These are strange times we’re living in, and there’s a lot of things outside of our control. But as a long-time student of Stoicism, I know that especially now is the time to focus on things within my control, namely my physical fitness, my diet, and my thoughts. So here’s four things I’ve been focused on, and things I believe will help you stay strong and sane during this challenging time.
- Keep training your strength! If you don’t currently have access to barbells, you can still find ways to maintain (or even improve) your strength. The whole idea of progressive strength training began with the legend of Milo or Croton. Milo needed to get stronger for a physical challenge so he started lifting a baby cow every day. As the calf grew into a steer, Milo became stronger from the animal’s continuous growth. Why lift a cow? Because that’s all he had at his disposal.
According to legend, in addition to carrying around a full-grown cow Milo ate 20 pounds of meat and bread every day. Something we can all aspire to achieve…
While you probably don’t have your own livestock to hoist, you can find a crate/rock/small human/etc to squat, push, or pull. So long as it’s sufficiently challenging, do what you can with it and aim to make some kind of progress. Whatever that object might be, try to carry it a little farther or push out another rep every time you lift it.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what to do to stay strong during this time, sign up for our online coaching! We’ve already been helping folks across the country (and beyond) to build their strength even with limited resources. Click here to book a consult.
- Planning & tracking meals. Before the pandemic, planning out my meals ahead of time contributed greatly to my 50-pound weight loss and it continues to help keep my weight in check.
Since we’re stuck at home with more down time than usual, the likelihood of snacking throughout the day is pretty high. Though each serving might not amount to much on its own, the calories add up over the course of the day combined with your normal meals. Combine that with less physical activity and there’s now a good chance that you’ll come out of the lockdown a little heavier than before. But that doesn’t necessarily need to happen. Simply plan your meals ahead of time, eat a lot of lean meat and fiber-dense veggies, and avoid calorie-filled drinks. Our partnership with the Avatar nutrition tracking app takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process, and we can personally give you guidance along the way.
Pictured above: citizens of Chicago emerging from the COVID-19 lockdown, circa 2021
- Make some brain gains. This has given me an opportunity to catch up on a lot of reading and to sharpen my French skills (what’s with all those silent consonants?). The brain is like the body: you can progressively challenge it and make it stronger. And a combination of a strong mind inside a strong body makes for a more confident, more self-reliant person. Whatever it might be — a musical instrument, a foreign language, your writing skills, etc — there’s never been a better time to do it.
But it’s probably not a good time to master your handshake skills.
- Find ways to get outside. If you’re comfortable with venturing outside (while maintaining an acceptable distance from other people, of course) then go for a walk. It doesn’t need to be strenuous or demanding — movement is better than stillness (motion is lotion!). Studies show that being outdoors and in green spaces lowers cardiovascular risk factors and reduces stress. This has been a stressful time for a lot of us, and this is a simple way to mitigate it and keep yourself healthy.
So there’s four things that have helped me keep my body and mind together, and I hope you’ll find them helpful. Wherever you are, stay strong, keep building yourself up, keep pushing forward in any way you can, and look forward to the time when normalcy returns.