Download the PDF pack here: COVID-19 Recommendations.
Updated workout template here: https://www.nextstep-nutrition.com/nsp-homeworkouts/
Keep Calm & Stay Inside
We are in unknown waters, but let’s put our trust in the government that they will keep us safe. That means staying indoors mostly, avoiding unnecessary travel (and contact) and keeping 2-3m distance between us and others when we do venture outside.
With regards to exercise, you can download a free excel sheet that has drop-down menus for exercises here: Home Workouts. If you want more guidance on these, feel free to drop me a message, I’m going to create more of them that are more direct. I’ll also go into more detail on training further in this guide.
If you’re looking for equipment, this website is perfect and offers free delivery plus finance: Fitness Superstore.
If you want to keep up to date with recommendations for anything, I’d recommend visiting the WHO website rather than googling things or listening to randomers on social media (always the worst source of info).
If you’re new to working from home, here are my recommendations:
- keep a normal routine (as much as you can) – get up at the same time, dress for work, eat at the same times, work the same hours, sleep at the same time, etc.
- if you have kids to entertain/look after, then get together as a family and build a new routine together. Establish a routine for them as they would have in school etc. Get them involved with tasks, activities, learning books/courses etc and give everyone in the family roles and boundaries.
- keep contact with others through FaceTime/Zoom/Skype.
- exercise at the same time as usual (from home or in the garden).
- make sure you schedule downtime (have a separate work-space and working hours).
Note that there are no cures for COVID-19 at this time, and there is no scientific backing for immune-boosting foods, supplements, essential oils or whatever may be sold at this time.
What we’re going to need to rely on are some good old-fashioned nutrition habits plus the help of some supplement staples.
Here are my top tips:
- Continue eating 5+ fruits/veggies each day
- Moderate starchy carbs based on activity levels
- Keep up your regular fibre intake (wholegrain carbs, nuts, dates etc.)
- Vary your fats (include nuts/fish/avocado alongside animal/dairy)
- Sleep 7+ hours (appetite, stress, etc. all benefit here!)
- Eat quality protein with each meal
Supplement wise, I would definitely recommend:
- Vitamin D if staying inside more without sun exposure (get some high quality from CSN)
- Creatine monohydrate – 5g per day – VERY useful for resisting catabolism during times of lower workouts and also lots of benefits for cognitive function too!
- Omega-3 Fish Oils – 500mg+ (unless eating oily fish like salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna 2-3+ x per week.
Now is the time to double down on great habits but to not focus on being in a deficit for fat loss. Being in a deficit can harm your body’s ability to recover, lower its immune system and increase stress. For the moment, it will be ideal for everyone to focus on maintenance and making their bodies as healthy as possible.
This doesn’t mean we need to put on weight or worry about body-fat gain. Maintenance is the focus and it’s up to you whether you can do this through tracking or non-tracking.
Either way, using mindful eating and intuitive eating are going to be key during these times. I’ve linked to two great books on this subject and also direct you to my recent podcast on this matter as well: Intuitive Eating With Gabi And Shannon.
The idea of the books and podcasts above is that by giving yourself permission to eat what you desire, while staying in tune with your body’s hunger and appetite cues, your values, needs and goals, then you will be able to maintain your body weight while enjoying the food/drink you love and without feeling guilty for doing so.
Chewing your food 20-30x per mouthful, eating slowly and without distractions, paying attention to your appetite and stopping when full is going to be key habits to adopt during these times.
Stopping when satisfied may be hard for a lot of you. If you have food leftover then keep it for later or give it to a pet. You don’t need to throw it away or waste food during this time.
If you’re unsure how many calories you should be eating to maintain your body weight, then go here: Bodyweight Planner.
Trust me when I say that is VERY accurate. If you’re eating less than that at the moment, slowly bring yourself up to it over time and don’t fear body-fat gain. You may put on some initial bloating weight as you get used to eating more calories and as your body deals with more food and water, but that will slowly go down again.
Focus on health-seeking behaviours with nutrition and you should be A-OK during this period of isolation.
The time is now to double down on building habits. I can’t recommend enough James Clear’s work on his website and his book: Atomic Habits.
Focus on building your environment to be as successful as you can.
The Main Patterns
We can divide what we need to do into 5 essential patterns, these are:
- upper body push (horizontal, vertical, single-arm and double-arm)
- upper body pull (horizontal, vertical, single-arm and double-arm)
- hinge (single leg and double-leg)
- squat (single leg and double-leg)
Using these movements, we can easily program full-body sessions (1-2 movements per pattern per session) or we can split them into upper/lower days, it’s completely up to you!
My advice would be to increase training frequency (3-5x per week) and to incorporate full-body workouts that take 45 minutes or so. It’s OK if the intensity is lower during this time, stress is going to be high because of the situation, working from home and everything else.
The time is now to focus on movement and health and stress-relief. To keep up activity, I’d highly recommend going for several walks or easy bike rides per day, especially as the weather is improving (and before we get locked down completely).
Upper push: push-ups, band-resisted push-ups, elevated push-ups, rucksack weighted push-ups, band-resisted overhead press, banded pull-apart, banded tricep extensions, and any dumbbell/barbell variations if you have them.
Upper pull: suitcase bent over rows, banded lat pull-downs, pull-ups (if home pull-up bar), single-arm rows (using rucksacks/shopping bags), table rows (imagine doing a ring-row or TRX row using the table), and again any dumbbell/barbell variations if you have them.
Hinge: glute bridges, single-leg glute bridges, banded good mornings, band-resisted bridges, single-leg deadlifts (using rucksacks/shopping bags). Again, use dumbbells/barbells if you have them.
Squat: bodyweight squat, heel elevated squats, single-leg squats to chairs/stools, band-resisted squats, again, any dumbbell/barbell variation.
Core: Side planks, planks, front leaning rests, hollow holds, arch holds, side plank rotations, Russian twists, wall sits, etc.
How to do these: I personally don’t have an exercise library but YouTube will be a great bet for looking up any movements you don’t know how to do.
Putting it all together:
Choose 1-2 movements per category and perform 8-15 reps per exercise for 2-4 sets with as much rest as you need in between. You can get inventive and create circuits, use different rep ranges etc. as you see fit.
Keeping yourself sane
This may be a big change for many of you, stress-relief is going to be key, my favourite activities are:
- Headspace meditation
- Playing games (video/app) both with friends and by myself
- Activities like drawing, singing, painting, etc.
- FaceTiming friends/family
- Journalling thoughts and gratitude daily
- Reading the Daily Stoic
Do your best to limit your News consumption to 1x per day (maybe just the daily PM speech at 5pm!) Try not to worry about things outside of your control.
Make sure you maintain a routine as best you can and keep yourself busy. Now is a good time to focus on extra reading, courses and self-development or even home renovations you’ve been putting off!
If you struggle, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on social media or email.