If you felt like working from home has made it harder to move, and easier to open the fridge and snack, trust me, you are not alone.
At this moment, there is a fridge to my left. So in less than 5 seconds I could pop the freezer open, grab the ice-cream and start watching whatever Netflix believes is number seven in Sweden. The only reason I'm not doing that is this: I do not have any ice-cream.
So should you just eat less and exercise more? Not really.
In a conversation about diet with a friend, he says to me: "Dude! It's obvious, just calories in, calories out". Unfortunately, not only is this not true, but most of the time it is hard to implement ayway. Quality matters, and building a habit related to diet or exercise is far too complex to be summarized like that. But those who were born on the finish line, usually think they understand the race.
Instead of explaining the boring part, let us go through 6 tactics to stay in shape.
But you may already be doing some of the things below. So select the one strategy that is easiest for you first. And focus on that for the next week (and only on that) .
I would love to help keep you accountable so please let me know which one you selected. Let's go:
1 - Eliminate sweet drinks and added sugars
For some it's coke, for others it's organic fruit juice. While the latter is safer in many aspects, when it comes to glucose they both have an incredibly high impact. Juicing breaks down the fiber, denatures the proteins and accelerates oxidation. So no matter what your west-coast juice-fasting friend says, juicing is not as healthy as it is claimed to be. So drop the juice, and drop everything that has added sugar (yes, even if it's coconut nectar or date syrup).
You have one day a week where you can eat anything you want, the rest is out of question. Even if the same amount of glucose is ingested, having it on one day, is better than spreading it throughout the week.
In my experience, the glucose response to having a fruit juice is only reasonable after about one hour of high intensity training (such as brazilian jiu-jutsu or obstacle course racing).
2 - Use a kettlebell
Whether you are trying to gain muscle or lose fat, resistance exercise is more effective than cardio. If you are to use one tool to exercise,
I'd highly recommend a ketllebell. I would recommend getting both a lighter 8kg kettlebell for women (12kg for men) and a 12kg kettlebell (16kg for men). The lighter one can be used for contr
olled movements and the heavier one for high intensity swings.
15min twice a week of kettlebell exercises goes a long way. Don't get me wrong, I love other tools as well but gymnastic rings and squat racks are just impractical.
Want an easy and highly effective kettlebell exercise? Check out this video of the kettlebell swing by Tim Ferriss.
3 - More protein, bro
It is hard to lower the amount of carbohydrates taken, instead focus on adding more protein in your meals. Naturally, if you eat twice the amount of protein you will feel full and find it harder to eat more (unless you are drinking coke in which case you skipped step 1 above). If you can go further, replace carbohydrates that are fast to digest, such as bread, rice and fruits with ones that are slower to digest such as lentils, beans, sweet potatoes and carrots.
4 - Walk for at least 40min a day
This is a way of getting both some time to relax, take a break from work and get a zone 2 type of exercise in. Technically, zone 2 training is the highest effort you can sustain while keeping your lactic acid level below 2mmol per liter. But you can think of it as the kind of exercise where you can still keep a normal conversation. Going through the benefits of training in zone 2 is beyond this email but to name a few: it is necessary in increasing mitochondrial density & function,
If you can stick to having meals rather than snacking, great. But when I'm working from home, the fridge whispers to my ears, and who am I to ignore it? So if you are going to snack make sure your snacks are higher in fat and protein, but very low in carbohydrates: such as nuts, avocados, unsweetened yogurt, blueberries etc. I like to have sardines as a snack but that never made me the most popular person in the room.
If you find yourself snacking often, try to keep your eating window shorter. Like eating from 10am to 8pm instead of 8am to 8pm. If you wanna find more about the benefits of this, look for the research done by Satchin Panda on Time Restricted Eating (sometimes called intermittent fasting in pop-culture).
6 - Get to bed earlier, do not exercise before bed (keep at least 4hours)
I'm mentioning this at the end but sleep is probably more important than any of the other variables when it comes to general health, and definitely affects both diet and exercise.
You will often see people going for a run in the middle of the night, this unfortunately is very detrimental for sleep. Again this email is too short to explain why so you will have to take my word for it. On the other hand, exercising earlier in the day leads to a better quality sleep.
Another simple trick to just get to bed earlier that works for me is: wanna go to bed at 11:30pm, plan to go to bed at 9:30pm. This may not be the case for different people, but trying to get to bed at 9:30pm helps me plan my dinner and activities earlier, and I barely make it to 11:30.
Have a friend who's looking for tips like this? It would mean a lot to me if you forward this to them.
Thank you and have a beautiful day.