COVID-19 still hasn't gone away, and unfortunately, it will stay with us for a while, at least until scientists come up with an effective vaccine. While all areas of life are affected, gyms are one of those places that are hit hard. Because a lot of people exercise in a constricted space, touch the equipment on the same spots, and spend time indoors, in a (poorly) artificially ventilated space. In many countries, gyms are still closed, as they are a perfect place to spread the virus. Sure, maybe they are still open in your country, but going there isn't that smart. Fitness Tips are one of he best things you can know in nowadays.
Plus, you will need to wear a mask and protective gloves, and watch out for other gym goers that come near. Making sure you are keeping a proper distance. All of that is anything but comfortable, which is why people ask how to stay fit while gyms are closed. At least until this COVID-19 nightmare passes.
This article will tell you all about that, giving you 5 Fitness Tips on how to stay fit during the pandemic. Tips are quite simple, and it won't require too much effort or preparation to follow them, only some dedication, so start by reading the article to the end.
First Things First - What Will You Miss The Most
This article is intended for people who don't have a full home gym set up in their garage. If you do - good for you! If you have all the equipment at home, you won't miss anything but hotties exercising around you, and bros to talk about your PRs. But, for the rest of us, things will be much different. Most people go to the gym because of the equipment there. Tones and tones of weights (literally), machines, cardio equipment, all ready to use immediately.
If your #1 goal is to get bigger and stronger, the thing you will miss the most when not working out at the gym will be the weights. Without appropriate free-weight equipment, you will not build strength and size the way you were used to, and you will have to adjust.
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Lack Of Adequate Weight Issues
And if you don't have a barbell with the needed weight, your strength lifts will suffer the most. If you don't do squats, deadlifts, and presses, your numbers will drop, and there's no way to avoid that.
However, the good news is that muscle memory exists, and you will be back to where you were as soon as you get back to the gym. Also, if you continue to exercise with what you have, you will prevent muscle decay. Which will also contribute to getting your numbers back to where they used to be.
As for the size, there are more options to keep it (which we will discuss later), but again, without a good old barbell. You can't expect the same amount of gains you had when visiting the gym regularly.
What To Focus On of this Fitness Tips?
Your focus when not visiting the gym should be a bit different - staying fit. While being strong and big is also a part of fitness, now that you don't have access to gym equipment is an excellent time to work on other fitness areas you were lacking.
While strength and size do get the hype, there are other things you can focus on to get fitter - getting leaner, increasing endurance, power, mobility, flexibility, improving nutrition. In the sections below, we will talk about all of them. Giving you ideas that will help you create interesting routines that will keep you busy and make you healthier.
1 Clean Up Your Nutrition - one of the best Fitness Tips
When your main goal is to get as big as possible, and to lift as much as possible, having clean nutrition is not exactly the priority. As a meathead, you are probably looking to get as much fuel as possible. As long as it has protein and calories in it, it's good. The only exception would be the cutting season, where you do watch out what you eat. But, let's face it, you are mostly compensating for poor nutrition by lifting super hard.
However, now that the gym is unavailable, continuing to eat the same way will result in you getting fat. To prevent that from happening, it is a good idea to clean up your eating habits.
Now that you are spending more time home, try to prepare most of your meals yourself. In other words, stay away from junk food. If you are working from home, there is absolutely no reason why you should eat on the street or order delivery from fast-food restaurants. Also, try to ditch soda and sweets too. Opt for cleaner, home-cooked food, at least for the majority of what you eat.
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Also, make sure you keep the relative protein intake high. Switching to clean eating will probably result in eating fewer calories, which is likely to put you in a caloric deficit. To ensure you are preserving muscle mass, eat enough protein, around 1 gram per pound of body weight per day. Meat, eggs, cheese, peanuts but also protein powders are all viable sources to get quality protein. Of course, to preserve muscle mass you need to exercise too; only eating protein alone is not enough.
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2 Get Some Essential Equipment
Bodyweight exercises are an excellent way to keep your muscles engaged when you are not able to visit the gym. That makes them a perfect option for home quarantine workouts, but also for traveling. And if you are creative, you can train any muscle group without any equipment. You can use chairs to perform dips, tables to do rows, or door for pull-ups. But, that will only get you so far, and it will be a much better decision to get some >> GYM Essential fitness equipment for home gyms.
Getting just a pair of heavy dumbbells and a pull-up bar will give you so many workout options, which makes these two pieces of equipment an absolute must. The good news is that you don't need to spend a fortune to get them. Also, if you are really short on funds, getting a pair of used dumbbells is going to be even cheaper. However, visiting garage sales is not exactly the brightest idea during a pandemic.
