Fresh Food is the Best Food!

Many people are aware of the relationship between food and our health. Through the choices we make every day we can change our physiological wellbeing in a positive or negative way. However, in this Covid-19 pandemic situation people tend to get more packed and processed foods, on the other hand fresh fruits, veggies and whole non-processed foods are left behind as a food choice. This might be because of the fresh foods short expiry dates or the opportunity for people to go out shopping every day, which led to stocking of long lasting products that fill up shelves in our homes.

All this can make daily food consumption monotonous and poor in macro and micro nutrients such as the quality protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals, which in theory we know a lot about but we do not apply in practice. Therefore it is necessary to change the processed foods with foods rich in quality macro and micro nutrients as well as antioxidants.

Why we should do this? Well, here are some important reasons of why we should consume whole and fresh foods more frequently to boost our diet and therefore our health:

  • The modern diet is expensive for our immune systems – nearly 70% of our immune cells are present in our digestive system which ultimately makes these cells in direct contact with the food we consume on daily basis;
  • It makes a difference in our bodies of what food source we feed it with – processed food requires less energy to digest and absorb, while non-processed food not only gives the body with quality micro and macro nutrients, but it also take part in many important vital processes within the body;
  • Food is not just a fuel, and our body is not a machine that just requires it – many people understand the importance on the food choices, and for them is important only to have sources of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, but they do not look at the quality of them. This is a huge factor, and the better the quality of the food, the better the physiological response of our bodies will be when food is digested and absorbed. So here it is, food is not just fuel, but it is also information to our bodies.

It is commonly mentioned that eating healthy and well is expensive and takes a lot of time. This can be partially true and depends on factors such as; considering your budget that is for food only, getting to know the prices and the place you buy products, planning beforehand, also good organisation while shopping, and last but not least being creative when cooking in the kitchen.

So, to save some time for menu refreshing it is always good to put some effort in our habits such as planning, organised shopping, and creative imagination in the kitchen. Also it’s good always to involve members of your household in all this as you give everyone appropriate tasks to do, as it breaks the barrier of boredom whilst at home.

A Word On The ‘Fitness Lifestyle’

If you are a new to the ‘fitness lifestyle’, have all the good intentions but don’t know where and how to start, you are not alone. Very often I come across new members in the gym that took the first step towards a healthier lifestyle yet feel a little lost in regards to both training and dieting (remember if you focus on one but ignore the other, you are making things harder for yourself).

This is perfectly understandable considering that there is so much information out there which makes things even more complicated in the eyes of a beginner. There are so many ‘experts’ out there claiming that their approach is the right one. As if this wasn’t making things hard enough, most of those claims tend to contradict each other. High carb vs high fat, vegan vs carnivore, 1 meal vs 5 meal are just a few of these examples.

First things first, if you just began your fitness journey no matter what protocol you chose to follow, you are still better off than you were before. Be proud, be happy! Even if you change nothing in your diet, you will still see some progress. But this won’t last a lifetime. Eventually as you progress you will slowly realise the importance of nutrition. You will notice that while some days you feel a lot more energetic in the gym, some other days you’ll feel simply drained. You will also see fluctuations in your weight, but you will struggle to pinpoint what is causing it. Do not worry! You do not need to know everything, and that is why we the fitness professionals are here. To help you and guide you.

As a complete beginner I strongly advise you to ignore all the nonsense that you are being bombarded by the fitness industry, and stick to the basics. So what are these basics? It is “calories in, calories out” and the balance between the two. If you want to gain mass you need to eat more calories than you burn; if you want to maintain your current weight then what you eat and what you burn should be in balance; and if you want to lose weight you will have to burn more than you consume.

Fundamentally it makes no difference if you eat your calories in the form of your favourite chocolate bar or in so called super foods such as avocados and quinoa. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying these choices are completely equal, that would be simply ignorant, but the message I am trying to get across here is that all that matters for weight loss is how much you eat and how much you burn through physical activity.

And this brings us to the next step. How can you keep track of your calorie intake? Again considering that you are a complete beginner, I would suggest you to keep things as simple as possible. Don’t even waste time on calorie tracking apps such as Myfitnesspal, that will be the second step and I will talk about that later in another post. For now the best thing you can do is to keep a food diary. And trust me even this is harder than it seems to be, as the science says that majority of us tend to cheat and lie even to ourselves about how much food we eat. So you have to be 100% honest and note down everything you eat for 10 days, whilst also keeping track of your activity (gym sessions, walks etc) and measuring your weight on a daily basis.

