How to Lose the Quarantine Weight

Oscar Smith. Photo: Matt Precora

By Oscar Smith

For the last few months, we have all been locked inside due to the outbreak of COVID-19. In March, our lives changed unexpectedly, and as a result, a lot of us have been putting on the pounds and feeling a bit lazy.

After a month— or three— of binging our streaming channels and snacks, it is now time to turn off the TV, put the phone down, and get back up and outside–especially with summer already here.

From personal experience, and at 54 years old, I know it can be hard to stay active and not give in to the feeling of sleeping in every day or skipping my training in the morning.

In those moments, you must push yourself to get up and be active. The best way to start is to make a very simple plan and stick to it.

My Typical Exercise Routine

For example, my day always starts at 5 a.m because my dogs wake me up at the same time every day to go to the park and run around.

After our 30-minute walk and playtime, I am up and ready to get my day started. Usually, I follow this daily activity with my cardio routine–whether it be running, biking, or swimming–or some upper-body lifting and abs and core exercises.

Oscar Smith and Christina Trainer. Photo: Oscar Smith.

My Advice to Clients

My advice to my clients is to always work out in the morning because it has the least amount of distractions.

The workout will be very helpful, but the pounds you have gained also come from not sticking to a stricter diet.

Yes, diet is a word we all hate, but it is necessary to lose the pounds we have gained during the quarantine. Most of us gain unwanted weight from eating snacks and lacking portion control.

Putting an end to those habits is a huge struggle and takes a lot of willpower to put an end to. One way to do it is by not buying unhealthy snacks. This is simple— because if it is not in your house, you will not be tempted to eat it.

This does not mean you can’t enjoy a snack here and there. You can have healthy snacks, such as fruit, nuts, and veggies. But it is still important to portion control; do not eat the entire bag of raisins or three-to-five pieces of fruit.

An example of this can be seen with the gorilla—they eat nothing but fruit and veggies, and they still get big. Stick to a diet that you know will work for you and plan out your meals for the week.

Once you have an idea of the diet you will be following, it is important to plan the exercises you will be doing, too. The best way to get started is to take it slow— like walking before you start running or jogging.

Remember to warm up first with a good, 10-minute stretch. I do, at least, 10 minutes of a good, head-to-toe stretch every day before I hit the pavement or surf.

When you get older, it takes extra time to get your blood flowing, but do not rush into it, because you might pull a muscle, or throw out your lower back. It is also important to do upper-body and weight-training exercises to keep your bones healthy and your muscles toned.

The ideal workout would be a nice mix of strength training and cardio. You can follow this schedule for a five-day routine, but you can always change it to meet your needs and limitations:

Oscar Smith

Oscar Smith and CICI, actor and model. Photo: Oscar Smith


Cardio (jogging, running, swimming, biking, or anything you enjoy)




Yoga or a stretch class (you can find plenty of classes online)


Play outside (tennis, mountain biking, swimming, or an activity you enjoy)




Your day off to relax


Start again by repeating what you did on Monday

The most important thing about getting back to your workout routine and starting a diet is to stay positive and productive. If you work out regularly, stick to a healthy diet, and do portion control. Before you know it, you will be back to the weight you were at the beginning of the quarantine.

Oscar Smith is a certified master personal trainer, flexibility technician, gymnastics coach and author of Natural Strength. He has trained celebrities including Katharine McPhee, Tom Brady, Rosario Dawson and Val Kilmer at his Tribeca, New York personal training gym, O-D Studio. For more information, visit Follow Oscar Smith on Instagram @oscar_odstudio and watch Oscar Smith’s YouTube show, S.W.E.A.T.
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