Maintaining focus on your fitness goal is important during this period. We must not let our environment effect how we think about our personal fitness goals; and more importantly how we act upon them. This blog has been written by Jon Lofthouse, Stack House Ambassador and IFBB Classic Physique Pro, and provides you with advise and suggestions on how you can maximise your training at home to maintain and even grow muscle size.
We cannot control our current circumstances, but we CAN control our bodies; what we eat, how we exercise, when we wake up and go to bed. As long as we have this, we have the ability to continue on our journey of improvement. Keep reading for some of my tips; and what I am doing to maintain focus on my goals during the lockdown life.
Develop a Routine
So, first things first, let’s get a routine. Don’t just think this up! Write it down! We are creatures of habit and understanding this will help us vastly. Organising our day is of the upmost importance, the larger task like work, all the way down to when we shower. Plan out your day, when we are going to go for a walk, what time will we train, when we are going to eat. I believe this is the foundation to any successful fitness programme.
Once you have your plan of action for each day stuck to the fridge or in your diary by your bed, your then ready to move into creating your training/eating regime
Input vs Output
Let’s get the diet and cardio down first, these are the 2 single and only factors that matter when it comes to losing body fat or gaining it.
I suggest firstly, that since we may not have access to heavy loads, these next couple months will be a good time to trim up and lose some body fat. We can control what we eat, and how much we move.
So! get in place a meal plan that is good for you! Whether that’s 3, 4 or 5 meals a day, you decide how many meals you think fits your schedule. How many meals you eat is not important, what is important is how much you eat in these meals and keep the focus on eating clean healthy food, good portion sizes and this will keep you on the track.
Once you have an eating plan you can maintain, you can get a base level of activity. Let’s go with 8k steps per day and you can increase from there if you feel you aren’t losing body fat. Everyone is different so by knowing your body and your goals you can adjust your level of activity and kind of activity you will undertake.
With regards to training, we may not have access to what we are used to. If you are used to strength and conditioning training then you might not have the barbells or dumbbells you would otherwise have used to achieve your goals. My recommendation here is to focus on using plenty of intensity techniques to make your session and exercises more challenging and demanding on your muscles. These techniques include:
- Super sets: Requiring you to move from one exercise to another without any rest in between. For example, bicep curls super set with dips.
- Giant sets: This is where you cluster 4 or more exercises per muscle group and similarly to above you will perform these exercises with little or no rest in between each exercise. For example, a giant set for your upper body could include superman, bent over rows, pull ups, prone W press.
- Slow Negatives: The muscles go through two phases of a movement during an exercise. These are shortening (contraction phase) and lengthening (relaxation phase). Slow negatives denotes that you slow down the muscle-lengthening element of an exercise. For example, in a push up exercise the show negative would take place on the decent when the chest muscles begin to lengthen.
- Partial reps: The range of motion is reduced during an exercise and focus is paid to a particular fibre or portion of the muscle you are working on. For example, the range of motion in a bicep curl is 3/4.
- Reduced rest periods: Reduce your rest and recovery period to intensify your training.
That’s but to name a few, there’s plenty of ways to increase training intensity without the need for adding weight. You’ll be surprised how many ways there are to train
Let’s make sure we focus on hitting multiple body parts per session and frequently training them each week.
If equipment is limited a great split would be Upper/Lower. All your upper body movements are performed in one day, and you would perform all your lower body exercises the next. Doing so, allows you to hit body parts more frequently to make up for the lost volume in the gym that you would normally hit them with.
Lastly, if you are stuck for ideas or need a little help with structure below is an example of a training plan I wrote for one of my clients with minimal equipment. These included.
core bag using 20kg
Rogue Strength ball
Kettlebell using 16kg