Editor’s note: Being stuck at home is no excuse to go soft, so we reached out to our friend, radio host and personal trainer, Ian Scotto, for some quarantine fitness tips any of us can use.
Our every-day habits are a big part of what makes us who we are. Sometimes those habits are positive, others are negative; and anyone who’s successfully broken any type of negative habit knows just how hard it can be to break free from.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, habitual gym-goers like myself are being forced to “embrace the suck” of the current situation, and indefinitely give up what we see as one of the most constructive habits of our lifestyle. Any “gym rat” can tell you the benefits this habit has brought to them, likely mentally, spiritually, and of course physically. It is our solace from the every day grind, and our therapy that remains consistent in our lives during all seasons.
Although I’m an introvert, often exercising with my headphones on and staying focused, the comradery when I go to the gym in itself is such a motivating force for me. I’ve worked out next to amputees, elderly individuals, and people who would be classified as morbidly obese, all going super hard to obtain their goals, and it always drives me to be my best self. Fast forward to now, and just like that, it’s gone.
For what is a minor inconvenience when looking at the much bigger picture during this time of crisis, this may seem overdramatic, but I know that many of you reading this hear where I’m coming from. So, let me flip this around and give you some of the positive changes we can all make while this is happening.
Quarantine Fitness Tip 1: Get outside
The first piece of optimism I can offer is that spring is here, and the weather in most parts of the country is getting nicer. Get outside, and enjoy that sunshine we’ve dearly missed for the past several months.
In terms of functional fitness training, the adaptations we will have to make may actually be of huge benefit. Let me expand on that. Although I personally am not a veteran, through my history of working with veterans, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from men and women who have served in combat, and I’ve even had the honor of working out on several occasions with special operations veterans.
Quarantine Fitness Tip 2: Focus on functional activities
Those special ops vets will tell you themselves that having lots of muscle mass will slow you down and that although reaching your personal record on a deadlift, squat, or bench press may understandably feel great, it’s not really an important measure of physical readiness.
You won’t find those things in PT, but what you will find are ruck marches, runs, pushups, pull-ups, and sit-ups, and these are all things that you can get done now without a gym at your disposal. Let’s be real here, I’m sure many of you have even been putting all of these essentials off, so now is the time to up your game.
Quarantine Fitness Tip 3: Do more cardio and focus on diet
Last, I’m actually going to throw in the vanity component. If you’ve spent your winter putting on weight (hopefully some of that being muscle,) now is the time to shed the fat and let those gains show. This will happen with the combination of increasing that cardio, eating a good diet, and of course some strength training (which includes the above-mentioned compound bodyweight exercises with little to no equipment necessary.)
In terms of diet, I’d suggest tracking your calories on a free app like MyFitnessPal. If you’re new to it, start to track what you normally eat and slowly and safely bring yourself into a caloric deficit by decreasing your daily intake gradually. Do not starve yourself, and get a better idea of if your body feels more comfortable with a diet lower in either fats or carbs.
Quarantine Fitness Tip 4: Make sure your protein intake can support muscle growth and recovery
You should sustain about .8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight as an athlete, as recommended by many experts in the field. It can even be slightly lower than that in a time like this where your recovery will be faster no longer lifting heavy weight. Most of you now have some extra time on your hands to perfect your diet, so no excuses.
When obstacles in life happen, they can really show you what you’re made of. This is an incredibly tough time for our country and for the world at large. When this will end, the magnitude this pandemic will have on our health and economy is all unknown. The thing about fitness to embrace during this time is that it is not the unknown. If you put in the work and stick to the simple rules outlined above, you can and you will succeed granted you don’t fall ill.
So make a game plan, and hold yourself accountable. Once gyms inevitably reopen and life gets back to normal, there will be groups of people either saying this experience set them back, and others that will have managed to adapt and keep physical fitness a priority. The choice is yours.