When it comes to training at the intensity you need to get results, the motivation doesn’t come easy. No one feels 100% on top of their game day in, day out. Believe it or not, even the top athletes have good and bad days and can get caught in a rut and struggle to find the motivation needed to push forward and excel within their sport.
As of recently our world has been turned upside down in the global pandemic known as ‘COVID19’. Your training has most likely been forced to change and change can be tough to embrace. Here are 5 key tips for you to consider implementing into your training to benefit out of the change you’ve been forced to make.
1. FIND A NEW SKILL TO FOCUS ON
Have you ever wanted to learn how to perform a handstand hold or do a bar muscle up? These kind of movements usually take a lot of time, consistency and eat into your main training focus time. With gyms being closed and equipment not easily accessible now’s the perfect time to learn a new skill. You may be less excited about your training at this time so having a new motive could be what you need to keep moving.
Where to start? For gymnastics based movements, I would recommend getting in contact with a gymnastics coach, some even have programs purely based on learning these kind of skills. My personal favourite is Hang Strong Gymnastics. They program gymnastics for CrossFit athletes and to build mobility and motor patterns necessary for these specific movements. If you’re looking to learn some less complex movements get onto a local Personal Trainer who will be able to help you progress in the skill your looking to learn.
2. GET YOUR NUTRITION ON TRACK
A statement that’s often made is that its 80% diet, 20% training. This statement obviously isn’t 100% accurate as each individuals body is so different from one another’s. Genetics, body type, sleep, occupation, hormones they all play a role. What that statement does do is it gets you thinking about how important nutrition is to your appearance and health. You can’t do a few bicep curls and ab crunches and expect to be shredded. Being home a lot more than usual, it’s a tough time to keep your food consumption and clean eating under control. After all, food makes us happy right? Obesity is also a key symptom of depression.
While gyms are closed and training motivation is most likely down, nutrition will have never been so important to you.
If your activity levels are lower than normal during this time, your daily calorie intake should also be lower. If you’ve never tracked your calorie consumption before, download a calorie tracking app. My personal favourite is ‘MyFitnessPal’. Use an online Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculator that includes your activity levels in it and start off with the number of calories it gives you per day. Monitor yourself by look, feel, weight closely and make small adjustments as necessary, 100 calorie increments at a time. Remember that when making changes like this, your body takes time to adapt, when you change your calorie count give it a month or more before making any rash decisions.
You can never be too mobile. Majority of exercises require you to have mobility to be able to work through a full range of movement. Even if you don’t do much over head work or program many explosive movements in your workouts. You don’t want to be that person who’s pumping out 40kg dumbbell shoulder presses but everyone talking under there breath saying “he hasn’t even completed one full rep yet”.
If you’ve got the spare time, add a 20 – 30 minute yoga session into your training a couple times per week. ROMWOD is my personal favourite mobility program to use. Its subscription based and you can even choose to target specific areas of the body you feel need more work. The sessions are specifically designed for athletes who are already smashing there bodies with intense training and not designed to be a training session itself.
4. INCREASE YOUR CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS
Cardio is probably the most practical form of exercise. You can increase your cardiovascular fitness without using any equipment what so ever as it doesn’t require much variation in movements to keep progressing unlike pumping iron does. All you’ve got to do is get the heart rate up which can be achieved through so many body weight movements: running, cycling, burpees, box jumps, the list goes on. If your main focus in training is strength or aesthetics it’s still in your best interest to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Having a better recovery rate by being more cardiovascular fit means a faster recovery in between sets. Watch your training buddy start failing on set 3 while your still completing your sets right through to set 4 because you’re fully recovered in a shorter period of time while they’re not because they got the cardiovascular fitness of a sloth.
5. INCREASE YOUR STEP COUNT
Going for a walk daily is a very underestimated form of exercise. It puts no strain on your body, you can add it in on top of your intense training program and you will be surprised as to what a difference it can make. Generally the more time you’re at home per day, the more unnecessary food you’re going to eat. Going for a 45-60 minute walk is time spent out of the house, burning extra calories rather than putting in extra calories. Walks have also been proven to level out hormones, increase metabolism and put the mind in a state of relaxation.