After this time period you will be able to look back and see what amount of food was actually your maintenance intake. Only after that you will have a better understanding of how much you’ll need to eat in order to lose or gain weight. Also if you later decide to work with a personal trainer or a dietician this will be a great log which you can share with them to help them guide you more accurately.

The Impact of Stress on Exercise

It is believed that psychological stress and physical activity are directly related to each other. However, most research on this subject reveals that physical activity is an instrument to mitigate distress. Many studies vary in their theoretical orientation and included perceived stress, distress, life events, jobs, roles, work-family conflicts but not lifetime cumulative adversity. To make this question clear, it is suggested that stress have a huge negative impact on physical activities and exercises and encourage sedentary behaviour.

Stress is a word to describe experiences that are challenging emotionally and physiologically. This can also be defined as impinging stimulus or what systems are involved and how human body reacts when a state of threatened homeostasis occurs and how the body adapt by activating physiological, biochemical and cognitive-behavioural responses in order to regain homeostasis. After stress reactions the body always follows recovery process. Stress is associated with a host of mental symptoms as well, including cognitive dysfunction, dementia, and excessive fatigue. Stress is directly associated with declined physical activity which potentially may lead to obesity that contribute to other issues such as cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, delays in recovery from exercise and dampened muscular and neural adaptations are observed with chronic stress.

It is well known that physical activity has many positive effects on the physiological and psychological well-being. However, physical activities act as a stressor to the human body, though not an uncomfortable one.  “Exercise is a behavioural subset of PA and is defined as “Physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive and has as a final or intermediate objective the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness” (Caspersen et al, 1985). When the PA and stress relationship is explored, it has typically been within the perspective of improving mental health outcomes via exercise. It is suggested that individuals who participate in physical activities and exercise have lower rates of depression, negative affectivity and anxiety. However, physical activities and exercise has shown to promote positive changes in mental health and ability to deal with stressful situations.

Moreover, exercise appear to improve individual’s depression status. Also randomised clinical trials have determined that exercise and physical activities are effective methods for improving perceived stress, stress symptoms, and quality of life, neutralizes the effect of psychological stressors on cardiac activity. The majority of studies determine an inverse association of stress and physical activity behaviours. It is important to identify high-risk situations ahead of time is useful strategy and individuals that can predict stressors are usually more able to diminish losses associated with stress. Therefore, stressed individuals need to learn the importance of exercise as a method to emotionally cope. On the other hand, as exercise is a complex behaviour for newly active individuals, they require more planning of time.

Though the majority of studies regarding the relationship between stress and physical activity concludes that stress negatively affect physical activities, some individuals are immune to changes in physical activity and thrive under the condition of stress, but this needs to be investigated further. However, most studies suggest that physical activity and exercise can reduce emotional stress and can have a positive impact on individual’s mental health.

References:

Caspersen CJ, Powell KE, Christenson GM Public Health Rep. 1985 Mar-Apr; 100(2):126-31.

Stults-Kolehmainen, M.A., Sinha, R. The Effects of Stress on Physical Activity and Exercise. Sports Med 44, 81–121 (2014)

A Further Look Into Hydration In Sport and Exercise

It is essential to consume fluids in order for our bodies to function appropriately, however evidence suggest that during exercise individuals can experience a state of dehydration which can have a negative impact on exercise performance. It is therefore necessary to restore the fluid balance along with muscle glycogen after exercise in order to avoid any negative impact on sporting performance that is to follow.

There is research available which shows that drinking during exercise can improve performance. In any exercise task that lasts longer than 30–40 minutes, carbohydrate depletion, elevation of body temperature and reductions in the circulating fluid volume may be important factors in causing fatigue. All of these can be manipulated by the ingestion of fluids, but the most effective drink composition and the optimum amount of fluid will depend on individual circumstances. Water is not the optimum fluid for ingestion during endurance exercise, and there is compelling evidence that drinks containing added substrate and electrolytes are more effective in improving performance. Therefore, drinking pure water is better than drinking nothing, but consuming specifically formulated carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink can allow for even better exercise performance.

