Staying active while working from home

It's been over 3 weeks since any of us have been allowed to hit the gym, and with this coming month deemed as pivotal for reducing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the gyms are likely to remain closed for at least the rest of this month.  Our muscles are hungering for iron, and our gains are starting to soften...  But all is not lost!  Here are some ways to maintain those hard earned gains that you spent years working for.

Chest: weighted push ups variations

Since the bench press is one of our best friends, many of us can bust out dozens of push ups without breaking a sweat.  So the key here is to make it harder, whether that be by going to failure or adding weight onto your upper back while maintaining your form.  Good weights can be a backpack loaded with heavy items such as water bottles, or simply throwing your kid on your back.  The nice thing about push ups is that since they essentially replicate the same motion as bench press, you can also do decline and incline push ups to hit your lower and upper chest.

Triceps: weighted dips

Since we spend so much time grooming our triceps on chest day, bodyweight dips may not be too challenging for many of us.  So like push ups, the key is to go to failure and add some weight to your lap in the form of a backpack filled with heavy items or simply your kid.

Legs: weighted Bulgarian split squats, lunges, and step ups

Yes, your legs are getting small, and there's pretty much no way around it without a barbell and plates.  So this is going to come down to muscle loss mitigation.  Air squats, lunges, and step ups to failure will suck and may not accomplish much except for a cardio burn, so up the ante with a backpack filled with heavy items or a kid over your shoulders.  Go back to back with weighted Bulgarian split squats, lunges, and step ups, and you'll really feel your legs begging for some mercy.

Back: pull ups

Your lats may as well be the only muscle group you can probably maintain during this trying time.  Pull ups to failure has always been in our repitore, and the good news is that it can still be done especially if you have a pull up bar.  If you don't have a bar, try pulling up a sturdy door, but watch your fingers, lest your slam the door on them.

Core: weighted bodyweight exercises

You've probably neglected your core for a while now, thinking that all those heavy deadlifts, squats, and compound weighted exercises was sufficient in activating your core.  But without a barbell or equipment, now is your chance to really hit that core with bicycle crunches, weighted jack knives, weighted planks, leg windmills, and more.  Throw a heavy backpack on or a kid, and you might need to roll out of bed the next morning.

Cardio: bodyweight HIIT

Yep, too bad, but you're going to need to do cardio to counter all that physical inactivity of staying at home.  Since running sucks and can take a toll on our joints, you can stick to bodyweight HIIT.  We all know the drill: burpees, jump squats, jumping lunges, bicycle crunches, etc. until we are completely gassed.  Your core will definitely benefit as well, and you'll have a minor excuse to cheat on one meal a week at most.

Dealing with muscle loss

Without access to our beloved freeweights during this prolonged lockdown, we are bound to unfortunately lose muscle since we're not longer giving them sufficient incentive to stay.  By doing at least some weighted bodyweight exercises like the ones above, you're giving your muscles at least some reason to stick around.

Some of us may be tempted to reduce our protein intake since we're not working out, but don't fall for it!  Your protein intake of 1 gram per pound of bodyweight will always hold true, whether you're cutting, bulking, maintaining, or working from home.  Neglecting physical activity and protein all together is the surest way for you to lose strength, so continue feasting on that lean protein.  And since you definitely won't be able to bulk at this time, you should definitely avoid eating into a caloric surplus.  Maintenance or <20% below maintenance should be fine as long as you're at least doing some type of resistance training and getting your daily protein needs.

Bottom line

This is a difficult time for many of us.  Our priority should definitely be to stay healthy and avoid catching COVID-19.  But while we are at home working, it's also important to stay healthy with physical activity and proper dieting.  We all miss the gym, and are scared of losing our gains.  But we should be able to re-gain those gains after this outbreak is finally over.

From all of us at Flying for Fitness, please stay healthy during this trying time.  We hope you enjoyed this post.  Please consider visiting one of our sponsors by clicking on the advertisements.  Our sponsors pay us for customer visits and help us to keep the lights on.  Thanks!


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