How to keep training during lockdown — an athlete’s guide

The last few weeks have been hard, as countries gradually enter a lockdown state, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. All types of businesses and economies have been affected. And all activities have been disrupted. Now, we all need to stay creative and find new ways to stay on track. The same goes for athletes; professional or “hobbyists”, we need to keep training during lockdown.

Training at home is old news and it may, at times, come with a few caveats. But it’s totally feasible. And if you don’t believe us, have a look at Arnold’s no-gym workout routine. Now, we’ve got more than a decade of experience in personal training. And we thought we’d use it to share some useful tips.

Tips to keep training during lockdown

We’ve put together a few pieces of advice that may help you keep training during lockdown, from the safety of your home. Let’s go through them!

1. Allow for physical and mental regeneration

Being at general lockdown is a tough situation. We may all need some time to take it in and find ways to adjust our lifestyle to a new reality. Don’t stress yourself about it. Give yourself a short-term break for physical and mental regeneration. It will help you come at it anew, with commitment and determination

2. Try some exercises for a small space

There is a host of exercises that require very little space. You can try them at home, even at a very small room. Try sessions like Yoga, Pilates, Core training and stretching. You’ll start breaking a sweat in seconds and you’ll start building your core strength in no time. 

3. Do some introspection

Especially if you can’t work from home, you’ll have plenty of time on your hands. Give some time into deeply analyzing data from previous training sessions. Try to find where your own limitations lie and define aspects where you need further improvement.

4. Try strength training routines

Did you know you can use micro-equipment, to promote muscular strength, even at home? Of course you did! And training during lockdown is a great way to give them a run of the mill worth for their money 🙂 . Get some dumbbells, barbells, body bars, kettlebells, sandbags, or even TRX (or resistance bands) and make some steam. In lack of training equipment, you can use your own body as your “barbell”; gravity will do the rest

5. Set your goals on a schedule

Goal-setting is hard. Following a process towards a goal is even harder. Having a sneak peek at the big picture is a catalyst to getting started. Plan your next weekly goal wisely and allow yourself to mentally prepare for it, beforehand. If you miss a session, re-schedule based on what will make the most impact towards your goal. Besides, planning and scheduling for your next objective works wonders in preparing you mentally and psychologically. Even if you can’t get started yet, preparing for it makes it your own new reality.

6. Eat healthy

Depending on your eating habits, you may think it makes no real difference. But eating healthy helps you store less fat, and burn existing fat with normal metabolic activity. The quality of fat you consume makes a big difference in the way your body will deal with it. Healthy fats (mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) will help you keep your calories low and your energy levels high. Trans fats, on the other hand, mostly found in junk food and packaged food, will give you extra weight and keep your energy levels rather low.

If you can cook, you can control what you eat a thousand times better than ordering out. But if you do have to order out, try to find some nice places with home-made recipes to use, as you keep training during lockdown.

7. Read books and articles

You need to keep your mind busy and entertained. There’s nothing like a good book to get your imagination running. But you can spend some time learning new things; why not get the best out of it? You can read books and articles (such as this one) to learn more about athletic performance and ways to improve it. When the lockdown is over, you’ll be in top shape; and everyone else will remain none the wiser. 

8. Consider getting a turbo trainer or a treadmill

First things first; some activities can’t happen in small spaces without at least some basic gear. 

If you opt for a turbo trainer for indoor cycling sessions, fun is guaranteed for the whole family. And to top it off, this type of exercise is very effective in keeping your stamina in good shape. After a while, you may also augment the experience with some virtual events. More on that later.

Then again, if you’re more of a runner, you may opt for a treadmill. And we’ve seen more than one different imaginative ways to make treadmill training more interesting and entertaining, over the years. A brief search over at YouTube is sure to give you some ideas. You may eventually burn more calories and build your lower extremities to the next level, with high intensity, low-volume exercise. Built-in inclination (and declination) capability will improve your aerobic performance. And it works wonders when you need to work on walking or running uphill or downhill. Especially when training during lockdown.

The choice is yours!

9. Mind your sleep routine

Don’t forget! A good sleep routine is of paramount importance to your performance as an athlete. Professional athletes typically need 8-10 hours of restful sleep every night, to let muscular tissue rejuvenate from their recent training session. An average adult should get 7-9 hours of sleep to avoid the effects of sleep deprivation, on psychology and physiology alike. Similarly, teenage athletes need 8-9 hours of sleep each night.

Which one are you? And are you getting enough sleep? If not, get some more, starting tonight!

10. Have some fun

On a more serious note, we all know a preparation for events like Ironman can have you veer off course with the remaining aspects of your life. And that’s because they require a great amount of commitment on your side. As a side-effect you may start missing out on quality time with family, friends and pets. Try to strike the right balance by scheduling some time for everyone, besides your activities. Before you know it, you’ll have full and rewarding days that will keep your spirits up and motivate you through your next steps towards optimal physical prowess.

11. Get into virtual events

Virtual events for indoor cycling are bustling with people training from home. Even more so during these days, when they’re trying to keep training during lockdown. The bristling energy you’ll find in such events will help you get an resulting in an unprecedented sense of motivation. If you have a TV set and a power trainer, why not give them a try? You might end up with a championship trophy on your mantelpiece. And it will be a great conversation starter once we’re ready to claim our daily routine back.

12. Create challenges

You may be training alone. But, chances are, before this “training during lockdown” thing came up, you were training in the company of good friends with some healthy competition going on. Now, creating challenges for yourself is a perfectly good option. But it’s so much easier to do it when you’re creating challenges for the whole team to compete against. If you’ve gone full-on virtual, you can do it with other athletes, too. You can start with small challenges, like total exercise duration, in a week’s worth of practice. And you can ramp it up from there, the way you like. Sounds like a plan?

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Just another mountain to climb

The situation we’re in, is keeping us nearly under siege. It’s only natural that we’re stressed and deeply worried about the outcome. At the end of the day, if we see it as another mountain to climb and put in the effort to adjust to new circumstances, we’ll be able to see through it. Working together, we can get over it. And we can do it at a personal level, as well as a community level. As difficult as it seems, we think we’re made for greater things. We can do this. Let’s give it a try! And, according to the World Health Organization, exercise means better health. Why not give your health an upgrade? Let’s make training during lockdown our own, personal start.

How to keep training during lockdown — an athlete’s guide was last modified: August 1st, 2022 by Aris Myrkos