A few months ago when the lockdown started, a lot of us found ourselves disoriented, confused and stressed with all the things happening around us. New rules and guidelines are being released every week, and that uncertainty and fear broke all of our daily routines in life including fitness.
To manage the stress, many resorted to Netflix marathons, binge-eating, over-snacking and, to be honest, I was in this state a few months ago too. My average 20K weekly run mileage became 0, and I resorted to indoor cycling to maintain fitness and to somehow compensate for my Netflix and Chips lifestyle.
But as I realized that this virus was not going away any time soon, I also started to see amazing people who took advantage of this pandemic to transform their fitness for the better, and learning from them I realized that NOW is actually the best time to lose weight and get fitter and healthier. Here are some of the reasons why:
1. You have more time
For safety and health, a lot of companies implemented a work from home policy, and this includes our company. My usual travel time to and from Makati usually amounts to 3 hours but now, those 3 hours daily are saved for better things.
It’s all just a matter of discipline to take at least 1 hour from that and allocate it to my new fitness routine. I used to run on a treadmill in Fitness First 3-4 times a week, but while we have no access to gyms and because I still love running, I found an 800-meter loop within our village to train at whenever there are very few people outside. Now I’m slowly working back to my 20K per week mileage.
Now is about finding the right workout that works for you in this situation, as this pandemic also forced the fitness industry to evolve. There are clubs that now offer live streaming group workouts, spinning studios like Ride Revolution are offering a ride-at-home option with a bike rental program, and more fitness coaches are offering live one-on-one virtual sessions at a fraction of the cost that you usually pay in a gym. If you are still able to run, virtual running events are also starting to be a new way to keep yourself motivated during this season. Check-out our ongoing virtual events here.
Related: Join our Virtual Fitness Community
2. You can eat healthy
Fitness experts always say that losing weight is about 80% diet and 20% exercise, the ratio might slightly change from person to person, but I personally agree that what you eat plays a very important role in fitness.
As I mentioned before, Netflix and Chips became my bad habit during the earlier part of the lockdown, but I now realize that this can easily swing the other way around if I wanted to. Unlike working from the office, the limited break time and budget we have forces us to choose fast food over healthier alternatives just to keep our bellies full, but this new norm allows us to prepare our own food, and decide to choose healthy. You can now also allocate some time to learn how to cook your own meals too!
It’s all about making that choice to reduce the chips and sugary drinks and improve and balance your diet. To lose weight, I personally believe you don’t have to starve yourself, just choose healthy and limit your sugar intake and snacking.
3. You have less distractions
Since everyone is encouraged to stay at home, and social distancing is enforced, we now have lesser opportunities to have late-night gimmicks, after office hangouts, birthday parties, and reunions. I know. It’s sad. I just recently attended a birthday celebration via Zoom, and the experience is just not the same. But hey, safety and health first, right?
But think about it: with fewer parties and gatherings, it can also mean less drinking and/or smoking. I just found out that a friend of mine lost a ton of weight by just quitting drinking – it really works! If you ever wanted to quit these bad habits, now can be the perfect time to do it! Now you are exposed less to peer pressure, and you just need to work up the willpower to do so.
4. You can sleep more
Proper sleep helps our recovery and gives us the energy to workout, cook food, and the willpower to kick off a bad habit, so it should really be easy to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep since we have more time right?
Well, that’s easier said than done. To be honest, I believe binge-watching Netflix has robbed a lot of sleep hours from most of us. But the time to change that is now. During flexible work hours, try to maintain a consistent sleeping pattern to avoid messing up your metabolism.
It’s about making the commitment to prioritize sleep over the next episode of your favorite series and knowing that the show will still be there tomorrow when you wake up refreshed and energized to achieve your new fitness goals.
Remember, regaining your fitness and weight loss will not happen overnight. It will still need hard work, dedication, consistency and commitment to achieve your fitness goals. But looking at a different perspective, this ‘new normal’ might actually be the change you need to get you started. If you need a support group, join our very active Pinoy Fitness Community on Facebook.
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