Making Sense of Fitness in Today’s Unpredictable World

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Image source - Pexels.com

Got that quarantine fitness fatigue?  Finding it hard to maintain that momentum? Freshen it up with some fun ideas to keep that gorgeous glow going!  

With all the changes with what is open or closed this year, you may be unsure with how to start or continue your wellness routine.  Many people may still be at home, others have been essential workers throughout this pandemic, and some have returned to work only to be sent back home again.  Look, we all know we should exercise daily, but how do we make a plan to create and sustain a wellness program for ourselves that is fun and effective?

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Photo-by-kike-vega-on-Unsplash

Let’s start with refocusing on the basics:  Self-care, scheduling yourself first, and investing in your future body and self.  You are building the cells for your future body right now that you will have as a framework in another few years, so you want that body to have the best!

Putting time and money into wellness and preventative care versus spending it on medical needs later sounds logical, right?  You will spend the money one way or the other so you may as well have fun doing what you like!  Exercise releases healthy chemicals and hormones that help lift your mood, giving you clarity, help with sleep, all while improving your physical health.

Sadly, most gyms are closed until further notice and are unpredictable at best.  The shutdown was heartbreaking the first time around for sure.  There are many solutions for those of us “gym rats” that were going religiously for our strength training, power lifting, cardio, classes, and community.  It can take trying a few new things to find the right fit, intensity, and result you are looking for but, with the unreliability of gym settings and other in-person group exercise activities continuing through the various stages of rollout, we need to take control and create our own plan.  

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Photo-by-Bruno-Nascimento-on-Unsplash

Getting Started: Let’s just say, it sure doesn’t hurt to start with a new outfit and fresh kicks to get you in the exercising mood!  If you are on a budget, dig into those drawers and shop in your closet by mixing and matching up something new that you know will make the neighbor’s head turn!  Now…let’s get to business!  

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Exercise: Ask yourself what are the goals you are trying to achieve?  Some may want to improve or maintain heart health, some may want to shed some quarantine pounds or just stay the same weight in a more sedentary lifestyle, and some may want to connect with others to feel less isolated.  We have many options for you!  There are lots of places to look for your fitness inspiration with online classes.  For example, my trainers and I at Meraki Fitness hold several free live group online classes throughout the week to hop onto and connect with others while getting your choice of strength training, yoga, Pilates, barre, meditation and more done with a fun, energetic group.  There are also lots of prerecorded options on YouTube or through subscription programs.  Try a few out a couple of times to see what you like.  Remember, no one is looking while you try it out in your living room these days!

I’m a big advocate for getting outside for your daily dose of Vitamin D.  So, grab your mask and get outside!  Walking, running, swimming, hiking, and biking are great examples of outdoor activities we love doing in LA!  Take advantage of our scenic views and beautiful weather while trying a new location or trail.  Be sure to check ahead of time for current hours of operation and availability according to your city.  Check out my article about the Hollywood Hills here.

Other options can be to create your own home environment with some fitness equipment.  What do I need and how do I get started you may ask?  Again, let’s start with some basics!  On Amazon, you can look up some long and short resistance bands, hand weights, and a yoga mat.  At the beginning of home quarantine, some of this equipment got a little sparse online with long delivery delays.  Solution?  Use home furnishings, appliances, laundry baskets, brooms, laundry detergent, water bottles, scarves, towels, throw pillows, soup cans, or anything else you can move.  You name it, we use it in our live online full-body fitness classes we have been doing since March.  Some of our clients even grab their kids or pets to hold as they do squats and glute bridges.  Anything is possible and fun!

You may also be in the market for your first piece of electronic cardio equipment, upgrading, or replacing what you currently have.  Remember, this is something you will use and want to have operational for a long time within the budget you are able to invest.  We tell our clients if you are looking for a clothes hanger, look in your closet and save your money! With so many choices for home cardio equipment to choose from, it can be overwhelming.  At Meraki Fitness, we cater customized solutions for your home cardio and fitness equipment needs.  Specifications such as your weight, height, frequency of use, desired tech options, number of users, performance expectations, and space requirements are used to determine motor size, belt length, functions, accessories, warranty, model, service agreement, and more. 

Create your space into something personal and special by placing some inspirational items around such as a diffuser, tapestries, and plants.  Have some music ready to play to get the right vibe for your session.   

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Photo-by-Kamil-S-on-Unsplash

Water: As you continue to read, pinch some skin on your forearm and see if it returns to normal rather quickly.  If it stays in a “tent”, you may be lacking in sufficient water intake.  All my clients know I’m a big fan of water.  Water in the morning, water before, during, and after your workout, and water even on rest days.  The human body consists of 50-60% of its weight from water with men tending to have more than women due to composition.  Some studies show even a 1-3% water loss can start to have effects on your energy level, performance, and brain function.  The simple rule of 8×8 is a good guide meaning eight 8-ounce glasses daily, or half a gallon.  This amount should be increased according to exertion.  Another guideline is to drink half of your body weight (pounds) in fluid ounces daily.  Additional benefits are a cleansing of the body, more supple skin, and prevention of kidney stones (more so for men).   A fun water bottle to make your daily intake more interesting is the HidrateSpark 3 Water Bottle with a tracker built in to help you achieve your daily goal. 

Nutrition: The Nutribullet or Ninja blenders have both been around, tried and true, for a while.  They come in full service for home for your meal prep or personal size to take on the go.  There are many models and attachments to choose from depending on what you are blending.  Consideration may be given such as how often it will be used, how long you plan to use it, number of people in household that will use it, portability, and storage selection.  I love to make premade blends for cooking and delicious daily smoothies.  Other possibilities are organic baby or pet food for all you two- and four-legged parents out there!  I love the powerful personal size and have been using it for over a decade.  Most models come with a great recipe book or just look online or on social media for new ideas.  Head out to your local Farmer’s Market or have an Instacart delivery of fresh produce to kick off some killer smoothies for your workout energy!  Check out my Farmer’s Market article here.

Sleep: Every exercise program includes rest as we mentioned before, but sleep is paramount in how your body recovers from all this investment in time and energy.  Did you know if you don’t get enough sleep, you can actually gain weight?  Your body will trigger hormones that tell your brain you are more hungry and harder to satisfy with normal portions.  Additionally, not getting enough sleep can affect your insulin levels making you want more of those carb-dense comfort foods.  Tried to go to sleep lately without much success?  A great product to check out is Dodow to calm the neurotransmitters in your head with soothing light and breathing programs to fall asleep faster and better.  For meditation throughout the day or night, try the popular Calm.com.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Technology: We get a lot of questions about the latest tech gadgets out there.  For a mobile tracker, the FitBit Charge 4 or latest Apple Watch are always great and full of robust features able to be used on a daily basis with features such as fitness and sleep tracking, breathwork, GPS, and point-of-sale payments.  TANGRAM SmartRope PURE is a fun way to get one of the best forms of exercise, jump roping, while you are able to see your fitness data as the rope passes by each time in a bright LED light.  For a splurge item, Mirror is one of the latest .  It starts by looking like a regular mirror on your wall and, when activated, turns into a full visual of whatever fitness class you choose.  

I’ve learned through my experience in fitness and as a business owner that progress, not perfection, is key.  We are in an unprecedented and quite forgivable environment now where so many people are trying new things.  All exercise programs need to stay fresh and alive to continue to challenge not only your body, but your mind.  

Remember, it is not that you HAVE to start, it’s that you GET to start!  Enjoy the journey and stay healthy!    

~ Anna 

Read more articles by Anna Stavaridis, CCWS and Meraki Fitness here

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