Lockdown Coaches Blog 2.1 – By Ben Golebiowski
I’ve been given the task of identifying some lockdown habits for you all. Let’s focus on the good, and the bad might just make themselves apparent. Important to remember that these habits are all subjective – I may consider them good, you might not. That’s okay, these are merely guidelines, backed by science and accepted (generally) by most as good…
Probably not the most important habit to consider, but I am writing this to a CrossFit gym member base, so it makes sense to start here right?
Limited with equipment, yes, limited in movement? Hell no. The age old cliche of “something is better than nothing”. Make regular movement a priority – a walk, a run, a swim (are we allowed to swim?), or tuning into the daily WODs that have been modified by the coaching team. No it’s not that glamorous ring muscle up, or 1RM Snatch, but those things will be there when we get back. This is short term and we need to maintain some kind of fitness. Maintaining some kind of strength and cardio base will leave you in a better position to pick things up (literally) where you left off when lockdown is lifted.
Mental health is important, and exercise is proven to be one of the most effective tools in managing this aspect of our life. I could talk about endorphins and the effect they have on the brain etc., but you can Google that stuff…as your coach, just trust in my words and make exercise of any kind a priority over lockdown. There are a number of physical benefits obviously – reduced risk of injury, muscular strength, heart strength, increased blood flow etc. You know all of this stuff…it’s why you joined the gym. So take that basic knowledge and apply it over lockdown. Adapt to your situation and make the best of it. No excuses…we have a team of ~16 coaches available to you and we’re all happy to assist if you’re having a tough time!! But ultimately it’s up to you…make the right choice
Food & Hydration
You think I’m going to talk about eating “healthy” right…Wrong. What does that even mean? End of the day (and the start and middle), just eat. Food is just fuel, good and bad doesn’t exist, except in your head. There are obviously foods that produce better results physically and mentally, and provide longevity to life. But, sometimes you just need a pie, or a beer, or both. So listen to what your body needs and feed it accordingly.
Again, mental health is important, and although I’ve not seen the science specifically, I’m sure there is a strong correlation between good mental health and pies….
I would generally advise not to fall into a trap of only eating pies and drinking beers, but that is your choice, and some food is better than no food in my opinion.
There are a number of factors in people’s diets – money/income, culture, upbringing, stress, knowledge etc. so it would be silly of me to sit here and point out what you should and shouldn’t do. For some, that may just not be realistic. However, below are some very broad guidelines based on my experiences and what has worked for myself, and my clients;
Eat your colours (often known as vegetables). Unsure if this will actually put hairs on your chest like dad used to say, but they are rich with micronutrients, important for SO many key functions within the body. Proven to aid in performance and recovery etc.
Aim to get protein in at every meal. No this isn’t going to make you jacked, contrary to popular belief. Important for many functions within the body, but commonly known for muscle repair, which is kind of important for performance and recovery… if you’re a runner, or a bodybuilder, protein is equally important for us all. So eat it. Meat eater or not, find it and eat it.
Eat carbs. They don’t make you fat, overeating generally makes you fat. Just eat the damn things. They’re good for you, trust me. They’re our main fuel source after all which you’ll need for the workouts. Aim to get most of your carbs from whole sources and maybe limit your sugar intake, as it doesn’t do much for you by way of return on investment… you’ll likely be hungry again within minutes because of how it’s processed in the body.
Hydrate – you know the drill. Drink your water. It’s good for brain health, joint health, organ health and just generally not feeling like shit. If you have access to electrolytes, drink these pre/intra/post training for enhanced recovery.
Take it easy on yourself – you’re allowed that treat, you’re allowed to have sugar and fat and processed food. Our biggest enemy with regards to food is ourselves. Set realistic goals and do your darndest to stick to them. But remember we’re human, we make mistakes. Don’t feel bad about straying from your goals a little. Saddle up and get back on the horse! Consistency will win every time.
Rest & Sleep
Very underrated until recent years. But trust me, the science is rock solid. Rest and sleep are good for you!! Do both, and do both frequently. We simply cannot sustain high intensity activities over extended periods of time without rest. Your body will literally start to fail on you if there isn’t adequate time for recovery – this could be an injury, or something more severe. Muscles, joints, ligaments, organs etc., all need time to heal after strenuous events such as exercise, so please ensure you have regular rest days, and get those ZZZZZZs… 8 hours a night is the minimum recommendation.
Our very own Coach, and Physio, John Jenkins posted a great discussion on sleep and why it’s important. I suggest you check that out if you haven’t already.
Above are my key thoughts with regards to good and bad habits through lockdown. This may differ for some, but given the target audience of a gym, talking about anything other than exercise, food/hydration, and rest/sleep, would seem a little ‘off’ right? It’s literally what you pay to know about.
However, as a special treat…outside of CCW, I have an actual job, and am lucky enough to manage a team of my own. Some of my biggest learnings as a team leader are applying some of the following habits while in tricky situations (such as a lockdown). Give them a whirl on top of the fitness related thingies above…
Maintain routine and be strict on your work hours. Don’t work late just because you’re at home. Switch that computer off sooner rather than later, and get into your home life.
Take frequent breaks throughout the day. Keep the mind clear and prevent the body from seizing on you.
Set small and realistic goals. Achieving things is good for your mental health. Small wins equate to big wins in time, so keep racking them up!
Communicate often – talk to friends and family, or a professional if things are getting a little tough. A problem shared is a problem halved.
If you’ve got a partner, have fun, often…yeah you know what I mean by fun
If you don’t have a partner, have fun with yourself, often…
Try something new! You’ll be amazed at what you might find that brings you joy. Hell, start a DJ career for all I care
Appreciate the small things and be present in the moment. We have it fucken good really, be thankful for that.
Written with love, and a hint of sarcasm here and there.