Chances are that you are sitting comfortably in front of your laptop or holding a phone close to your face, all poised to read this article.
Well, here’s something I urge you to do—walk around the room instead because this is a conversation with Arvind Ashok, co-founder of The Quad, a Chennai-based fitness company helping people get fit since 2011.
While their physical locations in Chennai remain closed through this lockdown, they have transitioned to a virtual fitness experience and are currently training more 600 people every day from all over the world, not just India.
For Arvind, a strength training junkie and an ultimate frisbee athlete who was into Olympic triathlons and marathons in the past, fitness has always been a part of life, even if the quest was a tad bit unconventional.
“Fitness for me has been completely self-taught given that there was a lack of systematic education for it,” begins Arvind.
Arvind tries to help us understand how health and fitness can, and should be a priority for everyone, especially during this period of self-isolation and lockdown. He emphasises that most of us don’t need a gym or a playground to keep fit. Our home is good enough, and our schedules and activities have enough room to fit in a fitness regime.
1. Make sure that moving around is made a priority
Whether you carve out exclusive time to work out or somehow manage to incorporate it into your routine, it is vital to get some amount of physical exercise in.
All through my conversation with Arvind, he was walking around his room. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be a very large space, but getting in to the habit of moving about is important. The steps do not matter. The fact that you are moving around and not used to your habit of sitting all the time—that’s the key.”
Tip: Set an alarm for every 30 minutes, and every time it beeps, get up and move around a bit before you settle back into your chair. During this time you could also get your self some water, as it is equally important to keep yourself well hydrated.
2. Scheduling time for a workout
“Make a schedule and be consistent,” says Arvind. What one needs to do is work towards making fitness a habit. Even if you are having a terrible day, try and squeeze in some kind of workout into it.
While it is important to have a schedule, do ensure that you do not overthink this.
“Take one day at a time, one step at a time.”
Arvind also mentions that while the internet is flooded with workout videos, it is essential that you find the one that is most suited for you.
“Refrain from jumping from one workout to the other. Picking one workout and sticking to that is what will be beneficial for you at this point.”
Tip: Refrain from tinkering with your fitness plan very often. Make a plan that you can work with and stick to it. All you need to do is get the ball rolling. Or better yet, follow someone else’s plan. Someone else who has been there and done it.
3. Befriend bodyweight workouts
Given the situation we are currently in, stepping out and going to a gym or doing an outdoor workout is not a viable option. In such a scenario, the next best thing is doing bodyweight workouts.
“Bodyweight exercises use the individual’s weight to provide resistance against gravity. While this sort of workout may not be and look as glamorous as what we often see in videos, it is amazing that just by using simple abilities such as pushing, pulling, squatting, bending, and twisting, you can enhance strength, flexibility, coordination and balance,” says Arvind.
Even within bodyweight workouts, there are various levels of intensity that one can choose to practice.
Tip: If you have access to a staircase, then you could walk up and down a few times. You could follow a basic lying down and standing up exercise routine or even do a basic squat. You can also attempt to do some basic core activation exercises.
“Do things successfully. Stay away from taking up things that are too hard for you. Focus on getting the technique right,” says Arvind.
4. Listen to your body
“If it hurts, stop immediately. Either your technique is off, or there is some issue that is cropping up that might need your attention,” says Arvind.
You must learn to distinguish between muscle soreness and joint pain. If the joints hurt, you need to stop what you are doing. However, if it is soreness that you are experiencing, then you still can continue to work out keeping in mind that pain.
One way to ascertain whether you are working out too much is to check if you feel the need to take a nap after you complete your workout.
“You should not be so wiped that you need to go and take a nap. Know your limits. You will have days where you feel a 9/10, which is when you must give it your all and work out well. However, on days when you feel only a 3/10, even a low-intensity workout, or a walk around the house, will suffice.”
Tip: Learn to listen to your body and workout accordingly. Stay active all 7 days of the week and try and get in 3 days of good workout into the mix.
The general template you could consider following is 1 day of intense workout, 2 days of medium-paced workout, and 3 days of a low-intensity workout. Ensure that you also focus on recovery.
5. Don’t aim to transform yourself through the lockdown
“Please note that there are never any quick-fix solutions, and the lockdown is not the time to try and emerge ‘x’ kgs lighter. If that is the mindset with which you are working out, then that needs to change,” says Arvind. What’s most important at this time is to keep your stress levels and anxiety under check.
Focus on things that you can control—get in enough protein, get that workout done, manage your sleep well and you will find that things fall into place.
“Now might not be a great time for a very strict diet. But, if a strict regime is what works for you and adds some value to your life, then go for it,” says Arvind.
Tip: Be sensible about approaching this lockdown period. Do not hoard junk that you know you will end up consuming at one go, at the same time do not deny yourself a treat every once in a while. Make conscious choices during this lockdown period.
If you want to know more about how to stay fit and what exercises you can do from the confines of your home, click here to access The Quad’s Instagram account.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)