The Perfect Quarantine Schedule to Keep you FIT and HEALTHY

Updated: Apr 13

By Brenna Topham, RDN, LD


Most of us have lots of free time on our hands since the stay at home order went out. So, I wanted to share my IDEAL 15-step routine that keeps me healthy and looking fit!!!


1. Wake up like it’s a weekend (usually past 9 am) and lay in bed contemplating the butterfly effect and wondering how many atoms had to align at the exact moment to create the novel coronavirus.


2. Start working from bed because even though every article says to make a separate work space, working from bed is a luxury I plan to take advantage of.


3. Get into the work zone and realize it’s noon. it's easy to let time slip away when there’s no coworkers around to talk with.


4. Eat something filling and quick before my first client. Today I chose a big donut and greek yogurt.



5. Set up my laptop out of earshot to keep everything HIPPA compliant. Make sure to hide the empty coffee mugs you forgot to take to the kitchen away from the client's view.


6. Have a session. Try not to let your mind get distracted by the news articles that pop up on screen or emails that pour in.

7. Microwave some pizza that was left in the box on the counter all night instead of getting refrigerated. Zap it again to get it up to super hot and kill off any nasties.


8. Realize you haven’t had water all day. Grab a big glass of luke-warm tap water, because your fridge filter is broken but no one can come fix it because of social distancing. 


9. Zone out while standing in the kitchen with a half-drunk glass. Eat some celery and green olives because it’s delicious and you hope the salty crunch will ground you back down.


10. Set up for another session. Realize how bare the walls of your office are. Hate the boredom.


11. Make a video for work. Clean one corner of your house so it looks professional. Stare at the piles of dishes behind the camera.


12. Finish your notes while your dogs bark incessantly and run across your laptop. Wonder if your neighbors are tired of hearing the constant barking. Feel bad for how bored your dogs must be.


13. Grab a glass of wine while cooking dinner in the same kitchen you’ve been staring at all day. The veggies are wilted and the meat is probably less than fresh, but it’s the best you’ve got


14. Try to unwind with a puzzle or game. Notice how often anxiety seems to creep its way into your relaxing time. Scroll on your phone, at least the memes are funny. Stay up way too late.


15. Oh yeah, hygiene. Realize you never brushed your teeth this morning because who do you have to speak to? No one. Brush extra well and go to bed.


I can’t get on instagram with seeing posts about people’s most productive quarantine, goals, and fitness plans. About how they are going to make all their dreams come true with 2 hours spent not-commuting. “There’s no excuse! You have all the time in the world now!” 


Umm- I can think of an excuse: maybe that there’s a $*@*&!# global pandemic. Maybe you’re worried about losing your job or cutting your hours. Maybe you have family and friends in the most affected countries. Maybe your parents are in the at-risk population. Maybe you’re regretting not begging your dad to quit smoking even harder when you were a kid, because now his lungs are affected. Maybe your mom is a nurse and is working to turn her unit into a coronavirus-only ward when the virus hits Houston hard. Maybe you’re immunocompromised and you are afraid of literally dying.


I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do right now is a #quarantinefifteen #fitnesschallenge #virtualworkout #homeworkout


I want to sleep. I want to call my mom. I want to make more media content to converse this B.S. I want to play with my dogs. I want to finally vacuum the coffee grounds I spilled on the rug. I want to do ANYTHING other than think about my body.


So when the media tells us NOW is the TIME you’ve been WAITING FOR and you NEED to DO IT. It’s really really really hard not to listen.


Our bodies are designed to gain weight during times of stress.

Yep, the #quarentinefifteen is a natural and healthy weight gain. Back in the cave-men times, food and safety weren’t always available. But, if you remember from my last COVID-19 article (link), food and safety are fundamental needs of life. Our bodies developed a really cool way to continue to survive  even without our basic needs, for just long enough to get to safety (ie, not a long term solution).



When we feel stressed, our body uses food more efficiently. Our digestion slows, metabolism decreases, and our sense of motivation might plumet. Therefore, we might have changes in the way we feel hunger/fullness cues, notice weight gain, and feel like not doing much. This is meant to allow us to hide in the cave while, without having to venture out into the world to hunt or gather food. Sound familiar to anyone? 


It’s okay to let yourself rest, to do the bare minimum. A global pandemic is not the best time to complete all of your goals. A schedule/to-do list, meal plan, and hobbies are helpful, but there's no need to get down on yourself if you’re just doing the bare minimum. It's okay if your main focus is on getting through your day. Remember, Instagram is a highlight reel. If someone seems to be totally fine right now, they're likely hiding their feelings or in denial.


Take care,

Brenna Topham, RDN, LD



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