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Of course, the more money you have, the more equipment you can get. Just be careful about constricted space, as gym equipment tends to be large, exercise machines especially.
3 Focus On Other Training Modalities
Considering that exercising at home means limited weights, you will need to be creative when creating workout plans. Things are easy at the gym - you just try to lift more weight than the last time. Because you have more weights than you will ever need around, you will always have a challenging number of plates on both sides of the bar.
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At home, things are different. Even if you have a pair of quality heavy adjustable dumbbells, you will probably find the weight lacking at some point, especially on compound movements such as deadlifts, presses, and squats. Plus, you will always be able to lift more with a barbell, as it is a two-handed exercise, which is why relying on weight alone is not a valuable option if you want to continue progressing. So, what are your other options? Here are some:
- Increase volume - the most obvious thing to do when you don't have access to heavy weight is to increase the number of reps and sets you do. You will hardly beat your one-rep deadlift PR when exercising at home. Instead, increase the number of sets and reps you perform, and go closer to failure. More sets will tax your body in a different way, and your workouts will feel harder. However, increasing volume taxes your CNS less than lifting more weight, which will mean better recovery.
- Increase frequency - because lighter weights don't tax the body as much, you will be able to train more often. This will keep you busy, keep things interesting, and also burn more calories. Of course, it is still a good idea to spread out your workouts and avoid doing the same muscle groups in consecutive days. But training 5-6 times per week when weights are lower is doable if you plan it right.
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- Decrease rest time - when weights are lower, there is absolutely no reason why you should rest as much as you did at the gym. So, forget about 5-minute rest between sets. Three minutes tops is more than enough for most movements. Cutting rest times will make the workouts more challenging, giving your muscles new growth stimulus. So try out different options in the 30 seconds to three-minute range.
- Try supersets and giant sets - another great wat to decrease rest times is to perform supersets and giant sets. That way, you are still working out, but you are resting muscle groups that were active in one exercise while you perform the other. This is a great way to get conditioning as well as to build muscles, all that while saving time.
- Slow down - Another option to make workouts more challenging is to slow down on the eccentric (lowering) part of the lifts. This will hit your muscles hard and will cause a lot of soreness the next day. So make sure you use this tactic sparingly. It is effective, but if you are too sore the next day (or the day after that), you won't be able to work out at all.
- Try isometrics - performing isometric hold in the most challenging portions of exercises (such as the bottom of the squat) is extremely hard and will force your muscles to work overtime. Isometric holds kill inertia, which means no cheating. That will force your muscles to do all the work, and in the most challenging position there is, spurring new growth.
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4 Doing Some Mobility Work Won't Kill You
This article is about getting fit, and even though most guys only care about size and somewhat strength, mobility will keep you healthy in the long run. Therefore, use this opportunity, and do some mobility work to fix those imbalances years of neglect created.
Working on your mobility and flexibility will not only make you feel better as it will take care of those nagging pains and clicks you feel often, it will also keep you injury-free. So, by taking care of your body now, you will develop good habits. All of which will help you prevent injuries when you do get back to the gym. And no injuries means more time spent lifting, which will translate to more gains and new personal records. In other words, not only that a little yoga or foam rolling won't kill you. It can help you get bigger and stronger, just indirectly.
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5 Train Outside
Lastly, we have another part of fitness that meatheads avoid - cardio. Yes, running on a treadmill or cycling on a stationary bike is boring, there's no denying that. That's why you've always made excuses not to do cardio. But, things have changed, and now that you don't go to the gym it's time to work on your cardio by exercising outside.
Walking, jogging, or cycling outside is much more fun than doing the same activities indoors. You get to enjoy nature, spend time on the fresh air, in a corona-safe environment. Of course, all that while burning fat and working on your conditioning. Furthermore, you can stop at a local park and do a few sets on a pull-up bar or dip station. Also, it will help you build muscle mass, making outside exercise a win-win situation. So don't avoid it anymore, lace your shoes, and hit the track today!
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As you can see, there are many ways to stay fit (or get fit) even without gyms. What's more important, you will still continue to exercise regularly, and you won't lose that valuable habit. And as soon as the gyms open, you will get back where you belong. Getting your gains and PRs back where they belong too. And who knows, you might keep some of the habits build during the quarantine too, even after you get back to the gym.
So stay persistent, and make sure you exercise regularly, no matter which type of activity you choose. Let us know in the comments below how you are getting buy during the pandemic? How you are managing to stay fit when gyms are not available.