Shakespeare may have written King Lear in quarantine but we bet he didn’t build quads like Daniel Macpherson. The Australian actor and Logie award winner may have been impressive in Neighbours, but we’re even more impressed by his commitment to working out.
Macpherson recently posted the following photo of a hotel quarantine sweat session, after having just made it home to Australia. This comes after various other individuals have spoken about the challenges of working out (and simply getting through) quarantine.
Inspired, we asked – how exactly does one keep fit in hotel quarantine? Is it two weeks of hell, or (in some ways) a blessing in disguise? Macpherson told us, for him, “Workouts were governed by space and equipment. I had 2 x 14kgs kettlebells, 2 x 20kg dumbells, an ab mat and eventually an Aussie Strength Assault Bike at my disposal.”
“I started the 14 days with heavier daily sessions broken down into chest and back, legs, and shoulders and arms. After a few days of this, I realised a couple of things – I didn’t have enough weight or space, I was sick of pushups, and most importantly – for sanity’s sake – I had to work out every day for 14 days, so I couldn’t miss a day because I was too tight or sore. Full-body workouts became the norm.”
Macpherson also shared his three main workouts, which any ‘stuck-in-quarantinees’ looking to stay sane and get a decent workout in would be well advised to check out.
Assault Bike Plus – medium intensity, longer duration
- Bike: two minutes easy, two minutes medium, one minute hard
- Every five minutes jump off for 20 pushups, 20 ab mat situps, 20 kettlebell swings
- As many sets as you like; I hit 10 sets with a 10 min bike cool down
- Duration: 60 minutes
888 – 8 exercises, 8 rounds 8 reps
- After a 10 min warm up on the bike I’d mix this up sometimes to focus on more legs one day, or say shoulders the next.
- Kettlebell front squats
- Kettlebell deadlifts
- SA DB clean and press
- Kettlebell swings
- Kettlebell bent over rows
- Finish with two sets of tabata cycling (20/10 x 8 is one set)
“A friend from Croatia sent me this,” Macpherson told us. “I’ll be honest I only did it once. Partly because the neighbours hated it, mostly because it hurt like hell.”
- 60 crunches
- 40 X double unders (the space made this extra hard)
- 20 x kettlebell man makers
- 10 x Turkish Getups (again, space)
- Repeat all of the above for five sets
Macpherson then told us he would follow one of the above up in the afternoon or evening with something a little lighter: “Second workout of the day was usually just a 20-30 minute blast – tabata intervals on the bike or a 20 minute EMOM all core.”
As for the most challenging aspect to staying fit in hotel quarantine, Macpherson told us, “It’s hard to stay motivated to train when you can stay in bed and watch tv all day, but I made sure I got in at least one, sometimes two workouts a day, to burn off any extra energy or anxiety from being locked up.”
“Apart from the lack of space, I’d say it’s finding the creativity in your fitness. In a 14 day period that is literally the definition of monotony, I had to make sure I was continually creative with my workouts and my space. Google and Instagram were my friends. I tried a stack of KB flows and workouts and learnt a bunch of new skills.”
“The stopwatch became the most efficient motivator for me, I did loads of 40 second work; 20 second rest interval workouts, with just 2 or 3 exercises for anywhere between 20-40 minutes.”
That all said, there were some advantages: “You can workout in your buddy smugglers. You can take as long on the equipment as you like. You literally have ALL DAY to get your session done. You can sit on the couch and order food delivery for as long as you like afterwards, guilt free!”
Finally, Macpherson shared his top “quarantine tips that worked for me.” These were:
- Mediation: I made a goal to meditate twice a day for 20 minutes while I was in there. It helped massively. If it’s something you’ve ever wanted to try, 14 days of self isolation is a good time to explore it.
- Don’t count the days: I stopped counting the days. After about day 3, I made a decision that it was helping. It was just ‘today’, tomorrow was ‘tomorrow’, and I was getting out next Tuesday.
- Routine and Goals: I made a list of things I wanted to tick off while I was in there. Everything from areas of mobility and stretching that I’d neglected for too long, shows I wanted to finish, scripts I wanted to read, and something I wanted to learn. For me that was a guitar tutorial on pentatonic scales, but just having that new creative outlet was great for my brain. Whenever the monotony kicked in, I’d take a look at the list and off I went.
- Eating loads of fruit, vegetables and water: especially [during] week two, keep those vitamins in, especially when the sunshine and fresh air is at a minimum.