Lots of people are itching to get back into shape now that gyms are just starting to open up again. After so long without them, and without a proper fitness plan in place to fill the void, more than one person has put on an extra five, ten, fifteen pounds.
You probably don’t even need to find yourself in an actual gym to lose the quarantine pounds. Most of these tips can be done from your own home.
If you spent the past three, four, five months on a fitness hiatus and are looking to shed the quarantine 15, read on.
The western existence is kind of crappy when it comes to sleep. Most of us drudge through the day after waking up more tired than when we went to bed. It isn’t pleasant by any means, but here is a good reason to hit the pillow earlier: sleeping can help you shed the pounds.
When we sleep, our brain gets a chance to wind down and relax a bit from the day’s struggle. At the same time, our bodies have some down time to repair themselves. The longer our bodies can work towards repairing themselves, the more calories are burned, the more efficiently they work, and the better balance we have within ourselves. All of the benefits work towards an internal alignment to shed a few pounds.
Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night, with 9 being the absolute max. Anything longer and our bodies risk falling into the same issues too little sleep causes: Metabolic issues, lethargy, obesity, and cognitive issues to start with.
We are constantly losing fluids as we go about the day through breathing, peeing, and sweating. When we drop even 2% below normal hydration, lots of negative things begin to happen, including an inefficient ability to metabolize foods, so it’s important to stay properly hydrated if we really want to shed the quarantine 15.
Everything you consume has some amount of water in it, and our bodies even make some H2O as it processes the air we breath and the food we eat. Keeping proper levels of hydration is difficult, and everyone is different when it comes to how much water we should be consuming.
Getting properly hydrated and staying there can help your body properly metabolize foods, leading to an overall more efficient system. Additionally, good hydration can work to flush toxins out of your system, both of which serve to remove junk from your body and help you lose a few pounds.
Everyone ‘knows’ that cardio can burn calories. That’s burned into our psyches during elementary school gym class. What most people don’t know, is that weight training is far more effective at burning calories
While cardio burns more calories ‘per session,’ lifting heavy objects, repeatedly, burns more calories throughout the day. Weight training build muscle, and a higher amount of lean mass = higher metabolic rates = more calories burned simply existing. The quarantine 15 stands no chance.
When combined with proper sleep and hydration, strength training will burn calories as your body works to rebuild the muscle fibers that you tear while lifting. Throw in the extra calories spent removing toxins from your body and recovering from the stress you put your muscles through, and the extra weight will melt.
High Intensity Interval Training is a fantastic, yet underutilized, technique to really shed weight quickly. Alternating periods of high intensity and low intensity exercises put your body into a confused state, leading to extra calorie burning. In fact, lots of people report pretty significant changes in body composition after just a few weeks of 3-4 HIIT sessions a week.
You can easily burn more calories in 15-20 minutes of all-out effort during a HIIT session, than you could running for twice as long. As an added benefit, your body continues to burn calories long after you are done, unlike steady-state cardio, where your body returns to normal metabolic rates shortly after.
6. Macro Ratio
The western diet is notorious for being carbohydrate heavy, which, when combined with our mostly sedentary lifestyles, explains the prevalence of obesity in the culture.
Consuming a proper ratio of each macronutrient is an essential part of any well-rounded fitness program. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats all play a role in keeping our bodies running efficiently. Too much of any one macronutrient can lead to a bunch of issues. Included in the list are hormonal imbalances, skin issues, and weight gain are .
Balancing your macro intake according to your activity type and level can go miles in helping shed the dreaded quarantine 15.
Inadequate fiber intake means your body can, among other things, build up a ton of waste in the intestines that isn’t easily passable, leading to all sorts of issues.
Most people don’t get enough fiber through their daily diet, even though it’s actually very easy to reach the recommended daily intake with a well balanced diet.
Getting enough fiber in your daily diet is a fantastic little secret to get you on your way to weight loss, however. Proper levels of fiber have many, MANY benefits including: Better glucose absorption into the blood stream, easier passing of waste, and greater satiety after meal time. Any time you can make yourself feel fuller, longer, can help avoid eating unnecessary calories which leads to weight loss. Throw in the extra weight lost through excretion, and it’s a quick way to drop a few pounds.
Everyone knows that stress can cause you to gain weight, but how? Your body releases the hormone cortisol when it’s stressed, which leads to higher insulin and lower blood sugar levels. This, in turn, leads to a craving for sugary foods and beverages. Most people can’t say no to comfort food, so the calories flood into our systems. Add in that cortisol tends to cause the body to deposit those extra calories solely around the waist, and it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
Finding a way to take your mind off whatever is bothering you and reducing your overall stress levels can drastically lower your overall level cortisol levels. Lower cortisol levels means your body won’t crave as much junk, and your body can process food much more efficiently.
There are supplements out there that can also help naturally reduce your cortisol levels, if you are a chronic worrier. Your doctor can help you decide if any supplements are right for any diagnosed issue. Supplements such as Ashwagandha, can also help those without any diagnosed conditioned reduce their cortisol levels, leading to a greater loss in extra weight.
Don’t celebrate after your morning victory stretch as you crawl out of bed. Stretching itself won’t cause you to burn too many calories, and it won’t shed the 15 pounds most people put on during quarantine.
What it can do, however, is increase your range of motion, allowing you to get better results from strength training and endurance activities. That increased ROM leads to a greater workouts, increased lean mass, and greater loss of fats held within the body.
It also reduces stress and helps elevate your metabolism, both leading to greater potential for fat loss.
2. Ditch the ‘Miracle’ Supplements
Look. Everyone wants a miracle cure for extra weight that doesn’t involve changing our lifestyle. Cutting back on calories, burning extra calories to compensate for diet, or needing to think, uncritically, about what we ingest just isn’t always fun. Especially at first.
Sadly, we don’t have any miracle supplements that can give you your dream body overnight. Nor do we have any non-intrusive methods to quickly shed pounds that don’t require months of recovery.
Be wary of any supplement or substance that says it will miraculously melt all the fat off of your body. This is especially true if you buy them in an alley. Best case scenario, they cost a bunch of money and only give minor benefits, if any. Worst case scenario is that they throw off your hormonal balance, cause an over-ingestion of vitamins, or worse.
Know what you are taking and why before you even buy it. Want some help picking out supplements that will actually help? Throw us a line, and let us help you figure out what could work best for your unique body.
As with anything, consistency is key. Working out twice a week probably isn’t going to do you much good in the way of shedding some of that quarantine weight. Neither is working out six days a week with a crappy diet. Instead, work to build a consistent habit of a healthy lifestyle.
Be consistent. You will be amazed.
They say it takes 90 days to make a habit. Start today. Make small, positive changes in your day-to-day life, and the quarantine 15 will disappear faster than summer in Alaska.
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