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I don’t know about you but I’m weak as ever right now. This has been one of the most disruptive moments in time for my gym routine.

Sure, I’ve taken longer off from the gym but this has been particularly taxing on my conditioning because of the stress that came with this period of time.

I said a while back that I wasn’t going to do fitness articles anymore because I find them to be quite boring. But I’m going to make this an exception.

Here’s how I’m getting back into shape. I suggest you take this article into consideration.

Oh and before you you ask, I’ve been strength training, on my own, no trainer, for over 6 years now.

Before leaving the gym I’ve deadlifted 405lbs, squatted 290lbs(weak) and benched 265lbs all at 185lb bodyweight.

Nutrition: Get Your Macros Dialed Back In

If you’ve been reading my articles you know where I stand when it comes to placement of basic nutrition.

I’ve covered ALL of the basics of nutrition, including the widely ignored topic of diet periodization, below so I’m not going to get into all of the details in this article

.Everything You Need To Know About Strength Training And Nutrition(Part 1: Nutrition)I want to start this off by saying thank you for reading this hefty article because it took a long time to write. I…medium.com

If you’re like me, you’ve been binge eating out of boredom during quarantine. You’ve probably put on useless weight or if you’re an ectomorph you’ve probably lost a considerable amount of size and weight.

This is why the first thing you MUST do is dial every macro back in.

Your macros should be carb heavy(if you’re gut agrees with it) which I’ll speak more about later on.

How to dial in macros

Alright, now that you know where your priorities are, let’s talk about how to dial in your macros.

It’s actually pretty easy, use these fitness tools:

  1. My Fitness Pal
  2. Eat This Much
  3. TDEEcalculator.net
  4. Bodyweight scale
  5. Food scale(optional)
  6. Caliper(optional)

Time and time again I’ve hammered the importance of macros because they are the building blocks of you fitness goals!

If you are not tracking macros in order to reach your fitness goals, you will not have a sustainable way of staying on track.

Tracking calories via macros is like your compass. You’ll always have some way to know which direction you’re heading in.

If the weight on the scale is the map of terrain, then your macros is your compass. Simple as that. Don’t sell yourself short by thinking that you can “eat healthy”(people who aspire to lose weight) and “eat a lot”(hardgaining ectomorphs).

My Fitness Pal

My fitness pal is pretty straight forward, all you need to do is download the app, put some basic information in such as your current weight, your height, your goal weight as well as how you want to break your caloric intake down via percentage, then you’re on your way.

There’s other premium features but they aren’t necessary. The app is good to use as is.

Eat This Much

This app is amazing.

This app is for everyone because it has a multitude of diets to choose from. The app is similar to My Fitness Pal in that you put in some basic info then you’re on your way.

The exception is that you can have the app suggest some meal plans to you based on the diet you choose.

For example, once you’ve set up your calorie goals, macros and goal weight, you can choose a vegan diet.

Then the app will suggest something vegan meals for you as well as generate a grocery shopping list!

There’s no excuse as to why you can’t get your needed macros together. These two apps do it all for you with the addition of creating grocery shopping lists.

And in this era, we can have people do the shopping for us. You can literally copy and paste your grocery list into some app that will have someone bring the groceries to you!

TDEE Calculator

This is still my go to website when I want to calculate some macros on the fly without engaging the heaviness of the fitness apps.

This app calculates your macro break down relative to your fitness goals.

If you want to cut weight, it breaks down your macros for you.

If you want to gain weight, it breaks down your macros for you for weight gain.

If you want to maintain weight, it breaks that down for you too.

Whether you’re cutting or bulking, you can choose a low carb, high carb or moderate carb option.

Again, I suggest you go with the high carb options initially.

Bodyweight Scale

Photo by Ronit Shaked on Unsplash

This is your map of terrain. This is how you know you’re in the right place.

Get a bodyweight scale. Don’t play the guessing game because weight fluctuates via water loss, water gain and any mass gain or loss that can happen during your fitness journey.

The bodyweight scale is necessary because you can plot your weight in a journal and watch the trend.

This helps maintain adherence while giving you a big picture mentality.

There’s going to be days where you feel like giving up. You’re going to wonder if you can ever get back to where you were before.

Plotting your weight progress by using a scale helps you to see your weight loss/weight gain trend.

