Thoughts From Quarantine: Week 7


As necessary as these quarantine rules are to stop the spread of COVID-19, folks are starting to get stir crazy. To clarify: I fully support staying inside as long as it takes to keep this virus from spiking again. I also acknowledge that it sucks.

In that light, as we fall kicking and screaming, into week 7 of isolation protocols in my home state of Washington, I have 2 tips about how to keep it together and not come out wishing we had done more to stay in shape.

– Lean on Routine
– Adjust your Nutrition

Get your fins and goggles on; we’re diving in!

The days are starting to slip by and mesh together a bit. Luckily, since my job is online compatible, I have a handful of things that make me aware of what day it is. Kind of.

The real saving grace in times like this is routine. The daily habits that maintain your body and mind are going to become less and less appealing. I know they have for me.

Putting all the things you know you should do into a daily routine eliminates your chance to question whether you want to do them today. Instead, they’re just part of a block of stuff you do daily.

When I have to decide whether or not I want to exercise, it takes more will power to make myself do it. I love exercise and still some days I’d opt for the couch instead. But when it’s built into my morning routine I don’t even think about whether I want to workout, I just do because its habitual, next on the list.

Build a manageable daily routine that includes everything that needs daily maintenance.

– Wake up and put on workout clothes
– Walk/feed dogs
– work out
– brew coffee
– make breakfast
– shower/floss/brush teeth
– 5 minutes of breathing/gratitude practice
– work

I hate to say it, but our bodies now are different from our pre-quarantine bodies. A few major factors have changed in our Resting Metabolic Rate and Non Exercise Activity.

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the caloric price tag of keeping you alive and well. Maintaining tissues, brain function, homeostasis functions like breathing; these all cost calories. If you carry less lean muscle mass than you did 7 weeks ago, you probably require fewer calories. Your RMR can also be affected by the next key factor to your current homeostasis maintenance and overall calorie expenditure.

Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) accounts for all calories burned through movement that was NOT intentional exercise. Those daily step goals? That’s setting a goal for NEAT. Now that we can’t go to work, grab coffee, run errands, or visit friends and family, our activity level has taken a nosedive. All those calories burned by locomotion are gone. 

Making appropriate adjustments doesn’t require much. I don’t endorse meticulously counting every single calorie you eat all day. For most, it’s a tedious, unsustainable task. With no way to get an accurate idea of your daily expenditure right now (your FitBit has no clue how many calories you burn by the way) there are 2 eating guidelines that could do the trick.

To keep your calories in check: eat meals slowly and until you’re 80% full. Avoid mindless snacking due to boredom. That’s it. Hop on the scale once per week and make sure you’re still roughly the same weight.  

To keep your muscle: do at least 3 bodyweight strength training workouts per week. Don’t unnecessarily complicate things. On days you really don’t feel like working out, remember that something is always vastly superior to nothing. Do your warm-up and/or one exercise and see how you feel. Usually you’ll finish the workout and if you don’t, one exercise is better than zero.

Keep coming back. Every week I post a new Thoughts From Quarantine article and one other article on health and fitness. I cover exercise, mobility practices, nutrition, sleep, and stress management regularly.

Subscribe and share this blog with anyone who may benefit from it.

If you want more hands-on help, contact me. I’m happy to talk.