Looking back on a few posts from this year, I’ve pulled the best bits — hope these help…
First a little story — it’s a while ago but as a youngster I used to get pretty into obsessive thinking and rituals, I still do now but I’ve learned to manage it better with age. One of my habits when going to school for a while was avoiding the cracks in the pavements, the rule I imposed was if I stepped on a crack, I’d have to run home (1 mile) and start over. Needless to say I was very late that morning. This type of obsessive behaviour can be destructive or if managed can lead to very strict and tidy regimes. If not unbendable rules. Being adaptable then in the presence of constant change is harder for some than others, but a challenge for all of us.
What did we learn from the first lockdown?
Right now, keeping mentally buoyant and positive isn’t without its challenges. I totally get this… things are not stacking up quite right at the moment. But running back to square 1 each time you encounter a glitch isn’t going to help either.
The last lockdown compromised many people and continues to do so. We’re back in it again so this time around, what did we learn and what can we apply to make things better the 2nd (and potentially 3rd and beyond times)?
Symptoms of depression and anxiety are inevitable. The ‘Black Dog’ may rear his ugly head. Loneliness can be awful… a killer in it’s own right. Winter is here and SAD needs managing…
The mind needs management. You gotta stay strong people. This starts with skill power over willpower.
There’s plenty of advice around at the moment on this area. Here are my top tips from all my clients’ personal survival list;
Be kind to yourself and kind to those around you
- Write a list of daily goals
- Rotate tasks…spend 1–2 hours on a few different tasks this is a key survival strategy
- Note this doesn’t mean multi-tasking… just applying a good chunk of uninterrupted time to a few different angles like you do with fitness
- Tick them off — even simple stuff if feeling down, e.g. cup of tea = tick.
- Focus on the next 2–3 days not beyond — even the next 2–3 hours is good
- Focus on the opportunities — you’ll never get to spend more time with your family!
- Even if they drive you a bit crazy
- Take your Omega 3, 5HTP (at night) helps with serotonin — use natural nootropics
- Cook good food
- Walk outside
- Facetime as much as possible — calling is good, seeing faces helps more
- Map out the day — stick to the plan
- Be kind to yourself — watch out for negative self-talk
- Taking higher dosed adaptogens is also vital to my personal stress management routine
- Sense of self linked to job = not working can lead to questioning your goals and roles in life.
Open your mind to new possibilities. Try to adapt as much as you can. Try to focus on survival and realise this situation will come to an end. You can be stronger as a result or if you don’t cope then this situation can weaken the individual. What you decide to do and how you decide to behave will be the defining process.
Ultimately this is a massive test of resilience. Which we know is stress + recovery = resilience. The recovery part is the part which needs attention right now as there’s plenty of ways to be stressed! What does not kill us will make us stronger.
Recovery is good to centre this around parasympathetic building habits, these are things like massage, good music, baths and soothing showers, nice smelling candles, giving, loving etc.
The best way to recovery is to sleep properly and eat the right foods and nutrients.
If you are obese, have high blood pressure, heart disease, pre-diabetes or diabetes then getting a handle on improving your health right now is important. Just in case.
Being low in vitamin D is likely to be an independent risk factor for severity of covid-19 symptoms.
Things you can do to help here are, eat less, walk more…. Lose some fat, get fitter. Practice some fasting, or time restricted feeding.
Metabolic syndrome is linked to worse outcomes from covid19 infections. This means, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease — in short “underlying conditions” all contribute to worse likely outcomes if you succumb to an infection.
Metabolic syndrome is a collection of symptoms associated basically with over consumption of calories along with lack of movement. The western world is moving faster towards a population who are riddled with these symptoms; recent stats suggested almost 50% of American citizens had metabolic syndrome. The diabetes stats in the UK are also similarly poor.
As vitamin D plays a role in blood pressure, immune system function and diabetes control it makes sense to get out in the sunshine as much as you can and tan without burning. If you can’t do this then of course take some vitamin D as a supplement.
You can read about metabolic syndrome here.
About diabetes here.
About blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factor modulation here.
What we can do right now if you are out of shape or in this category = reverse symptoms by increasing insulin sensitivity.
