Before the Great Lockdown, many of us refused to take time to the gym. The forced absence may have been a blessing in disguise for you. At the very least, it has forced you to rest and heal excruciating injuries.
It may also have affected you on a more fundamental level. Perhaps you've re-evaluated why you're training and what your goals are. Hopefully you have more clarity about what you want to get out of the gym and how you can best achieve it.
Perhaps a global pandemic that threatens obesity, diabetes and the elderly to a greater degree has caused you to rethink your approach. Perhaps you have decided to do more conditioning work to complement your weightlifting, or you have decided to get out of the super heavyweight class and end your quest to become a 300-pound giant.
Perhaps in contrast You realize that your sporting activities give your life great meaning. Lockdown has let you know that accomplishing these things is something you deeply want, and you vowed to double your efforts to realize your potential. Whatever the outcome, I hope you have taken the time to reflect, evaluate and plan.
If you're not in the gym, you can appreciate it more. You can reevaluate your relationship with training:
Was it a healthy relationship? Did you like the challenge and the process? Did you train because you thought you had to prepare? Did you train to burn off some donuts? Have you trained to punish yourself or reward yourself?
Do you see health differently and your approach to optimize it now? Your goals may have shifted. Are ours Longevity and increased resilience are more important than adding an inch to your arms? Or do you realize that if you build additional muscles, you won't be happier and more fulfilled?
The answers to these questions are yours and yours alone. Take the time to reassess, gain clarity and make adjustments. You may have just needed a break or a change.
1. Do what you want
Doing what you want is something I think is essential. Pre-lockdown Many of you may have chosen a path that was set for you, or at least been heavily influenced by someone else. Your goals may have been projected on you and may become your goals. Don't train to make others happy.
Exercise to make you happy. Set goals that mean something to you. Make a specific plan for these goals and then work hard to achieve them. This will do you much more than going through the movements of chasing someone else's dream.
It will also make the ride much more enjoyable. Have your mission and work towards it.
2. Maintain the muscle mass
About the lock:
I have exercised less than at any point in the past decade. I had access to less equipment than when I started lifting almost 20 years ago. I had the stress of turning around and doing a lot of my personal business online to earn enough income to support my family.
Despite all that, I haven't lost any muscles. I think I won something. I have not worked miracles, but I certainly have no muscle bleeding and have returned to the body of my 11-year-old self.
Although I knew that strength and muscle mass were resistant to decay through withdrawal, I never really had to put it to the test. While recognizing the theoretical framework and scientific research was reassuring, It doesn't make you immune to the fear that something you've worked so hard for may go away.
I am pretty sure that there are many rational, well-read exercise rats between the competing thoughts of
"It will be fine, I will maintain my muscles and strength while training in body weight." And "Oh crap, I'm going to lose all my winnings – I won't even look like I lifted myself after the lockdown."
Fortunately, the research was right. It turns out that maintaining muscle mass is much easier than building it. Once you've created a decent physique, you can have him do very little.
3. The value of nutrition
Proper nutrition can:
Your diet is critical to building an impressive body. We all know that, but many fitness junkies have cut back on their diet.
They fall into the trap of overdoing a lousy diet or at least compensating for a less than ideal diet. It's pretty obvious that a newbie to fitness trying to lose fat by pounding the treadmill or signing up for a spin course is frustrated.
They have to deal with their diet, especially their big mocha-frappe-latte-cinno with syrup and muffin breakfast habits, and pizza and beer nights.
Most of us gymnastics rats assume a strange moral superiority here. We mock them for their naivety. We think they are ignorant and lazy.
However, many of us do not see that we too make similar mistakes. The difference is that we like to do sports and use this to cover up some of our nutritional faux pas.
Many fitness junkies who are stuck at home and unable to exercise for 90 minutes every day have found that they are not quite as tough and disciplined with their diet as they thought.
You now have access to a fully equipped kitchen just a few meters away. Many lifters that I know have started to give in to the cravings they never had before. Suddenly, hourly trips to the fridge or cookie jar take place every hour.
We are not so bulletproof if our routines and security blankets are removed. Since we are not armed with Tupperware filled with prepared foods, we are now making a food selection when we search the fridge hungry. It gives us an insight into how most ordinary people live.
I know I've had a few weeks dipping my hand into my child's chocolate and biscuit stock more often than it did. In combination with my reduced activity, my weight started to increase.
The lightness and accessibility of delicious treats in the next room became difficult to resist. I started to get used to having a candy bar after dinner.
I would choose the one-for-you-one-for-me approach when handing out the goodies to the kids. All this temptation meant that I started building bad habits and a bigger gut.
4. Eating based on activity levels
Maybe you haven't started treating yourself yet. Perhaps you have maintained the same eating habits as before. You probably gained weight anyway. Why? Because your activity levels have dropped and you are denied access to your beloved gym.
All of this sounds negative, but in fact it can be a real blessing in disguise. It will force you to develop a better understanding of how your diet needs to reflect your level of activity.
