It’s already been a year since the pandemic has started and many people have either lost their jobs or started working from home.
Even if used to have a more active lifestyle, walking to work, going to the gym, or practicing sports team now due to the restrictions and social distancing, such fun activities are mostly not possible anymore.
While we can’t do anything to stop the pandemic, we want to help you with the other problems. That’s why we reached out to 20 fitness experts and asked them the following question:
How to lose weight while working from home and in quarantine/lockdown?
Keep reading to see what the experts had to say.
Robert Herbst – W8LifterUSA.com
During lockdown and quarantine, it is easy to gain weight because people are inactive and turn to food for comfort.
Even if they did not exercise before, they are losing even the normal activity they used to get commuting, going out of the office to get a sandwich or going down the hall to speak with a colleague.
To counterweight gain, one must raise one metabolism to burn more calories. To do that, they should be more active. First, they should try to duplicate the activity level of their pre-pandemic life.
For example, they could go for a walk in the morning and evening that equals the walk they used to take to the train or from the train to the office, etc. If they can, they should go for a walk, run or bike ride outdoors.
In addition to burning calories, the fresh air and being in nature will improve their mood and create new neural connections in their brain.
They should also do some type of strength training as that is the best way to raise their metabolism. If there is a gym open, they should go. If not, they should figure out a way to train at home with weights, resistance bands, water jugs, loaded backpacks, and body weight.
There are many routines online. They should do strength training on a regular basis two or three times a week, performing compound movements such as squats, lunges, bench press, and deadlifts which use the major muscle groups.
These cause your metabolism to be elevated for 48 to 72 hours afterward as your body rebuilds muscle that was broken down during the workout and builds additional muscle in anticipation of greater loads in the future. That new muscle is metabolically active and will also burn calories, even when at rest.
Another good way to raise your metabolism is to do high-intensity intervals which cause an oxygen debt. These can be done at home such as by jumping rope, using a spin bike or performing calisthenics.
The exercise should be supported by a balanced diet of protein, good fats, carbs, proper hydration, and seven and a half hours of sleep a night. People should avoid junk and turn to exercise for comfort instead of empty calories.
One good way to get motivated during the COVID era is tell yourself that since you are working from home and not commuting and schedules are more free flow, and you are not going out to restaurants or shows, you have a lot more extra time to work out.
You should say to yourself that never have you had so much free time to exercise and you should take advantage of it.
During lockdown and quarantine, you have ample opportunity for self care. You have no excuse for not taking advantage of it so you will be healthy and fit when things reopen.
Karen Shopoff Rooff – Well Balanced Women
My favorite recommendation for losing weight while working from home or in these months of quarantine is to pepper your day with meaningful movement.
There is quality data that shows that movement throughout the day is important for cardiac health and keeping your metabolism up.
Doing three 10-minute sets of exercise throughout the workday gives structure to this method. The first set could be simple calisthenics like high knees, jumping jacks, and mountain climbers that can be done with no equipment and in a small space.
Another 10-minute set might be yoga or stretching mid-day, which won’t make you sweaty but will keep you from sitting too long.
Finally, an evening set of strength training including bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, or push-ups will help you build lean muscle. If you want to add weights but don’t have any dumbbells, resistance bands are a great option.
Lean muscle mass burns more calories even at rest, so building muscle is critical for weight loss. Taken together, these three sets of 10 minutes of exercise improve heart health, flexibility, and strength– all important factors for long-term health.
Hope Zvara – Mother Trucker Yoga
Working from home can be a blessing and a challenge. For some, it is easier to eat healthily, get home duties done, and squeeze in a workout. For others, it poses a more considerable challenge.
As someone who works from home, the lurking presence of work is always there to choose over any other activity.
Instead of telling myself that I need to set aside 60 minutes to work out, I break it down into chunks. I call it the 15 Minute Wellness Method and instead of isolating my workout from my day, I make my day my workout. At home, I have an acupressure ball underneath my desk to roll out my feet;
I have weights within arm’s reach and resistance bands ready and waiting. When I get up to grab something from my printer, I make it a point to do ten squats.
If I have to go upstairs, I run up the stairs or walk up backward, sideways, or squat and step- anything to sneak more movement into my day. When I’m on hold on the phone, I stand up and do a quick yoga Sun Salutation.
