keep it REAL! Their online classes are fun, fast, and designed for RESULTS! 15-30 minute sessions targeted directly at all the areas you want to tone – try workouts like Pilates Corset, Long Lean Legs and Booty Camp. Use code STAYHOMEPEACH for 20% off!
Whatever you decided to do, whether creating your own workout, participate on a live online class to following instructions on the app. Support is everywhere, social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t connect with people. Stay safe, stay fit and be healthy.