Summer 2020 Fitness & Nutrition
It is that time of the year again, summer—2020 edition! Now I know things are a little more than just different because we are all under one “roof” in the form of a pandemic. No matter what, remember this: times are turbulent but the foreseeable future is triumphant. That brings me to my next point. With gyms being closed and fitness equipment seeing a spike in sales leading to backorders and virtually no resources to stay motivated and in shape, what do you do? The answer is simple and one that we all know—resistance bands.
Resistance Bands: Your Workout Solution
The problem here is that most of us relied so heavily on the gym, or were unaware of the benefits of bands, that it wasn’t in our arsenal. Although their popularity has been gaining traction again, they are still considerably cheaper than most pieces of equipment with a plethora of benefits; both a beginner and bodybuilder can benefit from this. They have been a part of my repertoire, as well as my clients, and for good reason. Why? With free weights, you are working against gravity but the resistance is provided in one direction, therefore, the muscle tension is not continuous. Peak muscle contraction is achieved at the end range of the movement. Resistance bands, however, provide linear variable resistance from multiple directions. What this means is that, unlike free weights, the resistance (gravity) is in both directions and muscle tension remains constant throughout the entire range of motion despite the angle. Funny how gravity works, right? Mind-blowing? I know. Understanding sliding filament theory and how it pertains to concentric and eccentric contraction can clear the brain smog you may be experiencing. So, how does this pertain to you? Well... it’s a workout, that’s why! It may not be the same as using weights but the portability, functionality, and strength gains you get is much better than nothing. To truly maximize your workout, I recommend the entire package: mini-bands, pullup bands, and tubular resistance bands.
Spend Time Outside
Social distancing and masks; we all know what this means by now. With this purpose in mind, and granted that it is permitted, you can still workout outside with a friend or family member. Most resistance bands come with attachments so that you can hook or wrap the band around almost anything, anywhere. And, personally, I think you can greatly benefit from exercising outside. Maybe, you can hike a trail and carry your resistance bands with you or drive to a different location for your jog and leave the bands in your car for when you arrive back. Or, go for a jog in the neighborhood and use the bands outside after you complete your miles. If you have company, you can do different exercises using the peripheral heart training method. When your partner is doing an upper body exercise, you would complete a lower body exercise and vice-versa. Try high-intensity interval training if you can manage, or use a ladder for speed, agility, quickness (SAQ) drills. Expand your horizons and incorporate the TRX. Find an empty road and see if you can keep pace next to your friend or family member’s car. The world is your playground and the possibilities are endless. The caveat here is safety. Exercise form and doing them within your threshold is important. Nevertheless, if you are feeling down and out right now, exercise. Thanks to certain chemicals in the body—dopamine, and norepinephrine to name a few—you will get a well-needed boost.
Don't Forget About Nutrition
Vitamin supplements are in high demand right now as well, and while they are important, whole foods are and always will be more vital for optimal health. Below is a smoothie I use as a boost:
8 oz. of mangos
8 oz. of pineapples
1 teaspoon of honey
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
3 slices of beets
Blender sizes and satiety will vary, so adjust as needed.
Stay healthy for yourself and others. Take care of yourself and others. Pay it forward. It is on that where I hang my hat.