Right now we are smack bang in the middle of a pandemic where, for the most part, it’s impacts are beyond our control.
For the general population losing a large degree of control over many aspects of their lives: health, finances, work and social contact (and at this point, even their supply of toilet paper!) has people feeling frustrated and, to be honest, a little bit lost.
The main aspect people tend to pride themselves on when they are most successful is routine and right now, and for the foreseeable future, routine has been thrown out the window!
So, where does this leave us with maintaining any sort of control in our lives?
The answer is simple and twofold: CREATE A NEW ROUTINE!
While the answer is simple in theory, the practicality may not be as simple.
People liked their routine. Liked their gym’s class offerings. Liked meal prepping for their day at work. Liked to walk to the bus stop in the morning and home again in the evening. This routine made people feel successful, motivated and energetic.
Now, their routine is gone. Their gym has cancelled classes. They can still meal prep, but now they snack from the fridge and pantry at hour intervals. There isn’t a walk to and from the bus stop, just the steps from the lounge to the fridge and back. This lack of routine is making people feel miserable, disheartened and sluggish.
Well, here is the good news! While the previous routine’s demise was out of your control, the creation of the new one most certainly is not!
Here are Outer Strength Fitness’ top 5 steps to follow for helping you stay in control and create a new routine for your fitness and nutrition while working from home:
Decide on the location(s) you are comfortable completing a fitness session.
At the moment, the situation is still a little up in the air – gyms are open, classes are cancelled, some are saying stay away, others are saying they are just as safe as anywhere else.
At OSF our view is that coronavirus (COVID-19) is NOT an excuse to let your fitness success be destroyed. After that, it is completely up to you to decide WHERE you feel comfortable training.
If you feel comfortable going to the gym and practicing exceptional hygiene to safeguard yourself – great. If you feel comfortable staying at home or going to a local beach or park to train
- If you feel a combination of both would work for you right now – great. The factor all three of those options have in common is that they involve YOU EXERCISING!
So, decide on where you feel comfortable training and Step 1 is complete.
Create a weekly fitness schedule.
Now that you have decided where you are going to train, you now need to create your weekly schedule which will include the WHEN and HOW.
Firstly, the WHEN. If you’re working from home you have a few options available for you. Was your routine working when you got up at 6am to do your session before work? If yes, stick with it. Was your routine working when you trained after a day at work? Again, if yes, stick with it. Or, now there is the option to do a middle of the day session, would you prefer to split the work day up with a brain break before or after lunch? If yes, do that!
Secondly, the HOW. Where fitness may have come easily to you before in the form of gym classes where the instructor told you what to do and pushed you to complete it, or where the actual action of going into the gym, either for weights or cardio, was what kept you accountable. Now, suddenly it feels like it’s just you and your own motivation to keep you going. While that can be a daunting thought, don’t give up! Decide how many times a week you want to exercise and what your cardio/resistance training split will look like. At OSF, we would recommend 3x bodyweight resistance training sessions and 2x moderate intensity cardio sessions to start with and once you have settled into your newly created fitness routine, you can get more creative with your sessions!
Remember, if you feel a little bit lost for ideas on how to complete your home or outside workouts, we have created HOME by OSF specifically to help people through this time! All you have to do is let us know what equipment you have access to and what your goals are and we will design you a fully personalised exercise program that will suit you! For more information visit: https://www.outerstrengthfitness.com/home-workout/
Choose a daily activity (or step) goal.
If you were tracking your daily activity, or your steps, previously you will know where your average daily movement sits. If not, almost all phones will either have a step tracker as a feature or have an app that can be downloaded for free. Start tracking your steps by carrying your phone in your pocket with you.
At a bare minimum you should aim to maintain your current steps while you are working from home. However, the team at OSF would recommend aiming to increase your daily activity levels while you have this opportunity to do so. Start by aiming to increase your weekly step average by 2,000 steps and keep going from there!
Choose what your goal is for the day and then decide on how you are going to get there. That could be as simple as setting a reminder on your phone every hour to get up and walk around your house or apartment, or if you have the time going out and spending the 5-10 minutes walking around the block. Or more strategically planning out 2 or 3 half hour walks in the morning, middling of the day and the evening. Or simply, picking the best time for you to go for a longer 60-90 minute walk because you prefer to do it in one go.
Remember, these are the decisions that are up to you, so choose the process that you prefer, that fits best into your lifestyle and that motivates you the most.
Continue meal prepping (or start, if it wasn’t already part of your routine).
The best way to combat overeating is to plan your meals. This is why using meal preparation as a strategy to take control of your nutrition is essential.
