I’ve covered weight loss a few times now but I want to give you some insight into how you can still achieve this during the lock-down. Before I go on, I want you to know that it is ok to still work toward weight loss, it is ok to work toward maintaining weight and it is even ok if you gain weight. This is a tough time for us and therefore there are some people that will find it more difficult than others to adapt.
For those that do still seek weight loss however I want you to know it is absolutely possible and in this blog I will discuss how I believe this to be the case. The important thing to remember is that we have to manage all three of the main principles in order to lose weight. Number one is nutrition/calories, number two is overall movement/NEAT and number three is exercise. In this blog I want to specifically address the exercise principle behind weight loss.
The landscape has changed in terms of the resources we have available to us, obviously the gyms are closed, therefore we have no access to the weight room, the cardio zone or the group exercise classes. It would be easy to not bother, to give up on your weight loss goals and delay it to when the gyms reopen.
I want you to read this carefully…
“You don’t lose weight because of the gym, you lose weight because primarily you create a calorie deficit through reducing calorie intake and increasing overall movement and exercise.”
Therefore, just because we don’t have access to the gym that doesn’t mean we cannot create that deficit.
HOW TO CREATE THAT DEFICIT THROUGH EXERCISE?
This may sound a little backwards and you may question it but you shouldn’t be aiming to create your deficit primarily through exercise. In my opinion the main purpose of exercise should be to improve health, fitness, mental health & performance. The calories expended are a bonus, they are the cherry on the cake.
If we build our entire training around burning calories you will become disappointed very fast because it doesn’t provide you with any real progress or satisfaction that you can measure and manage. We can measure and manage our fitness, our performance and to a point our mental health with how we feel.
We cannot measure how many calories we burn no matter what the activity trackers say – they just aren’t that accurate for calories. I am an advocate of using them for tracking step count for overall movement though.
Let me be clear, I am not saying don’t exercise, I am saying adjust your beliefs and thoughts around why you should exercise and why you should do it, think about it, if the sole reason to exercise to burn calories and we don’t have the other two principles in place to achieve that, we are going to quickly fall out of love with exercise because we have falsely assigned the belief that it isn’t working. It may not have been working because your ladder was up against the wrong building, you were doing it for the wrong reasons and you wrongly believe that exercise is enough to achieve weight loss. You need to make sure you are exercising for the right reasons, the bigger picture.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
The go-to exercise in this time is jumping around your front room like a lunatic, getting crazily out of breath, stressing your central nervous system, putting insane pressure through your un-conditioned joints because well…
That’s what burns calories right?
That’s what makes you feel like you have done something right?
Are you wrong to think that way? No, because it’s what’s in your face, all over your news feeds and what a lot of the ‘celebrity’ people are doing. Although I want you to start to question whether what you see and what is pushed to you is actually the most effective thing for you.
If we go back to the improved health, fitness & performance, I want to add one more thing into the mix, building or maintaining muscle, people complete weight training to do either of those. For those that want to improve their shape, build a bum etc then resistance training is the only way you can develop muscle.
People that hammer the cardio can often be seen to be lose muscle, if you look at marathon runners for example, they often hold very little fat but very little muscle as well, because carrying muscle isn’t very helpful when trying to run for an extended period of time especially when aiming for four minute miles, the extra weight is a hindrance. The muscle also provides a source of energy for the body to use in extended bouts of cardio, which is why people that do lots of cardio often look very flat and un-defined – because they don’t have much muscle mass.
Cardio still sound like the attractive type of exercise?
HOW CAN YOU WEIGHT TRAIN AT HOME?
No gym, no weights, it would be easy to say you cannot do it?
It couldn’t be farther from the truth. We can spend money on weights, bars, plates etc but I would imagine for most people that you already have the most powerful piece of kit that you will need to complete and effective resistance training programme.
I have been weight training for over 10 years and I know that I can create a workout using no equipment that would challenge me greatly. Building muscle is just scratching the surface with weight training, other benefits include improving bone density which reduces the risk of osteoporosis as you get older, reduces the risk of sarcopenia which is basically the reduction in muscle mass as you get older – fancy being one of those people who struggles to move when you get older – doesn’t sound good does it? Imagine having the effects of osteoporosis, sarcopenia along with shattered joints from too many H.I.I.T workouts with no conditioning.
You can monitor progress so much easier with resistance training and you can also continually progress it which is what is required to keep moving toward your goal, you can vary the reps, the sets, the tempo and the rest period to do this and you can measure and manage the outcomes.
You cannot do this from jumping around in your front room!
I am not saying do not do cardio but I am saying that you can still base your home workouts around resistance training and not default to a H.I.I.T special every day.
In terms of how to build an effective resistance workout, you simply need to focus on the primary movement patterns that you complete in the gym therefore a squat variation e.g a squat; lunge; split squat; a hip hinge e.g. a bridge; hip thrust; single leg hip thrust, a push e.g. a press up, a pull e.g. a towel pull and a core based exercise e.g. a plank, dead bug etc. You could complete multiple sets of each exercise or complete in a circuit format. Of course a warm-up initially is required and a cool down afterwards.
You can as I mentioned above, make good use of resistance bands and other home workout kit available. This would be a good way of progressing your workouts too!
A final reason to consider resistance training over cardio is that when you complete your cardio, each time you do it you improve and therefore when completed again you are more efficient and then burn fewer calories than the time before, so if we go back to the principle of focusing exercise solely around burning calories, this doesn’t sound so effective now does it?
I hope this blog has some way convinced you that you can still exercise at home, you can use resistance training as the main focus for your training and you can still progress your training and most importantly if you manage the three main principles – calorie intake, overall movement and exercise appropriately you can still LOSE WEIGHT without performing hundreds of burpees or high knees every day.
If you need any help with any of the above my online coaching programme will teach you how to do all of this and more, you can apply to work with me on the link below.