How to maintain gains (and your sanity) in quarantine

Is it just me or does it feel like we are living an on-going dream? That at any moment we are going to snap out of it and everything will be back to normal.

When everything first began getting crazy, it seemed like we were only going to need to stay quarantined at home for a couple weeks max and it would blow over.

As someone who enjoys lifting really heavy weights and trying to be able to be as strong as possible, it wasn’t ideal, but I can do some push ups and squats, catch up on some netflix and it’ll pass.

Now that I’ve binge watched the office over again, done some push up challenges, and ate my weight in M&M’s, those couple weeks have passed and things aren’t looking like they’re changing any time soon.

Before all this went down, my adventures to go and train were something I looked forward to throughout the week. Getting some time in to move, throw around weights, and chase a bit of a pump made me me.

To some it’s just exercise, but to me it’s a huge aspect of my identity. Much like most of you, lifting and training is one of my most enjoyable things, my passion, my outlet, my freedom, and now it’s gone – at least the way I’m used to.

I’ve felt lost.

This seems a bit melodramatic considering the current state of the world, but as someone who isn’t sick, who is self-isolating and following every precaution I can, I’m stuck just thinking about what was, what can be, and missing my time training.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to do something about it, shift gears, and get my mojo back as much as I can. Nothing good is going to come from sitting around, moping and complaining – but a lot of can come from getting my head back in the game.

There’s literature showing that with as little as a few weeks of not training we start to lose strength, lose muscle mass, and I feel it.


In contrast, we’ve got research showing that to maintain your prior state, it takes considerably less than you’d think – some research showing about 30-50% of the volume/intensity that you usually do can help maintain gains for quite a while.

With that, I’m going to focus on a few things to make sure I don’t experience any more loss in strength and muscle, and maybe even get some back.

Planning time to train

If this was a month ago, you’d find me at the gym every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 3pm, and Saturday mornings at 8am. I had my time laid out that I’d go then, get in a good hour and get home. It was something that I had in my head and stuck with.

Since I’m home all day, not really changing much and just say I’ll workout at some point. No surprise here, that hasn’t panned out too well.

For anyone who has read about habit formation, you’d know that having time associated to tasks gives you a cue which encourages action on it. As I’ve had all the time in the world, there is never a trigger and never a reason to make it happen.

 


Canva - Notebook Page With Illustration.jpg

 

I’m going to shift back to having my schedule and stick to it to the best of my abilities. The only thing I’m changing is I’m going to transition over to every day having the same time and “training” every day – more on that in a minute.

This should help improve my compliance and holding myself to it.

Changing my clothes

No, I’m not neglecting laundry and living in the same stuff every day. However, before I’d wake up, get dressed in work clothes, then change into my gym clothes, and then come home and hang out in sweat pants.

Well now I pretty much just hang out in sweat pants all day.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against sweat pants – being cozy is great. Just like with the time thing, having that transition in attire though was a trigger which encouraged action. Now that I don’t have that, every day is just a long lounge.

To transition away from that I’m going to get dressed each morning, toss on some gym clothes when I train – even if I could lift in my underwear (hello Instagram likes) – and then get on my cozy clothes at the end of the day.

Getting that trigger back should coincide with the time and help get some motivation back.

Doing more planned low intensity stuff

Normally I’d accumulate anywhere for 5-10K steps per day just working. Whether I was treating, coaching, filming, etc. I was normally on my feet and busting out a decent amount of lower intensity movement when I wasn’t training.

 


today-steps.png

 

Instead of 5-10K, I’m more in the .5-1K steps per day. Joking, it’s higher, but not by much.

That low intensity stuff is pretty valuable for general mobility, tissue health, cardiovascular and respiratory health, etc. Not to mention accounting for a significant amount of the calories I expend per day in NEAT.

This is a huge one that I’m going to tackle a few ways.

Normally I’d have four or five main workouts in the week, and I’m going to get back to that. Above I mentioned that I was going to “workout” every day though. 

On the days where I don’t have a training session, I’m going to get in a walking/stepping workout. Spending a good half hour to hour just accumulating steps and moving around.

In addition I’m going to spend 15 minutes every morning standing and walking around as I enjoy my morning coffee. This will help tack on a few extra hundred steps and be a good step back in the right direction (pun intended).

Take my home training more seriously

Like I said, do some push ups, do some squats, breathe a bit heavy, good to go – that was the premise of most of my “workouts” at home.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had the odd few days where I’ve been in a good mood and crushed a solid session, but these are far and few compared to my normal workout efforts.

For me, a huge aspect is that I’ve been working really hard on getting out home workout content for other people and not prioritized it for myself.

The last month I’ve tackled making hundreds of individual home programs for clients, patients, and building out an extensive home workout group – with another big launch coming soon.

That has taken its toll and I’ve justified to myself that it’s fine and I can just do the bare minimum.

Well now I’ve hit a wall and am feeling pretty frustrated with my current state and need to stop letting myself off.

Starting today I’m getting back onto a regular program, pushing myself, and doing what I need to do.

If you’re like me and looking to step up your home workout game, you can check out the free group I made (yes the one that I worked crazy hard on) with a ton of different exercise plans for those with different goals.

You can also check out some of the youtube videos we’ve been making recently with a huge emphasis on things you can do at home:

Home Workout Ideas

 

 

How to use household items to workout

 

 

5 Cardio Workouts At Home

 

 

Best bodyweight lower body exercises

 

 

Hopefully this stuff helps you keep your gains – and gets you back feeling good about training.

Alright, I’m gonna go do some steps and crush some coffee.

Sam