In the next few years, we’ll hopefully see national programmes aimed at reducing the amount of over-weight, pre-diabetic and diabetic people — health will be taught as a necessity to maintaining economies in time of outbreaks like these.
Lose weight, exercise and take AMPK activators to enhance insulin sensitivity
More about being fat and viruses here
NUTRIENTS FOR IMMUNE SYSTEM FUNCTION
Vitamin C looks highly promising for helping with the virus. This isn’t new news but perhaps news which isn’t talked about much in the media;
When suspecting illness, I’m personally using 2 grams each 2 hours — of a mix of normal vitamin C with fat soluble vitamin C the way you cover both protecting inside and outside the cells. For day to day I use 500–1000mg.
When ill, I lay my day’s supply out so I remember how many doses I’ve taken.
Chinese medical team report successful treatment of coronavirus patients with high dose of vitamin C
Shanghai Government Officially Recommends Vitamin C for COVID-19
Don’t forget the Vitamin D though — it’s not just good for immune system function it’s good for many things;
You’ll know if you’ve followed me for a while, I love training. If you have any symptoms of flu etc, it’s best to rest. However, if you’re cooped up here’s some simple ideas for a few at home workouts.
There’s a nice article here on fitness trends in the earlier lockdown this year.
So, thinking about lockdown training again…. I’ve a few ‘go to’ things and resources, insanity as you know really good — high intensity workout body weight only needed. Downsides are it’s hard if you are heavy and you need to ease into the impact, it’s worth buying new trainers and some matting to cushion the joints. I also have P90X — which is good for weights, it has some yoga type stuff and a kind of martial arts style workout in there too. You need some DBs and a chinning bar ideally. Very well planned and you work harder with all these external queues and coaching.
In terms of visualisation I’m thinking about abundant power, flexibility and strength. As you age you got to hold onto your strengths — I’ve found retaining strength alone isn’t great for feeling bouncy and resilient — you need flexible power or flexible steal, elastic steel — all names of some great texts. If I find some I’ll upload them I’ve literally 100’s of PDFS on training etc.
So I’m looking at creating torque, explosiveness within sessions — got 1 day until the gyms close again unless they gang up like Liverpool gyms did.
My bodybuilder mate Neale Cranwell always jokes all the muscle dudes legs get smaller in lockdown cause you can’t access the level of resistance you need. Thankfully my legs only need a few kosack squats for a good workout. lol.
Onnit offers, barbell, KBs, body weight mace and a movement routine — all excellent. For mobility GMB fitness is really good. If you are watching pocket as these can all rack up then the following lower intensity stuff has been tried and tested pilates, yoga can be a great morning routine;
Caty: (Dynamic Pilates)
Sarah: (The Mindful Movement)
Sense of abundance.
Here are some other ideas too
- Skipping or jogging in place followed by a set of exercises, e.g. press ups x 20. Alternate 1 minute of each for 30 minutes after a 5 minute warm up.
- Complexes — these are a series of exercises performed back to back a simple example, clean and press, shoulder press, bent over laterals, push press, clean and press then side laterals. A good shoulder burn with some legs in there. Break these up with some core work between sets.
- Plug and play workouts — Insanity is one of my favourites.
- Weights circuit — you need a few sets of weight for this one — ideally an outdoor chinning bar — these can be purchased on amazon along with some dipping bars too.
- Crazy circuits (see below) still an excellent circuit that one.
- Any cardio machine super setted with 12–15 on another exercise, this is typified with the ‘tough guy’ workout by Phil Pask. E.g. rower for 1 minute at threshold, then 15 shoulder clean and press, then back on the rower do 5 sets of each pair of exercises. Nasty.
- Bodyweight stuff and floor work. I’ve a nice legs, bums and tums series I used to teach when I was a PT. Just think of all the toning exercises you can do combined with abs. E.g. side leg raises straight then bent, rear leg raises straight then bent, doggy side hip raises, hip raises both legs then single-legged. I found some really old footage of me teaching these exercises so I’ll dig that out and see if I can share it……
- You also got the workout dice, these are fun if you are struggling with ideas roll the dice stick to 50 reps and go for it.
You can see all of these and more in my exercise chapter from my forthcoming book