Improving body composition in a lockdown

Malaysia had its first full lockdown last year and I lost so much fat, it was incredible. I followed basic principles most personal trainers / fitness coaches know and dropped three kilograms & three percent body fat. Take a read below:

Read a few of the things I did last year to lose fat and get lean:

But then this year…

Malaysia had two (read that – TWO!) total lockdowns since January. The January 2021 lockdown had me emotionally drained and feeling depressed, mainly because so many great things had been happening in my work life and also physically in terms of bodybuilding.

However, in February and March, when things had opened up, I began to experience burn out at the gym, so I took it easy. By the time we went into the second lockdown (🙄) in May, physically my condition wasn’t tip-top (which was okay because I had planned to go full throttle in May).

So it was with dismay that I saw total deterioration in my condition by the end of May. With some reflection, I realised these were the mistakes I had been making:

  1. My workouts weren’t intense enough – I was translating my gym workouts to home, using the lighter weights I had that didn’t give me the intensity I needed to lose fat, or the volume to gain muscle. Also, because it was a “direct” transfer of a gym-to-home workout, I neglected cardio.
  2. I wasn’t consuming enough protein – I had minimised my protein intake during March and April 2021 because I had dropped my workout days to three times a week. When the lockdown began, even though I exercised, my mindset was that if I didn’t go to gym, I didn’t need to consume the protein. That was a big mistake.
  3. I was consuming more sugar than necessary – I discovered the joys of condensed milk and dumped it into coffee every single day! What a big fat mistake that was!

Added to this was the drop in muscle mass due to my scaling back in the gym during March and April 2021, and that caused a greater gain in fat than I would have liked.

So what did I do?

Firstly, I cut down my simple carbs (or sugars), including the dreaded condensed milk! That was the simplest thing to do.

Secondly, I increased the intensity of my workouts. Since my weights are relatively light, the things I did to increase the intensity were:

  1. Reduce rest periods from one minute to 30 seconds, sometimes 15 seconds, depending on how good I was feeling;
  2. Introduce plyometrics. Plyometrics are anything where you jump and land on the ground (or a surface) again. This doesn’t have to be both limbs, so to me, running is a form of plyometrics. But since I don’t enjoy running (LOL! 😆🙈), I added exercises like Jumping Jacks, Squat Jumps, Burpees with jumps etc. into the mix.
  3. Incorporate more intense exercise modalities, such as Tabata and other cardio strength modalities. I will include a video from Athlean-X at the end of the post that you can opt to do for an intense cardio strength burn, if you wish.
  4. Started consuming more protein. During this lockdown, I find I have become more vegetarian (maybe because a lot of the meat sold doesn’t seem fresh), so I supplemented with a slow-release whey isolate protein powder. If you need help with this, contact me.

And within two days, I felt much more lean, less bloated than I did a few days earlier.

So you can choose to follow these principles if you find yourself at a loss and gaining fat, while losing muscle, or you can contact me if you prefer to work with me virtually.

I definitely am feeling much better, moving much better, and looking much better after having followed these principles.

And as promised, here’s a great intense home workout from Athlean-X you can try at home. View the video first and watch the modifications you may need to make if you intend to try this.

Tell me in the comments if these work for you. Or email me directly if you need more advice.