Maybe you gain a couple pounds today but you’re down ten pounds from last week. This gives you perspective. You’re able to see the road clearly ahead of you despite any setback.

Get a scale.

Food Scale

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

If you really want to get meticulous, buy a food scale. Maybe you want to track your macros and take into account the weight pre cooking. Fine.

I don’t personally use a scale because to me that’s overkill. But you can get and learn how to track using a scale.

Caliper

Photo by Ag PIC on Unsplash

The body fat caliper is another overkill tool.

You can use this if you want to see how much body fat you’ve gained over the time you spent in quarantine.

I’m curious to see where my body fat is because I’m approximately the same weight BUT I’m sure my body composition is different.

I’m sure I lost a bit of muscle and gained some fat as I’ve done little to no exercise during this idle period.

Carb up!

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

If I were you I would carb up.

No I’m not suggesting you eat a bunch of candy.

What you should be doing is consuming some complex carbs the day before you go to the gym.

You need fuel. Carbs are fuel. Also you want to encourage an aesthetic pump!

Currently I’m flat as ever. I’m also not primed to do 5 sets of 10 of anything.

Carbing up is encouragement for you to re-build that much need work capacity.

The night before you train, consume some sweet potato, brown rice, pasta, etc.

In the morning, have some oatmeal and bananas and a cup of coffee then hit the gym.

If you’re a vitamin person like myself, take your fish oil, multivitamins and all that. You’re going to need all the help you can get!

Stretching

Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

When you get back in there don’t just go crazy on the weights. You’ll need to remember how to warm up properly.

I’m personally going to do A LOT of dynamic stretching to get the blood flowing as well as stretch the muscles out.

I refuse to static stretch right before I train because I feel like I lose strength in those particular muscles. I think there might be some “science” to back me up on that part.

Static stretching I’ll save for the days I’m not weight training.

I’m also going to be doing some 5–10 minute cardio on the bike or treadmill. Nothing crazy. Just some stead state cardio to get the heart pumping is all you need.

Get A Good Program

If you don’t have one by now, you should get a program.

If you already have a program and want to pick up from where you left off, don’t do that. You’ll end up snapping something.

Start over. This pertains to people who’ve been out of the gym for quite some time.

It’s best that you take a few steps backward for the greater good.

Why risk injury? Put the ego to the side and start over.

I’m going to be running the juggernaut method 2.0 because of its emphasis on VOLUME.

I advise everyone reading this to get as much volume in as possible. This is why I say it is a good idea to load up on good quality carbs when getting back.

Using high carb macro breakdown is ideal for energy output. And you’re going to need A LOT of it if you’re running a high volume program.

Why high volume? Because you need practice.

Not only are your muscles out of shape, so is your nervous system.

Your motor engram needs to be reprogrammed. In other words, you need to re-learn how to lift. What better way to re-learn how to lift than piling on some good quality volume?

My first 12 weeks back is going to be a 10s wave. I’ll. be starting with squat, bench, row routine with 5 sets of 10s(60% of 1 rep max) on the first day to burn the barbell patterns back into my nervous system.

The second training day of the week I’ll do squat, deadlift, overhead press for 3 sets of 10s(72.5% 1 rep max).

The third day I’ll repeat squat, bench, row with max efforts(80% 1 rep max) going all out then I’ll repeat the follow week.

I know there’s going to be a bunch of people who are going to do their little 5x5s which is great an all but if you want to engage that muscle memory, practice is with high volume is where it’s at.

Just saying.

I’ve written extensively about ALL of the basics of training in this article below.

Everything You Need To Know About Strength Training & Nutrition(Part 2: Training)So here we are. Part 2 of Everything You Need To Know About Strength Training & Nutrition.medium.com

HIIT Cardio

I will be doing cardio. For my cardio I’ll be doing high intensity interval training(HIIT) which includes, medicine ball slams, sprints, jumping, hitting the tires with sledgehammers, and biking.

I’ll be picking one for each day and I’ll be doing them after each weight training session.

This is going to be a challenge for all of us.

Many of us didn’t have a home gym to train in when the gyms closed down.

I’m looking forward to all of the jokes, memes and encourage all of us will share once we head back into the gym.

One thing I love about the fitness community is that it’s a community of encouragement.

I’ve never met anyone within the fitness community who was negative about someone else’s progress.

We are all here to help one another and that is a beautiful thing.

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