Updated: Apr 21, 2020
If you are like me, you are used to moving a lot more than you are right now. In other words, we've moved from an active lifestyle to a pretty sedentary lifestyle. Even me, a fitness guy, is spending much more time sitting at my desk in front of my computer.
Activity Level Lower = Less Calories Burned = Change in Caloric Needs
Want to add even a little fuel to this fire? How about the fact that snacking out of boredom, lack of routine, or binging Netflix series can add to the daily calories consumed.
So I've put together my Top 10 List of ideas for "Staying Lean in Quarantine." Yes...I like things that rhyme, and I always seem to gravitate toward top 10 lists. It's just me!
1. Start an online, in-home workout routine. Now where can we find one? Hmmm. Oh that's right; we do that here.
Here's the trick though. Aim small. When it comes to routines, we are talking about habits, correct? And habits are formed through small, actionable, repeatable steps. Don't aim for working out every single day for an hour. Aim for doing just a small amount for 10-15 minutes each day. If you want to do more, go for it. But I'd much rather you build the habit than exercise to exhaustion just a few times this month.
Let this sink in. The goal is the habit, not the workout. So aim small.
2. Do your own yard work. I'm all for the idea that we should try to keep supporting as many small businesses and operations as possible. I'm also, like many, on a budget.
Not only will doing your own yard work cut back on your expenses right now, but it will also give you the opportunity to move, soak up sunshine, and breathe some fresh air.
Here's a tip for getting out there at least 3-4 days/week. Don't do it all at once. Just like the workout plan above, keep it to small steps. You are much more likely to go out for 20-30 minutes each day then you are if you are facing the mammoth-sized task of 4 hours of yard work.
Mow the lawn one day. Trim the hedges on another day. Pull some weeds on another day. And so on. This will break up your day for a quick dose of activity, sunshine, and fresh air and make your tasks much more manageable.
3. Build and plant your own vegetable garden. We enjoyed doing this very task this past weekend (picture included). Not only was it fun for the whole family, but we were moving!
We built our own frame, dug up the soil, planted our own vegetables and herbs, breathed the fresh air, and again enjoyed the sunlight. Not only will it provide a change of scenery, but being outdoors enhances your mood, reduces stress, and makes you feel happy.
And how about this added benefit? We are growing our own fresh vegetables which are definitely on the lifestyle plan for eating.
4. Have a family dance party. I know this may seem a little corny, but come on??? Who's watching anyway?? Break out your favorite tunes, try some Salsa, swing dance, pop, or try learning the newest TikTok dance as a family.
You are sure to move, possibly groove, and have a few laughable and enjoyable moments.
5. Go for a walk. I know this is one of the most obvious on my list, but it's worth mentioning. Give your dogs some exercise, make it a family affair, listen to an audio book, play your favorite tunes, or simply enjoy some peace and quiet.
Not only is walking exercise, but you have all the added benefits we've already mentioned before - scenery, sunshine, fresh air, enhanced mood, less stress, and how about family time?
6. Clean out the garage, closets, or Tupperware cabinets. Not only does getting organized help your health mentally, but again we are moving.
Hey...use it as an opportunity to down-size your clutter and find things to donate to others in need. Chances are that if you forgot it was even in your closet, you don't need it anymore. Somebody else might.
7. Use a ball. What? A ball - a basketball, a football, a soccer ball, a baseball, or even a badminton birdie (technically not a ball :). In other words, go outside and play!
Here's another opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, get some physical activity, and do something with your family other than Netflix. And yes..we are just as guilty as the next family, okay?
8. Ride a bike. What's the good news here? Well, if you've ever ridden a bike before, it's....ummmm...just like riding a bike! Yes I know. You saw that one coming from a mile away.
Bike riding is a great, low-impact way to get your exercise in. Plus, it will give your kids something to laugh at - YOU! I actually had quite the opposite experience the first time I saw my mom ride a bike. Let's just say I was up to no good in the neighborhood. When my mom caught wind of this from a neighbor, she stormed out the front door, jumped on my sister's 10-speed, and went hunting for you know who. Little, innocent me.
When you've never seen your mom on a bike before and you know that you are the cause, it's quite a scary experience. Brrr....I just got chills.
9. Cook something from scratch. Now you may know me as the "quick-fix, easy recipe" guy, but there's is something quite rewarding about taking your time in the kitchen and creating a masterpiece.
Put on your favorite music, light a candle, enjoy a glass of wine (not just for Netflix anymore), and let your creative juices flow.
Sure moving around in the kitchen isn't the most intense of workouts, but think about this. Not only are you moving about, but you can completely control the quality of your food. Look up a light, gourmet recipe that supports your fitness goals and go to town.
Here's a fun recipe that was inspired from fitness lifestyler, Cindy Davis. For one of our check-in questions last week, I asked, "What are some of your favorite dinners to prepare?" Cindy came back with chicken piccata with cauliflower rice. I took it and ran with it. I reverse engineered it to come up with a 350-calorie, pre-calculated recipe for you to add to your meal plans. You can find the recipe here >
10. Read something that inspires you to act. Now you might be thinking, "But, Mike, reading is more of a sedentary activity." And that is very true. But notice what the tail-end of that suggestion read - that inspires you to act.
Sure reading is a mental exercise. We want to exercise our brains just as much as our bodies. But the type of reading I'm suggesting here is that which inspires you to move. So not only do you get the benefits of exercising your mind, but you can find the inspiration to move as well.
Our philosophy at Fitness Now has always been that if you transform your mind, the physical and lifestyle transformation will follow. We've heard it a thousand times - everything is first created in the mind. And that rings true for a fitness lifestyle as well.
In our newly added "book of the month" club, I've added a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. It's subtitle reads, "An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones."
I absolutely love this book and highly recommend that you give it a read. The premise of the book is right in line with our approach at Fitness Now - tiny changes lead to remarkable results.
We may be stuck at home right now, but more now than ever are we also blessed with the opportunity to get creative in how we move, think, and live. These are just a few of my recommendations for staying lean during quarantine.
Comment with which ones you've tried and feel free to share your own ideas.
Rooting you on!
Mike Thornton Your Transformation Coach