Let’s be honest, it’s unlikely that anyone could have predicted 2020 would give the world a global pandemic, keeping everyone mostly confined to their homes for months on end. It’s less than ideal, but you know what? You can make the most of it!
You may be toggling from your couch to your kitchen table and back again, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be healthy at home. Set your schedule, get moving, make some magic in the kitchen and keep your body hydrated and strong, to help fight that “Quarantine 15.”
1. Set a Schedule and Stick To It
By now you’re likely familiar with the pros and cons of working from home — and have figured out some clever ways to stay productive while your kids, partner or roommates are at home as well. But that time blocking technique you’ve been using to keep on track at work can also be used to help you up your fitness game.
Having a block of time dedicated to fitness on your schedule can keep you accountable. So take a moment at the beginning of each week to plan your workouts and slot them in around work and other activities. Then, make this calendar visible! Print it out and put it on the fridge so you and the other members of your household can see it, and slot it into your digital work calendar. Taking this approach means that whether you are doing a Zoom workout in your living room, following a free YouTube workout or attending a social-distanced workout at your local gym, this time is protected for you.
2. Meal Prep
Though exercise is (obviously) key to achieving your fitness goals, ensuring you’re eating right is every bit as crucial. So why not take the time you would’ve spent commuting to level up your meal prep game?
A good place to start is by taking an hour or two to prep all of my food for the week. Cook proteins and carbs and put them in separate containers so you can mix and match your meals for the week. Then, you can layer in fresh (or frozen!) fruits and veggies as you’re ready to eat them to keep things interesting.
Meal prepping doesn’t have to be intimidating — or Instagram worthy. Think of it as a great way to spend a bit of time away from the screen, and be creative while catching up on podcasts that you’d normally listen to on your commute or with a friend.
3. Set Snack Boundaries
Though having unlimited access to your kitchen is ideal for meal prepping, you likely also have access to a whole host of snacks that you wouldn’t at the office or in your pre-pandemic day-to-day routine. But instead of giving into the desert you’re saving for the end of the week, keep yourself armed with tasty — and satiating — things you can reach for when you need a midday boost.
Making a quick protein shake with a powder from Buddy Nutrition is an excellent way to curb temptation to snack outside the lines, and because each bag is formulated based on your unique needs, you’ll be able to fuel your body with the vitamins, supplements and proteins it needs to crush your to-do list...and your workout.
4. Get Creative With Your Workouts
Now that your schedule is set and your meal prepping is dialed in, the only thing left to do is give those at-home workouts a little boost. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones that survived the great fitness equipment shortage of 2020 or have the luxury of space, it’s probably safe to say your fitness routine has gotten pretty stale. So let’s dive into a few ways to add some pizazz back into your fitness.
Grab a deck of cards, a friend or two and get moving! The deck of cards workout is great because you will never have the same workout twice. Here’s how it works:
- Pick four exercises and assign them to each suit. Start by picking the type of exercise you’d like to focus on that day (let’s say HIIT or mobility training). You should try to choose movements to work your entire body, including one or two that you don’t like as a challenge to yourself. Some movement ideas that don’t require anything other than yourself: squats, pushups, jumping jacks, situps, mountain climbers, bicycles and everyone’s favorite, burpees.
- Assign Reps. The number on each card represents how many reps you have to complete. For face cards, you can determine what you’d like that number to be. A good rule of thumb is to make Jacks, Queens, and Kings equivalent to 10 reps and Aces 11.
- Set a Timer. Determine how long you’d like your workout to be, and set a timer to hold yourself accountable. You can also use a timer to divide up your workouts — for example, the cards could represent cardio movements for the first 10 minutes, and then upper-body targeted exercise for the second 10.
- Draw 4-5 cards at a time and get moving!
Another fan favorite, especially with those low on time, are tabata style workouts. These four minute workouts are eight rounds cycling between 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest.
You can use virtually any movement for these, with or without weights, but you want to choose a movement that you can do for all 20 seconds with high intensity. To make them a little more interesting, you can choose a Tabata song to guide you through your workout, no clock needed!
By now, you likely have settled into an at-home fitness routine. These ideas all represent ways to take that routine to the next level, to keep your body feeling challenged (it’s how you get results, after all!) and your mind engaged.
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Katie Ferraro is a lifestyle writer based in Santa Cruz, CA who is passionate about fitness, sustainability, and holistic wellness. When she’s not writing, you can find her exploring the beauty of California, or really anywhere in nature.