If you can stay slim or get slim if you can't exercise regularly, it will be a breeze when you can get back to your beloved gym.
If you are a trainer, this is a valuable insight into the struggle that ordinary people face. It should make you more empathetic and help you solve your problems. You are a more valuable resource and a better coach for your customers.
5. Slow down
In recent months, you may have taken your foot off the gas for the first time in your adult life. Modern life demands so much from us. It moves incredibly fast and we feel compelled to keep up by tapping on the treadmill of life.
I started the lock with a long task list of all the things I would accomplish. A hyperproductive machine was what I wanted to be. Then I took a breath, slowed down and realized that these few months at home with my wife and children were a unique opportunity.
I tried my best to appreciate and enjoy the experience.
I've postponed plans to produce multiple items every week. I decided not to interview a podcast guest every day. I didn't force myself to wake up at 5:00 am to have a few hours of work before the kids woke up.
I was still working and was relatively productive:
I have finished writing a book. My customers trained online. A series of instructional videos were recorded. Helped with homeschooling the children. Played soccer with the kids outside. I remembered how much fun it was to play Monopoly. Read several books. Have you outlined
I also sat on the sofa and watched Netflix with my wife. I was generally present and less distracted. I was by no means perfect – just better than me.
Hopefully, the lock is a one-off. I might as well look back on that. I also hope to have the ability to slow down and be present for the rest of my life.
6. Love locally
You may have noticed that the large supermarkets in your area had difficulty meeting demand in the early stages of the closure. In the meantime, many local businesses have been well filled and have done everything possible to support their local community.
They showed that they took care of it and we found that we had taken them for granted.
In our distress we turned to them and found the last pack of toilet rolls, a bar of soap or a bag of flour. I am confident that this will lead to real loyalty to these deals. I really hope so. As the lock is lifted and we move back to normal, these businesses deserve our continued support.
Supporting local businesses goes beyond sourcing your groceries. This also applies to your gym.
When the lock is out, your local independent gym will need you. because they were hit hard. In contrast to the Globo-Gym chains:
They don't have piles of private equity funds to pull them off. You have no profit reserves or substantial marketing budgets. They are the place where you can use chalk for your elevators. They allow you to make a lot of noise while cheering on your training partners' PR attempt. They give you real advice. They offer you a community of like-minded lifters.
For some of you, these gyms are a home away from home. When they open again, they need your business. Unlike the faceless large chain gyms, they will greet you personally and appreciate your help.
Support them and your training can thrive. Ignore them and they will go down and you will be stuck in a gym that cares more about your monthly direct debit than your results.
7. Community is powerful
Times of crisis bring people together. Did you have the support you need from your community? Did you step up to make your contribution?? If not, it may be time to build or join a better community.
This follows my point above about local businesses. Perhaps now is the time for you to start your Garage Lifting Club or join the local independent gym and meet people who will support and motivate you.
They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You can choose who these people are. Maybe now is the time to look for new people to bring to your community. The synergistic effect when good people come together will all lead you to new heights.
8. Do the first repetition
The motivation to exercise is usually not an issue for me. I enjoy the challenge and the results. I've been training consistently for years.
I was so used to the training that the sessions almost start with the autopilot. About 90 minutes after lunch, I go to my favorite cafe without thinking about it. I am preprogrammed to have a coffee and 30 minutes later I do my first sentence. That's the way it is. I've got this habit so deep that I don't have to think about it.
In a lockdown, however, I often don't feel like exercising. I don't have my routine. I have no triggers that unconsciously prepare me for training.
Instead, it is suddenly late afternoon and I have little energy and am more interested in the sofa than in the squat. I am often upset after trying to help children in school in the morning and hungry after not eating for hours. The temptation to end the session is great. I admit it was several times stronger than my willpower during the ban.
Overcoming this resistance training can be done very quickly. Just do the first repetition. The hardest part is getting started. Once you get started, everything will be easy.
Make a deal with yourself that you will only make the first sentence. You complete the entire workout nine times out of ten. And if you're ten out of ten like me, you won't regret it.
One of my favorite authors, Ryan Holiday, says, "The best advice I've heard about writing a book is" … producing two crappy pages a day. By making a small profit every day – by putting words on the page – a book is created. "
Apply this lesson to your workout even if you don't feel like it. Just finish the first few sentences and see where it takes you.
9. The importance of routine
As I indicated in my last point, a lack of routine can make it more difficult to maintain good habits. I suggest you fix this by setting up a routine.
This can apply to your whole day. Set a time to work at your desk. Have a set lunch time – plan workouts in your diary.
If you work from home for the foreseeable future, this routine may need to be adapted to your old pre-workout rituals. Maybe you can just replace similar elements. For example:
Make yourself a cup of coffee before your workout and take your supplements 30-45 minutes before your scheduled workout time to replace the usual pre-workout espresso or food supplements that you would normally have before your workout. Listen to your favorite workout playlist.