It is important to consume enough sodium and fluid to counter the deficit of the sweat volume lost in order to maintain hydration at a fast pace. The current generation of commercially available sports drinks are formulated to meet the needs of many athletes in many different situations. Dehydration impairs performance in most events, and athletes should be well hydrated before exercise. Sufficient fluid should be consumed during exercise to limit dehydration to less than about 2% of body mass. Also, sodium should be included when sweat losses are high, especially if exercise lasts more than about 2 hours. Athletes should not drink so much that they gain weight during exercise, however during recovery from exercise, rehydration should include replacement of both water and salts lost in sweat.

Before any exercise it is essential to ensure “euhydration” or so called normal level of hydration. Therefore after exercise which results in body mass loss caused by sweat loss, water and sodium should be consumed in greater quantity than the loses, as it is important for recovery optimisation and electrolyte balance. In addition to the hydration benefits that are caused by drinking during exercise, ingestion of cold drinks has shown to have an impact on body temperature when exercising in moderate or warm environments and improves exercise capacity in hot conditions.

Finally, the choice of drink to be consumed will depend on the individual and their specific circumstances. Replacement of substrate (muscle and liver glycogen) in addition to water and electrolyte losses is important to consider for post‐exercise phase and prepare the performer for upcoming exercises. On the other hand, in terms of sustaining life, substrate depletion is unlikely to have a negative effect in healthy individuals, but water depletion, if not replaced, can have adverse effects. The current generation of commercially available sports drinks are a good compromised formulation to meet the needs of many athletes in many different situations.

References:

Consensus Statement (2004) IOC consensus statement on sports nutrition 2003. Journal of Sports Sciences 22: x 

Coyle EF (2004) Fluid and fuel intake during exercise. Journal of Sports Sciences 22: 39– 55.

Lee JKW, Shirreffs SM & Maughan RJ (2008b) Cold drink ingestion improves exercise endurance capacity in the heat. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise 40: 1637– 44.

Shirreffs SM, Armstrong LE & Cheuvront SN (2004) Fluid and electrolyte needs for preparation and recovery from training and competition. Journal of Sports Sciences 22: 57– 63.

Shirreffs, S. M. (2009). Hydration in sport and exercise: water, sports drinks and other drinks. Nutrition bulletin, 34(4), 374-379.

Sleep: More Important Than You Think!

Sleep: More important than you think!

An average person spends about one third of their life sleeping. On top of that sleep plays an even more crucial role in athletic populations, especially in those that are still at growing ages. With all the scientific data today it is safe to say that the importance of sleep regarding the recovery and health of a person is undeniable.  It is proven to support healthy cognition, mood, tissue repair, immune function as well as many other important metabolic processes in the brain and body. 

Unfortunately sleep deprivation due to various reasons has become a very common phenomenon in today’s high pace society. The effects of sleep restriction and sleep deprivation can be observed in three contributors of overall performance – mood, cognitive performance, and motor performance. Findings of an earlier study done by VanHelder and Radomski (1989) suggested that a sleep deprivation up to 72 hours would have a significant impact on the time to exhaustion which in simple terms means getting tired quicker, and in addition to that Reilly and Piercy (1994) found that sleep deprivation negatively affected sub-maximal weight-lifting performance.

Previous literature on sleep has also shown that when an athlete/person has irregular sleep, the release of growth hormone and cortisol secretion are affected, which then has a detrimental effect on recovery from both stress and exercise. Lack of sleep has been shown to also elevate pro-inflammatory cytokines, which have been recognized as facilitators of pain and can lead to effects on the immune system, decreased muscle recovery and disparity of the autonomic nervous system.

Cohen et al., (2009) completed a study which supports this claim. Within this study, participants were asked to track their sleeping pattern and were then given the active cold virus. It was discovered that those who had less than 7 hours sleep before receiving the virus, had an increased chance of developing a cold after being administered the cold virus when compared to those participants who were sleeping 8 hours a night or more.

Substance use is another very common sleep disruptor in both athletic and general populations. The most commonly used substances in this category can be listed as caffeine (stimulant) and alcohol (depressant). While it could be strategically used to enhance athletic performance during both training and competition, it is recommended to avoid the use of caffeine after lunchtime, and that is due to its considerably long half-life of 3-7 hours which then may interfere with the onset of sleep.