The biggest barrier we are hearing from some of our concerned clients is that the only food they can get to store in the pantry for this time of uncertainty are higher calorie foods that aren’t usually a huge staple in their day-to-day eating routine – cereals, rice, pasta, sauces, biscuits and packaged snacks. Caught up in the media dubbed “panic buying” frenzy, shoppers are opting for a high volume of well-known pantry staples to give them a feeling of security in case they were to find themselves in the situation of needing to self-isolate.
At OSF we understand that the need to be prepared is important, but we need people to understand that maintaining a nutritious diet is very much achievable as well.
At the moment, entering a supermarket to get groceries is being associated with a feeling of panic which results in impulse buying. The shelves are becoming increasingly bare and people feel like they need to stock up on the items that are selling out, in case they miss out. Often, from being caught up in the moment, buying products they don’t usually purchase or don’t actually need simply because they were still in stock and can be stored in the pantry.
So, let’s tackle this problem. Which foods should you be stocking up on to give you the best of both worlds – the security to know you’ve prepared well and the confidence to know your pantry stock will keep helping you achieve your nutrition goals?
OSF recommends sticking with nutritionally dense foods: eggs, bacon, oats, frozen fruits, greek yoghurt, tinned fish, tinned vegetables, lower calories sauces (there are some great options on the market, you just have to check the label), brown or basmati rice, frozen seafood, and meat that can be portioned and frozen (check with your local butcher to see if they can but a mixed meat pack together for you, these can be great value), and frozen vegetables (there are so many options of these out there – mixed vegetables to add to a crushed tomato pasta sauce, corn cobs to have on the side of a dish or a stir fry mixes to have with you asian inspired meals).
Our biggest tip for you. Do your research before you go to the supermarket. Decide on the meals you would like to make over the next week or so. Write a shopping list. And, if you are really organised, write a list of substitutes for ingredients in case the supermarket is sold out of what you need. Then, aim to go when you have a bit more time so you don’t need to feel the pressure of the hustle and bustle around you and you are able think more clearly if you can’t find what you’re looking for straight away or if you need to go to a second supermarket.
Distinguish when you’re “bored hungry” and create a strategy to not give in to it.
When people experience moments of boredom at work they will often engage in a number of behaviours to alleviate their boredom: scroll through social media on the sly, get up and chat to a colleague, wander off on a toilet break, find that one piece of paper that needs photocopying to give them an excuse to move around. The list goes on.
When people experience moments of boredom at home, most people will probably agree that they often engage in one behaviour: they scour the fridge and pantry for snack materials and they eat. Then the next moment, they’re 6 snacks in and it’s only 11am.
We’ve all been guilty of this from time to time and that’s okay. We are human. However, if a large portion of the population is working from home for the foreseeable future, then this could be a habit you want to squash before it gets out of control.
The first step is to become self aware of your own hunger. When you’re engaged in your usual work routine, your eating habits are more than likely second nature. This doesn’t need to change when you’re at home. Stick to the routine that you have already created and is working for you!
A great tip would be to grab your meal prepped lunch and eat it at your local park or beach so you’re out of the house for a while, getting some fresh air, and also separating yourself from the kitchen while your meal has the chance to digest and let your brain know you’re full and not needing a snack to finish off. Most of the time, people only second guess their hunger when they know they have more food available to them to snack on, which is especially true if you’re at home with your fridge and pantry within a few steps.
The second step is developing the will power to overcome the urge to snack when you’re in the middle of trying to get your work done. One strategy to help with this is to actually ask yourself, ‘Am I hungry or am I just bored?’. If you decide you’re hungry, ask yourself ‘Would I eat a plate of broccoli right now?’. If the answer is no, you’re probably not hungry.
If this trick doesn’t satisfy your mind’s effort to convince you you need a snack, then distract yourself with another task: change up the project you’re currently working on that has let your mind wander, go for a brisk walk around the block, complete your daily exercise program if you haven’t done so already or catch up on the news – either by reading or watching. Spend 10 minutes or so giving your brain a break from your work and then aim to get back into it. You’ll probably find, your hunger has subsided or you’ve forgotten about it.
If these two tricks fail and you just have to have a snack, then control your choice. A snack doesn’t have to be detrimental to your overall nutrition. You don’t need to eat a chocolate bar or half a packet of chips. Instead, aim to choose a protein and veggie snack like deli meat and tomato on a corn thin, carrot sticks with a bit of hummus, edamame beans, or a small handful of nuts.
Remember, what you snack on is completely in your control. All you need to do is prepare your fridge and pantry to be equipped with ideal snacks and you will safeguard yourself against impulsive choices.
The team at Outer Strength Fitness hope these 5 steps on helping you stay in control and create a new routine for your fitness and nutrition while working from home help set you up for success over the next few weeks to months.
Article Written by : Siobhan form Outer Strength Fitness
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