Like many of you, I’m at home today. Since I’m self-employed, that’s not as earth shattering a change as I’m sure it is for most of you out there, but it’s still not as it once was. For one thing, everyone else is home too. That normally only happened in the summer and at Christmas, when the rest of my family had some vacation time. And a client I work with and actually travel to their office every day to work with, is on a strict work-from-home policy. Fortunately, they’re well equipped for it, and I’m used to it anyway. But with everyone else being here, it’s a disruption to the daily routine for sure.
To cap that all off, recreation facilities are closed, stores and restaurants are open but limiting their hours, and I even see fewer people just out and about in general as people respect the social distancing that will help slow the pace of the spread of the virus to avoid overwhelming our healthcare systems around the world.
COVID-19 is our reality for the moment. It will change us, for certain, but life will return to normal. And hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for that to happen. The best thing we can do is stay calm, be respectful of the inconvenient restrictions this will place on our lives, and do our best to keep moving forward.
One of the biggest disruptions this stay-at-home reality will impose is on our level of physical activity. For many, the act of getting ready and going to work is the extent of their physical activity for the day. Our levels of activity as a society, coupled with a diet of diminishing quality over generations of readily available and cheap processed foods filled with sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats, have had a toll on our physical and mental well being. The levels of obesity, cardiac disease, diabetes, respiratory ailments – have all risen as our level of health has declined. Movement is essential not just to our physical health but our mental health as well.
So my concern, as a parent, as a husband, as son, as a brother – and as a very active person who coaches and trains others people using the constantly varied functional movements performed with intensity – the methodology known as CrossFit – is that being stuck in the house for the next little bit could risk making this silent epidemic worse.
So, here’s my idea. I want people to move. You don’t have to be a crossfitter for this to apply. You just have to be a human. Don’t allow the current situation to keep you on the couch. In fact, if you’re home with the kids right now, or even just on your own, you have never had a better opportunity to take charge of your health, as long as you accept that challenge. If you dropped and did 20 push-ups in the middle of a meeting, or while you were at your kid’s soccer game, or while shopping for groceries, you’d undoubtedly get some fun looks. You do that while you’re at home – who cares? Who’s going to see you? You don’t even have to see yourself in a mirror. You just have to move.
With that spirit in mind, since I have a small but growing audience of people who clearly think fitness is worth thinking about, I’m going to use my little soap box to try to change some people – or just reinforce what they already know. Moving is good. Being sedentary is bad.
If we can agree on that simple principle, what follows will make sense. I’m going to release one fun at-home workout a day for the next 14 days. I’m not committing to any more than that because frankly this is just a passion project that occupies enough time as it is and there’s only so much time I can peel away from my other responsibilities.
The workouts I have in mind will start simple, and challenge you as much or as little as you wish them to and will generally be accessible to anyone that wants to get moving. I will design each workout to be related to daily functional movements that mimic everyday needs of the general population. Most will be short. They will use little if any equipment, and when they do use equipment, they will begin with do-it-yourself household items – and then if you happen to have honest-to-god fitness equipment, then you can substitute that into the workout as needed. But importantly I will talk you through each of the workouts, what the intention is with each movement and for the workout as a whole, and what equipment, if any, applies and how you can scale it up if your fitness level demands it. I will demo each of the movements as well with simple videos posted with the workouts. You can use the workout on its own, or you can slot it into whatever other fitness-y stuff you’re already doing.
The important thing to note here is that you should only do what you know you’re capable of doing. While i will explain what potential variations on the movements there are to make them accessible to all levels, you should consult your physician before undertaking any form of exercise. Yes, I recognize that at the moment, that’s a tall order. But it’s still worth reminding you.
So with all that said, let’s get to the first of the challenges and see what peoples’ reactions are…
Agility Double Toe Tap Challenge
Step over the line on the floor with each foot, one at a time, and step back. Each time you do this, it’s one rep. Keep your weight balanced, keep an active knee bend, and if you need to, hold onto something for balance assistance.
- You need a line on the floor – just a separation of grout in your tile, or hardwood would do.
- You need a timer, ideally one that will beep every minute. There are many such timers on our smartphones.
Version 1 – EMOM elimination ladder
Every minute on the minute (EMOM), do a double toe tap. With every minute, add a rep.
Beginners, start with one rep.
Advanced, start with 5.
Keep going until you can no longer perform the number of reps within the minute.
Version 2 – EMOM 20
Every minute on the minute do 30 reps as fast as possible. Keep going for as many as 20 rounds.
To increase intensity
To add an additional level of difficulty if needed:
Add weight – throw on a backpack with some weight in it or use a weighted vest or a single of pair of dumbbells or kettle bells in the front or front rack position.
Add reps – increase the number of reps you start with for version 1, or maintain for version 2. Or increase by 2 reps per internal instead of 1.
Add intervals – Increase the number of intervals you complete for version 2.
Have fun with it and good luck!