This is a guest post written by Style Crew member, Eric Rodriguez.
One of the things that I knew was going to be a challenge for me during this quarantine was figuring out how I was going to get a gym quality workout without having access to a proper gym. Those of you who hit the gym on a weekly basis know how challenging this quarantine is. Of course, trying to be optimistic, I figured I’d survive with pushups, air squats and lunges, but after a week of that, I knew I was going to need a comparable substitute for my gym workouts. After scouring the internet for dumbbells or kettlebells, and finding everything backordered for 2-3 months, a friend suggested I try Powerblock dumbbells. I checked them out and after reading reviews and watching videos, I quickly placed an order for the Powerblock 50 dumbbells and the Travel Bench. After about a 3 week wait, the weights and bench arrived. After my first workout, I knew I was back in business.
At 55 years old, I find that staying in shape is really a matter of discipline and routine. When it comes to my exercise and meal plan, nothing has really changed during this stay-in-place phase of life. As always, my day starts at 6am. I stretch for about 15-20 minutes and then begin my workout. I’m currently doing a 3-Day Full Body workout. I do 3 sets of 10-15 reps per exercise. My workout is as follows:
- Goblet Squats
- Split Squats
- Stiff Leg Deadlifts
- Bench Press
- Pull Ups (Doorway Pull Up Bar from Amazon)
- One-Arm Bent Over Rows
- Shoulder Presses
- Side Laterals
- Hammer Curls
- Overhead Extensions
On Tuesday and Friday, I work on my abs. I’ll do planks, crunches and leg raises.
The key to making this workout routine successful, or anything else for that matter, is to have a plan and to stick to that plan. As the saying goes “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” I’m “old school”, so I keep track of my progress in a notebook. I’ll keep track of the pounds I lift and how I feel (ie tired, energetic, etc.) during the workout. These notes allow me to make the necessary adjustments to the next workout. It’ll also allow me to look back and see how I’m progressing and where I may need more work.
The other part of staying in shape is what you eat. Remember, you are what you eat. If you want to build lean muscle or lose fat, you need to have a proper meal plan and, just as importantly, you need to stick to that meal plan. For the last three years, I’ve been doing Intermittent Fasting (IF). I’ve found IF to have the best effect on my body. It allows me to basically eat the same foods I was already eating. The only real change was adhering to an eating and fasting window. There are a few different IF eating plans. I follow a 15:9 plan. (A variation of the popular 16:8 plan.) That basically means I have an eating window of 9 hours and a fasting window of 15 hours. I have my first meal at 10 am and my last meal before 7 pm. After that, I’m fasting. That means no food or beverages, except for black coffee and water, until 10 am the following day. It may sound extreme to think that you won’t eat anything for 15 hours, but as long as you’ve had all your meals during the eating window, the fasting window is relatively simple. You can get a lot of very useful information from Thomas DeLauer “How To Do Intermittent Fasting: Complete Guide”.
Upon waking up, the first thing I do is drink a large glass of water, somewhere between 8 – 12 ounces. Water helps rehydrate the body. The six to eight hours you’ve slept is a long time to go without any water. This is a great way to quickly rehydrate your body.
After my morning workout, my first meal consists of 6 scrambled eggs (4 egg whites & 2 whole eggs), ¼ each chopped bell peppers (yellow and orange), 2-3 cremini mushrooms, some fresh dill and salt and pepper to taste. That’s followed by a bowl of oatmeal which consist of ¾ cup of rolled oats, ¾ cup of oat milk, 6 walnuts, half a kiwi, 2 strawberries, ¼ cup of blueberries, a dash of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of unsweetened shredded coconut. I finish breakfast with a cappuccino. The elixir of the gods! I drink Nespresso Kazar. I have the same breakfast every morning. Note: The only time I have a different breakfast is on weekends. Before the quarantine, my wife and I would go out for brunch and have anything from waffles or french toast to steak and eggs and a cup of black coffee or cappuccino.
My second meal is usually a cup of wild rice, 6 ounces of salmon or grilled chicken and half a small avocado with a glass of water. Note: I have all my meals with water. I don’t drink juice or soda. Basically, non sweetened beverages only.
My third meal is a snack. This snack can vary. I’ll either have a protein bar and a yogurt or a protein bar with a handful of nuts (a handful contains roughly 6 of each: almonds, pecans, cashews and macadamias). My current favorite protein bar is Vega Protein Bar. Sometimes I’ll have a protein shake. My shake consists of 12 ounces of water, 8 ounces of oat milk, a scoop of Vega Protein Powder (I like vanilla), a cup of So Delicious Coconut Milk yogurt (the flavor varies) and 1 tablespoon of powdered peanut butter. (Note: I’m lactose intolerant, which is why I use oat milk and coconut milk yogurt. Oatly is my favorite. Feel free to use your milk of choice.)
My final meal is usually a cup of wild rice, 4 ounces of grilled salmon or chicken breast, ½ cup of cantaloupe, ½ cup of mango, ½ cup of broccoli and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds or chopped almonds. Sometimes, when I either don’t feel like making dinner or feel like having something different, I’ll order a salmon and tuna poke bowl. This poke bowl, which is similar to my usual dinner, consists of salmon and tuna, brown rice, mango, sweet onion, edamame, crabmeat salad, seaweed salad and sesame seeds.
Now before you say “This is way too restrictive for me!”, note that once or twice a week I’ll treat myself to something different for dinner, like a burger, fries and a glass of wine and Sunday brunch always consists of waffles or french toast. The trick here is to keep meals like this to a minimum. They should be special, not the usual. Also, when at all possible, try to keep these meals on the “clean” side. A nice lean burger from a non-fast food restaurant is usually a much better choice than a Big Mac.
I’ve found that keeping a regular exercise routine, along with my daily meal plan, has helped me cope with our current situation. Now I’m not saying that you need to start lifting weights to stay healthy. This is what works for me, but I do recommend some type of vigorous physical activity such as running, jumping rope or even brisk walks along with a healthy meal plan. Physical activity and relaxation techniques are great ways to help you keep calm and protect your health during this time.
Eric Rodriguez is a content creator based out of Brooklyn, NY focused on men’s style. He enjoys food, watches and fashion and is an up-and-coming model, having been featured in several campaigns for various brands. Currently, he is an ambassador for Ash & Erie as well as Beckett Simonon, the shoe company.
You can check out his page here: @ericrnycstyle