There’s never been a more pressing time to keep one’s spirits and endorphin levels up as Americans reach the 3-month mark of Shelter-in-Place restrictions. For those living in California, this week marks the 14th week of quarantine which was instituted on March 19, 2020.
As we’ve noted before, the mortality effect of social isolation has been compared to smoking 15 cigarettes per day. But, recent studies have shown that working out lowers levels of depression, hostility, and other negative feelings.
Connecting Through Fitness, Round 3
As part of our commitment to the continued health and wellness of our mobile marketing community, we launched a virtual Barry’s workout event series. These events seek to unite marketers in the name of fitness and community during this time of uncertainty.
It’s no surprise that health and wellness apps are on the rise. As we reported in our last Barry’s event recap, downloads of health and fitness apps saw record revenue in May, generating $160.5 million in user spending.
Currently, the fitness app market is projected to reach $14.64 billion by 2027. Fitness app users also show some of the highest rates of engagement. Over 75% of active users open their apps at least two times a week. Twenty-five percent of the most engaged users open health or fitness apps more than ten times a week.
The COVID-19 virus pandemic has not only triggered the growth of subscribers of fitness apps but also initiated a new category of virus-fighting apps. The industry’s demand will continue growing as people look for ways to stay physically and mentally fit during quarantine.
More At-Home Workout Questions Answered
After a rigorous 35-minute bodyweight session including jumping jacks, lunges and burpees, motivational instructor, Rio Hall, hosted another Q&A answering attendees’ at-home fitness questions. See the highlights below.
Q: I’ve been exercising regularly and eating healthy but I’ve hit a plateau. What can I do to avoid plateauing?
Rio: Most of the time your plateaus occur when you’re no longer engaging enough load. If you’re only doing bodyweight work then, then you’ll hit a plateau because your body weight decreases and starts engaging less load. If you’re doing weight training, usually if you are using the same type of weights over a longer period of time, you’ll start to plateau. To combat plateaus you have to build lean mass. Lean mass is what’s going to help you keep burning calories and evolving. To consistently stimulate the building of lean mass you need to progressively overload over time.
If you find that you’re hitting a plateau with your weight training, think about using dumbbells. Or, if you are using bodyweight and you only have a limited amount of weights, focus on every single exercise that you’re doing. Don’t worry about counting reps. Think about getting to failure.
For example, if in January, you’re doing 20 reps in an exercise, then by June ramp up to 30-40 reps without stopping. It’s about finding failure since the stimulus to building muscle results when the muscle that you are used to using is not enough. This stimulates your body to communicate to itself ‘I’ve got to use more muscle’ and then it stimulates, activates, and grows. That’s how you work through a plateau.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when you’re working out, you’re doing active calorie burn. So, you’re burning calories while you’re moving. However, the lean muscle that you put on your body is passive calorie burn. Lean muscle allows you to burn calories when you’re not exercising. For example, when you’re on the couch, at work, or sleeping. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn passively. So, lean muscle also helps you avoid plateaus because you’re burning more calories throughout the entire day.
Q: How do I diet and preserve muscle?
Rio: It’s about not getting too skinny but tightening up as much body fat as possible. How do we do that? The first step is finding out your calorie intake that’s going to maintain your weight. You can figure this out by doing an in-body scan or going to the doctor. Calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and then from your BMR calculate your maintenance calories.
If you keep your deficit calories about 300-700 calories lower than your maintenance calories, it’s going to feed your muscles enough to preserve them while also putting you at enough of a caloric deficit to lose fat.
So, for example, if I need to eat 3500 calories a day to maintain my weight then for me to preserve muscle and try to lose fat, I’m going to aim for 3000 calories a day. That 500 calorie deficit from 3500 is going to help me lose weight but 3000 calories is still enough to feed my muscle to the point that it can activate and build. So, find the calorie count that you need and subtract about 300-700 depending on how aggressive you want to be. I recommend starting with a 300 calorie deficit and eventually working up to 700.
Q: Should I work out before or after work when I work a 9-to-5?
