Even with the ECQ, you can be smart with your routine and engage a large portion of your body
Photos by Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels, Victor He, and Karolina Grabowska
It feels like déjà vu. This time last year, we familiarized ourselves with the acronym ECQ and the idiosyncrasies associated with it. The lockdown changed our lives in a snap of a finger and it looks like it’s going to take a while before we return to normal.
Despite celebrating our anniversary under new community quarantines, until now, many of us still get confused with the ever-evolving rules and regulations attached to it. Luckily, this time around, there seems to be more leeway in terms of what we can and cannot do.
All that being said, we’re here to discuss how we can take care of our health and fitness within the ECQ guidelines.
Maximize the window
Assuming you would prefer to do your fitness routine outdoors, current ECQ rules and regulations state that you can only exercise from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. within the vicinity of your home or your communities. This might seem like such a small time slot but if you prioritize workouts first thing every day, it’s actually a pretty decent amount of time.
Despite being a competitive athlete, I rarely train more than three hours on a regular basis. It’s all about being smart about your routine and managing your time time well. For example, you should be ready to work out even before 6am so you can maximize the allocated window. This is especially helpful since you can already feel the hot summer weather even in the early hours of the morning.
Then, choose an area that’s close to home. Don’t spend a large chunk of your available time to travel when you can do a similar routine near your residence (and the rules are clear anyway that it should be within your own community). Finally, add structure and a definite plan into your routine. “Wingin’ it” can be problematic with such a short timespan at your disposal.
Look at intensity
It’s normal to quantify a workout session in terms of duration but in today’s setup, looking at intensity might be better. Assuming you won’t get to maximize the three-hour window (which is plenty by the way), you’ll feel shortchanged by the amount of exercise you can do. What you can do is reframe your mindset and add intervals into the routine. In doing so, you’ll get the most bang for your training buck.
For example, if you’re used to walking one hour every day, a good way to mix it up is to add six to 10 sets of one minute sprints followed by a minute of rest. After finishing this workout, you’ll not only feel a sense of accomplishment, you’ll also experience a huge boost in fitness.
Take the whole body approach
If getting fitter and burning more calories is your goal, utilize the whole body. A great example would be running. Despite being a leg-dominant activity, running employs different parts of your body such as your core and arms. It’s also a calorie-intensive activity because you carry your body weight as you run. This allows you to shed the pounds and boost your fitness level in a relatively short period. If you are unable to run, or would rather do resistance training over cardio, take advantage of large muscle groups and compound movements. Examples include squats, mountain climbers and burpees.
Set up your pain cave
Since many may have the privilege to work from home, it’s easy to get tempted to sleep in and miss the workout window. An easy and worthwhile investment would be to build your own pain cave. Space and budget permitting, having your own equipment at home can result in consistent compliance and better results in the long run. This would allow you to exercise any time you wish. No need to force yourself to wake up early just to break a sweat. Your mental health will also thank you for it as it can be a good midday stress reliever during a long day of work.
Reconsider your mode of transport (if possible)
Another way of maximizing the ECQ workout window is to integrate exercise into your mode of transport. If we look at exercise as a “necessary evil” rather than a part of daily life, it’s easy to skip days or get demotivated. Instead, see where you can break a sweat and burn calories on a regular basis. An example would be to bike or walk to an accessible destination like the neighborhood store or supermarket if you need to go out for essential supplies (make sure you still adhere to safety protocols to reduce risk of exposure). It might feel tiring at first but after a few sessions, it’ll feel natural. As long as you choose your paths properly and take all the necessary precautions, not only are you taking care of your body, you’re taking care of your health as well.
Have some training questions, feedback or suggestions for future articles? Drop a note in the comments section below or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can also get in touch with Don directly here.