While I’m typing on my computer, I do leg lifts. And when there is a small window of time, I insert a quick 5, 10, or 15-minute workout in- anything; I make sure I move more. And that all adds up!
Doing this has lead to more activity throughout my day than when I would schedule a block of time to “workout”. Now my workouts are a bonus on top of all the extra movement I’ve added into my day.
When we separate our workout from our day, we make it a big deal, like a task, and movement shouldn’t be a task; as humans, we are meant to move.
To fix that problem, one workout a few times a week isn’t the cure; adding making your day and making your day “work” out for you is the key to a happy, healthy body.
The beauty of working from home is you can throw business on over your workout ready gear so you can strike a pose, anytime, anywhere.
Set yourself up for success and when you wake up and dress to move, have your fitness tools ready and reachable next to your desk, dresser, or kitchen table. Don’t put them away, have them nearby, and you will find you use them more.
Ensure your mindset isn’t keeping you from seeing all the opportunities to “workout” during your workday. Now let’s get moving!
Meghan Kennihan – Train With Meghan
I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, RRCA & USA Track & Field Certified Run Coach, USA Cycling Certified Coach and a Fitness Instructor.
I tell my clients who work at a desk to “Grease the Groove”. Set an alarm on their phone or computer for every 2 hours and when that bell dings you stop what you are doing and do a 5-minute routine.
1 minute of each of the following exercises: Air Squats, Pushups (wall, desk, or floor), Alternating Lunges, Dips off your chair, and Jumping Jacks or Plank (for low impact).
It will not make you get all sweaty and is the perfect full-body “workout” to boost your metabolism. By the end of your day you will have done a 20-25 minute workout!
My other suggestion is to put a pull-up bar on the doorway to your office and every time you go through that door you have to do two pullups or if you can’t do pull-ups you do two knee-ups for your core.
Lauren Lobert Frison – APEX Physical Therapy
To lose weight, the bottom line is you have to be in a caloric deficit. No matter what diet you’re following, it works because you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning over a period of time.
That being said, strength training is the best thing you can do to increase your baseline (basal) metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn on a given day.
This is because the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn just existing.
If you increase your fat-free, or muscle, mass, you will increase your metabolic rate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is much more effective than 30-60 minutes of cardio 3-5 times per week overall.
In addition, lifting weights increases your metabolism from its baseline amount for a longer period of time after exercise than cardio does so it will actually burn more additional calories in the day(s) following your workout even if it doesn’t burn more calories in the short period you’re working out.
Increasing your caloric expenditure for 24 hours is more effective than increasing it for 6!
Strength training doesn’t require heavyweights, as long as you go to fatigue or occasionally failure.
This will require either more repetitions, changing the tempo, or increasing your range of motion in order to reach this required level of difficulty to see strength gains and hypertrophy but you can do it with any exercise depending on your fitness level, interest, ability, and equipment.
Squats, pushups, pull ups, lunges, Bulgarian split squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts, step-ups, military/overhead press…whatever you want!
Alessa Caridi – JobuFIT
Your chosen career can be stressful. You sit, talk, type, and repeat.
Did you know that eating while stressed can impair your body from properly absorbing the vitamins and minerals in your food? That can lead to digestion problems which do not help when you are trying to stay healthy, fit, and even lose weight.
Staying healthy and fit in your workspaces – aka our homes – comes down to two things: timing and movement.
Why timing and movement?
A little bit of science: You must think of your brain as a muscle; to work and move muscles need blood. When you are stressed and working hard your brain hogs all the glucose (energy) and blood. This fatigues the rest of your body and puts you into negative energy.
Typically, your body’s first reaction to the negative energy state is to send out hunger signals; that is the fastest and easiest way to replenish energy. But you are stressed, working hard, and it is not even lunch yet! So, are you really hungry?
I must add, by no means am I telling you to starve yourself, but this is where the two things I mentioned come in. TIMING, when you feel yourself begin to fatigue, get anxious, or start to feel hungry, that’s when you need to start MOVING.
Go for a walk (short and brisk is fine), stretch (stand, tuck your chin to your chest and roll down so you are hanging over your legs), do 30 jumping jacks.
Just understand the opposite of sitting is not standing, it is moving. Your limbs need to reclaim blood flow and trigger energy reserve usage (aka fat storage).
Keep timing and movement at the top of your to-do list throughout your workday. Heck, schedule it into your day.
