More than a full year into the pandemic, we’ve all learned some things about life, the world, each other, and ourselves. We’ve all put on some pounds while we were at it. It’s understandable. Working from home makes it easy to get lazy. It’s also easier to snack through the day. Meanwhile, gyms were closed. Sports disappeared. Many traditional sources of activity disappeared when we needed them the most. Throw some pandemic depression into the mix, and you have a perfect recipe for a new pair of kicks and a brand new extra chin. Depression is no laughing matter. When you're depressed, you don't feel like working out. You feel like eating fried foods for comfort. And exercise? Sometimes you can barely get yourself out of bed.
Along with gaining weight because of depression, it can also discourage you from keeping up your hygiene and male grooming. We get it: If you're not seeing anyone, why bother grooming? Because to make it, you need to fake it. That means making extra efforts to groom. You'll feel better. Trust us. Using an all-in-one grooming kit like The Performance Package makes things easier since you have all the tools and products you need all in one place.
You don’t need to feel shame about this. We’re all going through it, but Spring of 2021 feels like more of a season of renewal than usual. We’re starting to have real hope of normalization, so why not channel some of that positivity towards improving our health in general? Let’s talk about losing weight and getting fit to end this stupid pandemic.
The key to weight loss
Ultimately, there is only one way to lose weight, and this is extremely important. You have to burn more calories than you consume. There is no trick to it. There are no alternatives. Weight gain and loss are mathematical. If you work out but keep eating your pandemic diet, you won’t win the war. It sucks, but you have to spend some time hungry to shed pounds. Acknowledging that from the start can help your psychology when you go about it.
Likewise, if you diet but don’t exercise, your body will adapt to the new diet and conserve energy. You’ll lose weight for a little bit, but you won’t be able to sustain it. You have to do both, and we’ll help you think about ways to succeed on each front.
Fixing your diet
You have to eat right to win, but you’re going to be able to make some changes more effectively than you might think. Most of us have really let ourselves go on our diets during the pandemic, and reversing some of that course will help you make big strides.
Here’s your first pro tip. Delete DoorDash, Uber Eats, and any other food delivery apps you have on your phone. As someone once said, “Delivery services are amazing for depression.” These apps make it too easy to eat the wrong types of food, especially when you’re working from home. Simply having to drive to eat bad food is a good deterrent, so do yourself a favor and steer into it.
If you need some external help, consider trading your food delivery services. Instead of food on demand, look into healthier apps with good meal plans that can help you. Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and a bunch of other services fill this role, and they’re loads better for you than the fast food or restaurant food you’ve been indulging in recently.
If you don’t need the delivery service, then you want to shop strategically. Use your inertia against the desire to snack or gorge yourself on foods you know you shouldn’t be eating. You only have to be strong while you’re at the grocery store. Get food that you have to cook, and avoid easy snacks. Additionally, make plans to cook food a little more in bulk. Make yourself dinner and tomorrow’s lunch at the same time, as an example. When you do, the easiest food to eat while you’re at work is the healthy food you already made. It’s all about strategy.
Lastly, understand that this won’t be a straight line. You will find good excuses to indulge, so plan around it. Have a cheat day, and be stringent about it. If you can only cheat on food one day a week, it’s hard to completely derail your diet. There are only about a million well-developed diet plans that have worked for people. Explore them and understand their merits. You can adapt your own plan from all of it. Whether you’re doing keto, vegan, intermittent fasting, or anything else, taking the time to think about your strategy will make a big difference.
Getting some exercise
Since burning calories is important to the weight-loss equation, it helps to increase your activity. Even people who are usually fitness gurus have struggled over the past year. Most of our favorite ways to stay active were restricted or completely shut down. It’s still hard to get into a gym in plenty of places. The new challenges require us to be more creative than ever with our activity, so these ideas are intended to help you shake things up and find the motivation to get moving.
Get moving outside
If there’s an active order against outdoor activity, you need to pay attention to that. Otherwise, getting outside is arguably as important as getting active. See some sunshine. Breathe some fresh air. Part of the negative feedback loop of unhealthiness is rooted in being inside your home too much. Get out, even if you’re just taking leisurely walks. That’s a start, and it will help. As you get out more, you’ll find it’s easier to motivate yourself to be active. You can even do your workout in the backyard (or balcony, rooftop, or whatever) if you need to. Getting outside helps you reset your mentality, and that is essential.
Learn a new dance
For some of you, this already sounds fun. For most of you, it sounds “meh.” For a few, it is an abhorrent idea. No matter where you fall in those groupings, you should still learn a new dance. If you can learn with a partner, that’s great. You get to mix in some reasonable socializing with your activity. If you can’t, that’s ok too. Learn something that you think will look good at the club when you’re back in that scene. Or go a different route and learn a dance just because it looks challenging. The challenge will stimulate your mind as much as your body. It’ll be a fresh workout for at least a little bit, and when you need to, you can jump into a new dance or a new activity to keep yourself going.
There are apps, groups, and programs that put you in touch with other people with similar goals to your own. Plenty of them will have friendly competitions to keep people motivated. If you have any kind of competitive spirit, use it. Compete with others to burn more calories, get a better heart rate, lose more pounds, drink more water, get better sleep, or pursue any other health goal you want to set. When you make it a competition, you bake external motivation into the cake like the alpha male that you are, which can help with your natural resistance to a new workout regimen.
Mix it up
If you’re stuck working out alone, there’s no one to judge you. This is the perfect chance to try anything and everything that has ever seemed interesting. Did you miss out on the Tai Bo fad? Guess what. You can catch up on it. Try some jazzercise, explore HITT, or do whatever you think is the douchiest workout imaginable. Have fun with it. If you embrace variety, there’s a fair chance you can hit upon something you actually like, and then you can stick with it for a while. Nothing is holding you back right now, so find that inner adventurer’s spirit and try some new stuff while there’s no one around to make you feel self-conscious.
Embrace the pain
Good exercise should never be cripplingly painful. That’s not what we’re saying. But, if you’re as out of shape as most of us right now, you’re going to be gasping for air with a lot less effort than it used to take. That is going to be discouraging, and if you give in to those feelings, it will be all too easy to quit before your new workouts have a chance to help.
It’s pretty simple to shift your mental state a little bit in order to prevent that problem altogether. Simply embrace the challenge. When you gasp for air, that means you’re doing a good enough workout to get stronger. You don’t have to run 10 miles to see improvements. In that sense, working out is easier than ever before. The same can be said about sore muscles and all of the things that make you not wanna right now with your workout. Every one of those discouraging physical results is actually proof that you’re on the right track to getting your fitness back. Embrace the short breaths, soreness, and general discomfort. They’re your friends right now.
Hopefully, from all of those tips, you can find something that works for you — or at least a spark of an idea that you can make into something great. The goal is to reverse the current state and trend in the direction of general fitness. You can do it. You just have to keep trying and ignore the inner voices that try to talk you out of eating right and getting good exercise. Even if you’re only a little successful, you’ll be a lot better off when gyms are fully open, and you can get back to your former routines that worked in the past.