Low Hanging Fruit
by Erik Castiglione
We’re 3 weeks into Stay at Home, and many of us are going a little stir crazy. Originally, I thought I was going to be able to use this time to get ahead in house projects, work my way through my ever increasing reading list, and churn out enough blog articles to have us covered through the rest of the year. However, having a 14-month-old in need of near constant entertainment threw a wrench in that agenda. And, it’s compounded by the fact that one of her favorite activities is mashing on my back-lit laptop keyboard.
It took me a week and a half of wallowing in self-pity to get my shit together, and I still have crappy days. Every new membership hold threatens to send me in another downward spiral, so believe me when I tell you, I understand the stress. So, how can we break up the monotony of the day to day and maintain our sanity? Let’s start with some low hanging fruit and go from there.
Focus on getting 8+ hours per night. Start a bedtime routine and implement it at the same time each night.
For those tracking your macros: Evaluate your current activity level compared to what you do normally. Are you less active? Lower your daily calories by about ~200. Doing less weight training that normal? Make sure to keep your protein levels high to prevent muscle loss (>30%).
New to food prep? Keep things simple. Pick 2 proteins, 2 fats, 2 carb sources, and 2 veggies. Use spices, cooking styles, etc. to be creative. Learn to prep, cook, and enjoy.
Looking for new ideas? Feel free to partake in the CFR Healthy Eating Challenge. Details can be found in our secret FB group.
Stick to a program if you can. Our Home WOD program is designed to be done with little to no equipment. We regulate intensity enough that you can do it 7 days per week, depending on your fitness base (I’m 2 weeks in with no off days).
Still following our CrossFit programming? You may have the occasional off day, and that’s normal. Stress levels are running incredibly high right now, which can interfere with your training. Focus on technique, rather than going for PRs if you’re having a bad day.
Doing your own thing? That’s cool too. Try to focus on building your base of fitness:
Work on your bodyweight movements – accumulate volume in the basics (push-ups, squats, sit-ups), and build to more advanced (HSPU, Pistols, V-ups). Increase conditioning by manipulating rest periods.
Build your aerobic capacity by going for long rows or runs a couple times per week – especially if you’re having an off day. Work on MOBILITY – foam roll, use lacrosse balls, find sticky positions, and unstick them.
Try to schedule your weekdays like you would under normal conditions. Obviously, those with kids and distance learning will have a harder time with this. Still, if you can block out time for exercise, meals, work, leisure, etc., it will give some structure to your days, which can be soothing. I also highly recommend blocking some time to go for walks. Getting outside is HUGE. Additionally, there are immense benefits to walking. From Dr. John Rusin:
One of the most undervalued (and often times disregarded) advantages of daily walking is cognitive enhancement, stress reduction and overall improvement of wellness.
Increased blood flow isn’t just siphoned to the active musculature involved in the movement; it’s also shuttled to the brain. Increased cerebral blood flow also cuts the risk of vascular and degenerative diseases, but it also boosts creativity and the mental “flow” state.
Some of the most innovative minds the world has ever known, such as Einstein, Da Vinci, and a host of influential thinkers, went for walks. And I’m pretty sure we can all agree, it worked out pretty well for them.
You may be thinking that the reason you train is to gain mental clarity and refreshment, but who couldn’t use more of this? Walking is the key to tapping into your mental muscle while sparing your body the stress of overtraining.
Since walking is extremely low intensity and low impact, it can speed up recovery while mitigating stress in the joints and central nervous system, AKA id helps alleviate chronic stress.
During the active coordinated gait cycle, musculature of the legs, arms, and core become engaged in a reciprocal pattern in an on-and-off nature. This pattern taps into the oblique slings of the body made up of the glutes, core, lats, and pecs, in conjunction with agonist/antagonist contractions of the extremities in order to move the body forward smoothly.
These synergistic muscle actions place pressure through the lymphatic and venous systems in order to push excess fluid that’s accumulated through local stress back into central circulation. From there, excess fluid will be excreted centrally.
Managing local and systemic inflammation is the name of the game in recovery and stress reduction and walking is the simplest, easiest and most accessible way to do it.
Even short bouts of 10-15 minutes at a time daily can ignite creative juices and stimulate deep thought processes, neural regeneration and boosting of overall wellness throughout the day. And there’s also the added benefit of not sitting for eight hours, letting your posture melt into your chair, then trying to go perform at a high level later on.
So, focus on getting enough sleep, keep nutrition simple, get some kind of exercise in, go for walks, and schedule your day. Forming these habits now, when you have the time to focus on them, will pay huge dividends when the Stay at Home order is lifted. And remember, IT’S OKAY TO GO OFF THE WAGON. Just, try to get back on as soon as you can. And, most importantly, GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.