Gyms have closed down, classes have been cancelled, training sessions have been postponed. COVID-19 has all but put a stop to our fat loss goals… or has it?

Although your routine may have taken a hit there is plenty you can do to lose weight without an active gym membership. In fact, I’ve had members losing weight on my Steel Home program for ages.
 
You see, fat loss isn’t limited to fancy equipment and group classes. It’s based on certain non-negotiables that are relevant whether we’re in the middle of a pandemic or not. And yes, you may choose to put your goals on hold during a crisis like this. That’s completely fine. But if you are still looking to move forward and make changes to your body, you can do it right from your own home.
You do have to be realistic, though. Your daily movement is likely going drop, there are less places to go and less things to do. You are more than likely going to have to make some adjustments to accommodate for this. That’s why it’s important to remain as active as possible.
 

Stay active for weight loss

If you’re still at work and your routine is pretty much the same, your daily activity may not be affected too much. However, if you’re now working from home, or you are no longer working at all, your daily activity undoubtedly took a hit. Every little detail about your regular day contributes to your activity levels. Getting to and from work. Going out for lunch. Taking the stairs at the office. It all keeps you moving and burning calories. Take that away and you’re no longer burning as much energy on a daily basis.
 
The best way to track this is with an activity tracker (Apple Watch, FitBit, etc). If you were getting 12,000 steps per day on a regular work day, but now you’re only getting 3,000 – you need to change something up.
 
Aim to stay as close to your regular work day as possible. While it may not be practical to still get 12,000 steps per day – aiming for 9,000, for example, is a great place to start. Try sprinkling in a few short walks everyday. Go for a 10min walk before you start working, then a 10min walk after you eat lunch and a 10min walk once you clock off.
 
Or even go for a longer 30min+ walk at any of those times. If you’re walking at a steady pace, you’ll likely get about 700-1000 steps per 10mins.
 
What if you don’t have an activity tracker? The same rule applies. Try to stay as active as you were before – you just won’t know the exact numbers. 30-60mins+ of walking per day, plus regular exercise sessions should be plenty to keep your weight in check.

Reduce food intake for weight loss

With a lower amount of energy expenditure on a daily basis, you may have to reduce your food intake to accommodate. It comes down to calories in vs calories out here. You’re less active, you’re burning less energy per day, you need to consume less energy.
 
You can do this a few different ways – you can:
  • Reduce portion sizes
  • Cut out foods
  • Replace foods
Reducing portion sizes can be as simple as filling your plate or bowl a little less. Often we’ll eat more because it’s there. We have a large plate, we fill it to the edges and we eat it because it’s there. In fact, researchers conducted a study where participants ate soup from a refilling bowl. Those participants consumed 73% more than those eating from normal bowls. Not only did they eat more, they didn’t report feeling any more satisfied. [1]
 
You can also try eliminating certain foods to reduce your overall food intake. For example, if you would usually have beef, vegetables and noodles in a stir-fry, try removing the noodles. This will save you several hundred calories straight away. Plus it leaves you with the most important pieces of that meal: the protein and the vegetables.
 
If you’re worried about not feeling full or satisfied if you remove some food altogether, give it a shot at least and see what happens. You’ll be surprised at how little you actually need to eat to feel satisfied. Feeling sick to your stomach and feeling satisfied are 2 different things. Don’t get them confused.
 
But if you do try it and you’re starving, try replacing some foods. Things like cauliflower rice or even zucchini noodles are a great, low-calorie substitute. You can use them to replace higher calorie options.

Build muscle for weight loss

The 3rd thing you can do to lose weight from home is to build or at least maintain as much muscle as possible. Now, this may not seem as easy as it would be at the gym. But if you were doing the wrong thing at the gym in the first place you may actually build more muscle on the right program now.
 
The right program is one where you are focusing on slow and controlled resistance training.
 
Doing a million burpees and box jumps on your couch is good to break a sweat and burn calories. But it isn’t going to build any muscle, shape your body or provide you with long-term fat loss. You should view your exercise as a chance to change your body, not just a chance to burn calories and break a sweat. Anything can burn calories. In fact, if that’s all you want to do you can go for a run, you don’t need a fancy at-home program to do for that.
 
Building muscle and shaping your body from home requires a smart program and proper exercises. No, you’re not going to back squat 200kg after your at-home program. But you can manipulate tempo, use isometrics, or a whole host of other techniques to challenge your body and to send the right signal for growth
 
I wrote a complete article detailing these techniques and methods here: How to build muscle in isolation.
 
To make it simple here though, think “less is better”. If a movement is so easy that you can do 30+ reps in a row, it’s likely too easy to stimulate growth. You’re more in the endurance range here. But what if we can change something about that exercise to make it so that you fatigue at 10 reps?
 
Let’s use the squat as our example here. 30 reps is easy for you when you’re going up and down at a steady pace. By manipulating tempo though, we can change how difficult the exercise is and thus, change the stimulus. Try going down real slow during your squat to a count of 3, pausing at the bottom for 3 seconds and then come up as normal. We call this Tempo – it’s the cadence and speed at which you complete a repetition. 
 
By manipulating the tempo of your squat, you’re making it more difficult and challenging the muscles in a new, novel way. That’s the key to muscle growth.
 

Something’s gotta give

At the end of the day, something’s gotta give. You can’t go from your bed, to your office chair, to your couch, back to bed and expect to lose weight. If you were burning 2500 calories before when you were commuting to work and going to the gym, you may only be burning 1500 now. You need to change something using the 3 methods I mentioned above.
 
If you do need a solid training program for your home workouts, I designed an at-home training program long before we were forced into lunges in the lounge room and crunches on the couch.
 
You can sign up for free during this pandemic here: https://steeltransformationacademy.com/
 
You’ll get 3 days of training p/week designed to help you build or maintain muscle from home. Over 280 exercise videos. Over 180 healthy, delicious recipes. Educational videos to teach you everything you need to know about your goals, plus much more.
 
Check out the Steel Transformation Academy here and sign up for your free membership to stay fit from home.

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