How I am Adapting to the Indoor Life
Normal life has disappeared as we know it. I'm sure you're sick of hearing about it, but the Coronavirus has caused every authority to firmly advise the public to socially distance their selves. It is highly important that we stay indoors, avoid public places, and practice good hygiene. This quite obviously means no gym- the building I spend 10 hours a week inside and rely on for day-to-day wellbeing. As I am an avid gym-goer, and this is a Health and Fitness blog, I thought it may be helpful, or just interesting, to share how I have moved my active life indoors. It is vital that we all make necessary adjustments to living 100% indoors, as we are naturally active beings that thrive off of keeping busy and challenged.
I love to train with heavy weights and a lot of resistance, which is something that I cannot replicate with only body weight, so I have found it useful to gather some equipment that I can experiment with. I secured a dumbbell set from my dad, ordered a long resistance band from Amazon (I thought it was a set of 5 but I didn't read the description closely enough, so I only got one), and got my shorter bands that I like to train with, to compose a tiny but functional mini-gym in my bedroom. I have completed 2 training sessions with this setup, and I can happily say that it works great! I employed the use of a chair and my bed for some exercises, which is unconventional but achieves the function of a gym bench. I hope to add to this mini-gym with more weights and long bands so that I can train harder and learn new skills to bring back to the gym later on.
Mobility and flexibility drills
I like to stretch most days, as I am naturally very inflexible, and I have been making great progress. With a little bit of warming up first, I can put my palms to the floor while keeping my legs straight- just a year ago, I could only get my fingertips to touch my ankles! I also practice mobility movements that help me reach with my arms, get a deep squat, open up my hips, and generally just move a little easier. To clarify: flexibility is how well your muscles can lengthen, and mobility is the ability of your joints to achieve a full range of motion. These drills require minimal equipment; a yoga mat is best for making certain movements/positions more comfortable, but nothing else is particularly necessary. Currently, I am looking into new equipment just to mix things up a little. I have bought a leg stretcher from Amazon.co.uk, and I'm thinking about getting a yoga wheel or yoga strap to try something new.
Now that I have nowhere to walk to each day, I am far from hitting 10,000 steps per day. Of
course, obeying the government's policy, I am entitled to an outing for exercise purposes every day, but with all the stress and uncertainty of what may happen in the future, I am finding it much more difficult to get ready and go out, especially as I have no specific destination. Every now and then though, I'll have errands to run across town, so I get a nice chance for fresh air. That being said, I have decreased my calorie intake goal by 200kcals; this number is only an estimate of what is best for me. It should be enough of a decrease to compensate for less walking, while being not too drastic that my muscle gain is impeded. I work hard in my home workouts, and I tend to fidget a lot (which is suggested to burn an impressive amount of calories), so if I am ever still hungry 30 minutes after a meal or at the end of the day, I will eat. This is a rule that I will always maintain: I will never intentionally keep myself hungry for the sake of abiding to calorie goals. I used to try to outsmart my appetite by sipping on drinks or chewing gum so that I could stay under 2000 calories, but it was a dangerous path that was only doing me harm. Being on a fitness journey is an adventure that should bring you self confidence, resilience, achievement, learning, and satisfaction. If you restrict and self-punish, you can never achieve the qualities mentioned.
As well adjusting my calories, I tweaked my macro-nutrient intake. As I am doing less energetic tasks, it made sense to lower my carbohydrates and increase fat, while protein remains consistent. I usually only focus on achieving my protein goal above all else, while calories are a useful tool for steering weight manipulation, and carbohydrates and fat can be helpful to stick to but not strictly.
What remains the same
Of course, there is a lot that I used to do which still work now, and there is no reason for change. I use the phrase 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' quite often in times like this. This is what I am currently keeping the same:
- Water intake
- Work/fitness balance
- Session structure (2 compound lifts, 1-2 focused exercises, 1-2 accessory exercises)
- Workout split
- Home-cooked meals
The world is going through a lot of changes right now, and it can help to keep some things in your life the same- that could be your fitness, or art, reading, gaming, anything that keeps your space safe from the outside world.
It is okay if progress is not as it used to be. Living through all of these changes- gyms closing, shops empty, emotional challenges- you should not expect yourself to behave the same and achieve the same. If you do progress well and find this new arrangement working well then that is amazing! That is so awesome and you should feel really proud. But for a lot of us, we may get frustrated, and it is okay. I would advise, as always, health above everything else. Relax, try hard when you need to, take breaks if you are tired, and treat yourself like your best friend.