Lack motivation? Find the fun in home fitness
Brendan Rolfe, DipA, PTS, NWS
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 spending more time indoors. Shame is an awful motivator. Fun is the ignition.
My grocery bill before the pandemic: $800/month. My grocery bill during quarantine from March 15 to April 15: $1,500. 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 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?
Your body wants sugar; your body also wants fat. There’s no denying it. Conventional fitness advice says 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’re consumed in moderation. Key word: moderation! That said, developing research shows a strong correlation between diet and psychological well-being. In other words, if you eat junk, you’ll 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 with a local dietitian or your local natural health store to find out what supports are available to get you on track.
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.
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 donít allow your arms, legs, or chest to touch the ground. > Perform as many as you can without touching the ground.
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 right hand and right foot, sit your bum on the ground and roll from your left cheek to your right. > Swing your left foot all the way around so that youíre facing the same position as when you started and place it flat on the ground. > With your right foot back (here comes the lunge!) stand all the way up, using mostly your left leg. > Return to starting position doing the opposite, and then perform going the other direction.
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, in much 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.
Need some extra support? Seeking out good advice and trusting your body will do wonders for your immune-boosting efforts. When you need additional support, consider the following supplements.
Vitamins and minerals Vitamins A, C, and D are natural immune boosters and antioxidants. Supplement your diet with these warrior vitamins so viruses can’t attack. Zinc is a natural antiviral and, taken as a lozenge, may help relieve a sore throat.
Probiotics Probiotics restore the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut and occur naturally in cultured foods and drinks like kimchi, yogurt, and kombucha.
Herbs Garlic, thyme, and oregano are naturally antimicrobial—and they’re great to cook with, have in tea, or ingest through oil or supplements. Consider goldenseal, a power herb, for additional support.
Echinacea Research shows that echinacea increases the number of white blood cells to fight infection. The active ingredient alkyl amide should produce a tingling sensation on the tongue, meaning you have a reliable product.
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—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 actually fun, while it also maintains physical distance.
Change it up: The gym can be motivating and 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 socially distanced fun-ctional fitness!