These two simple additions will not only fight stress and keep you productive but could be the solution to weight loss that all work-from-home warriors need in the days ahead.
In order to lose weight while working from home and during quarantine/lockdown, you need to set up systems for you to succeed.
Because our routines have been completely turned upside down, it’s time to adapt to the new situation.
This means for your workouts, you need to set up an area in your home where you’ll be doing them. It could be in your garage, space in your home, or outside in the patio.
Once you’ve set up your workout area, you need to block off times in your calendar. Since you’re working from home, it’s easy to be stuck all day in front of your computer and not take care of yourself.
Set aside 45 minutes to an hour a few times a week to get in your workouts or to go on walks.
For your diet, now that you’re at home more often you may not be as active as you were pre-lockdown, so your body will need fewer calories.
Add in the fact that it’s easier to overeat, snack out of boredom/stress, or even drink more alcohol than usual and it’s an easy way to gain weight.
I recommend doing a complete kitchen makeover where you clean out all of the junk and get it out of your house so it’s out of sight, out of mind.
With each of your meals, I recommend having one serving size of lean protein, along with a serving size of vegetables. This will keep you full, and help you lose fat combined with consistent workouts.
It can be difficult to lose weight when you’re stuck at home and many gyms may be closed. Here are some ways to get moving at home so you can keep burning those calories. But don’t forget, keeping your calories in check needs to be part of the equation.
Nutrition is 80% of the equation when it comes to losing weight and transforming your body. That said, here are some easy, at-home workouts you can do with minimal to no equipment.
- Bodyweight training – do a circuit of simple circuit of squats, push-ups, walking lunges, and dips
- Walk – get outside, do laps in your living, jump on a treadmill
- Jump rope – the simplest piece of equipment you can buy to get a good, solid cardio workout
- Use the stairs – create your own Stairmaster by walking up and stairs, whether it’s in your house, a nearby park, or maybe you have bleachers nearby
- Find your favorite workout on YouTube – search for any type of class you’re interested in – HIIT, barre, pilates, yoga, Jazzercise, boot camp – and you’ll have access to thousands of videos and classes for on any exercise you can think of
Rachel Scott – Rachel Yoga
1. Provide yourself with support! Find free online resources that can motivate you and guide you through a workout (doyogawithme.com has free yoga classes, YouTube has tons of free personal training series).
2. Set – and stick to – scheduling your workout at a particular time of day. I find it easier to get it done right in the morning, but you may like to do a mid-day break (at noon) or fit it in before dinner (4:30-5:30). If you change it up, write it in your schedule so that you have a specific time set aside.
3. Move during the day. Take breaks every hour to do a minute of jumping jacks, get in a sun salutation, or just have a dance party! The key is to keep movement a natural and integrated part of your life.
Luke Jones – Hero Movement
An effective way to stay active and up your daily energy expenditure during lockdown is to experiment with mini-movement breaks or ‘movement moments’.
I work from home, and to keep active and (somewhat) mentally sane, I like to break up any periods of inactivity with some form of physical activity.
I typically step away from the screen every 25 minutes or so for 5-10 minutes of walking around the neighbourhood, swinging kettlebells, pull-ups, some rope flow, or a quick game of table tennis on our rickety makeshift table.
You can even spread your normal home workout throughout the day instead of performing it all in one big chunk.
The exact activity doesn’t matter much, and the idea isn’t to go all out in these breaks. We’re simply aiming to get the joints moving, increase the heart rate a little, and keep the metabolism elevated while we’re at it. It also means a break from technology, which is an added bonus.
A few minutes of movement might not feel like much at the time, but at the end of the week, all those short bouts add up and can make a big difference from a weight loss perspective!
Samantha Clayton – Herbalife Nutrition
Jumping rope is a high-impact activity that challenges your body in the same way running does, but it’s a great option that can be done at home in a smaller space.
To maximize the impact, jumping rope in an interval-style may be the best approach. This activity can burn up to 1,074 calories per hour
Running stairs is another great option if you live in a multi-story apartment building or have stairs inside your home. It’s great for muscle building and improving your cardiovascular fitness.
Your Speed, the number of steps and the height of the steps will all factor in to determine your overall calorie burn. The more steps you climb overall the harder your body is working.
The most important thing that you’re going to want to focus on is your diet. Whether you have weights at home and are able to perform resistance training exercises or if you are not working out at all, either way you are going to want to reduce your food intake specifically your carbohydrates.
