by Kajs Hadžić
of KH Performance Lab
Many of the New Year's Resolutioners aren't eating nutritious meals or showing up to the gym anymore. This time, it's not because of their lack of willpower (not entirely, anyway). Due to the coronavirus outbreak, most gyms are closed, and grocery stores are low on food due to panic shopping. Here's how you can achieve your fitness goals when civilization comes to a screeching halt.
Pandemic Pantry Picks
Hand sanitizer and toilet paper (an inferior ass-cleaning alternative to the bidet) aren't the only goods in short supply; your favorite foods are flying off the shelves like bats. While many restaurants are still serving meals for delivery or carry-out, you should resist the urge to subsist on prepared meals, especially when you're probably living off your savings for the foreseeable future. Instead, stock up on non-perishable food when the grocery store is picked clean of fresh meat and produce.
Canned tuna is an easy-to-cook and low-fat protein source. If you aren't a fan of the flavor, then you can mask it with pickled veggies and/or beans for a well-balanced meal that will keep you full for a while. I prefer canned tuna in water vs oil; that way you can regulate the fat content yourself. Adding some olive oil, lemon, and oregano will lighten up the fishy taste. Otherwise, avoid canned meat, which isn't as tasty or nutritious as fresh meat.
Fruits and Veggies
Adding pickled vegetables like cucumbers and olives to your meal will give it a tangy flavor. Fermented vegetables contain probiotics that will benefit your gut microbiota and, in turn, your digestion and immune system. Your medical mask might smell funny after eating them, but nobody will be close enough to notice.
Stock up on frozen fruits for smoothies and oatmeal as well as frozen veggies for soups and stews. If you have access to fresh fruit, then make sure to separate the apples, avocados, bananas, pears, peaches, kiwis, apricots, nectarines, and plums from each other, as they produce ethene gas, which will make other fruits and veggies ripen faster and go bad quickly.
Canned beans have a mild taste that makes them easy to mix into dishes. Combining them with grains will even out the amino acid deficiencies and increase the bio-availability of the protein in your meal. They are also high in fiber, protein, and saponins, whose benefits include dropping cholesterol and inhibiting inflammatory processes. Rinse your beans to dull the bitterness imparted by saponins as well as keep your sodium intake in check. Lentils, green beans, and peas are also suitable options. While lentils will be more suited as a meal base, green beans and peas will do better as mix-ins or side dishes.
Pastas keep for a long time, making them perfect carb sources when grocery stores are low on food. Don't worry whether they are whole grain or refined if they're not your primary source of fiber, as the nutritional content is comparable. For breakfast, choose oatmeal over cereal for more fiber and less refined sugar at a lower price.
Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts are the undisputed champ with a close to perfect ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. Just 2 oz. of walnuts will cover close to your entire requirement of the essential fatty acids. Pick unsalted and unroasted variants whenever possible, and stay away from nut butters, which are calorie dense and easy to overeat.
Yet Another Coronavirus Home Workout
Most gyms are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so you might be tempted to skip workouts. I've created two programs--one bodyweight only, one with minimal gym equipment--to run until the gyms reopen. Between these programs and your newfound free time, you have no excuses.
The internet is awash with other quarantine workouts, but unlike most of them, mine don't involve doing step-ups on your coffee table or other nonsense. There's an accident in the home every 10 seconds, so use proper form even though there's little to no weight on you.
I. BODYWEIGHT ONLY
A. Full-Body Circuit
- One-and-a-half push ups x 10
- Plank hold x 30 sec.
- Squat jumps x 10
- Squat hold x 30 sec.
- Hollow rocks x 10
- Hollow rock hold x max time
Rest 1-2 min., then repeat for five rounds.
B. Upper Body Workout
- Pike push ups x 8 and Pseudo push ups x 16 (2 supersets)
- Triceps dips x12 + Close grip push ups x12 (3 supersets)
- Elbow lifts x15 + Inverted bodyweight row x10 (3 supersets)
- Wide grip push ups x15 + Decline push ups x15 (3 supersets)
- One of the following (5 circuits)
The Pike Pushup
The Pseudo Pushup (note the hand position)
C. Lower Body Workout
- Squat jumps x10
- Frog glute raises x15
- Lunges (walking lunges if possible) x20
- Cossack squats x20
- Walking on your toes x 1 min.
Rest 15 sec. between exercises and 1-2 min. per round. Repeat for five rounds.
The Frog Glute Raise
The Cossack Squat
II. MINIMAL EQUIPMENT (e.g., 1 dumbbell, 1 kettlebell or a suited heavier object that you can hold comfortably with one hand)
A. Full body
Perform as many rounds as you can comfortably manage in 15 minutes:
- One arm DB/KB swings x10
- One arm DB/KB snatches x6 each side
- Squats x15
- Alternating renegade rows x10
- One arm Z press x8 each side
- Alternating Cossack squats x12
- Sit ups with DB/KB x15
Rest as little as possible. Try to keep moving.
2. Upper body
- Bent over rows x10 per side (5 rounds)
- Glute bridge floor press x10 (5 rounds)
- Alternating push up x12 + Renegade row x12 (6 rounds)
- Front + side shoulder raises x8 per side (4 rounds)
- Isolateral biceps curls x8 per side + bilateral/regular biceps curls x16 (3 rounds)
- Isolateral triceps extensions x8 per side + bilateral/regular triceps extensions x16 (3 rounds)
3. Lower body
Do the same exercises from the bodyweight only lower body workout, but add weight. You could also add overhead squats or overhead lunges into the mix for some added stability work.
We're All (Possibly) Gonna Make It
As bad as COVID-19 is, the world probably won't end any time soon. Keep pursuing your fitness goals when you're cooped up at home even though you can't squat, bench, and deadlift as much as you could at a gym. As always, wash your hands, stay away from people who might be sick, and dab every time you're about to cough or sneeze. You might lose some muscle and strength because of the compromises you've had to make due to the coronavirus outbreak, but you can get them back. Your retirement fund, on the other hand...
NEED MORE HELP?
One of my longtime sponsors, Examine, has a free ebook with information about COVID-19 and tips to stay healthy during lockdown.