Being in a lock down will inevitably induce a whole host of boredom and chaos. There is only so much TV and Netflix a mind can handle. Bad, lazy habits are likely to form and be with you long after COVID-19 is out of our lives.
We would like to invite you to stay on track during these tough times and make use of your extra time to learn some new skills.
Consider quarantine to be a test of your integrity and commitment to your running lifestyle.
Some of the steps in this blog you may have already considered but either way, we’re sure if you read on, you’ll also learn something new that you can take with you and incorporate into your everyday lifestyle outside of the COVID-19 quarantine.
Diet is the Key:
You’ve all heard of the saying, “You will never out run a bad diet.” A bad diet will also prevent you from training by draining your energy.
It’s kind of ironic really, considering a bad diet is packed full of energy (calories), you’d think it would energize you to do more, but in fact, the opposite is true.
A diet full of excessive calories will place an overload on the bodies system.
Forcing all of its energy towards bodily processes in order to disperse and digest all of the unnecessary rubbish that’s being consumed. It would be a wise idea to prioritise your diet first, then exercise will come second.
If you can nail your diet, you won’t even have to engage in many exercises to stay in shape.
Keeping yourself inside of a calorie deficit will always burn body fat and eating high-quality protein with every meal will ensure muscle is preserved.
Read on and we will run you through some top tips on how to do this with minimal effort. First of all, let’s clear the obvious traps out of the way.
Tip #1 – Steering Away from Alcohol:
Hear us out here and please don’t shoot! We’re just the messenger! Steering away from alcohol is a fool proof protocol here.
Sure there’s nothing wrong with a drink here and there, off-licences have even been added to the governments essential needs list.
The thing is, you have to keep in mind alcohol is packed with empty calories, especially beer and cider. Alcohol in itself contains 7kcal per gram.
A single pint of 4% beer can be in excess of 180kcal, and the higher the concentration of alcohol, the more calories it will contain.
Even a large glass of red wine will set you back up to 200kcal. But as we said, a drink here and there is fine, the problem occurs when we are locked up in our houses with a fridge full of beers or a cellar full of wine due to bulk buying, and it’s a recipe for a metabolic disaster.
One drink can and usually will in times of boredom and isolation, lead to another. Over the course of a month or so, you could find yourself having drank way more than you usually would.
Another problem with booze, if you over do it and end up with a hangover, you probably won’t feel like doing any exercise.
Chances are you’ll end up in front of the television with a load of junk food and a processed quick and easy dinner. It can be a terrible spiral that can easily be avoided.
Moderation is key. Have a drink now and then for the sake of sanity, but don’t be tempted to overdo it just because you don’t have to go into the office in the morning.
Tip #2 – Avoid Junk Food:
Again, there’s nothing wrong with some chocolate now and then, or even the odd pack of crisps with a dip when watching a film, but you’ve got to take it easy on this stuff!
To burn off just one four-finger KitKat you’d have to run a good 2 miles! Junk food is addictive for a lot of people, and can have a drug-like effect on the brain. Add boredom and restriction of movement to this and you’ve got real a problem.
Junk/processed food and sugary drinks are full of empty calories, excessive salts, sugars and rancid fats. They will make you feel sick and lethargic, and destroy the hard work you’ve been putting into your training. The other issue here is taking this kind of behaviour with you once the COVID-19 lockdown ends.
If excessive amounts of this drug-like food finds itself in your immediate lifestyle, over time it will clog your arteries and make you very ill. Even if you’re not binging on this stuff and you feel you have it under control, do be careful.
Consumption of excessive calories will leave you with a few extra pounds on the waist which will slow down your running, and remember, summer is only around the corner!
So now we have slayed the demons, the next tips are here to keep you coping, staying lean, fit and healthy.
Tip #3 – Do Your Own Cooking:
If you are at home most of the day, it should be pretty easy to find some time to fire up the wok and throw together a nice healthy meal for yourself and the family.
Avoiding ready meals and quick easy oven ready chips, nuggets, pizza’s etc… will benefit you tremendously. Most ready meals will use clever marketing tactics to make you think they’re healthy but in reality they’re not.
They may seem convenient but don’t be tempted by them. They will steal your energy, damage your health and ability to be productive. Prioritize plenty of fresh vegetables and ample amounts of protein and your body will love you for it! Eating this way will destroy cravings for junk food like nothing else and keep you on the path to fitness success.
Tip #4 – Keep Hunger at Bay by Using Healthy Fats for Fuel:
The only two essential macro nutrients your body needs are protein and fat. Using fats in place of carbohydrates for energy will keep your energy stable by avoiding dips in blood sugar levels (blood sugar drops will also create a false sense of hunger).
Fats are a high satiety food, allowing you to feel fuller for longer. The only time your body really requires carbohydrates is after you’ve been exercising in order to replace the glycogen stores found inside your muscles which allow them to engage in strenuous activity.
It’s always a good practise to earn your carbs, treating yourself to a high protein, (low fat) high carb meal post-workout will take care of all your carbohydrate needs. For everything else you engage in, sleeping, walking, sitting, using your brain for work and problem solving, fats are the bodies preferred fuel source.
This is called nutrient timing and is a very popular method for staying lean amongst athletes. By avoiding all the processed junk, consuming healthy fats is straightforward, easy and tasty. Eggs, meat, fish and diary are all packed with nutrition and will help keep you lean and beaming with energy.
Fats from the plant kingdom are also very healthy and will do an excellent job keeping you on tract towards your fitness goals. These can be found in olives/olive oil, coconuts/coconut oil, nuts, seeds and avocados.
Tip #5 – Exercise:
Engaging in some intense, strenuous exercise will keep your body burning body fat. It will also release ‘feel-good’ endorphins that will encourage you to continue on your fitness journey. With the gyms closed or you are getting bored of your running routine, get creative with exercises you can do from home. If you’re after some ideas on how to do this, you can check out our last article.
Being on lockdown is no excuse to be lazy and skip your training. Take advantage of the privileges you have. If you have a dog, go for a nice long walk, or take yourself out for a run or bike ride with the family.
Keeping your energy levels up by taking good care of your diet will allow to you take care of your training routine.
Tip #6 – Always Have a Plan:
To prevent excessive snacking, drinking and running out of time to cook due to distraction (whatever that may be for you), a great tip is to keep your day planned out ahead of time.
Keeping yourself occupied with a solid productive plan or a good routine that you can utilise and repeat to achieve desired goals and results is always a good practise (lockdown or not). Plan your day the evening before it begins.
This should include a meal plan, work/projects, activities and some kind of exercise, finishing off the evening by rewarding yourself with some leisure time and if you’ve nailed your exercise and nutrition for a few days, treat yourself.
Moderation is a great tool for staying consistent and will stop you from feeling deprived and falling into bad habits. Dieting rarely works, but changing your lifestyle does. Time is something you will never get back, so put it to good use and enjoy yourself.