If you are working out from home, the workouts will not be nearly as taxing as a gym workout. In this case, your body does not require the same amount of carbs since the energy demands are not as great. Same goes for not training at all.
When it comes to training at home….cardio is always an option since you can do a number of cardiovascular exercises that do not require equipment. Take advantage of that opportunity and increase your cardio training by doing cardio 2x per day.
I would suggest focusing on mornings before breakfast to get the benefit of a fasted cardio session and then again during the day….approximately 2hrs after eating so that your meal is, for the most part digested.
The best way to lose weight while working from home and in lockdown is to schedule the time into your day like you would any other important meeting and make sure you keep it as a priority and stick to it.
One of the biggest challenges when working from home is that it’s too easy to get the boundaries of work and personal time blurred, so by setting those boundaries around what time you start and finish work, and what time you take breaks throughout the day will help you find and keep that work/life balance.
There are so many options for online platforms and workouts to help keep you motivated.
One thing I have noticed is people are more motivated by workouts online that are taught live, where the participant needs to show up at a particular time and is participating live with other people at the same time. Just as you would turning up to a class at the gym.
For those who are used to exercising with other people, this helps keep it as real as possible.
Pam Sherman – The Perfect Balance
We have all heard about the Covid 19 as in gaining weight during Covid. With the uncertainty of our world/lives, it’s really easy to overeat, stress eat, comfort eat, and then eat some more.
But losing weight while working from home is possible for everyone! It does take planning out each day both for eating and movement. However, this is time well spent as you will feel in control of your health while you see the scale going down.
Weight loss is all about creating a calorie deficit. Let’s start by getting rid of(or stop buying) any food that leads to binging or overeating. If it’s not in the house, you most likely will not go out and buy it!
The next step is accurately logging every single bite, lick, and taste of anything that goes in your mouth. I love the app myfitnesspal but there are many out there to use for tracking.
A huge tip is to not take away a lot of calories ever. Log for 4-5 days to see what you normally eat, then cut back 100-200 calories to start. Drastically reducing your calories leads to overeating- every single time.
Basing your meals around protein/fiber(google this and eat your favorites) =will keep you full! You should enjoy what you eat every single day.
As well as drinking enough water. We are made up of about 60% water and we need to get in enough daily for our organs/body to function properly. How much is enough and how much is too much… A good standard is half your body weight in ounces. Not close?
Try adding an additional 8 oz each week until you get there. I highly recommend front-loading your day with water and not waiting until nighttime- sleep is important and getting up to use the bathroom often gets in the way of getting restful sleep.
Lastly, put movement into your day. Everyone is sitting so much. Make a mandatory 5-10 minute walk break every 75 minutes or so. If you can take a call and walk, get out and do it! Being out in the fresh air gives us energy, boosts our mood, and revitalizes us!
Schedule your workouts as a non-negotiable appointment in your calendar daily. You are not allowed to cancel on yourself. This is for long term health and wellness.
Find or do an activity that you love(as well as strength train)! When you love what you’re doing, it’s not a chore, it’ll become a lifelong habit and something you look forward to most days of the week!
Working from home has been great for so many reasons, but getting in a good workout is not one of them. Many people have found it difficult to maintain weight while working from home.
One of the most important things to remember is to get in some form of movement every single day. People have a tendency to work longer hours when at home, giving you less personal time, and less time to get outside or take care of yourself.
Make sure to prioritize going outside every day, getting some fresh air, sunlight and going for at least a short walk. Even walking can help reduce appetite and help you eat less. The culprit for weight gain always comes down to what and how much you eat.
Regular, active movement, will help curb appetite and encourage you to eat less.
Another great thing to try is mindful eating: don’t watch tv or be on your computer while eating anything. Make sure that you are solely focused on your meal. Scientific studies have shown this can drastically reduce the amount you’ll eat.
Lastly, prioritize drinking enough water. Thirst often masquerades as hunger, making you feel hungry when all you really need is water. Drinking enough water will also help you feel fuller longer. The key to all of this is consistency.
Small and simple changes will work wonders for your lifestyle and make it easier to maintain and even lose weight, no matter whether you’re working from home or back to your old routine.
Oliver Walsh – ASYSTEM
There are a few easy ways to keep from gaining weight while in quarantine or lockdown. I recommend drinking a lot of water.
