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A Tale of Two Pandemics

Healthy life choices and being a guy have traditionally been at odds. They don’t have to be.

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A Tale of Two Pandemics

It was the fattest of times; it was the fittest of times. The COVID-19 pandemic has left its imprint on a lot of people, for better or for worse. For some, closures of gyms and recreation facilities, strain on family dynamics due to school closures, and general anxiety surrounding the pandemic have created a stressful environment that demotivates intentions to exercise and induces stress-eating. For others, temporary job loss and prohibition of social gatherings have, incidentally, allowed them to focus on themselves mentally, physically, and emotionally. Regardless of which group you relate to, an end to these pandemic-related issues is in sight, and that means re-evaluating where you are and where you’d like to be as things “return to normal.”

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Make a plan and get ’er goin’!

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (celebrated author of The Little Prince) said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” A goal of optimal fitness without a program is just a treadmill that’s become a clothes hanger.

I’m going to share a shocking secret with you: personal trainers are not geniuses. What they do have is the knowledge to understand that A + B = C. Habits create discipline; discipline creates results.

If C is your optimal health, then A is creating healthy dietary habits and B is creating daily exercise habits. On average, it takes around 90 days to do both. When I’m searching for motivation, there are two things that get me going:

1) creating a fresh plan in the kitchen

2) changing up my equipment and routine

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New plan, new man

When it comes to a nutrition plan, you don’t need anything drastic: no need to go on an all-bamboo or kangaroo-meat diet. It all starts with a good foundation of eating foods as close to the source as possible (the less processing and packaging, the better) and eating from a variety of food sources.

Yes, although this involves more effort, it’s the quickest way to cut empty calories and harmful preservatives and additives, including sugar, salt, and trans fat. Try experimenting with new food colours, textures, and spices, and resist the urge to just throw on every spice you own. (I see you!)

If you haven’t heard it before: drink more water. If you’re fancy, try adding some natural flavours from fruits and herbs. Check out our Spa Waters article for some interesting combinations.

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A gym on a budget

As Victorian-era British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, “I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.”

While we all hope to be back to normal in short order—gyms will be open, beer will flow like water, and we’ll all win the lottery—when planning your fitness routine, assume you’ll be doing it at home or outside.

Since at least 40 percent of Canadians have been hit hard financially by the pandemic, let’s plan for tight finances and avoid expensive equipment. A great (and affordable) addition to any home gym is an assortment of super (resistance) bands, available in a variety of tensions and widths, and best of all, light enough for your favourite courier to deliver to your doorstep.

Next, look up total body resistance bands workouts on YouTube, or search alive.com for a workout that will get you excited about fitness again!

To learn more, read "Be More Of 'The Man' By Being Less Of 'That Guy'" by Brendan Rolfe in the June 2021 of alive Magazine.

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