While the gym is closed (temporarily)
I don’t know about you guys but I am a little stressed out. I assume that there is a certain degree of anxiety in all of us right now. But it is a beautiful, sunny day. We should be doing what we can to reduce stress as much as possible. I think we (myself included) should be using this time to rest and recover so that we are prepared when this is over and we will be able to get back to life and return to the gym. Rest and recover doesn’t mean “do nothing”. It really doesn’t mean binge on Netflix shows and gorge yourself on homemade chocolate chip cookies. Not that I know anyone who would do that. Exercise is still a part of rest and recovery. A robust aerobic system should be the foundation upon which your fitness should be built. When your body produces energy in the absence of oxygen, the lactate produced contributes to fatigue, stress, and drop in performance. When oxygen is present you can continue to produce energy without fatigue. A lack of efficient oxygen uptake can also contribute to depression and anxiety. Two things we don’t need to be contributing to right now especially. We live in the aerobic energy system. As you sit and read this your aerobic system is the one providing the energy. That is why it’s important to have an efficient aerobic system to supply oxygen and therefore energy to reduce stress and support higher intensity exercise. Aerobic work reduces inflammation and releases endorphins that give you a sense of well being.There is also a large mindfulness element in steady state aerobic work. Focusing on your breath or the rhythm of your feet hitting the ground can be a very grounding experience, almost zen-like. Giving your mind something to focus on rather than focusing on the worries of the world can be very therapeutic. As author Cathy Cassani Adams wrote, “Being present means that instead of being focused on what happened yesterday or what could happen tomorrow, you are simply here, now. It's about getting off autopilot and becoming aware of the automatic actions and reactions you are used to, and finding a place of clarity and calm. The present moment offers peace.” Some good metrics to track aerobic fitness and preparedness for higher intensity (and overall life) are BP, HR, and HRV. So if you can track any of those things you can gauge progress. We are shooting for BP of 115/75, waking HR in the 50s is optimal, and an HRV in the 80s. Any type of aerobic work that gets your heart rate between 130-150 for at least 30min is what we are aiming for. As many days a week as your schedule allows. More than 30min would be even more beneficial. If you work on getting yourself into these ranges I guarantee you will greatly help your stress and daily energy levels. If we establish a robust aerobic base it will make your workouts more efficient whenever we get back in the gym. This will lend itself to more efficient fat loss and increase your strength and performance which will lead to better long term results. Get outside (stay away from other people), get some sun and some vitamin D (stay away from other people), feel the ground under your feet (stay away from other people). Be mindful of your exercise (stay away from people and also from the chocolate chip cookies). Ok, maybe have a couple of those cookies. And The Last Kingdom on Netflix is pretty awesome. I think we’ve earned it.