Tips to Get Motivated and Reach Your Health & Fitness Goals from Todd Durkin
Not everyone has the staying power to hop on their stationary bike and crush it for 45 minutes to an hour (I know I don't), or get up at dawn and hit to park or trails for that morning run. Or even join a streaming work out class your favorite online instructor. So we enlisted the help of Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS and all-around fitness guru, to help us get up, get motivated and get 'er done.
It feels selfish to reflect on how to try to stay fit or not gain weight when other people are suffering grave health outcomes. We needed his "permission" to stay strong, fit and not let ourselves go since doing so will not help anyone; falling apart personally is not a helpful reaction to the crisis, nor is it a way of joining the collective act of despair, no matter how much stress we may be under.
Q. Let's talk about motivation and whether it's even "okay" to care about being fit now?
It feels unseemly to reflect on try to stay fit when other people are suffering grave health consequences. We need his "permission" to stay strong, healthy and not everything goes, in the semblance of a collective act of despair.
A. This is a very precarious situation right now for people of all ages.
One thing is for certain though…now is not the time to stop working out. As a matter of fact, now is the time to double-down on your personal care and prioritize health and exercise. Since most of us are training at home right now, here are five tips for staying healthy and in shape while working from home.
Q. How can I make fitness a priority when I feel totally busy on calls and screens now?
Unlike some of my friends, who are bored at home and don't have enough to do, I am busier than ever. There are days when I don't get out of my chair for hours at a time. I feel like I am "melting" into my work station. Ugh. It's not like me to not move around. How can I make this more of a priority? I feel like I am going a little crazy, inside all day.
A. Take a break from work and do 30 minutes of movement outdoors every day.
This could be a walk with a dog, a hike in nature, if you live in the mountains, then a snowshoe, or if you're in a warmer climate, take a run in the neighborhood, or even just do calisthenics in your backyard. This will not only help keep you in shape, but it will help alleviate stress. Being in nature soothes the soul and awakens the senses.
Q. I get stress headaches. Then I end up treating it in all the wrong ways. What gives?
I think I may be gritting my teeth. Or maybe my main fluid intake is coffee, followed closely by wine. How can I get back on track and stop the cycle of stress, then stress drinking (as in vino)? Embarrassed to say it but at sundown, it's cork's out!
A. Hydration is key. Drink half your body weight in fluid ounces of water every day. Not wine.
That means if you weight 135 pounds you need to drink 67 or 70 ounces of water a day. So 7 glasses of ten ounces each. It seems so basic, but few people are properly hydrated. Even better, put a lemon in your water for flavor and alkalizing properties.
Q. Okay let's talk about the chips. How can I quit the chips?
The ones that used to be on my counter, but that I seem to be inhaling by the bag full. It doesn't help that they're vegan and a company sent them to me and the team to try, and I've eaten almost all of them. A big bag a day. By the way, I am also a sugar addict, a salt addict, a bread addict, and a pasta addict.
A. First, reduce sugar intake.
That includes pastas, breads, and simple sugars, which will all spike your blood sugar, induce an insulin response, and then decrease your ability to burn fat and keep your energy up. If you want to stop this in its track, start at the beginning of the day and just eat protein or oatmeal, which is not a simple carb.
Q. I feel like I get weaker by the day. How can I reverse the downward spiral?
I had been doing so well before this all happened and now, honestly, old injuries are creeping back in and my jeans are tight, and I have a muffin top. (I realize other people are suffering. Am I allow to care about this right now? And if so... Where do I even start? If not, pass the non-dairy ice cream.
A. It's not that hard. The trick is to break it down and not feel overwhelmed.
Take 20 minutes out of your day each day for strength training. Do things like bodyweight exercises: 12 squats, 12 pushups, 12 curtsy lunges and 12 chair dips, in a circuit two times through. Focus on things that don’t require any gym equipment and can easily be done at home. You can enlist your kids, your spouse or do it on Facetime with a pal.
Q. Anything else I should be doing to get back in fighting shape?
I know that when I let one area slip, like exercise or eating crappy, I feel like it's a house of cards and everything collapses. And I am trying hard to not get sick right now!
A. When you aren't eating properly, it's okay to lean on supplements.
Supplements can be used (along with eating right) to help with health, performance, and recovery. Some staples I recommend to clients include melatonin, probiotics, MCT oil, BCAA's, and a pre-workout smoothie that I drink before training that has niacin, CarnoSyn beta-alanine, and caffeine.
You can look for vegan options for all of these, but also make sure you choose manufacturers that are careful to use quality, patented ingredients. Look for NSF labels or Informed-Choice brands which have been vetted for quality and safety.
Q. I have no idea what CarnoSyn is. I know you're an ambassador. Can you explain?
A. CarnoSyn is a beta-alanine supplement.
Beta-alanine supports the synthesis of muscle carnosine in the body, which acts as a buffer to help delay the onset of lactic acid and muscle fatigue and failure while building endurance and improving recovery. The body's natural production and most diets, however, do not have enough beta-alanine needed to improve athletic performance.