Try to drink half your weight in ounces of water. This will help keep you hydrated which allows for the nutrients in the foods you’re eating to be absorbed easier. It’s good for your skin and keeps you from snacking on junk.
Incorporate bodyweight exercises into your daily routine. If you don’t have a full 30-45 minutes to set aside for exercise, split the time into 10-15 minute sets. Move for the entire mini session and keep that heart rate up.
You can also sit on the floor when you’re watching television and see how many crunches or pushups you can do during the commercial break.
It’s also quick and effective to try plank variations. Alternate with each commercial.
Rachel Reddish – EōS Fitness
Just because you can’t make it to the gym doesn’t mean you get a pass on working out and staying healthy. Succeed in your fitness goals, no matter where you are.
First, build the habit; work out at the same time each day and on the same days of the week to build your fitness habit at home.
Next, start with a plan. Write out your workout before you begin exercising so that you have a clear plan to execute. Even a 10-minute workout can improve your overall health and fitness.
Dedicate an area of your home as your fitness corner. It doesn’t need to be a large space; if you can fit a yoga mat, you’ve got plenty of space. Ease yourself into your workout routine with a low-intensity warm-up.
Then, follow up with some bodyweight movements such as pushups, air squats, sit-ups, lunges and more. You can even invite a friend to hold you accountable. Recruit your partner, best friend or even your kids to be your accountability buddy.
Lastly, practice self-compassion. Some days are tough, and you won’t always be able to get to work out. That’s fine, fitness is a journey. Let go of your guilt and recommit to your fitness tomorrow. Fresh day, fresh start!
Julie Cohen – Mad Nutrition
Creating daily structure around eating, moving your body, and practicing mindfulness is a tried-and-true recipe for sustainable weight loss. What’s more, if you are working from home, you can do it with pajama pants on!
Not sure where to begin? Here are a few suggestions of small shifts that can lead to big results.
Practice eating your meal or snack away from screens. This means no laptop, phone, or TV distracting you from experiencing your food and tuning in to your body’s satiety signals.
Surround yourself with easy snack “grabs” which can be as simple as keeping fresh fruit out on your countertop or prepped vegetables to dip into hummus.
Explore new ways to move your body. Take frequent walks with your furry friend or listen to 10 minutes of a podcast each time you walk.
When you need to stay inside take yourself through a simple set of stretches. Adding in bursts of movement is a great way to supplement more traditional forms of “exercise”.
Focus on one thing at a time and practice self-compassion. Building a new habit takes time and our work-life balance is dynamic. Small changes done consistently will help you lose weight and thrive more in your home office and beyond.
Literally, overnight, our daily movement got all but eliminated when we were required to stay home pretty much all the time.
Instead of moving around at least part of the day (think: walking to and from your car, around the office, running errands, etc), we became almost entirely sedentary if we aren’t extremely intentional.
One of the easiest ways to support your weight loss goals right now is to make daily movement a priority, even though it might be harder than it used to be.
Take walks around the block (or house) during or between work calls, use the further bathroom, take more trips when you’re doing laundry. Small increases throughout the day can add up and benefit your health and weight loss goals.
More importantly, though, shape your food environment to support your weight loss goals. Don’t bring “trigger” foods into the house and if you do, pre-portion them into single servings so you can’t mindlessly overeat.
Plan meals – especially lunches – so that when work through lunch and find yourself extra hungry when you get to the kitchen, a nutritious, goal-supportive meal is the easiest option.
Lisa Herrington – Lift With Lisa
There are plenty of ways to sneak exercise in whether you are at home or outside. A simple walk around the neighborhood can turn into a mini boot camp session by utilizing outdoor spaces.
Park benches are a great place to stop and do incline push-ups (hands on the bench, feet on the ground), tricep dips, one-legged step-ups (while facing bench, place one foot on the bench and slowly step up and down, repeating on one side for 10-20 step-ups, switch sides).
If you are in need of an advanced, high-intensity cardio burst, bench hops (hop up with both feet onto the bench and step down) will do the job.
A big field can double as a track…sprint the long side, jog the short side, sprint, jog, repeat for 5-10 minutes. Monkey bars are an excellent place to practice pull-ups.
There are so many options when you take your fitness outdoors and adding strength drills into a simple walk or jog can elevate workouts making them more challenging and more fun.
Thank you so much to all the experts that have contributed to this expert roundup! Please share this post with your friends and followers on social media.