Media inundates our lives, not only with news about impending doom, but also with “influencers” inspiring or shaming about what should or shouldn’t be achieved while socially distancing. Shame is an awful motivator. Fun is the ignition.
My grocery bill before the pandemic: $800 a month. My grocery bill from March 15th to April 15th: $1500. Did the cost of the food go up? I don’t think so. Did I hoard toilet paper and hand sanitizer like Scrooge McDuck after a night of spicy tacos at the rodeo? Nope. Am I human? Apparently …
Studies show that during times of stress, people not only eat “comfort” foods (higher sugar, salt, and fat content), but they also eat more food. Why is this important to us? If we don’t elevate our activity levels and monitor the types of food we consume, we could end up with serious health conditions down the road. So, how should we eat, and how should we move to stay fit?
What would you bring with you to eat on a desert (not dessert) island?
Your body wants sugar; your body also wants fat. There’s no denying it. Conventional fitness advice tells us your body needs protein. So who do you think is going to win this tug-o’-war? Don’t bet against your body.
While excessive consumption of sugar and/or fats, in relation to high calorie diets is rightly villainized, research shows that there is little effect on overall health when they are consumed in moderation. This means you can give your body sugar and fat—but everything in moderation!
That said, there is developing research that shows a strong correlation between diet and psychological well-being; in other words, if you eat junk, you feel like junk. Check out the new Canada’s Food Guide for some helpful pointers on what a balanced diet might look like, or better yet, get in touch (but no touching!) with a local dietician or your local natural health store to see what supports are in place to get you on track.
Give yourself a boost
Supplements are only necessary when our diet doesn’t deliver all of the nutrients we need. This would be reassuring if one out of three of us weren’t nutrient deficient in some area.
Step 1: Consult a professional to determine where your deficiency might lie.
Step 2: Fill the gap. Most experts agree that taking a quality multivitamin (they’re not all are created equal!) is good insurance for any diet. Additionally, while supplements like protein powder and creatine are commonplace in athletics, there is evidence to suggest that regular ingestion of creatine, in particular, in non-elite athletes, also has significant positive effects on physical and cognitive fitness.
Don’t even think about it
How many times in your life have you wanted to do something just because you shouldn’t? Well, it would appear as though this rebellious nature extends to COVID self-isolation orders. The number of people I see out my window (as we speak), biking, jogging, walking, etc., is at least three or four times the normal rate. I, too, feel an urge to jog—and I don’t jog. It would seem that forbiddance is a motivating tool, but for how long?
Tips to stay on track
Create a vlog: Hold yourself accountable in a fun way. Make videos of your workouts, of your meals, and how much you move. It can be a fun way to journal, commemorate the COVID journey, and hold yourself accountable.
Create a group: Using media such as Facebook, Zoom, Skype, Facetime, etc., you can create an “accountability” group. You can do daily check-ins or even work out with one another on video. It’s really fun! And it maintains distance while eliminating the feeling of being isolated.
Change it up: The gym can be motivating, and it offers plenty of machines, but let’s be honest, it can be a little monotonous and sometimes downright boring. I don’t know about you, but 10 repetitions on the old leg press doesn’t exactly get me excited for my workouts anymore. What you need is some COVID-friendly Fun-ctional Fitness!
If you can perform your current fitness routine in a semi-conscious state, or you are intimidated by conventional exercises, check out these three effective F-word (fun!)-worthy exercises.
Barrel Roll Lunges
3 sets of 8 repetitions per leg
Muscles targeted: core, quads, glutes, hamstrings
- Crouch down on your toes with your hands flat on the ground.
- As you pick up your left hand and left foot, sit your bum on the ground and roll from your right cheek to your left.
- Swing your right foot all the way around so that you’re facing the same position as when you started and place it flat on the ground.
- With your left foot back (here comes the lunge!) stand all the way up, using mostly your right leg.
- Return to starting position doing the opposite, and then perform going the other direction.
Windmill Push & Dip
3 sets of 8 repetitions
Muscles targeted: triceps, shoulders, chest, glutes, hamstrings
- Assume a push-up position (from your toes if you can, or knees if necessary).
- Perform one push-up and then pick up your left foot from the ground, bringing it overtop your right leg, while allowing your hips to open up to the ceiling.
- Once your left foot touches the ground, allow your chest to open up to the ceiling as well, by bringing your left arm over your body and to the ground, much in the same manner as your leg.
- Bend your arms and dip until your bum touches the ground, then straighten your arms and press your hips up as high as you can toward the ceiling
- Return to push-up position, and then complete in the other direction.
3 sets of 15 repetitions
Muscles targeted: lower back, glutes, lats, shoulders
- Begin face down, arms extended in front of you with your thumbs up, and legs as wide-apart as possible, with toes pointed behind.
- Raise your chest, arms, and legs off the ground until only your stomach is touching.
- Keeping all limbs straight, swim your arms down to your sides and bring your legs together.
- Return to starting position, but don’t allow your arms, legs, or chest to touch the ground.
- Perform as many as you can without touching the ground.