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The Lockdown has meant that all of our lives have had to change, and one of the biggest changes to our lifestyles that many of us have felt, is the removal of access to our gyms.
If your social media feeds are anything like mine, you will have seen a plethora of videos and pictures of people’s home-gym efforts. PTs have really stepped up however, and are offering all sorts of online classes, free videos of workouts, and a whole host of ideas for things which can be done.
Of course for many, these changes and upheavals will make it increasingly difficult to keep focus on their fitness goals. Add the fact that many will have to be home-schooling their children, have to adjust to living, working and working out all in the same space. Finally we can’t discount the other big change for those who don’t need to commute, this means that the only time we will get any exercise at all, even in terms of number of steps taken, will be if we set out to do exactly that. Steps and general activity levels will not come just as part of one’s day, but will need dedicated activities to achieve.

So how will these changes affect my hard-won gym progress?

With so many changes to our routines happening at once, it will be difficult to quantify exactly how these things will affect you as far as your body composition, fitness, and overall health is concerned. So lets break it down by your goals and look at some of the changes you’re likely to see.
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Goal: Muscle Gain

Unless you have managed to procure some hefty gym equipment or have access to some private gym, it is likely that you are making do with bodyweight exercises, fitness bands, suspension training with a TRX or similar and if you’re lucky, a pull-up bar of some sort. All these pieces of equipment are great, and with a bit of imagination, you can create quite a decent home workout.
However, unless you started off in an untrained state, it is unlikely that you will be able to pack on a load of muscle with these. The more likely scenario is that with consistent use of the above equipment and making use of super slow reps, and ensuring that you always train to fatigue, you come out of this having preserved your gains.
Of course, if you have managed to get yourself some decent weights kit, then you might still be able to gain, but ensure that your calories are carefully managed. You might want to go for a very controlled and clean gain, rather than an outright bulk phase.
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Goal: Recomposition / Fat Loss

The great news is that you don’t need a great deal of equipment to get a decent cardiovascular workout, which should be a part of any recomposition or fat loss regime. However, running and cycling don’t give you a whole lot of options. So while it should be ok when the weather’s nice, to get outside on a run or jog, or to get to a park and do sprints of some sort, or indeed, if you have access to a bike, generally getting your minimum exercise. 
The other half of things, the resistance training, which should also be a part of any recomposition effort will face similar issues to those detailed in the Muscle gain section above. However, if you have access to some bands, and by making use of bodyweight and using some imagination, you should be able to get enough muscle stimulation to meet your needs

General Changes to expect in the body.

Besides the affects listed above, another issue that people may have is about balance. Without bands, weights or a pull-up bar, it is harder to find exercises for the back than it is for the chest, shoulders, arms and legs. We need to be conscious of this, as working chest and shoulders without good back workouts can lead to a more internally rotated posture and general imbalance between these muscle groups.
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If you do have access to some of these, and are managing decent workouts, there are other imbalances and changes which you might not have thought about. With fitness bands, it can be  quite difficult to get exactly even tension on both sides  of the band. Position of the body, position of the band, and ensuring it is exactly even, will help, but it is not the controlled gym environment with controlled weights which gyms offer us. We need to be aware of this and be careful in the positioning of our fitness bands.

The other aspect of fitness bands is in the tension curve. Fitness bands all offer more tension as they are extended. This means that it is harder at the very end of the movement. This is unlike what transitional weights and weight machines offer, so we need to be aware of this. Usually when training with fitness bands, doing each exercise twice, to stress both ends of the tension curve is advised.
This means, using a bicep curl as an example, do the curl once at a position where you feel the tension at the top of the movement – with your arm reaching the most acute angle, and then step away from the band anchor, or otherwise tighten the band, and perform the curl again, except this time where you are unable to get a full contraction, but rather you end up only able to do the bottom end of the movement. 
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How should I measure progress during this time?  

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Alas MVM is currently closed, so you may be wondering how you should measure your progress during the lockdown. Of course, all measures which you can do yourself have problems and may be hiding the truth. A static weight may be masking the fact that you are losing muscle and gaining fat in equal measure. Increasing weight however is unlikely to be increasing muscle mass,  so should be viewed with some suspicion. 
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During this time, it might be wiser to focus on your processes and systems, and measure your inputs and outputs rather than thinking in terms of end results. The lockdown means that our lives have taken on a level of consistency and sameness that would be very rare otherwise. This enables us to set goals for our processes, and track this. So you can set yourself a goal of exercising X times per week, and success looks like achievement of this. Or you could set your goal to measure and track your calories in, and measure your adherence to this.

Is there anything good about Lockdown?

Well, yes. As I said above, this time offers us the opportunity to really embed some great habits into our lives. we can refine and improve our daily processes – whether that’s ensuring that we get our exercise in, or counting and measuring our calorie intake, or even just putting some time aside for stretching each day. With what could be a couple of months or more of lockdown, we have the time to embed these as habits and lock them into our daily routines. Having great habits is one of the first steps to successful and lasting body transformations. I’d recommend the book Atomic Habits by James Clear if you want more on this.


Lastly, when we come out of lockdown – when the gyms open again – will be the most ideal time we have to take some proper measurements and get great baselines of our health and fitness. As soon as we are able, My Vital Metrics will be up and running again, and ready to give you the baseline stats you need to see, to really see how you can progress with your fitness goals for the rest of 2020 and beyond.

Join the Waitlist

Below is the form to join the waitlist. 

When London opens up again, My Vital Metrics will be back, and looking to test as many people as we can. We will be offering great discounts, and priortising bookings for waitlist members. 

Please fill out the below, and we’ll be in touch.