Rio: There are two things to consider. The first is when you finish exercising, do you feel energized and up or do you feel tired? If you feel tired, work out after work. If you feel energized, work out before work and ride that energy into your day. The second thing to consider is the length of time you need to work out. If you’re doing a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class or a cardio session before work is easy because you work 9-to-5, you wake up, you have breakfast, you go to the gym, you go to work. However, if your training is a little bit more intense and a little bit longer (1.5-2 hours), you have to consider how it’s going to affect your routine.
If you don’t want to be rushed, I would put it at the end of your day so you can go to the gym and relax because the more relaxed you are when you’re putting in that work, the more fun you’re going to have and the more fun you have exercising, the more you’re going to work without even thinking about it.
Q: Modifications if you’re expecting?
Rio: As you progress through your pregnancy, the first modification to make is rotations. So you should not rotate at all, even as early as the first trimester. As you work into your second trimester, any exercise where you lie flat on your back, I would modify and do it on an incline. So, you’re not flat, you’re on an angle. And, then when you get to the point where you’re fully developing and it’s almost time, then cut your ab work and keep to squats, push-ups, fire hydrants, leg work, glute work. Also stop running. Incline walking is a great way to reduce impact. Keep the incline high. Keep your heart rate high.
Q: How many meals per day should I be eating, whether a small number like 2-3 or 5-6?
Rio: Two considerations: first, how many calories do you need to eat in a day? If you are at a very low-calorie diet, say like 1400 calories, then putting that between 5 meals don’t really make sense. You might eat 3 meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That will split it up to 300-400 calories per meal.
If you’re someone like me and you have to eat between 3500-4000 calories a day, then eat 6 times a day. I try to eat no more than 400-500 calories per meal. For people with smaller calorie counts, aim for 300-400 calories per meal.
Q: Pre and post-workout meals?
Rio: I don’t consider a pre-workout meal something specific because if you’re going to do a vigorous workout, you really shouldn’t be eating within an hour before your workout. If you’re eating more than 1.5 hours before your workout, you can have a regular meal. That should include protein, a small amount of carbohydrates, and a little bit of fat. Always make sure to include some fat if it's the meal you have before your workout. That could be avocados, nuts, peanut butter, etc. Those are foods that will help you sustain a nice, strong workout.
Post-workout, think light and small. A protein cake, rice cake, and a little bit of peanut butter is my go-to post-workout meal. It’s tasty, it gets that calorie boost, that sugar boost. The cool thing about a protein shake is that the chains in a protein shake are small and amino-based so they get absorbed by your body faster. So that’s why a protein shake post-workout is great because you don’t have to break down the food and then break down the molecules before the body can absorb them. And, then you can have a regular meal about an hour after that.
Q: What are your favorite ab workouts?
Rio: Bicycle crunches. If you have the equipment, I also recommend hanging abs. As in, you grab onto a bar and lift your legs up.
Q: If you don’t have free weights at home what is the next best item to use?
Rio: A wine bottle is perfect for lighter exercises like shoulders. Something heavier like a gallon water bottle is great for more intense workouts. You can even duct tape them to a broomstick and do chest presses.
But with a bodyweight workout, you can definitely push yourself without weights. With bodyweight work, take note of the time vs. reps. Try to see which one gives you more fatigue. If you do 10 reps and it’s easy, then take 30 seconds to do as many reps as you can.
Q: What do you think of going vegan? Is it a game-changer?
Rio: I was vegan for 3 months. When you go vegan, your cardiovascular system clears up. You will probably feel healthier than you’ve ever felt before, especially if you go raw vegan. You’ll also perform for longer periods of time and feel lighter. In that respect, it is a game-changer.
Personally, my issue with being vegan was that the amount of food that I needed to eat to put on muscle was so high that it wasn’t practical. So if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain weight being vegan is a great way to go about it. If you’re trying to put on weight and muscle mass, just be prepared to eat very high volumes of food. The food you’ll be consuming might be nutrient-dense but it’s not calorie dense so the amount of food you’re going to be eating throughout the day is going to be very high.
Thanks For Joining Us!
For those of you who tuned in for our virtual workout brought to you by Barry’s, thanks for sweating with us! For more answers to your fitness questions, check out Rio Hall on his Twitter and Instagram.
Can’t wait for the next workout? Register here to join us for our fourth virtual Barry’s workout on July 15, 2020.