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4 Ways to Deal with Quarantine

First, I want to say, I hope you and your loved ones are all safe and healthy.

If everyone’s healthy and staying at home, then I don’t know about you, but the last 5 weeks have felt like 29 months. Do you remember the last time you just casually got brunch with a bunch of friends? 29 months ago, I know, crazy.

I feel like every week was a different emotion, followed by a different strategy to deal with that emotion.

Week 1 = Denial. I watched enough TV that my couch got sick of me sitting on it.

Week 2 = Anger. I decided to go running multiple times, although my knee still wasn’t better and I fought through the pain, just so I could move outside.

Week 3 = Bargaining. I made plans, FaceTimed a lot of friends, and spent way too much time learning Seasons of Love on the piano.

Week 4 = Depression. I dove into other worlds and read 10 different books and plays.

Week 5 = 5 Acceptance, finally, sorta. This week, I was finally at a place where I got up early and stuck to a schedule.

Sure, I’ve been “working out” or what passes as working out regularly, but for a couple of weeks, the motivation was very hit or miss.

And yet here we are, in a world shifted in vat of virus shit.

I don’t know what your journey has looked like, and the situations you’re dealing with (caring for children, caring for parents, financial issues, health issues, etc), but here are a few things that might help serve you in the long-run.

Workout – Working out at home is hard for a few reasons. Some of those I can’t help with, but knowing what to do can help. If you are going to workout at home, try and plan when you’re going to do it and stick to the plan.

Here is a bodyweight workout you can do from home:
1A. Split Squats
 (right leg forward) – 12 reps
1B. Split Squat Jumps (right leg forward – *optional) – 8 reps
1C. Push-ups – As many reps as possible
1D. Split Squats (left leg forward) – 12 reps
1E. Split Squat Jumps (left leg forward – *optional) – 8 reps
1F. Push-ups – Half the amount of reps you did on 1C
*If you can’t do the jumps (I can’t jump in my apartment), attempt to do more reps

Do 3 rounds, before moving onto the “2” exercises.

2A. Jumping Squats* – 10 reps
2B. Slow descent squats (4 seconds down, up fast) – 10 reps
2C. One and a Half Bodyweight Squats (regular speed) – 10 reps
2D. Tricep Dips – 10 to 20 reps (close to failure)
*If you can’t jump, then do off-set squats (start with your feet shoulder width apart, bring one foot forward so that your heel is aligned with the toes on your other foot. Keep the weight on the back leg, and then squat). 8 reps, with each leg forward
Do 3 rounds, before moving onto the “3” exercises.

3A. Plank (highly variable, but as long as you can without feeling it in your lower back or 90 seconds max)
3B. Leg Lifts – 12 reps – Up controlled, down slow
Do 2 to 3 rounds

If you have a dumbbell and want another workout, here’s a routine I put on Instagram.

Meditate – The art of sitting still and focusing on just one thing.

This one thing is usually your breathing (but there are many kinds). If you’re going to attempt this though, you should know this can be hard to do. Your mind will wander, you will think of the million things you should be doing, but if you stick with it, you might get to a place where the chatter comes down a bit, and that song that’s looping in the back of your mind stops playing for a second and, “Ahhh…” And then three seconds later, there’s another guest in your mind, this time a conversation, and all of a sudden, you’re back to planning again.

Despite that, I do think meditating can help quiet the mind and decrease the stress, while allowing you to focus on the things you’re doing, afterwards.

Aim for 10 minutes a day, although personally it takes me anywhere from 17 to 21 minutes to “feel” the difference.

Choose Healthier Snacks – We’re going to snack. I know this, you know this.

But there are snacks that you’re eating just to have something to eat mindlessly, and then there are snacks that you actually want. For the “just want something” snacks, this is where you have to be careful. Honestly, my snacks during this quarantine have been so damn bland, I’m ashamed to even mention them, but I am.

The key with mindless snacks, is you can eat them mindlessly (what a concept, I know) and not have to worry about overdoing it.

My 3 Mindless Snack Go-to’s:
Blueberries or cut up Cucumbers
 – Have at it. Have as much as you want.

Boiled Cold Potatoes with some ketchup – Honestly, this has been my go to snack. I cut and cook 3 large Russet potatoes, and then put them in the fridge. When I’m bored and want to snack, I grab a fork and some ketchup and eat the damn boiled potatoes. Why boiled potatoes?

  1. They’re the most filling food by far (at least of the foods that have been researched). More filling than a steak and 7 times as filling as a croissant.
  2. They’re super low in calories. A potato, boiled is only a 100 calories. 3 potatoes is a TON of potatoes yet only 300 calories, so I can eat it mindlessly and not worry.
  3. Cold potatoes are high in resistance starch. Which means those potatoes are actually less than 100 calories, filled with more fiber that helps to feed the healthy bacteria in your stomach.
  4. By themselves, they’re atrocious, but with ketchup, I actually enjoy it. And when I’m done eating as much as I can, I’m usually full from 100-200 calories (the ketchup calories can add up quickly)

Roasted Chick Peas – I buy these and there are 6 servings, but when I want something crunchy, these are filled with fiber, protein, and don’t have a lot of fat.

Sleep – The key with good sleep is a bunch of things, but the most important would probably be having a nighttime routine that winds your body down. And one of the main components in modern-day life is to stay away from electronic devices (phone, iPad, laptop, etc) late at night, and especially not in your bed. Once you have a night-time routine, without electronics, then you can start playing with other things that might work for you.

Acceptance that you might be feeling weird or off – There are times when you might feel optimistic and great, and others where you have a hard time getting out from bed and brushing your teeth. Ideally, the other things (working out, meditating, healthier snacks, and more sleep) help with that, but know you might just feel like shit sometimes….and that’s ok.

So question, what would you like to see? More at home workouts, recipes (I am not making a ton of new stuff, but have a lot of friends that are), specific tips on nutrition? How can I help? Let me know.

John Leyva: Hoboken Fitness Owner and Personal Trainer

Ps. If you’re an essential worker throughout all of this, Thank You! Seriously, you’re fucking awesome!