I recently spoke on a panel of experts about how to optimize your your health and fitness during all this COVID craziness. While I can’t share the actual presentation, I figured I’d share my notes. If one person gets something of use out of this, it was worth the share!
Top 5 Tips For Optimizing Health and Fitness During A Pandemic
Realize and understand ALL aspects of your health are synergistic.
You can’t expect to accelerate with one foot always on the brake
_______ affects ________ which affects ___________ which affects ___________
Fill in the blanks: sleep, diet, stress, exercise (really no incorrect answer)
Sleep 7-9 hours every night
Veggies and protein at every meal
Appropriately manage stress
Exercise 30 min daily
2. Set goals! ….but manage expectations.
Goals help with motivation, accountability, purpose
if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there
However, given the times it might not be the best time to accomplish certain goals
record levels of stress and depression —> maybe six pack isn’t all that important right now given what it takes to get it
lack of equipment —> not the best time to work towards a 400lb deadlift
Make sure goals are doable and realistic
Baseline goal: damage control, don’t regress
adjust calorie intake, increase NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis… fancy talk for general activity), don’t skip on sleep, etc…
Good goal: establish consistency
diet, sleep, walking, exercise
Great goal: make improvements
can sleep be improved?
can I make adjustments to my diet?
can I take steps to alleviate stress?
can I continue to push my workouts given my knowledge, space, equipment, etc?
Focus on one at a time
Which area needs the most work?
3. Effective change = thinking small, starting even smaller.
You will fail if you bite off more than you can chew… probably.
“I want to lose 25lbs this month”
“I want to go from 0 days per week of exercise to 7 days per week”
You will fail if you try to change too many things at once… definitely.
“I want to start eating only organic foods, cut sugar, increase sleep by 1.5 hours every night, lift weights 4x per week, and start a gratitude journal.”
Create “laughably” small goals
so easy you laugh at the idea of them being challenging
when accomplished, leaves you feeling confident you can accomplish more tomorrow
helps create consistency and sustainability
want to start running? Put your shoes by the front door.
want to stop drinking soda? replace one sip with water at dinner and only dinner
want to start strength training? do one set of ten squats
do juuuuust a little more the next day
No such thing as instant gratification when it comes to sustainable, long term behavior change
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time
4. Find and create ANY opportunity to introduce low levels of activity into your daily routine.
General activity that is NOT a dedicated workout is one of the biggest contributing factors to healthy body compositions
compound interest of the fitness world
ANYTHING is better than nothing
watching TV? foam roll, mobility routines, simple stretches, simple bodyweight exercises
Take the stairs, park far away, set reminders to get up, always return your cart to the corral, get a standing desk, sit on the floor more often, get a “movement accountability buddy”, daily walk, play with kids
5. Get strong or die tryin’.
Should be #1 priority for everyone, especially after 30 years of age
strength training benefits outweigh all other forms of exercise in terms of “bang for your buck”
increased bone density, increased lean muscle mass, increased muscle strength, increased tendon strength, increased resting metabolism, increased joint health and integrity, improved mobility, improved balance and body awareness, decreased body fat, enhanced injury prevention, and believe it or not can positively affect your very DNA itself
After 30, it’s all downhill…. unless you do something about it
strength training is the most effective way to slow down the natural aging process and every ‘negative’ thing that comes with it
Don’t overthink or overcomplicate it
No equipment? No problem. You can always adjust….
Tempo (perform reps slower)
Supersets, tri sets, giant sets
Power (perform reps explosively)
Range of motion
Pauses (like at the bottom of a movement, ie: squat)