Less than a month ago, I was going to the gym, doing my CrossFit classes and meeting with my trainer without a care in the world. I was eating healthy and staying on plan. I had a routine and I wasn't swaying from it. Fast forward to COVID-19 Quarantine; shelter in place for all Californians. Everything is shut down. My gym is forced closed, my trainer had to pause his sessions with clients, and my local grocery stores are miles of empty shelves. Let's not even get started with my "9 to 5" job that is now, "9 to 4" three days a week for the unforeseeable future. The new normal is definitely a little uneasy.
On top of adjusting to the new normal, I live at home with my Mom who falls into the high risk category with the coronavirus. I have to be extra vigilant. I'm definitely doing the grocery shopping around here and not living the active lifestyle that I used too. For me, I cannot go too many places and must limit my contact with other humans. Being the social person I am, that alone has been quite difficult. However, I am following the guidelines because my job is to keep my Mom and others like her safe. There isn't a lot I can do that I once did, but thanks to technology I have been able to stay in communication and access new resources with the world.
I went from eating grilled chicken salads with nuts and vegetables, to buying a whole duck and bag of Cheetos because that is all I could find left. I went from having a plethora of healthy options to feeling like a contestant on the Food Network show "Chopped". My anxiety levels have sky rocketed. I'm feeling very uncomfortable with life on life's terms. I'm trying my hardest not eat food as comfort or out of boredom. My outlet for stress relief is now closed until the unforeseen future. Like so many others, I'm just frustrated. Out of frustration, I'm trying new things to keep me active, healthy, and not lose my mind. From baking bread to virtual paint parties online to virtual 5k's! With no access to a gym, I'm literally making my sheltered environment a virtual social network and make shift gym. My main goal is to stay active but maybe you want to utilize this time to get active! The options below are great for all levels of fitness.
Here are some of the things I'm doing at this time:
Just a good old walk around the neighborhood does wonders. I'm sure that one was a no brainier. My dear friend and trainer, Grant McArthur, is challenging all of his clients to do 10 mins of walking for every hour of sitting and no more than two hours of sitting at a time. A 20 minute walk is low impact and at least gets you up and out of your chair into the fresh air, providing a little mood booster.
I'm not particularly a fan of running, unless I am rewarded at the end with a medal! Silly, I know. However, I found a few websites that allows you to sign up for a virtual 5K, 10K, or half marathon and receive a medal. Once you submit your time to the website, they send out your medal and the best part is some of the funds go to a charity. If you are in shelter in place, please be conscious of social distancing. I recommend touring your neighborhood or utilizing a treadmill you may have. Please follow your doctors recommendations and your local governments guidelines as well. You can visit www.virtualstrides.com or www.virtualrunningclub.com for more information and sign up.
Yoga is just great for many different reasons. It helps mind, body and soul. Stretching itself improves mobility for weightlifting, running, biking, and just general everyday life. The best part is you can select whatever yoga you want to do at any time and do it in the comfort of your home. I really like "Yoga with Adrian". She is pleasant to listen to, descriptive in movements, and offers modified movements if you're just beginning. Click the link here and get started: Yoga with Adrian
Resistance Band Workouts
They're cheap and can be purchased online and delivered to your door. There are plenty of exercises online that you can do with them. They're not the same as training with weights, but high reps can definitely give you that burn your looking for. If you're just easing into working out, its a great tool as well. I found YouTube a great resource for this as well. There are plenty of videos taking you through an entire workout with just your resistant bands! I actually brought my resistance band when I visited Europe 2 years ago and did these workouts in my hotel room.
Body Weight Workouts
Burpees. What is a burpee? It's the exercise that is the most bang for your body. It's a full body workout. Start standing, then get into a squat position placing your hands on the ground, kick or step your feet back so you are in a plank position (or push-up position), do a push up, step or hop back into the squat position, stand up and put your arms over head and do a jump. You can modify these as well (no push up and no jump) if you're just starting out. It's going to raise your heart rate and works each part of your body.
Air squats, push ups, planks, side planks, crunches/sit-ups, v-ups, jump squats, walking lunges, front step or back step lunges, jumping lunges, jumping jacks, or high knees are all great body weight workouts that are going to keep you moving and can bring the heart rate up as well. Pick a few combinations of these workouts and do 3 rounds of 5, 10, 15, or heck 30 or a hundred!
I have a bike. I never ride my bike, but I'm going to ride my bike. Now is the perfect time. Not to mention I have an amazing paved bike path along the Pacific Coast. Even if you don't have access to a bike path you can still put a helmet on, ride around town, keeping in mind social distancing and enjoy the fresh air.
Online Workout Classes
Start following some locally owned gyms on Instagram and Facebook. A lot of them are offering ideas to stay active during this time. From online classes live on social media platforms, to workouts you can do at home with no equipment. Some gyms are even renting out equipment. My CrossFit gym Hexbox, is posting daily workouts and doing live streaming of classes 10:00 am PST on instagram for the time being. There is also great app called Keelo that is offering a free month membership for people financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This app walks you through a guided workout with as little or as much equipment you may have.
I keep looking at my garage and thinking, "what if you filled up one or two garbage bags a week of junk in the garage? This place would be clean!" Apply that logic to my closet as well. Chores are not so fun but a clean organized environment is going to give a little extra mental clarity. Turn up your jams and commit to one or two garbage bags. That's it. Small steps in tackling a big mess can be very helpful.
If one thing is certain, this is an amazing opportunity to take time to reflect within, journal, meditate, organize, spend time with your household, create art, bake, dance, sing, read, write, and move your body. Focusing on things I can do rather than cannot do is really helping me stay balanced. Let's keep moving and staying positive. Keep learning and growing as people. The best thing you can do is commit to something. If you can just get 20 mins in a day, you're doing better than most of the people at home! Be gentle with yourself. With so much uncertainty going on right now, doing the best you can with what you have is all one can ask. Speak kind to yourself. Encourage yourself like you would your friend. Remember that this too shall pass, but in order to get through it we all have to do our part.
*Just as a general reminder - please wash your hands and even change your clothes after going out into public. Follow social distancing guidelines. Listen to your primary care physician and make sure you're healthy enough to do any new workout. During this time, any additional precautions isn't a bad idea. You probably won't look back at this time and think "I wish I wasn't as cautious as I was."*