Our latest blog comes from Tom Eastham, the founder of Minimal Fitness. Tom is a fitness professional with 12 years' experience in the industry. He created the Minimal Fitness Method – a concept based around removing complexity and clutter - to help clients establish good long-term habits.
Tom shares his tips on staying healthy during lockdown.
Uncertainty is the word of the day – and if you’re feeling it, you’re not alone. As COVID-19 advances around the globe, most of us are finding ourselves ripped from our normal routines and rhythms, and the communities that support us. The gym is not just a place to build biceps and butts. Connecting to movement, strengthening our bodies, developing mental fortitude, and releasing stress is vital to our health and longevity.
Without the people and familiar routines, you’ve relied on in the past to keep you grounded and cheer you on, keeping a fitness routine is tough. Instagram is full of push-up challenges, living room burpees, and gyms trying to keep their collective families intact. Any way you can find to keep moving is worth doing, but figuring out how to train at home with everything else going on takes energy and motivation that you probably need for other things.
As a coach with decades of experience working with clients in a huge range of equipment situations and stations in life, I’ve seen first-hand that even with minimal equipment or none at all, you can still make progress on your strength, conditioning, and skills. The Minimal Fitness Method is a system of training that builds control and strength week by week, keeping you on a forward path and connecting you to the feeling of making progress.
Centre yourself and take daily action with thoughtful programming that balances movement patterns across your entire body, mixes challenging workouts that allow you to push with mindful recovery, including this each day and building a routine around it for the rest of your day can be a really powerful thing to do.
When looking at routines, we often want to list everything that we do and it becomes overwhelming. Something I have been thinking about recently is how to reduce my inputs. So, before looking at what to include, I want to float an idea past you:
We're prone to thinking that life is improved by addition.
A new house will make our life better. A new friend will add excitement. A new car will make me happier. A new idea will make us smarter. A new training plan will make get us the body we want.
Instead of addition, try subtraction.
Remove a negative relationship from your life.
Cancel one subscription.
Drop a mind-set that is holding you back.
Stop adding things and start removing what's holding you back.
Here are some of my top tips for creating new routines where you can HONOUR your priorities the way you envision yourself living them out:
Set a schedule each day. Ideally, one that you can repeat every single day.
Sleep - want to prioritise your sleep? Choose your sleep and wake time and make it the same every day. It's ok if at first you can't fall right asleep at the time on the clock you set or if you are still sleepy when it is time to get up. The key here in the first week is discipline and consistency. You will soon find a new rhythm.
Food - want to get away from mindless eating? Plate and photograph every single meal and snack you have. No eating out of a bag, box, or jar. If you are going to eat a bag of chips, pull that out of the bag, put it on a plate with whatever else you want to snack on, and then take a photograph on your phone before you eat it. Laying out all your food in front of you for every single meal or snack and cataloguing it is a powerful tool for self-awareness and intentional eating. The food diary you have sent in, served this purpose already.
Movement - the warm-up commitment. I have plenty of days myself that I just don't feel my normal desire to workout. What I always do is commit to at least a structured warm-up of 10-12mins. If you tell yourself you are simply going to move for 10mins with no distractions, almost always the movement of blood around the body will get you in a much better mood and likely motivate you to do more. If it doesn't, then no stress. At least you did some purposeful movement today.
Hydrate - I've read that getting adequate water daily is a powerful way to keep yourself healthy and lower the risk of viral infection right now. On top of that, quality hydration can improve physical performance, support weight loss, and increase mental focus. So make a daily habit. Drink one 500ml glass of water every other hour of the day. If you are awake for 12 hours that ends up being about 3 litres of water a day. Grab your glass and set a timer. It may feel like a lot of water to start but you will adapt and you will notice improvements quickly.
I also got asked about my personal underlying foundations of health/fitness that I want to keep in place going forward. These are developing every single day and I'm sure that by the end of all this they will have shifted again and become more concrete. But just a few of the things that I have on my list are as follows:
Walk Daily - I've been walking for about 60mins with my boy each day. Sometimes pushing his pram and sometimes carrying him.
Get Outside More - Being out of the gym has been a blessing. My home has easily accessible outdoor space and I make sure to spend time out there daily. If you don’t have outdoor space then the daily walk mentioned above is ideal. As restrictions on movement get lifted see if you can get outside a few more times each day.
Speak with close family and friends daily - Facetime with Mum and Grandpa is a regular occurrence and I'm feeling more connected to those closest to me than I have in years.
Cook something new every other day - So far I have made chocolate, lamb shanks, cookies, homemade pasta, protein balls and banana bread. It’s been so fun!
Of course, I have to work too, I am spending at least 6 hours a day on my laptop working. What I have found so good, is having a routine in place so that I can fit my work around it.
These simple things have become the bedrock of my day and it’s helped to keep me sane, whilst also ensuring I stay on the right path towards achieving the things I value most in life.
Stay healthy and thanks for reading
Follow Tom on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/minimalfitnesscoach/
Find out more here: http://minimalfitness.co.uk/