No doubt we’re all feeling a little on edge these days. With a global crisis upon us, we’re all doing our part to stay home so we can win the fight against a stubborn virus. The shadow of uncertainty has brought stress to the forefront of many, all of us eager to return to a shred of “normal” living.
Unexpected times call for unexpected measures. We’re all adapting in our own way and adjusting our lifestyles accordingly, our staff included. We’ve adjusted ourselves to help folks trying to stay in shape at home with very limited resources. For our athletes, having no season in sight can certainly take a mental toll on training habits. It becomes easy to relax, fall out of routine and slowly lose months of hard work.
While some time off can be very beneficial, building a new routine can be as well. Many folks have found creative ways to keep moving while practicing their skills from the comfort of home. Whether it be doing push ups in the living room or going for a run down the block, we’re seeing many individuals make lemonade from some very rotten lemons. Well, we’re here to help grow some better lemons. We’re going to outline some of our top tips for “staying frosty” while staying home.
1) Build A Flexible Schedule
Personally, I’m a very structured guy. I do my best when I have a weekly routine set in place. Usually that routine revolves around work so these recent weeks have felt a bit out of sorts. Although not ideal, we’re all being forced to adapt to a new reality. For me, that means forming a new routine. Having some sort of schedule ensures my mindset stays positive while bringing purpose to each day. This may mean treating business days as work days. Getting up early, making breakfast and firing up the laptop for school may be a familiar group of tasks. You may have more flexibility with what type of “work” needs to get done, but I find “business hours” help with productivity.
Whether you prefer exercise before or after work hours, make sure you schedule some activity time in. With uncertainty being a common theme these days, it can be easy to neglect your own physical health and well-being. Scheduling physical activity can help keep you accountable while maintaining your fitness. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just consistent. A good plan implemented now is better than the perfect plan implemented later.
For young athletes, treat school days as school days. Fire your computers up on time and give remote learning your best effort. When school is done for the day, consider going to practice. Work on a skill for your sport or train from home as best you can. Once you finish practice, get some dinner before doing a little homework. After a couple hours of quality study, enjoy your down time. It’s not perfect, but could work for the time being.
2) Maintain Your Physicality
Without a fully equipped facility, it’s understandable that many of us are finding it tougher to keep moving from home. Unless you have a home gym, the thought of losing gains can loom in the forefront of our minds, especially for athletes. That being said, there ARE some things we can do to maintain physicality.
Build a strong endurance base using body weight exercises. Combining quality push ups, split squats and other movements can help grow your capacity and get a solid sweat in the process. Consider changing tempos or rep schemes to up the ante and boost difficulty. Set benchmarks that are measurable and try to surpass them within a few weeks. Need ideas? IPC has posted a series of workouts titled the Quarantine Chronicles for those doing body weight exercise from home. We challenge you to give it a try, just check our Instagram or Facebook pages for the daily dose.
If you have a little space and a pair of shoes, you can build some power. By implementing some sprinting and jumping into your at-home program, you’ll be able to keep your nerves frosty. A more efficient nervous system will be primed and ready for action to transfer back to sport or to the weight room when ready. Some examples could include sprint builds, bounding, reactive jumping and full on dashes down your neighborhood. If nothing else, you’ll be a neural beast when we all get released from quarantine and you’ll be able to reap the rewards.
3) Start A Project
This may not be for everyone, but some extra down time may be looked at as an opportunity to knock off some things you would otherwise have to push back. There are always chores to do and now may be a great time to hammer out some of the “To Do List” tasks. Maybe set a goal of completing a single chore every day. Whether it’s washing the dishes, folding the laundry or organizing your closet, completing a chore can bring a sense of accomplishment and boost morale.
Some are using this time to start a new hobby or creative project. Focusing on your creativity can give back some sense of purpose while keeping you hungry for more. Beginning a new project will get the figurative snowball rolling, building as each week passes. Many folks are taking up cooking or baking while at home. Some are focusing on writing or taking an online class. Whatever your preference, having the freedom to create and learn can certainly keep you motivated during these hectic times. Who knows, you may come out of quarantine with a new skill set!
4) Social Time
I can guarantee that NOBODY will ever blow off family dinner ever again. Until then, consider utilizing the plethora of technology available to stay connected with those closet to you. May not seem like it, but staying in touch with your inner circle can be extremely beneficial for your mental well-being during these dark days. The best part? You can safely bet that they aren’t too busy to virtually hang out. There are tons of creative ways to stay connected. Some are doing virtual hang outs or game nights. Some are playing their favorite video games online with friends or watching movies together. We’ve seen people plop an iPad at the dinner table and have a family feast. Pick your platform and enjoy some virtual down time together.
Wartime problems require wartime solutions. We all are very well aware of the situation unfolding in our world today. These are dark and daunting days, especially for those on the front lines. For those of us doing our part from home, we owe it to our community to adapt our lifestyles. Although we cannot predict when a sense of normalcy will return, we can do our best to keep our heads held high. Find purpose in your new reality and make the most of whatever situation you find yourself in. Use the preceding tips if you find them helpful, if not, that’s fine too. Whatever you think will help, just start RIGHT NOW. It’s like General Patton said:
“A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
Matrixx specializes in adolescent athletic development. He coaches some of the top athlete prospects coming out of high school in the Niagara region. He also works with dedicated members of the community who are passionate about improving personal fitness. Matrixx is the author of The Iron Guide to Building Muscle.