Learn everything there Is to know about fItness, performance, fat loss and lifestyle from Adrian McDonnell.
With the Coronavirus forcing us all to return to home workouts and preventing us from going to the gym, a lot of us will have to return to the familiar (or maybe unfamiliar!) routine of training from our homes. First time around last March, this was a novelty to all of us. However, second time around, I feel everyone is better equipped and able to take charge of their health and fitness and not let the road block that is Covid 19 stand in our way.
Here’s my ultimate guide to getting a great home workout.
Everyone thrives of routine and structure. I for one not only like knowing in advance when I’m going to the gym but also what I’m going doing. This means two things:
Why is this important? You are prioritising and making time for yourself which is something we all need to do more of. If we don’t prioritise our own health, something or someone will always get in the way and we have a tendency to put our training to the back foot. We work longer hours than normal, get distracted by social media, don't feel motivated to train orget asked to do a favour.
Once you schedule your workouts, your week will have structure and you will have a better understanding of what you can say yes and no to (although with Covid there aren’t many things happening we need to say no to which may make training that bit easier!).
Once your week has structure, it’s time to add the same to your workouts. Writing down your exact training program and recording the number of sets and reps you do each week is fundamental for you to progress on a daily basis.
The Warm Up
It is important to warm up properly and prime your body for movement. On my Instagram Page I posted a full body warm up I had been following during lockdown which helped me move and perform better. Click here to check it out. In general, you want to ensure you’re warming up the muscles you’re about to train gradually and adequately. This may mean in you having to perform upper and/or lower body exercises.
Obviously all of us have access to different forms of equipment (or maybe none at all) so I’m going to keep the workout as generic as possible so everyone reading can gain something from it. Although the weights you’ll be using will likely be lower than normal, it’s still important to ensure your form and technique is on point. The last thing you want to do is get an injury on top of being in quarantine.
My recommendation would be to perform full body workouts seen as the stimulus and load will likely be less than normal. Here are some of the best exercises you can perform with limited equipment. I have included progressions of all of these baseline exercises so that if you’re more advanced, you can still get a training effect.
If you’re looking to add more HIIT work into your workouts you could include some of the following exercises:
These are just sample exercises. There are a lot of different directions you can go with these but if I was to go into full detail, it would make this article very long! If you want additional, in depth help, I would recommend checking out my Lean for Life or Aesthetic Athlete Program. This will take the guess work out of it for you and allow you to perform a training program applicable to your current fitness levels.
I would recommend some form of movement everyday. As Kelly Starrett would say “movement is medicine.” That doesn’t mean you have to do a gym workout everyday – some days you might go for a 30 minute walk or work on your mobility instead. But most of us are sitting more than usual so its important to consciously try and move everyday.
The lighter weights we’re lifting and the higher reps we’re doing should allow you to recover quicker than normal so I would recommend starting off with a minimum of 3 days a week.
Side note: There’s no debating the calories in vs calories out debate for fat loss. However, if you are eating in a calorie deficit but your progress has stalled, it may be due to the fact that you’re calories out (exercising) has reduced. And often, this is not because we are working out in the gym less, but because we are not moving around more on an hourly and daily basis i.e. walking less and sitting more (rather than working out less) might be playing a bigger factor than you realise in why you’re not losing weight.
Intensity, Reps, Rest and Progressions
Muscles are built through tension so I would advise against performing a set number of sets and reps. For example, if you can do 30 push ups but limit yourself to 10 push ups, you are not going to get much of a training stimulus. What I’d recommend is to train each movement 1-2 reps shy of failure (if you’re using lighter loads – not if you are able to do heavy barbell or compound lifts). Training each movement to failure or near failure should be enough for you to get a training stimulus and at the very least maintain your current physique. Chances are you won’t be able to add more weight so adding extra reps than previously is going to be important.
Take shorter rest periods than normal so you can exhaust the muscle quicker. During lockdown 1.0 I consciously tried to limit my rest periods (for the most part) to the time it took me to walk over to the mantlepiece and take a quick sip of water before returning back to the weights. A common fault which I’d advise against is checking Instagram or texting in between rest periods. When you’re training train and limit all the distractions so you can make the most out of your session.
The number of sets you do should be determined by your recovery. If you are doing full body workouts 3x a week, start with 3-4 sets per muscle group and assess how you’re feeling. Feeling sore? Scale it back. Not sore? Could you try do more reps than previously or add an extra set or two. Again, due to the lighter weights and intensity, you will likely be doing more sets than you normally would in the gym.
You can progress your workouts in a number of ways. Here are some of my favourite ways:
If you allow all the negativity of the media to enter into your mind, it’s easy to get depressed and feel down about yourself. Exercising more frequently without a doubt is going to have physical benefits, but these are not nearly as important as the mental benefits. The repetition and discipline of doing it day in day out will build you from the inside out – not the other way around.
Block out all the noise, stop listening to the news so often and prioritise your physical and mental health. This way you’re putting your health & wellness and most importantly your mood in your own hands, not in the hands of the media. Couple this with a structured program to follow and you’ll come out of this lockdown in a better position than when you entered it.
Need more assistance? While the training tips I outlined here are more generic, in my online training, everything is much more specific. If you would like a tailored program to help you reach your specific goals, contact me today and we can talk things through in more detail.
Thanks for reading.
Adrian McDonnell -
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