With the nationwide lockdown stretching into a month long after the Prime Minister Justin Trudea addressed the nation on March 23, Canadians were told: “Enough is enough. Go home and stay home.” Shortly after, Ontario ordered a mandatory closure of non-essential businesses on midnight of March 25th. This essentially caused Canadians to become locked up in their homes with nowhere to go except for an occasional trip to the grocery store. Now the federal government is suggesting that current social distancing measures are likely to not be lifted until summertime and this is compounded by more and more people having more free time on their hands than they've had in many years. Unfortunately, this is due to the massive layoffs, however, on the bright side, this has freed up people’s time to reach other personal goals that they would have never had the time for otherwise. One of those goals is physical fitness, subdivided into aerobic and anaerobic. Many of us have an ideal that we strive to attain through our diet and exercise and while diet is very important, exercise is the butter you put on your bread to make it complete. That is, diet and exercise together lead to your ideal results. After being sufficiently motivated, you might remember that gym closures are in effect across the nation. Not to worry, there’s nothing preventing you from getting those perfect biceps, glutes, quads, abs, endurance and more at home especially if you have proper exercise equipment.
What Type of Workout Do I Want?
There’s no better time to get the gains you’ve dreamed of than now. The question is, which gains are you looking for? If your answer is gaining muscle, you should choose a more anaerobic based workout. This type of workout requires quick bursts of energy, in essence, sprints in order to increase your maximum for a short period of time. The benefits of anaerobic exercise are that it builds muscle, strengthens bone and burns fat. On the other hand, the drawbacks include that they might be difficult on the body and especially for beginners, it is not recommended to pursue an anaerobic-based workout at home without supervision from a fitness professional. Aerobic fitness is on the contrary less taxing on the body but it requires more long-term commitment. This means repetitive motions over a long period of time. The benefits of these are huge, some examples are: reducing your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, helps maintain blood pressure, strengthens your cardiac muscles, strengthens your immune system and increases your stamina. The great part about aerobic fitness is that there are virtually no risks. All you need to do is know your limits and act accordingly depending on whether you know you are able to cover a certain distance or not. Studies also suggest that aerobic exercise is more effective in keeping your weight loss while anaerobic weight loss might be far more temporary.
Once you have decided on the type of fitness workout you want, and have plenty of water by your side, we can begin talking about the specific exercises available to you for your personal workout at home. Here are some useful workout tips.
Tip #1: Always have a warmup and cool down for your exercises. Take about 5-10 minutes to either increase or decrease your heart rate before and after workouts. During this time, make sure to start off slow jogs, less taxing exercises such as jumping jacks and stretching your muscles. This is essential to lower your risk of injury.
Tip #2: Make sure to make running a part of your regular routine. Do some light jogging mixed in with a few sprints mixed in between. This will help you with endurance and will also allow you to at the same time experience a more anaerobic approach while making sure to not overexert yourself.
Tip #3: Balance your body. When it comes to building muscle, it’s especially important to try to maintain balance as overworking one part while neglecting another can lead to problems. This means that if for instance, you have weights at home and you worked your biceps and triceps with dumbbells as well as deadlift one day (arms, lower back, gluteus maximus) then the next day try to focus more on squats(quads) and barbells(pectorals).
Tip #4: Work out during your workday. Although many of us might say that when we sit down to work, that’s the only thing we do but for the majority of us, we always hit snags in our concentration. Whenever you catch yourself doing that, try to exercise to keep you more focused. Keep dumbbells, an exercise ball or exercise tubing near your desk. It’s been proven that exercise helps improve concentration and productivity.
Tip #5: Don’t let your routine become the norm. What’s meant by this phrase is that once you get comfortable with a workout you’ve planned out for yourself, that’s an indication that you should take things up a notch. It’s always important to keep improving by increasing the weight or number of reps since staying stagnant will inevitably lead to the whole workout becoming stale and boring.
Tip #6: Don’t fly through your cardio. Cardio is a vital part of every workout and you should alternate between periods of cardio and non-cardio such as between pushups and sit-ups to burpees. Try to repeat this cycle about 4-6 times.
Tip #7: To make sure you aren’t overexerting yourself, test to see if you can say a sentence in between breaths. If you’re gasping for breath that much, it’s a sign that you should slow down. Remember, this is you becoming more fit, not trying to win a marathon.
Tip #8: Lift in increments to get the maximum result. Usually try to keep your reps at 10 to 12 at first add weight (about 10-15% each time) on top of what you lifted from the previous rep. If you are unable to complete the full rep, then reduce the weight instead of decreasing the number of reps. It’s better to do a lower weight for a longer period than a larger weight for a shorter one.
Tip #9: Try to be flexible with yourself. You need to come to expect roadblocks along the way and accept that you are human while not beating yourself up over it. Try to follow a 80/20 plan with 80% of the year being following your fitness schedule and the 20% reserved for holidays and nights out with friends and family.