"My Body Hates Me, What Should I Be Doing During This Quarantine?"
If you are like me, you’ve probably begun to get a little too used to the lethargic lifestyle.
At first, it was, “Oh, I’ll just slow down for a couple of weeks while working from home.” After 3 weeks in, my body felt tired, despite not doing much at all, and my mind was definitely far from sharp. Seemingly the only creativity I was consuming came from memes and my most strenuous workout was the half crunch and squat it takes to get up off the couch.
Needless to say, it was time for a change.
The main difference I have noticed is fatigue from a general lack of exercise and basic movement. This seems counterintuitive. Why am I so tired from not doing hardly anything at all?
At the around one month mark, I noticed that my body was super weak and groggy. After some research, I realized that the lactic acid that had built up is due to a lack of muscle activation and overall circulation that we get on a daily basis just walking around. The more our heart rate increases, the more fresh blood is pumping through our bodies, the more our cells can regenerate, and the better we feel. I’m no scientist but I can say that after making some drastic changes (which I share below), I feel way better physically and even more important, mentally.
Like many people, I belong to a gym and use this as my single source of exercise throughout a normal week. With the luxury and abundance of a one-stop-shop fitness solution, I had to get creative, which during a quarantine, was even more challenging as it’s so easy to say, “Eh, I’ll try that tomorrow.” Thanks to Instagram Live and friends’ stories, I was able to find 3 forms of easy, at-home activity that can at least get my blood flowing.
The one common theme that most of these at-home workouts have is a yoga mat. You can literally do anything with a yoga mat. Stretching (duh), calisthenics, higher intensity workouts, upper body, lower body, full body, you name it. And if you are like me, my knees generally start to hurt after bouncing around or doing lunges on hardwood so the yoga mat is super helpful.
Now, how do you get started? While the endless scrolling on Instagram generally rots my brain, I was able to find some good out of it. Everywhere you look, fitness clubs, gyms, studios, you name it, are going free classes on IG Live to give back to the community and keep their followers fresh. I was avoiding this for so long thinking it was just for health nuts and gym hardo’s that do crazy workouts but they have actually made the programs super accessible for anyone from novice to expert.
That leads me into my first at-home movement hack, yoga.
Let me first caveat that I have never been an avid “yogi” outside of a class every now and then with friends. Many studios have cult followings that I never felt I fit in with. On the flip side, that’s exactly what I have found welcoming about at-home yoga, you don’t have to be “good” at it. You kind of just move and stretch at your body’s own pace all the while allowing your muscles to contract and expand and introducing circulation to maintain that loose and fresh feeling.
While many yoga classes can seem slow and monotonous, I found a really cool female-founded company that does Hip Hop Yoga to keep ADD/ADHD people like myself more engaged and upbeat throughout the practice. The company is called Y7 Studio (@y7studio on IG). Their unique cadence of “flows” will surely keep you active with your favorite rap-inspired themes from Biggie and Tupac to Lizzo and Drake while providing a chance to sweat at the same time. Super easy and fun for any at-home routine.
The second account I’ve been working with is a boxing gym that has locations in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Similar to yoga, all you need is a mat and some space to throw air punches with other calisthenics worked in. These trainers are very hyped up and are guaranteed to give you a solid sweat as you mix shadow boxing with some abs, push-ups, air squats and other fun movements.
They say you can work in dumbbell weights but the “classes” are just as challenging with your own body weight. The back and forth cadence of boxing movements to normal ground workouts in short timed intervals gives you a sense of gradual completion that you don’t even realize 40 minutes have gone by when the trainer announces time for a cool down.
For a more upbeat, house music workout vibe, check out Rumble Boxing (@doyourumble) to see their live classes each day.
Lastly, I use the more conventional gym model that Equinox (@equinox) offers to select various activities like I normally would if gyms were open. I like to introduce new and fun workouts that are always full-body centric and keep you on your toes. A lot of these classes use normal workout movements like lunges, crunches, jumping jacks while also working in a bunch of other new activities that I’ve never done but are super easy to learn. I even found myself working in these new fun movements on my own.
Thanks to platforms like Instagram Live, you can go access free classes from many different fitness groups and nutrition/cooking tutorials as well. While we are all stuck at home, the internet has really helped to stay on top of health trends and hacks for people like me who need a little extra push.
Throughout this process, I’ve found that variety is the number one focus. Just like White Goodman says in Dodgeball, “You gotta keep the body guessing!”