Since alcohol is not considered to be an ergogenic aid unlike caffeine it is suggested that athletes should either completely avoid alcohol use or stop its consumption 3-4 hours before sleep time. And that is because contrary to common perception of alcohol as a sleep aid, literature in this field claims alcohol to have a noticeable negative impact on sleep.

Light exposure is another variable that has an effect on both sleep quality and quantity. While daytime exposure to light has a sleep promoting effect later at night, exposure to bright lights in the evening can have a negative impact on circadian rhythm, and can worsen sleep quality through repressing the secretion of the ‘sleep hormone’ melatonin . Therefore it is recommended for athletes, and for anyone in that matter, to avoid environments with bright lights towards the end of the day.

At times when an individual faces challenges to achieve a full night sleep, day-time naps can be implemented in order to obtain the full amount of daily sleep the individual requires. While this does not necessarily mean that one can or should replace as much of night sleep with day-time naps, it should be seen as a strategy to supplement total sleep time. On the other hand naps come with their own benefits such as a short term boost in overall performance in case of a lack of sleep (Brooks and Lack, 2006).

An Introduction to Core

The core includes all major muscles that stabilize your spine. These include the whole abdominal area from front wrapping all the way around to the back, then all the small muscles along the spinal column. These muscles help the body to bend forward, backwards and sideways, stand up straight, twist, and stabilize the spine during movement. Usually during exercise we emphasise the major core muscles like abdominals and back muscles which are normally larger such as rectus abdominis, oblques, erecor spinae, and hip muscles.

However, there are more muscles that are smaller and are located deeper than the larger muscles which normally don’t produce a lot of movement, they only contract statically in order to stabilize the spine during upper or lower body movements. Such muscles include transversus abdominis(TA), piriformis, pelvic floor, multifidi and other muscles in the hip and core. These muscles are divided into global (larger movable) muscles and local (static contracting) muscles.

During movement, the local core muscles that stabilize the spine are not automatically activated when the global muscles are engaged. When TA activates, it flattens the abdominal wall and compresses the organs which acts like weight belt that increases the pressure in the abdominal cavity. Therefore individuals that lack strength in their TA normally tend to have a bulge in the abdominal wall when standing which increase the arching of the lower back and it is associated with lower back pain. However, to achieve maximal stabilization of the spine, the TA must engage before the upper and lower limb movements, but in individuals who have lower back pain this contraction is delayed. Also another important spine stabilizer is the mutifidi muscles which assist with the spine rotation and extension, which control the motion between adjacent vertebrae. It is suggested that in order to engage the multifidi is related to the ability to contract the TA.

If the standard core exercises such as crunches, planks, and back extensions are not performed in correct form, the local core muscles are not engaged. An effective technique to learn how to activate the TA is the abdominal hollowing manoeuvre. This can be performed in different positions such as on the back, on all fours, prone, seated, or standing against the wall. In order to perform this in supinae position (on the back), bend knees and place the spine in neutral position. Then Inhale while pulling the abdomen toward your spine, after that exhale as you perform the abdominal hollowing technique, holding 5-6 seconds, repeat 10-30 times. Check the lower back stays in neutral position during the exercise, and if your back flattens, that means other muscles besides the TA are contracting.

This is a very effective exercise that activates the TA. Such exercises added to the standard core exercises can lead to better equilibrium and stability whether performing in sports or daily activities. However, most sports and physical activities depend on a stable core muscles, and having strong core prevents risk of injuries, body is more balanced and flexible. Giving the right training to core muscles makes life easier and enhances health, which its exercises are not time consuming and can be done anywhere without any equipment.

References:

LEECH, G. (2013). WORKOUT AT HOME. AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY94, 87.

Liebenson, C. (2003). Functional “Core” Workout. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 7(1), 22-24.

Core strength training for patients with chronic low back pain. Journal of Physical Therapy Science (2015, ncbi.nih.gov) 

Strength Training From Home

Due to the spread of Coronavirus, the government enforced rules in order to reduce social interactions and reduce the spread of the virus. Some policies include the closing of sports clubs, fitness and leisure centres, and community sports grounds. Social gatherings of more than two people are prohibited; therefore the participation in group sports activities is brought to minimum.

While the lockdown has been implemented, there are some practical and effective training approaches that can be done from home that aim to decrease the adverse effects of quarantine. Research has shown that younger age groups are more likely to maintain leisure time sport and exercise activities (LTSE) during such period, compared with older people. LTSE levels will decline significantly overall due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, but many people have adapted their regimes with this situation by doing home-based workouts. Adherence to home-based exercises is complex and it requires a high level of intrinsic motivation.

