How to keep your hard-earned gains during self-isolation

 

Time in isolation can be daunting, especially if you don’t have access to gym equipment. Without that gym access, it can be pretty tough to gain muscle and gain strength. But, if you’re clever, there are several steps you can take to make sure you’re holding onto your hard work, and not losing those gains! Maintaining muscle and strength is easier than you think! 

Here are a few tips to make sure you’re making the most of this time:

 

1.   Modify intensity

In general, we drive intensity with load – weight on the bar or on the stack. Without gym access, that can be tricky, because we’re often limited to the amount of load we can use. There are ways to get creative to create that load. Options such as loading a backpack with heavy household items, getting some bands, using things like buckets and bricks – anything heavy that you can rig up or hold can act as a weight.

Outside of that, it is possible to then modify the intensity of exercises using some of the following strategies:

  • Tempo – slowing down your movement is an easy and effective way to rapidly increase the intensity of any exercise. This is especially true during the eccentric portion of movements (the ‘down’ part). Try a set of 20 bodyweight squats with a 3 count down and a 2 count up.
  • Pre-fatigue – another way to make a movement really tough is to pre-fatigue the muscle group/s with isometrics before performing a set. Try standing side on to a wall, a few inches away, and driving your hand hard against it for 1 minute. Then immediately after, do a set of lateral raises to failure. You won’t get many!
  • Blood flow restriction – if you really want to feel some difficulty and pain, try BFR on the muscles you’re training. Tie something around the top of your arm to restrict blood flow, and then perform a set of curls to failure!
  • Short rest periods – a really easy way to drive intensity is to shorten the rest periods between your sets. Try supersets and giant-sets, combining several exercises, or just simply short-timed rest periods. This has the added benefit of driving some conditioning too!

 

2. Use explosive movements

Another way to ensure you maintain strength and muscle is to train the same muscle fibre type. Strength and muscle growth is driven with resistance training, which taxes your fast-twitch muscle fibres.

With the absence of load, explosive movements such as jumps and sprints are a great way to tax those fast-twitch muscle fibres. 

Try some box jumps, broad jumps, single-leg jumps or side jumps.

 

3. Maintain good nutrition

It will be important to ensure you’re eating well and eating enough to prevent muscle loss during this time. Try to avoid going into a big calorie deficit, and ensure you’re getting enough protein. A good general rule for most people is 1.5-2.5g protein/kg of bodyweight.

This is a good time to really take control of your nutrition and get on track. So be mindful of what you’re eating, and make sure it’s a priority.

 

4. Maintain good sleep patterns

When upping your training and protein intake, you need to ensure that your muscles have time to recover.

Good sleeping patterns keep your body’s stress levels at bay which will also help you to avoid injury. 

It’s recommended that you aim to sleep for between seven and nine hours every night so that your body has adequate time to recover before your next training session.

 

Make the most of this time

We’re not going to be stuck like this forever, so try to use this time as an opportunity to take control of the things that you can. Get your nutrition and sleep in check. Work on your stability. Get mindful of the way you move. There are plenty of ways you can maximise this period!

Follow this guide and check out OzStrength’s range of workout clothing, supplements and wraps and belts and start gaining muscle today!