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Posted by Issac Ishak on


I’m a strong believer that with the right mindset and appropriate adjustments any inconveniences that occur in the next couple weeks will NOT stop your progress. Just like any negative situation, you’re going to have crappy people trying to take advantage of it, in the fitness industry that’s in the form of people trying to ‘sell’ immunity or BS diet’s that promote it. Part of the reason I’m creating this! It's critical to understand that absolutely NOTHING in the body works in isolation, nor does any stimulus for that matter. The dangers of this are the effects that aren’t discussed or considered. When considering protocols for myself, or my clients whether that be nutrition, training, supplements, etc… It’s critical to look at the encompassing variables and what effects a specific adjustment will have. The solution to this problem is multifaceted, but I believe education will help bridge the gap to an extent. Maximizing your health/building your physique isn’t going to happen up overnight and show up the next day similar to a package from Amazon. You’ll have to consistently put in work. Not for 8 weeks, not for 16 weeks… I’m talking about years. Was Rome built in a day? Nope.

Never adopt an approach, habit, protocol, based on a single fact. Moreover, place more of your energy into the actions that will help you achieve your goal rather than stress about it.

In this article and 3 part video series, we’ll be breaking down what you need to be focusing on during this period of time to stay on track with your progress.




For a majority of us the gym is typically the most exciting part of our day. Personally, I use my training not only to progress toward my body composition related goals, but it’s also a place for me to shut my mind. It first started out as my escape and till this day, that’s still sort-of the case. In understanding that, doing ANY type of physical activity is VERY important to me during this period of time. I’ll be taking it upon myself to continue to run daily and still train :) 

How are you supposed to train without a gym ISHAK?! 


Exactly why I created this guide. You’re not only going to find protocols for what you should be doing nutritionally during this period of time, but adjustments you can make when it comes to training… Whether that be getting it in at home, or going to your local park and utilizing what they have available to get an effective training stimulus in. I do want to make one thing clear it’s going to be VERY hard to try and build muscle mass when you have little to no equipment. Therefore, the emphasis needs to be placed on trying to maintain already existing muscle mass— which is significantly MUCH easier than trying to build more. Hand in hand with nutrition, and training, is having the proper mindset during this period of time— it’s imperative.

“The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.” - Bryan Tracy

Despite the best-laid plans, life isn’t always predictable. External events and unexpected circumstances often create chaos - causing us to lose focus and get distracted. At times like these, you can reclaim some sense of security by focusing on what you can control. Find comfort in your habits. Find structure in your plans. Find certainty in your routines. Then use the power of focus to direct your energy, enthusiasm, and creativity to the things most likely to give you what you want. That’s how your best self can thrive— regardless of what’s going on around you.




  • When things do not go according to plan, don't beat yourself up about it, but do not use that as an excuse.
  • Do not let things that occur in your external environment control and impact you showing up. Where there’s a will there’s a way!
  • If you’re currently in a fat loss phase, or contest prep— keep the goal the goal! Communicate closely with your coach.
  • Be aware of your activity levels— if you’re staying at home most the time it’s likely you’ll be more sedentary.
  • Try to keep in contact with close friends/family.


  • Protein Powders will be your best friend in hitting your protein intake.
  • Dry Carbohydrates/Canned Goods will be better for storage.
  • Prioritize fresh/minimally processed foods when possible.
  • If you plan/shop ahead your overall adherence may actually increase during this period of time especially because you’ll be preparing more of your meals at home.
  • As you'll be spending more time at home, make sure your environment is conducive to your goals!! Don’t keep tempting foods in the house that you know your mind will be fixated on.
  • When and if you eat out:
  1. Choose options from the menu that are productive for you goal
  2. Try to eat slowly and chew throughly to ensure you don’t overeat
  • If you’re in a fat loss phase/contest prep, keep the goal the goal, as long as you maintain your training efforts by training the main (6) movement patterns and taking those sets to a close proximity to failure, you'll be providing your body with a sufficient training stimulus to maintain your current muscle mass. If you feel like continuing with your fat loss phase/contest prep 1. Speak with your coach 2. I recommend increasing calories to maintenance.
  • If you’re in a surplus/gaining phase, the main consideration is that you need to be providing your body with ‘enough’ of a training stimulus that tells your body to utilize the calories you’re consuming and build muscle from it. Therefore, the more advanced of a trainee you are and the less confident you are with home workouts/specific movement patterns, the more you should consider decreasing calories to maintenance until you can resume regular resistance training.


  • Similar to how to takes time to accrue muscle mass, you’re not going to lose it overnight.
  • It takes a prolonged period of inactivity, or intentional ‘detraining’ to lose a noticeable amount of muscle mass.
  • Any muscle mass/strength lost is regained relatively quickly compared to how long it took initially build it.
  • The training stimulus needed to maintain muscle mass is much less than needed to build more.

I have added basic movement patterns to the “GSD COVID-19 TRAINING PROTOCOL” spreadsheet. Click here to download.

The six essential movement patterns I referred to are as follows:

  1. Vertical Push
  2. Vertical Pull
  3. Horizontal Push
  4. Horizontal Pull
  5. Hip Hinge
  6. Squat

I usually create training sessions around these main movement patterns and they entail a few of these exercises:

  • Vertical Push: DB/BB Overhead Presses, Landmine Presses
  • Vertical Pull: Lat. Pull-downs, Chin-ups, Pull-ups
  • Horizontal Push: BB/DB Bench Presses, Push-ups
  • Horizontal Pull: Rowing Variants
  • Hip Hinge: Deadlift Variants, Barbell Hip-thrusts
  • Squat: BB Squat Variants, Leg Presses

 If your gym closes and you have to go to a different gym, you may need to make substitutions. If you need to do just that here’s some ideas:

  • Vertical Push: DB/BB Overhead Presses, Arnold Presses, Machine Shoulder Press
  • Vertical Pull: Lat. Pull-downs, Pull-ups
  • Horizontal Push: BB/DB Bench Presses, Push-ups, Machine Chest Press
  • Horizontal Pull: Row Machine, TRX Inverted Row
  • Hip Hinge: Barbell Hip-thrusts, 1-Arm, 1-Leg Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs), DB RDL’s, Banded Good Mornings
  • Squat: Squat variations, Leg Press, Goblet Squats, Bulgarian Split Squats, Sissy Squats

If you don’t have access to ANY equipment:

  • Vertical Push: DB/BB Overhead Presses, Landmine Presses, Machine Shoulder Press OR Do more horizontal presses at different angles
  • Vertical Pull: Lat. Pull-downs, Pull-ups
  • Horizontal Push: BB/DB Bench Presses, Push-ups, Machine Chest Press
  • Horizontal Pull: Row Machine, TRX Inverted Row OR Table Rows
  • Hip Hinge: Barbell Hip-thrusts, 1-Arm, 1-Leg Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs), DB RDL’s, Banded Good Mornings
  • Squat: Squat variations, Leg Press, Goblet Squats, Bulgarian Split Squats, Sissy Squats

If you can't do a horizontal pull, or a vertical press because you don’t have the proper equipment, I don't think it’s something to stress about as long as you do the vertical pulling and horizontal pressing movements. As always if you have any questions, I’m here to help. I genuinely hope you found some value in this article. I’ll do my best to answer ALL emails and questions. Circumstances are a little weird right now, that much I understand, but I encourage everyone to keep up with WHO (World Health Organization) and CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) for the latest news and updates.

Thank you all for your continued support, sending good vibes, please stay safe!

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