Taking the depression out of home workouts and lockdowns- finding our way back!

The lockdown and loss of our gym have taken a bite out of us all. We used to own our future by our choices- then suddenly choices were being made for us. We lost the gym- our source of creating a better future and our outlet for letting work and life stress go.

So what measures can we take to make the home workouts impact us that much more positively and importantly, lift our neurotransmitters so we bounce out of bed early, look forward to the day and feel in charge of "us" again?

1) Listen to Music that motivates YOU to workout
"On one occasion the students listened during the bench press to the music genre they most liked. On another occasion, during bench press, they listened to the genre that they actually valued the least.

When the students listened to their favorite music, they made 1.7 more reps than when they listened to their least favorite music. 

J Strength Cond Res. 2018 Dec 7. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002981. 

2) Lift as heavy as possible while  at home- from tough pushups to single-leg squats- get creative
People suffering from depression feel better if they do weight training, researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered in the 1990s. The heavier the weights they used, the greater the effect the strength training had on the level of depression.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1997 Jan;52(1):M27-35.

3) Stick to real foods- butter not margarine, grass-fed meat, organic free-run eggs, etc.
Depression would become less common if we were all to stop using diet kinds of margarine and went over to using olive oil. This is the conclusion of an epidemiological study in which scientists at Georgia Southern University followed almost five thousand people for ten years. It looks as though the fatty acids in olive oil protect against depression, whereas the fatty acids in most 'healthy' kinds of margarine actually increase the risk of depression.

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Aug 31; 33(6): 972-7.

4) Have a couple of cups of coffee before your workout (organic for what it doesn't contain). I use organic whipping cream to flavor.
Women who drink a couple of cups of coffee every day are less likely to develop depression than women who drink no coffee. American nutritionists at the University of Harvard announced this in 2011 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Results support a possible protective effect of caffeine, mainly from coffee consumption, on the risk of depression. These findings are consistent with earlier observations that suicide risk is lower among persons with higher consumption of coffee. [Ann Epidemiol. 1993 Jul;3(4):375-81.] [Arch Intern Med. 1996 Mar 11;156(5):521-5.] Further investigations are needed to confirm this finding and to determine whether usual caffeinated coffee consumption may contribute to the prevention or treatment of depression."

Source: Arch Intern Med. 2011 Sep 26;171(17):1571-8.

5) Whether post-workout or pre-bed. Use Magnesium sparingly. I like ATP's Synermag for its balance of chelates+ co-factors.
Daily supplementation with 250 mg elemental magnesium can help relieve mild depression. American researchers at the University of Vermont write about this in PLoS One. According to the Americans, the effect of extra magnesium is visible after just two weeks.

Source: PLoS One. 2017 Jun 27;12(6):e0180067.

6) Fish oil is rich in EPA and DHA - both implicated in raising the good neurotransmitters and mitigating depressive conditions. I use ATP's Omega 3 triglyceride at 1 tbsp PWO to mitigate inflammation.
Supplementation with a hefty dose of fish oil can get rid of a mild depression completely within three weeks. American psychiatrists reached this conclusion after doing a small study, which they published in Psychiatry Research. The subjects in the study were a couple of dozen students with mild depression.

Source: Psychiatry Res. 2015 Sep 30;229(1-2):485-9.

7) Keep your Zinc levels up to mitigate depression. I use ATP's SynerZinc for its' balance of zinc and copper.
"As the highest zinc concentration in mice was found in the hippocampus region [J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5S Suppl):1471S-83S.], this region seems to be most vulnerable to zinc deficiency. [Neurochem Int. 2005 Feb;46(3):221-5.] [J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2009 Sep;29(9):1579-88.]", the researchers wrote. "It is this region of the brain which plays a critical role in memory, learning, and neurogenesis."

Source: PLoS One. 2015 Jan 30;10(1):e0117257.

So let's put it all together . . . 

  • Enjoy a couple of coffee pre-workout
  • Lift as heavy as you are comfortable with
  • Get on Spotify or iTunes and put together a playlist that will lift your spirits and enhance your workout performance
  • Avoid margarine or "fake foods" and stick to the stuff from the farmer's market
  • Add a tbsp of fish oil to your PWO shake and pop a zinc supplement
  • Each night take a generous dose of Magnesium chelates easy to absorb.

Nothing beats putting the odds in our favor, right?
Here's to a timely return to the gym with all of us at our best :)

Who loves ya?

"Coach Mike"

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