I am told it is Friday. I can’t tell really, because this is starting to feel like groundhog day. Where to start really. I have been debating writing a blog the past few days, but I think I want and need to speak to our community and offer my two cents. What a time right? This is nothing I could have anticipated, and there is no handbook on what to do and how to react in times like these.
A lot of people are bombarding us with information and frankly it can all just be too much. On the one hand I can laugh at all the memes too. It’s important to find things to laugh at in times of stress. But laughing at “we are all going to get fat” memes is not helping anyone right now. In fact it adds stress and pressure to eat or act a certain way. Putting too much stress on the individual. The last thing I want to do is add to that pressure.
I also am not here to shame you either for wanting to hang on to the hard work you put in. These memes actually come from our fears, that the hard work we put in to achieve a certain level of fitness or look at certain way will all go to waste during this crazy time.
Will you gain a few pounds? I can’t tell you that you won’t. Hell groceries is really hard to find for some of us right now and we have to make do with what we find.
Most people in this space put a lot of value in their fitness and do care about their body composition and appearances. And yes, we might all have more pressing concerns right now, but it doesn’t make us bad people to miss the gym and worry we will lose our physique.
Yes we may gain pounds. Yes we may lose muscles. Yes, it may mean a bit of extra hard-work on our part when this is all over to get it back. But no, we don’t need to give up right now. The hard work we put in in developing the habits that brought us here is still there, we can still fall back on these habits now, even though they may look a little different.
This is real. No doubt about it right now, you should stay home and take this seriously. Some of us are losing actual income over this, business will shut down, people are dying. None of what I am about to say diminishes this. But through it all we still have a ton of control and most of us, find ourselves with extra time on our hands.
Fact: gyms are closed everywhere.
For some of us going to the gym is a daily thing, heck, I consider it my second home. While I can’t go right now, and I am working with limited space and limited equipment, I can still move! Chances are so can you.
Let me put your mind at ease about muscle loss, it takes a lot of work and time to build muscles and conversely it would take you doing absolutely nothing for a while for you to notice big losses. And I mean nothing. If you make a point to continue to move and do what you can using what you have available to you and your own body weight. you can prevent a lot of that. That and eating enough protein. Plus muscle has a memory, when we get back in the gym it will return more quickly than it would if you were untrained. I promise.
Bottom line is if the gym is a big part of your life, you will feel a ton better if you find a way to do something at home in these times. The community has been absolutely amazing in making this happen. Most Crossfit gyms I know have lent out equipments to their members and are offering daily at-home workouts. We are all in this together. I really feel it. And we do need the daily endorphins. Keep moving!
Working from home and moving less:
This one is a valid concern. Some of us live in small spaces, being home all day vs working of the house one could easily go from walking 15,000 steps a day to under 5000 if you are not too careful.
Maybe you had an active job before like me, on my feet coaching. Or maybe you had a desk job but commuted by bike. For most of us being quarantined at home means a whole lot less daily activity and this if we are not mindful will have a bigger impact on our calorie expenditure than not going to the gym for 1hr.
As you know the past few months I have been dealing with this back injury, nothing flares up my back more than sitting too much, my first thought about all this time home was what about my back? And I was right, after my first two days on the couch throwing myself a pity party the pain was right back and keeping me up at night.
Thankfully I stopped the pity party, acknowledged I wasn’t glued to my couch and got myself into a more sustainable routine. We still can still find ways to move. Walk around the block. Do some chores. Schedule planned movement into your day. Thankfully for me I both have a puppy who likes to walk and an old treadmill in the basement for when the weather turns on me. But even without either of these two, making a point to move a few times a day will be beneficial for all of us. Go for a walk around your neighbourhood, be mindful of keeping your social distance but a bit of fresh air is good for the soul, even in the rain Vancouverites. My goal is 3 walks per day, they don’t have to be long, remember, something is always better than nothing.
Should I eat less or differently?
Around me there is some real scarcity in the grocery stores. I know we are assured that our food supplies is safe, but if you go to the stores right now, good luck to you. Since Olivia and I came home from Vietnam last Tuesday, we have another week at home in isolation, Scott did his best to shop for us before we got home, but of course the shelves were almost empty then. I am getting mixed message regarding the grocery situations from clients. It looks like the situation is different depending where you are. Fact is things are harder to find and we are asked to leave our houses to shop as rarely as possible. So yes, keeping to your macros right now may be tough for many reasons. Not only is the stress making you want to throw your diet out the window, but finding chicken breasts at the grocery store or low-fat yogurt might just be impossible.
Again, if you follow me, you know I preach consistency over perfection, right now is not the time for the all or nothing mindset.We need to be flexible and adapt. Right now more than ever, it’s important to focus on the right things.
- Protein continues to be our primary focus, however right now, we might want to consider bringing our target down. The protein recommendations is between 0.8-1.2g per pounds of body weight.That will be plenty to keep on maintaining and building muscles. So for example, for a 140lbs women, it can be anywhere from 112g to 160g daily. I myself favour eating 1g/pound since I love meat, but also I find I manage my hunger better when I eat like this and recover best from the gym. Right now, however I can’t find enough meat and I don’t want to have multiple shakes a day, so lowering my daily intake made a lot of sense.
- With protein being harder to find, so is everything else. Meaning the egg whites and chicken breasts you rely on to keep your diet lower in fat might be harder to find. For that reason I have recommended a lot of my client drop their protein intake and up their fat a little more. The last thing we need right now is added stress of trying to make everything fit. I eat what I can find right now and that may be pork shoulders instead of my go-to lean pork tenderloins.
Another big concern with doing less is am-I eating too much right now?
- The decisions to lower calories or not should be individual, if you have a coach please bring up your concern. But understand that right now adding the pressure of weight loss or weight maintenance to an already stressful situation may be ill advise. If you are however concern about the lower activity level I would start with a small cut, like 10% of your calories, making sure you don’t sacrifice your protein, see how you feel and go from there.
Should I continue to track my macros?
- This one is personal. For some of my clients, the stress is too high right now and tracking was not helping. For others, nutrition is one thing they can control at the moment and that can bring us peace, having control over something in a time of chaos. There is no right or wrong here. Bottom line is a lot of us are at home, with more time on our hands and the need to cook most if not all of our meals, it gives us a unique opportunity to focus on our nutrition if we chose to.
Feeling lost still? Try bringing some structure back in your life. If you normally ate 3 meals a day and had 2 snacks. Keep to that routine. If you normally worked out 4 x a week, schedule those into your week. Heck you can download zoom and do it with friends. It’s fun and easy!
Covid-19 Quick Survival Tips (in no particular order):
- Don’t give up on your diet and exercise routine, shift and adapt. The way we eat and move affect how we feel.
- Plan your meals/snack for the day ahead. We know you are eating at home right now. Making a plan at the beginning of the day or the night before allows us to not mindless snack all day. Does not need to be rigid on tracked.
- Consider adjusting your target to reflect your needs at this time. Adjusting calories and/or individual macros like reducing protein and upping fat to reflect needs + food availability.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself! Times are tough right now, stress is high, forgive yourself if you slip up and move forward.
- Commit to moving. Find ways to workout at home.
- Keep to a schedule to feel productive. I have taken to time blocking.
- Stay connected! Call your friends, face time your mom, reach out to me, we are all in this together. ❤️
- Go outside if you can (and are healthy) there is beauty all around us, nature is a powerful healer right now. Please only do this if there are no restrictions where you live and practice social distancing.