I was inspired to design this program after the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. As a physician, I worked directly with many hospitalized COVID-19 patients and saw how those with excess weight, diabetes, and other preventable health problems were suffering much more significantly from this disease when compared to other patients without these problems.
Quarantine 15, or Q15 for short, is our starter program designed to kickstart your fitness journey and teach you the fundamentals of lifelong fitness in only 40 days.
Don’t be fooled! Just because Q15 is basic, does not mean it is easy! The program is solid and can be scaled down if you are an absolute newbie, or scaled up if you are an experienced athlete who has been “out of the game” for too long.
Here is what we cover in the program:
- Finding Your Reason to Change
- The Workouts
- (Re)Learning How to Eat
- The Psychology of Change
- Building Grit
- Looking Beyond 40 Days
Finding Your Reason to Change
He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.Friedrich Nietzsche
For most people, adapting a mindset of fitness is a huge change. I am not going to lie to you…in the beginning it is quite challenging to make healthy choices in a world where it is so easy to make unhealthy choices everywhere you turn.
If you actually want to succeed, by far the most important part of starting your fitness journey is defining your reason for wanting to change. This reason is your “why.”
Why do you desire to change your life?
You must want to change: In fact, those that try to change their habits due to the desires of others are usually doomed to fail. This is why nagging your husband to lose weight, or a doctor nagging her patient to stop drinking alcohol almost never works. You can’t simply force someone else to change. And likewise, no one can force you to change either. You must truly desire to change yourself, and then it’s just a matter of having a good plan!
If you want to be successful in this fitness journey, you must want to do it for your own reasons. Here are some good reasons why you might want to change:
- You want to lose excess weight to feel more confident, look better, and avoid the health problems associated with obesity
- You want to feel better in general, have more energy, feel more alive
- You want to slow the aging process and stay agile as you get older
- You want to feel stronger, look stronger, and actually be stronger in everyday life
- You are now facing a health problem related to lifestyle and need to make a serious change to preserve your remaining health and your life!
So, if you have a good “why” to live for, it is true that you probably can bear any “how.” The how, of course, is this plan, and I promise that it won’t be that bad. If you really desire to make a serious change in your health, you should actually enjoy it!
Exercise is essential, and working out is one of the foundations of the Q15 plan! Exercise is fundamental for your physical health and your mental health, so it’s time to get moving!
All of our workouts are designed to be done at home using bodyweight only, so you don’t need any weights or other equipment. It would be helpful to have a chair and a soft mat to put on the floor, but a carpet or towel will also be fine.
There are four 30-minute workouts per week, during which you will be getting cardio done while simultaneously building muscle (no wasting time with boring cardio sessions). There are also two “move” days per week which can be spent walking, jogging, biking, really anything that gets you moving, preferably outdoors in the fresh air!
Q15 Workout Plan Overview
|Day 1||30-minute home workout|
|Day 2||30-minute home workout|
|Day 3||Get out and move|
|Day 4||30-minute home workout|
|Day 5||30-minute home workout|
|Day 6||Get out and move|
|Day 7||Rest day|
All of our exercises are designed to work your entire body, with a focus on your core and your major muscle groups. Every movement can be scaled down to make it easier for those without prior exercise experience or with injuries or pain. Each exercise is demonstrated in a video, so you can watch and follow along with me to master the movements!
(Re)Learning How to Eat
How we eat defines what we look like, how we feel, and has a major role in our health in general! I like to think of eating as more of a general philosophy with certain rules or principles that you should stick to, rather than a prescribed “diet plan.”
In fact, I detest most “diet plans” and think that they fail because most “diets” are too restrictive, cannot be maintained with consistency forever, and foster dangerous or restrictive eating habits. So if you are looking for a crash diet or a “quick fix” you won’t find one here!
What I will cover is how to plan your grocery shopping and meals to foster healthy eating, how to avoid the common food traps that lead to obesity, how to time your meals to maximize weight loss, and how to eat more mindfully to enjoy real food more and processed junk food much less.