Skipping is a great workout that can be done at home

In relation to metabolic workouts, studies suggest that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or circuit training can be conducted in different ways that can be done with bodyweight. Fitness variables such as speed, strength, power, and coordination can be developed in lockdown by using adjusted strategies (e.g., HIIT bodywork, jump squats, straight line run, push ups, etc.. ). Crucially, HIIT has shown to have a positive immunological adaptation which occurs in 48 hours interval in between sessions. A very practical and beneficial way to conduct a home training is by doing plyometric exercises, as it has a high demand for eccentric force when performing jumps, squats etc, and it is related with many benefits for sports-related performance such as speed, strength and power.

Using bodyweight training differs from traditional techniques applied at the gym, as the exercises are done in intervals which ultimately leads to increased muscular strength and endurance as well as physical capacity. Thus, it is considered that high interval training is functional due to the natural movements of the body which engage the majority of the muscles. Bodyweight exercises stimulate the postural muscles, and also improve balance and flexibility.

Pull-up bars can also be purchased for home use

Bodyweight training is considered more advantageous, as it is more accessible form of training and can be done anywhere and anytime without any equipment, compared to weight training. On the other hand there are some disadvantages of bodyweight training such as being perceived as too easy for the experienced and too hard for novice individuals. However, bodyweight is considered to have effective conditioning when properly manipulated and can result in increased strength and stamina.

Though bodyweight training requires instructions on technique and appropriate progression for results, it does not require special equipment or specific place to do it. Any form of physical activity is beneficial – either bodyweight training or weight training bring its own fruits of physiological development. However, using both training methods can effectively show optimal results and a strong functional individual.

References:

Azevedo, A. M., Petiot, G. H., Clemente, F. M., Nakamura, F. Y., & Aquino, R. (2020). Home training recommendations for soccer players during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harrison, J. S. (2010). Bodyweight training: A return to basics. Strength & Conditioning Journal32(2), 52-55.

Mutz, M., & Gerke, M. (2020). Sport and exercise in times of self-quarantine: how Germans changed their behaviour at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 1012690220934335.

Lipecki, K., & Rutowicz, B. (2015). The impact of ten weeks of bodyweight training on the level of physical fitness and selected parameters of body composition in women aged 21-23 years. Polish Journal of Sport and Tourism22(2), 64-68.

Posture: Look Good, Feel Good!

So you have worked the whole day, and then decided to hit the gym on your way back home. So far, so good. But if you think that that 1 hour workout on its own is going to make up for the 8 hours of slouching at your desk, I have bad news for you. This is not much different than hoping that a 1 day of dieting will make up for all the Christmas feast that has now officially become a part of your belly. Unfortunately they both are just wishful thinking. But I have also good news for you. There are a few extra steps that you can take in order to improve your posture and significantly reduce the risk of posture based chronic pains in the long run.

Before we move on, let’s understand what good posture is, and how it can help us improve the quality of our lifes.

Good posture helps you in the following ways (https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/4485-back-health-and-posture) :

  • Keeps bones and joints in the correct position (alignment) so that muscles are being used properly.
  • Helps cut down on the wear and tear of joint surfaces (such as the knee) to help prevent the onset of arthritis.
  • Decreases the strain on the ligaments in the spine.
  • Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, which allows the body to use less energy.
  • Prevents backache and muscular pain.

And let’s move on to the little details that you can work on and that will have a positive impact on your posture in the long run:

