Did you spend lockdown in a malaise of Tiger King binging, TikTok viewing and urges to raid the fridge with an enthusiasm usually reserved for 5* hotel breakfast buffets?

You aren’t alone.

48% of people gained weight during lockdown. That’s a huge number, for sure. And whilst we’re inclined to look on the bright side, and say that means over half of folk maintained or lost weight, we’ll hold back on being contrary right now. We’ve an article to write, and wrongs to right. Our inner Brandon Flowers can wait…

Anyway, stress has certainly played a considerable role in perhaps our recent greater propensity for comfort eating, as has a lack of access to facilities like gyms, swimming pools, fitness classes, and sports clubs. The Nation’s PE Teacher can only do so much, right?

But as lockdown eases, and the new normal is cautiously welcomed, it’s time to shake off those extra quarantine pounds and return to your happier, healthier self. 

So how do you get healthy and lose weight post lockdown? Here’s a start; our 5 IDEAL ways to get healthy and lose weight post lockdown.

DON’T CRASH DIET 

Crash diets, sometimes called fad diets, are notoriously popular. 

Why? 

Well, at first, they might show results quicker than more sustainable diets. But here’s the thing; they only ever work briefly. Temporarily. For a short time. And we’re here for wholesome, reliable solutions, only.

The problem is, a crash diet just isn’t sustainable. It’s going to induce a cycle of hunger and cravings that invariably leads to rebound weight gain and a potentially unhealthy relationship with food. Crash diets can also slow your metabolism and put your body into starvation mode. Not good for weight loss — or for your health.

A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH TO DIETING

A government drive against obesity and a government drive to have us eating half priced McDonald’s three days week…what could possibly go wrong? It all feels a bit extreme and a lot haphazard, don’t you think? Instead, and in contrast with our leaders, let’s take a measured approach to our meals.

The best way to diet is instead to focus on the positive aspects of food and drink, rather than on denial and self-loathing. Find foods you love to cook and eat that are also healthy, and embrace an attitude of relishing in fresh produce, its preparation, appearance and the eating of it! 

Sure, these are just words, and it’s action that you need. Do yourself a favour, then, and check out our tips on the best, most sustainable ways to stick to a healthy diet for more inspiration. 

DEVELOP YOUR HOME GYM

Gyms and leisure centres are starting to open their doors, and that’s great for some people. But for many, for now, exercising outside or at home is preferable.

If you’re confident in getting back to the gym, then these places need your support. But what if, in our post-lockdown world, you aren’t ready to head back to the gym yet?

Well, it’s time to stock up on home gym supplies. 

During lockdown, the cost of home gym equipment skyrocketed. The lack of supply vs intense demand meant it became unaffordable to buy home gym supplies. But now as lockdown eases, and demand lowers, newfound availability of products means you can start to deck out your home gym for a reasonable price. Once the nights draw in and the days get a little gloomier, you’ll relish the fact you kitted out your living room with dumbbells, a pull-up bar and the rest. 

Or, you can even create a free home gym with items you already own; result!

FIND AN EXERCISE ACTIVITY YOU LOVE

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a powerful calorie burner and great for endurance. Swimming is also a fantastic option for weight loss, and tennis is known to help shed the pounds. 

But what if you hate HIIT, swimming and tennis?

Well, just like with fad diets, if you commit to an exercise schedule you dislike, your attitude to working out becomes negative. And fast. You learn to dread that part of the day, and there’s a danger you’ll take every opportunity you can to avoid it.

This isn’t going to get you back into shape or improve your health. 

It’s essential, then, to find an exercise routine you truly enjoy. Fortunately, there are so many options out there to help you get active. You can do team sports, take up martial arts, you could try gymnastics, go kayaking, rowing, or take cross-country walks. ‘Getting fit’ isn’t all about hitting the treadmill with a manic glare in your eye.

Everyone is different — they have exercises they love to take part in, and those they despise. Common options, like jogging or cycling, tend to be the ones most people go for. But jogging and cycling are also quite unengaging as activities — particularly if you use a static machine — which makes them difficult to stick with long term. Instead, find your motivation and cherish it!

Know what you hate but not what you love? Experiment with exercise. Try different activities until you stumble across the kind of thing you like to do. The goal is to find an exercise you’re excited to be a part of and look forward to as part of your weekly routine. 

GET YOUR PROTEIN FIX

Once you start exercising, you’ll begin to feel great. That is practically guaranteed.

Exercise produces so many benefits for both mind and body, from helping to lower your resting heart rate to releasing the happiness-chemicals called endorphins. 

But to really reap the benefits of exercise, you’ll need to make sure you’re giving your body the fuel it needs to improve. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to follow the couch-to-5K program but not making any progress or starting to lift weights but not growing bigger muscles.

The thing about working out is that progress follows the 80/20 rule: It’s 80% diet, 20% exercise. To see benefits to your exercise programs — to grow and improve — you need to be consuming the right fuel in your diet.

When you exercise until your muscles hurt, your body is breaking down muscle tissue. Following your workout, it starts to heal those muscle fibres and make them stronger so you can work out harder next time. This is how you increase your ability to lift weights and up your endurance.

To achieve ideal results, your body needs protein. Protein is what’s used to repair muscle. Most of us don’t get enough protein from our diet to heal our bodies well enough to see maximum progress.  

We’re sure you know what’s coming next; you’ll need to adapt your protein intake. There are a few ways you can do this. You can opt to increase your intake of protein-rich foods — meats, fish, nuts, beans and dairy products. You can take protein supplements like protein bars or protein shakes. Or you can do both!

But how much protein do you need?

Weightlifters tend to follow the rule of at least 2.2g per kilogram of body weight per day. So an 80kg person would need to consume 176 grams of protein per day. Research says this is quite high, and you can see progress on as little as 1.6g of protein, which would be 128 grams per day for an 80kg individual. But that’s still a lot, which is why so many people opt to supplement their diet with protein shakes or bars.