There are no pills, meal replacement powders or shakes, or “juice cleanses” in this program. You won’t be doing some trendy diet plan that forces you to eliminate an entire food group, such as carbs. You will learn about calories and carbs and fat and protein, but you won’t be counting calories everyday.
The “diet plan” in this program can be followed for the rest of your life because it is based on you gaining understanding of the principles of healthy eating and adopting them as part of your lifestyle!
Plus I will supply you with some good recipes, so you can get started on cooking your own healthy meals right away!
The Psychology of Change
Besides having solid reasons to want to change, the psychology behind making a lasting change is the most important factor to get right if you want to be on this journey for the long haul.
Guilt, shame, negativity, hopelessness, futility, regret, denial, and fear of failure are strong emotional forces that need to be addressed and managed in order to make real progress on your journey toward better health.
These negative emotions affect all of us to some degree, but why do some people recover quickly and continue to make progress, while others become completely derailed and spiral back down to worse-off then before they started?
Simple: It is a lack of planning and a failure to train the mind for the inevitable and repeated encounters with our own internal resistance to change.
By not facing the realities and limits of your own psychology, you are setting yourself up for self-sabotage and ultimately failure in whatever your goals may be. A strong house must be built on a solid foundation, so taking the time to understand some of these psychological principles is time well-spent in making a real lifestyle change!
The Q15 program will tackle some of the more common psychological issues leading to failure, and will give you the tools needed to recover when negative emotions rear their ugly heads. Because they always do…it’s not a matter of if, but of when! The important thing is how you manage your emotions: This alone will determine your ability to make the change you desire.
Grit, determination, perseverance. The ability to “gut it out” and keep going when your body is telling you to stop. This type of self-discipline is necessary to make lifelong fitness a reality.
We can all agree that eating better, working out more, getting good sleep, and taking care of our emotional health would lead to a healthier and better life. The hard part is actually doing all of these things with consistency day after day!
My biggest problem with most online fitness programs currently available is that they are somewhat one-dimensional. Most programs can be characterized into one of two groups:
- Exercise plans that focus mainly on physical traits (example: get six-pack abs with this 7-minute-a-day program).
- Diet plans that focus mainly on weight loss (example: lose 50 pounds in 3 months with this keto fat-burning diet).
The truth is, almost any plan that prescribes increased exercise and/or less eating will work for some limited period of time. You can find thousands of free exercise and diet plans on YouTube and get started right now!
But what happens when the going gets tough? Do these plans address the tactics needed to make you body do what your rational mind is telling it to do? In the face of discomfort, do you push yourself through or do you give up? Is grit even something that can be taught or are you simply born with it or not?
A fitness-minded life doesn’t necessarily need to be painful, although there is often some pain involved with any transformation. Your body will often tell you it doesn’t feel like working out today. Your stomach will often tell you that it wants another helping of dinner. Your mind will frequently remind you about the snacks in your pantry around bedtime or when you are bored.
The pain happens when you have to impose control keep yourself on the path toward better health: Do those extra few reps of that exercise. Don’t have that extra portion of dessert tonight. Get up early to workout and make a healthy lunch rather than sleep in and grab “whatever” to eat today.
Woven throughout this entire program is the idea of self-discipline. How to make yourself do what you need to do, even when your body is telling you to take the day off. How to get that workout done and how to keep going even when you don’t really want to anymore.
Motivation will come and go, but the ability to push yourself to make positive choices even when unmotivated at that specific moment is the key factor that separates the doers from the talkers.
Looking Beyond 40 Days
The end of the program is not the end of your fitness journey. In fact, it’s not even the end of the beginning of your journey!
After completing Q15, you will be in far better shape and have many more tools for continuing your pursuit of lifelong fitness, but your work is not over when the program ends. Q15 is a great way to prepare yourself for a more intensive fitness program, or you can even run Q15 again with more challenging exercises and intervals.
Q15 is designed to get you from where you are right now, to much closer to where you want to be, in just 40 days. You will gain muscle, lose fat, increase your endurance, learn how to eat better food, and learn the secrets of grit and discipline needed for real lifestyle change.
Where you go after that will be up to you!
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