Finding it hard to adapt to life at home as coronavirus keeps us in quarantine? Eating ice cream for breakfast and not worked out in weeks?
Here’s our guide to keeping motivated and maintaining your health through lockdown!
Coronavirus has left nearly all of us in the unusual situation of being at home 24/7, with trips outside being a rarity. Working from your kitchen and schooling your kids from the lounge can be tough to adapt to, and leave your health and fitness routines neglected.
However, keeping active and focussed on your riding goals through this time can be easily achieved if you follow our five-point plan. These simple points will see you come out of quarantine as fit and fresh as you were when you went in to it!
When you spend most of the day working and living at home, it can be easy to lose a sense of daily structure. You may find yourself sending emails at midnight or working out at 5am – even if you never did before.
Keeping your daily routineb>and body clock in its regular pattern is key to staying healthy and balanced, and will help you be productive both with your work and your training. Get up at the same times, eat at the same times, work out at the same times. If you lose that daily structure, you can find yourself in the dangerous spiral of becoming unproductive and ill-disciplined.
Just as you need to maintain daily routines, likewise, maintain your weekly habits to prevent every day blurring into one. Although you may no longer be able to physically go out on your group ride or hang out with your friends at the weekend, replicate the experience using platforms such as Zwift to keep riding with your buddies, and apps like WhatsApp and Zoom to connect with friends as you do so.
By maintaining your old patterns and habits, you will find yourself better able to maintain your past motivations and fitness goals.Resist the urge to throw in the towel and sleep in until 11am every day and work through ‘til midnight.
Just as its important to continue your old daily and weekly routines, it’s vital to maintain your nutritional discipline. If you were looking to shed a few pounds or clean up your diet before lockdown, make sure you keep working at it!
Working from home and generally being indoors more can make it all too easy to go poking through the treats cupboard for ‘just one’ cookie to go with your morning coffee, or have ‘just a little’ ice cream after lunch. Don’t fall foul of eating out of boredom – did you have ice cream at your desk in the office? Maintain your dietary discipline and consistency.
If anything, now is the time to focus on preparing fresh, healthy meals that may not be so easy to access when you’re out at work. If you’re finding you have free time in the day as you don’t need to travel to work or take kids to school, try learning new healthy recipes or preparing a nutritious lunch for your work day.
Like so many of us, you may have found all your big cycling adventures, races and events cancelled due to the ongoing health situation. However, don’t let the loss of a big date in the diary prevent you from having goals! Goal-setting is a vital way of staying focussed, disciplined and motivated.
Firstly, make sure you commit to a new goal as soon as you can. Most races and events in early fall are still on the calendar, so use one of these as a replacement for any lost summer events. If you can’t find a good alternative event in late 2020, book in to something in 2021. Even if your big target is 12 months away, it’s better than nothing and gives you a long-term focus.
In the meantime, set some intermediate goals. A monthly objective, whether that is as simple as riding the indoor trainer twice a week or as ambitious as winning a Zwift race in the next month, will give you short-term focus to help guide you on the way to your longer-term objective.
This is perhaps the simplest, yet most important way of keeping motivated and focussed.
Making yourself accountable to someone will solidify your targets in your mind. You could tell yourself ‘I’m not going to eat cookies’ or ‘I’m going to ride my indoor trainer twice a week,’ but unless you share that objective with someone, it’s all too easy to give up on it.
Try enlisting a training buddy with similar goals to you, and share your plans with them. You could even do all your training sessions with each other on Zwift. Together, you can keep each other disciplined, and will give you someone to share your successes with.
If you can’t think of a suitable health and fitness partner, simply create a training diary. Every day, write down what you did that contributed to your health and fitness goals, and be honest – if you didn’t achieve what you had planned write this down too. A written account will make it clear in your mind what you are or are not doing, and will give you a sense of achievement when you document your progress.
One key thing to remember during this strange time is that you’re already under stress – you’re adapting to a new lifestyle and have a whole heap of new challenges to overcome every day.
If you feel stressed, anxious or are busy looking after loved ones, sometimes, a week off your bike won’t hurt if you simply haven’t the time or mental and physical energy. Don’t beat yourself up needlessly.
Keep the big picture in mind and be kind to yourself.
Keep safe, and keep well, from Chris, Nicole and the PRO BIKE TOOL