Here’s New Body Plan creator Jon Lipsey on his training and eating successes and failures during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Avoid his mistakes then apply his tried-and-tested advice to get fitter, healthier and happier
We’re now a few weeks in to lockdown in the UK, and we’re all adjusting to this new way of life in different ways. If you’re elsewhere in the world, you may be living in similar circumstances but wherever you are, it’s a fair bet to say that life today isn’t the same as it was a month ago.
As we try to adapt, and try to stay fit, there’s a good chance that all of us will have made a few mistakes (I know I have) and found a few solutions along the way.
That’s why I wanted to share a some things I’ve got wrong when it comes to staying fit and healthy. And a few things that have really helped. I hope you find them useful.
This didn’t work: Trying to do everything
When lockdown kicked in, I tried to maintain my work productivity, I tried to maintain my activity levels, I tried to be there for my relatives and I took on extra childcare commitments after my son’s nursery closed. Now, there’s nothing special in what I was trying to do but it basically didn’t work. There weren’t enough hours in the day and there wasn’t enough energy in the tank. Something had to give.
But this did: Reducing volume, increasing quality
Instead of doing up to five hour-long workouts each week like I usually do, I decided to reduce my volume (the amount of exercise I was completing) and focus instead on increasing quality. I started our new 28-Day Bodyweight Blast plan (there’s a dumbbell programme too), which involves three 15 to 30 minute workouts a week. The results have been amazing. The exercise workload is manageable so I’m enjoying my workouts, I’m nailing them and I’m looking forward to the next one, rather than worrying about when I’m going to fit it in.
This didn’t work: Thinking I’m beyond temptation
As the co-founder of New Body Plan it’s my job to know the most effective ways to eat well and exercise effectively. So it’s easy for me to think that all that stuff just happens automatically. The truth is that it doesn’t. I have to work at it to. I get tempted by sweets and booze and I have dips in motivation. So at the start of the lockdown period when I didn’t do anything to consciously adjust my diet, I found that I was eating stuff I wouldn’t ordinarily eat. Packets of biscuits and bottles of wine kept vanishing. I needed to intervene.
But this did: Treating myself
When I intervened, I did it in a way that allowed me to still enjoy some indulgent stuff. I didn’t ban myself form eating anything. I just applied a few simple bits of advice that I’d recommend to anyone doing one of our programmes. My New Body Plan co-founder Joe Warner and I discussed a lot of them in a recent special episode of the New Body Plan podcast (you can find it here). And you know what, it has worked a treat.
This didn’t work: Panicking about my lack of equipment
I love training. And one of the things I love about training in a gym is the range of equipment at my disposal that allows me to get the results I want. I love the squat rack. I love the ski erg and I love the prowler (actually, I only love the prowler once I’ve finished using it). The point is, when we went into lockdown and I was slow off the mark in buying dumbbells (so slow that they were all sold out), I panicked. I now realise that was completely unnecessary.
But this did: Freshening things up
I’ve used this lockdown period to start a completely new training plan (our 28-Day Bodyweight Blast) and I’m seeing it as an opportunity to master my bodyweight. It’s a chance to iron out any fundamental weaknesses I have about moving my frame and proving to myself that I have the ability to get results with minimal kit. I’ve also been pleasantly reminded that you really don’t need equipment to fatigue a muscle. You just need smart exercise selection and careful manipulation of the key workout variables and you’ll have a phenomenal session.