On 4th of November of this ridiculous year, Boris Johnson and the invalids in Westminister decided to place this country into a second lockdown. Despite all of the science proving the safety of gyms and leisure centres concerning Coronavirus, the government decided to close us down for the 4-week national lockdown. I am not going to go into this as I do not want to chat politics; just know that I, along with most of you guys in the British Public, whole-heartedly disagree with the decision. Anyway…
Whether you agree or disagree, the fact remains that fitness facilities will remain closed until 4th December: something that you will probably believe may threaten your hard work and progress achieved since we opened back at the end of July. I say that, because I thought exactly the same about myself and my personal programme….
Yet, after taking a step back and taking a minute to think about it, I see this lockdown as a unique opportunity to actually improve your health and fitness for a variety of different reasons. Below, I am going to outline the ways in which YOU can make the most out of Lockdown 2.0, and come out of this 4-week period as a stronger, healthier, and more resilient version of yourself…
Strip Back To The Basics
When you are deprived of a barbell and a squat rack, there is no better opportunity to strip your movement back to the very basics. Trust me when I say mastering simple bodyweight movements with impeccable form will undoubtedly serve you well when you unrack that bar for the first time on the 4th December.
What does this mean? Well, take a simple bodyweight squat: one of the simplest, yet most common movement patterns known to man. Learning to squat with proper mechanics often gets overlooked in favour of the glamorous, high-intensity workouts that promise a sky-high heart rate and energy expenditure (calorie burn). Yet, I would argue that, before you press ‘Play’ on that fat-burning HIIT Workout, you take a bit of time to master a slow, controlled bodyweight squat with good form.
Try filming yourself from a few different angles, and see how it looks on playback: check for common errors in form, such as feet turning inwards, knees collapsing in and lower-back arching at the bottom of the squat (‘Buttwink’). Find out where you may be going wrong, and look up some corrective exercises/stretches you can do to help you improve!
If you need a hand perfecting your squat, get in touch for some advice on what you need to do & a cheeky tekkers check!
Dip Into Different Types of Training
If you are one of those who gets into the gym, hits the weights, and gets out, then maybe now’s a chance to try something a bit different. Get in touch with your inner-Rocky and chow down on some outdoor cardio, such as running; or go online and find a naughty bodyweight HIIT workout to get your heart-rate going through the roof!
Either way, use this Lockdown as a chance to dip into something new; there is no harm in going out of your comfort zone and broadening your training horizons with anything from yoga to running. You never know, you might come to enjoy it and keep it going when we come back to business in December!
Get Your Gordon Ramsey On…
It’s very easy to get caught in a vicious cycle when it comes to nutrition : cooking the same-old same-old, day in day out. Another day, another tupperware of pan-fried chicken with rice and veg…
Now that you probably have some more time at home, whether thats WFH or on furlough, there’s no time like the present than to get creative and learn some new recipes/cooking techniques to help up your game in the kitchen!
Nutritional variety is the key to a successful diet; by diversifying your culinary expertees, you will be equipping yourself with an armoury of tasty, nutritious meals that can be subbed into your daily menu as-and-when the mood strikes!
Chow Down On Some Sweet Sleep Hygiene
Sleep deprivation is one of those annoying bastards that lingers around the lives of many of us in the modern day. Particularly in times of coronavirus, I know a lot of peeps (including myself) have been really struggling to get the Z’s in due to stress, anxiety, or simply not being able to switch off from all the doom and gloom kicking about the place.
Having a pre-bed sleep routine for the 30-60 minutes before hitting the sack is one of those things that you CAN control regardless of whether the gyms are open or not! Simple things like:
- Turning electronic devices off/on silent at least 20 minutes before going to sleep (preferably 30-60″)
- Ensuring that your room is cool, dark, and not too stuffy
- Having a 15-20″ ‘wind-down’ period before bed, that could be anything from reading to meditation and deep breathing
Use this 4 week period to get into good habits regarding sleep, and get your body into a regular cycle whereby you go to bed and wake up at a similar time each and every day. You will find yourself feeling more energised, more alert, and less likely to flag during the day!
Plus, sleep is an absolute weapon when it comes to both putting on size and losing body fat, so all in all improving your sleep will set you in awesome stead to achieve your goals and smash your training!
Manage Your Mental Health
Lockdown is probably one of the most stressful periods that, as a collective, will experience in our lifetimes. From job-worries, to financial stress, to the scary prospect of having to spend more time with your parents (I speak from experience….), this is a pretty rough ol’ time.
Managing your mental health is of the utmost importance in times like this. It is vital that you make an active effort to look after your psychological wellbeing, whether that’s through running, walking, yoga, meditation, cooking, journalling, deep breathing. There are so many different techniques to try, and you have just got to try and find what works for you and your head.
Furthermore, with many people working from home, it is likely that your home has emalgamated into your workplace as well as your living space. When you are using the same space for a dual purpose (i.e. living and working), it can be a little bit overwhelming and you may get caught in a vicious cycle whereby you feel increasingly suffocated by work. That’s why it is essential that you schedule in downtime to help switch off from work.
Use the next 3 weeks to get into positive. healthy habits for you and your mental health. Try something you’ve never tried before, such as mindfulness, yoga, running or meditation; trust me, your post-lockdown self will undoubtedly thank you for it…
The Final Word
I spent a lot of time getting angry and frustrated about this Lockdown, as the gym plays a much larger role in my lifestyle than simply a place to exercise and workout. But, after further reflection, I found myself looking at the positives of lockdown, and searching for opportunities that this temporary period of restriction may present.
Don’t become a victim of our Government’s contradictory decision to supposedly ‘protect the health of the nation’ , and use this time to better yourself in other areas of your lifestyle that will optimise your health and promote both physical and mental wellbeing.
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