Staying fit during these crazy, pandemic, holiday times.

If you know my story, you know that I believe in the transformative power of exercise. 

This week’s newsletter is about getting or staying fit during these crazy, pandemic, holiday times. 

These tips are intended for people of all fitness levels, and I hope you find them valuable!

  1. Start with the “why.” If you’re having trouble exercising consistently, or you’re feeling overwhelmed and it’s affecting your workouts, there’s value in revisiting the reasons you train in the first place. 

Take a moment to dig deep and think about what inspires you to show up. Maybe your motivations have changed recently and you’ll benefit from considering new goals. You can never go wrong with reasons like having fun, enjoying movement, more energy, greater vitality, better mood, or healthy aging.

If you start with the why, you might discover that your approach to training changes completely.

  1. Have a goal. Zeroing in on a specific goal that relates to your “why” can help you succeed and remain consistent with exercising. If you’re having trouble choosing one, here are some ideas:
  • Process goals: showing up for workouts 3 times per week, eating low-carb or paleo whole foods 90% of the time, or adopting intermittent fasting are examples of process goals.
  • Outcome goals: getting stronger (deadlift or squat X pounds, do a pushup, do a pullup, etc.), being able to run a 5K, losing 5 pounds of fat, or gaining 5 pounds of muscle are worthy outcome goals.
  • Transformation goals: some people combine multiple ambitious goals, like exercising every day, eating healthy 100% of the time, and losing 20 pounds. If you feel excited by a transformation goal, go for it!

Equally important to choosing the perfect goal(s) for yourself is not rushing or beating yourself up. If you’re a type A personality like me, remind yourself to be patient and consistent, because worthwhile goals and habits take time.

  1. Prioritize and stop with the excuses. Time for a dose of reality: everyone has time to exercise but not everyone has the willpower. Being brutally honest with yourself once in a while works wonders. 

Usually, “I don’t have time to train” should instead be stated, “That’s not my #1 priority.” If you’re busy with priorities like family and work, how about cutting out the hour of TV every night, or the social media browsing throughout the day to make time for exercise?

  1. Set yourself up for success. Investing in a home training setup can be a huge win, especially during Covid. 

Instead of wasting an hour putting on gym clothes, driving, and showering, your equipment is ready to go. You can even save money buying equipment and storing it at home or work instead of paying for a gym membership.

Try any of these ideas for inexpensive or free home exercise:

  • A single dumbbell or kettlebell (if you’re buying new, I like Cap brand kettlebells best for the price or Rogue if you want the highest quality)
  • A used Olympic barbell and weight set off Craigslist, Letgo, Offerup, or Facebook Marketplace
  • A doorway chin-up bar 
  • A homemade sandbag or this one from Rogue
  • Walking, biking, hiking, or “urban exploration” for slow cardio
  • A jump-rope for medium and high intensity cardio (I like the speed ropes from Rogue))
  • A double-end striking bag rather than a heavy bag if you enjoy boxing for cardio

You can do so much with minimal equipment. And your fitness will improve dramatically as a result of training consistently.

  1. Partner up. Exercising with other people can help you stay motivated, train longer and harder, and ultimately get more fit. However, the effect may be greater when you train with people who are in better shape–if you’re the fittest of the group, you might not gain as much benefit[1].  

One study even found that simply hanging out with people who are thinner could increase weight loss success[2].

What if your gym is still closed or you or your friends are quarantining? Try a virtual workout buddy instead. A 2011 study actually found that training together remotely can have a similar effect to an in-person training partner[3].

That’s it for this week! I’m interested to hear what’s worked for you to stay healthy and fit, so if you’ve got any tips to share, send me a reply to this email. You can also email me feedback–whether you loved it or not, I’d love to hear your thoughts.