Quarantine and Calories
Because of current quarantines and stay-at-home orders, many of us have seen our overall daily activity levels plummet in recent weeks - even if we’re continuing to exercise regularly. While looking for ways to find movement in your day can help combat the fact that many of us just aren’t able to leave the house as much as we’re used to, it’s also important to think about how your lower activity levels might be impacting your caloric needs - and it doesn’t have to be impossible, or even difficult.
What a lot of this comes down to is the old age ratio of calories in versus calories out. Although it's not entirely that simple, we can get results by following that rule regardless.
How Staying at Home Can Impact Our Daily Caloric Needs
Let's look at a few examples for why you might have different caloric needs than you’re used to using Mayo Clinic’s Calorie Calculator.
Let's look at what is likely a common example - a female office worker who attends yoga three times a week. At 150 lbs., 5'3", she would be “Somewhat Active” in her normal lifestyle - 1900 calories. At “Inactive,” which could represent her quarantine lifestyle, she'd be looking at 1200 calories. For her, any muscle mass she has would degrade quickly and she'd be looking at a gain of one pound for every half month, give or take.
If you worked out with weights, had a very active job, or regularly played sports – you may be looking at an even larger caloric overage.
These effects are compounded by the additional snacks and alcohol many people are consuming, meaning many people are actually consuming more calories during quarantine, when their bodies need less.
How to Adjust Your Diet & Exercise for Stay-At-Home Circumstances
The point of this exercise isn’t to worry you about what some are calling “the Quarantine Fifteen,” it’s to show you how you can account for your current circumstances to stay on track with your goals, even if your daily routine looks a little different. Here are some adjustments you can make:
1. Lower your caloric intake to a reasonable amount. Eat more vegetables (they're very filling!) and healthy fats like nuts, avocados, and fish to help curb your appetite. Mayo Clinic’s Calorie Calculator can serve as a guideline for you (and if you’re training with Kickoff, your coach can help you set more specific calorie goals and meal plans).
2. Make snacks healthy. Nuts, granola bars, bananas, hard boiled eggs and more all make great healthy snacks.
3. Increase your activity level. If you're lucky enough to live somewhere with good weather and open trails that allow for proper social distancing, then go for a walk! If you're in an urban area, then push ups, squats, jogging in place, riding an indoor bike, dancing along to music, and any other ways you like to get moving can all make for great ways to boost your activity level. Put some music on and dance as you cook yourself a healthy meal (and prep extra for leftovers!)
4. Try not to go for more than 30 minutes without getting up and moving a little and try never to go longer than an hour.
5. Keep a food log. They may not be fun to keep, but they're effective! Writing down what you eat makes you far more conscious about what you're eating, and how much.
6. Start meditating, reading, or finding another task that you know reduces stress. The more stressed you are, the more stress-eating is likely to occur.
With a few small adjustments, staying on track to fulfill your goals doesn’t have to be a challenge!
To get a personalized workout and nutrition plan and train with David Matthies, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, visit here.