Staying Healthy: How to Survive Without the Gym

Staying Healthy: How to Survive Without the Gym

2020 has brought about some of the largest shifts in the fitness industry since the era of Joe Wieder and Arnold Schwarzenegger, especially with staying healthy with home workouts.

Gyms are closed.
Workouts have moved online.
Home gym equipment is sold out.
Biometric wearable sales are at an all-time high.

We’re seeing seismic shifts in the way the average person approaches health and fitness. We may be seeing the end of globo gyms as iconic locations, such as Gold’s gym announcing bankruptcy in the wake of the COVID-19 fallout.

But as these shifts continue, we’re also seeing a growing need for fitness education. We must provide this information to ensure people are staying healthy with the new restrictions and routines. Without commercial gyms, eating out, and socializing with friends, it’s hard for some to stay on track.

If you find yourself stuck at home struggling to get into a regular fitness routine, keep reading. Use these 4 tips for staying healthy and establishing a workout program that works for you.

1. Prioritize Nutrition Over Training

Even if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic, this point would remain true for 99% of all gym-goers.

The only individuals who have the luxury of focusing more on their training than their nutrition are professional athletes. However, this is mainly due to two important factors:

  • All their meals are catered for them so that they don’t have to worry about their nutrition.
  • They are good DESPITE their nutrition, not BECAUSE of it.

For example, track and field gold medalist, and arguably the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt became notoriously famous for his nutritional choices at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Bolt was seen consuming nothing but chicken nuggets for 3 meals daily because he found that the local foods seemed to bother his stomach.

People love to use him as an example of why training matters more than food. But as I mentioned above, Bolt is good despite his nutrition, not because of it.

When you’re stuck at home, it’s time to double down on your nutritional investments and truly weigh the cost of your choices. More time at home means less activity and more opportunities to snack with the refrigerator so close.

So, how do you beat the temptation? Build your system, and then deploy it. Here’s how…

COVID Anti-Snack System

Step 1: DON’T BUY IT – Seriously. If it’s not in the house, you can’t eat it. And, most people won’t bother running to the store at 10:45 pm for a quick pick up of chips, frosted donuts, and chocolate milk.
Step 2: OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND – Why do grocery stores stock the most popular consumer products at eye level? To encourage you to make impulse decisions when you’re hungry. Your pantry does the same thing. Hide indulgent snacks unless you have an iron will or very intuitive self-awareness.
Step 3: KEEP YOURSELF ENTERTAINED – Is there anything more boring than a quarantine? It’s basically the equivalent of house arrest, but you have to wear a mask instead of an ankle monitor. Boredom is a strong motivator for many to snack. If you find yourself falling into that trap, opt for a productive habit when you’re feeling bored instead of another bite of snack food.
Step 4: STAY HYDRATED: (½ your bodyweight in ounces daily) – When you get out of your normal routine, it’s easy to skip on the simple stuff. Being hydrated is a simple way to ensure you’re staying healthy, and your brain isn’t misinterpreting hunger for thirst signals from your brain.

2. Staying Healthy by Maximizing Lifestyle Metrics

While you can certainly get in a great workout without the gym, it can sometimes be tough to recreate the same level of intensity and adaptation. As such, this can be frustrating for those looking to improve their body composition and truly maximize their performance.

But, lucky for them, there are numerous other factors they can focus on in the meantime. These may have an even stronger impact on their body composition than merely training alone.

Here are 5 non-negotiables, which I feel everyone needs to emphasize in the wake of all the craziness during this pandemic:

  1. Sleep at least 8 hours nightly
  2. Go to bed before 11 pm
  3. Opt for 20-30 minutes of daily sun exposure
  4. Wake up with the sun
  5. Dedicate 10-15 minutes to some form of daily mindfulness or meditation

Obviously, I could write an entire article about just this topic. But to keep it simple, focus on putting these 5 principles into action over the next few months as one year ends and another begins.

3. Use a Daily Movement Practice

Another key to staying healthy is to exercise and keep moving. If you’ve studied gymnastics, karate, or other movement-based practices, you know that many of them revolve around a few key principles:

  • Frequency – Daily
  • Duration – Short
  • Control – Stability

Exercising at home should focus on the same variables. If you don’t have access to heavy dumbbells and barbells, your workout intensity and total tonnage (sets x reps x weight) will likely be slightly lower.

Given that, you can usually handle higher frequency when volume and/or intensity decrease. In a nutshell, you need to consider the relationship between the following 3 variables:

⬇/⬆ VOLUME, ⬇/⬆ FREQUENCY, ⬇/⬆ INTENSITY

When one decreases, the other two can potentially increase. Similarly, if one increases, then the other two can decrease, depending on how you feel.

So when it comes to working out at home, don’t be afraid to space out the volume. You can do this over a number of training sessions throughout the week. Or if your schedule allows, you can have multiple sessions per day since the intensity will be lower.

Daily Movement Practice

4. Bodyweight = Secret to Success for Staying Healthy

If you weren’t lucky enough to scoop up used gym equipment on the Facebook marketplace or Craigslist, you might have found yourself wondering what to do when the gym closed.

Most of us get into our daily routines and fail to have a plan B when the bottom falls out. Even if you could not get an entire garage full of exercise equipment, you can easily make do with just your bodyweight or even some bands and/or an exercise ball.

“Necessity is the mother of innovation.”

Get creative, research gymnastics, and experiment with bodyweight-only workouts. YouTube is your friend. There are literally hundreds of thousands of exercise demos providing ideas for building your own workouts. If you have the equipment, follow FPTI’s one-hour get-shredded workout.

You might be surprised at how challenging it can be to use only your body weight and gravity as opposed to fancy machines and expensive barbells.

This post is the first of a series on staying healthy and working out from home. Look for upcoming posts that include detailed upper and lower body workouts as well as a minimalist workout.

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