Here at How to Bulk Muscle, we try to write articles that won’t go bad over time. We do this by sticking to established facts of nutrition and exercise science, rather than playing newspaper or chasing trendy clickbait headlines.
However, it looks like Covid-19 is going to stick around for a while and our readers have been asking us about activities that they can do safely to stay in shape during this uncertain time. Whether you’re trying to stay socially distant yourself or you want to get out there and lift but gyms are closed in your area, staying home doesn’t have to mean staying on the couch.
Here, we’ll cover exercise, nutrition, mental health and more – all tools that you can add to your quarantine repertoire.
Bring the Gym to You
You can take the athlete out of the gym, but you can’t take the gym out of the athlete. If you can’t make it to the gym, bring the gym to you!
If you have the means to outfit a whole home gym, HTBM has a complete buying guide to help you out. If you feel comfortable going to a sporting goods store or big box store near you, that may be your best option. If your retail accessibility is more limited, what isn’t deliverable these days?
Don’t have a fortune to buy equipment or a wing of your house dedicated to exercise space? With a few low-end purchases and rearranging some furniture that you probably already have in your home, you can put together a decent workout space on a budget.
Explore New Workouts
No matter what industry or aspect of life you’re looking at, the pandemic has been less about ending activities and more about changing how activities are done. Needing to switch up how you normally work out can be a great opportunity to explore new workouts.
High Intensity Interval Training and body resistance workouts are both great options that require hardly any space and virtually no specialized equipment. Taking this opportunity to explore these workouts out of necessity may change how you work out even when you can get back in the gym.
Work Out Outside (While Staying Socially Distanced)
On a related note, staying safe doesn’t have to mean staying inside. Activities that can be done outside but apart from others include walking, running, jogging and parkour.
If you live in an urban center, this may take some careful planning, as jogging around your neighborhood may still put you in close proximity to others and the World Health Organization advises against wearing a mask during exercises. While studies have found that masks on their own don’t limit you, additional perspiration from vigorous activity can cause problems.
Instead, consider heading to parks or nature areas where you are less likely to come within close proximity to others. You may also want to consider fitting in your walk, run, or jog in the morning or evening when there are likely to be fewer people about.
Notice that we said “morning or evening” and not “nighttime.” Don’t let avoiding Covid put you in danger from other factors like low light, low temperatures, or criminals.
Another way to fit in more exercise is to stop thinking about exercise and start thinking about activity. Any time that you’re up and about, you’re burning calories and building muscle. So, consider using your time away from the gym to do more work around the house.
If you live in an apartment and can’t find many chores to do, consider reaching out to community resources and charity organizations. These organizations often organize service projects to benefit the elderly, and they often have work that they need volunteers for.
Spend Gym Time in the Kitchen
A theme throughout a number of HTBM articles is that exercise is only half of the battle – your nutrition is important too.
Fast food chains and delivery services have been capitalizing on this moment but you can make the most of it too. Consider dusting off the cook pot and learning some new recipes.
You don’t have to jump on the sourdough sensation that’s inexplicably sweeping the nation, but learning how to make some delicious and nutritious meals can be a good use of time and energy.
If you already know your way around the kitchen, that’s great – but you never know all that there is to know.
If you’re new to cooking, try to start with the basics and with things that won’t make you (too) sick if they aren’t prepared properly. That doesn’t have to limit you to salads, but beef can be very forgiving. Maybe stay away from things like chicken and fish until you become confident with your cooking skills.
This is also a good opportunity to fit in a quick PSA – alcohol is a depressant. So, while drinking in moderation can make you feel better (or, at least, less worse) for a little bit, drinking too much too often can make you feel worse over time.
Take Care of Your Mind as Well as Your Muscles
A final note is to be understanding and forgiving to yourself but never make excuses.
These are difficult times. If you come across a day when you don’t feel like you have it in you to exercise, do chores or cook, try not to beat yourself up too much. Take a day off with the intention of coming back refreshed the next day.
That having been said, keep coming back. Exercise is great for your mental health and if you use your (albeit understandable) anxiety and depression as an excuse to stop working out, it can only make you feel worse.
If you’re used to working out at the gym or with friends, this can be a difficult and challenging time for mental as well as physical health. However, if you look at it as an opportunity to explore new exercises, change how you think about exercising, and pick up some new tips and tricks, you’ll find yourself bringing those tools with you when you go back to the gym.
It may seem like there’s no end in sight, but if we take things one day at a time, we’ll get through this.