  1. Do not slouch. I know it’s easier to relax all your muscles and let your spine do all the work for you, but the price may be a bit higher than you are willing to pay. This habit adds extra stress to your spine as well as certain bones, tendons and joints. It can even put extra stress on your internal organs such as your lungs and intestines, which can eventually lead to complications in your breathing and digestive system. Instead you should sit tall on your chair, maybe even use a rolled-up towel behind your mid-back to support your spines natural curve. Also standing up and moving around every half an hour is a good strategy.
  • Stand up tall. Hold your head straight and tuck in your chin. Keep your shoulders back, knees straight, and belly tucked in. Your ears should be over the middle of your shoulders. Try to stand as tall as possible (Do not tiptoe! That’s cheating!)
  • Mindful texting. Smartphones are now a part of life, we can’t argue that. But when you tilt your head down to do whatever you’re up to on your phone, this will add extra strain on your spine and surrounding musculature. You may think a few seconds of bad posture would not hurt but if you consider the amount you spend on your phone, you’ll know it’s not a good idea (Let’s be honest it’s more than enough to turn you into a world known bodybuilder if you were to spend that much time in the gym). Instead lift your phone up, and let your eyes do the work, not your neck.
  • This one goes to all the ladies that enjoy the extra sex appeal of high heels. This fashion doesn’t seem to disappear soon, and neither do we want it to. But this attracting look and a few extra inches come with a hidden cost, a cost that your feet, knees and spine will have to pay. It’s simply because when you wear high heels you have to re-adjust your centre of mass in a way that pushes the base of your spine forward, and over-arches your back. And this eventually puts extra pressure on nerves and leads to back pain. Try to keep them for special occasions and avoid using them on a daily basis and for longer durations.
  • Sleep right. You’re not 15 anymore, and neither is your spine. It’s no surprise that you feel like you fell off of a tree when you wake up after a long nights sleep in awkward positions on your ultra soft mattress designed for princesses. Remember you spend –hopefully- a good amount of time sleeping.  Try to get a firmer mattress that will support your spines natural curve while you sleep. If you’re a side sleeper, find a decent pillow to keep your neck level with your spine. If you’re a back sleeper, go for a smaller pillow rather than a thick one.
  • Strengthen your core. Yes, I know you work out. But this is a little different than pumping up your pectorals or glutes. Having visible abs is also not the key, so forget about those never ending crunches. If you think about it, as you sit all day, your frontal core muscles remain in a shortened state. So strengthen them while elongating them.  You can never go wrong with planks!

Aydin Parmaksizoglu

Band Training For Bodybuilding During Lockdown   

As part of measures put in place to control the spread of coronavirus, all gyms in the country were closed and bodybuilders are facing a difficult time keeping fit. They usually train for hours almost daily in the in gym following a strict diet. During lockdown, there are no competitions to prepare for, no places available for training and they have difficulty staying fit and following the diet. Most of the bodybuilders who prepared for summer competitions had to change their diet and they have returned to a bulking phase because they are not sure when they will have to start cutting. This has had a negative impact on their development in the sport.

Bodybuilding training programs are built around lifting heavier weights, so most of them have had to improvise their workouts and train at home. However, most home equipment will not have the same impact as a set of dumbbells, barbells and plates. But part of the key for bodybuilders is to change the way they workout, focusing on the volume of repetitions and putting the muscles under tension for longer to get a result similar to the gym. Therefore, it is crucial for bodybuilders to push their sets close to failure. This type of workout is called “metabolic stress style workouts”. Metabolic stress is commonly known as “pumping” and refers to cell swelling and increased acidity – the “burning” of a muscle during training. This happens when longer repetitions are performed with shorter rest periods and there is a lot of scientific research that shows that it contributes to muscle growth (Fink et.al.,2016).

Unfortunately for bodybuilders and for the people who love this sport, most of the competitions were cancelled or reschedule due to pandemic situations and new decisions were made by the competent authorities. (IFBB, 2020). As a result, this will be a stressful and hard period for professional bodybuilders leading up to the end of the year.

‘Make it Happen’ – Michael Jordan

 

I don’t think any athlete or coach put a “covid-19 lockdown” phase in their calendar when planning for 2020. We can no longer practice exactly how we used to we don’t know when we will be able to again but we can adapt.

If you picked up an injury mid-season you’d adapt and find other ways to get in the training – use that same mentality now. It is simply adjusting your routine and making it happen.

Don’t think too long term, stay present. Work in 7-day time frames. Invest time in putting together weekly plans, Monday through to Sunday and stick to it. If you haven’t watched The Last Dance on Netflix, make that a priority for this week!

Above all, use this time to reflect, clear your mind and reset goals as with solitude comes great power. Find out for yourself:

What brings you energy?

What brings you peace?

What motivates you?

What are you grateful for?

and write it down.

View this time as a gift to work on the things you said you would do however the timing was never right. Maybe you said you’d get more hours of sleep, maybe it’s time to start meditating, maybe it’s time to start a consistent skin/hair care routine, maybe it’s time to cut down your screen time and read an actual book. Whatever it is, you now have the time to do it. Make it happen.