Whatever it takes to get familiar with the process and put you in the mood to exercise.
10. Body weight training can be brutal
Did you think that weight training would be a breeze? Too easy for you? Not enough challenge? Yes me too. Guess what? If you choose the right exercises for yourself and push them hard, body weight training can be brutal.
In some ways, they are more difficult than my regular training:
Most of my training is done in the range of 6 to 15 repetitions. Most of it is in the range of 8-12 repetitions.
When training with body weight, I knew that I had to approach failure to make it effective.
This meant sets of more than 20 repetitions for many exercises. I sometimes did 30 reps before I failed.
These high reps sets challenged me in a different way than my regular workout. The burn and the pump produced were painful.
The mental challenge was also different. In many sets, I wanted to stop at 20 when the burning sensation in my muscles became uncomfortable.
Despite this burning, I still had reps in the tank, and grinding out those reps was a deeply unpleasant experience. It was also a shock to the system. After a few workouts with high reps, I had a newfound respect for body weight training.
My body adjusted quickly and pretty soon I was able to reach the rep range more efficiently. My body had gotten better at buffering the acid in my muscles.
Then I tried to make the exercise more challenging by slowing the repetitions, doing paused repetitions, or moving to a more advanced variation of the movement. Sure enough, the train of pain came back.
So body weight exercises are not too easy and can be very effective if you program them correctly and prepare for the work required. This increases your:
It could also make you crave the safety of heavier weights and sets of 8-12 again. I know it did it for me.
11. Kettlebells are cool
I'm not a kettlebell type. I use them in my training and to train customers, but they are not at the top of my work. They are just another tool and, to be honest, not a tool that I use so often. Since the ban I was reminded of how versatile a kettlebell can be.
I ordered one at the beginning of the block because it was one of the few parts of a kit I could get. I'm glad I did it. I managed to get an 80 pounder and it was used for:
With only part of the kit, my training was fun, varied and effective. I just scratched the surface of what I could do with the KB. When it comes to having only part of the kit, I now think that a heavy (ish) KB would be very high on my shortlist.
12. Walking is good for you – Duh
An outside walk was one of the few activities allowed in lockdown, but since I couldn't go anywhere, I didn't take advantage of it in the beginning.
The overwhelming workload from homeschooling tended to take over, meaning that we were desperately trying to teach our five and seven year maths, English, the big fire in London, and random facts about Tokyo (I don't make up the curriculum). .
I usually go to and from work. It's about 25 minutes each way. I knew that was good for me, but only when I stopped running every day did I realize how good it was.
I am not an expert on the specific physiological benefits of walking, although I am aware that there are many advocates of its benefits for both physiological and psychological health.
Some say that "just putting one foot in front of the other changes your inner chemistry to complete the spiraling cycles of tension."
Anecdotally I can say that a walk works miracles for me. Getting the body moving, the blood flowing, getting some fresh air and letting the mind wander always seems to lead to finding solutions and having more clarity. It seems to me that walking makes me a more effective, efficient and productive person.
If you're struggling with stress and anxiety or hesitate, take a 30-minute walk. When you return home, you will almost certainly feel better and be ready to do whatever tasks you have postponed.
13. Fitness matters
In fact, don't miss something until it's gone. For many fitness junkies, blocking was a challenge. People who had not previously followed a strict training routine also wanted to do more sports.
When everyday activities were taken away, many people asked for ways to improve their fitness. Whether it is:
People instinctively knew that they had to move their bodies. Physical activity is one of the best medicines. It will also help make you more robust in the face of serious illnesses. Statistics show that younger, fitter individuals tend to have fewer symptoms and faster recovery times.
While the benefits of exercise are not a new lesson for us, it is impressive to see the creative ways people have improved their fitness. This has taught me that although I have my personal training preferences, the discipline of physical practice surpasses this. I would rather do something than nothing.
14. You are stronger than you think
Adversity forces you to adapt. Hard times develop resilience. They also inspire innovation. You've almost certainly found creative and clever ways to get things done.
Perhaps you have seen how to attract a child to school or diversify your business to continue making money. Perhaps with a backpack, canned beans, water bottles, a heavy flower pot, and a cargo of ingenuity, you've found a way to further achieve your fitness goals.
Whatever it was, I'm sure you've found a way to learn and adapt. I am sure that there are many examples of how you can overcome it, be it through inspired innovations or through relentless beasts to force yourself past a problem.
They show unused strength. You may not have honored yourself for these successes. You should. And when it's all over, you'll have new skills and strength to keep getting better.
15. Every day is a school day
Last hour – The school is always in session. For parents of school-age children, this was the case both literally and figuratively. Did I mention teaching your kids at home is difficult?
Aside from the horrors of homeschooling, lessons can be found in any situation. The lessons listed above and the lessons you learned personally during the suspension will serve you forever. They are universal and not limited to times of crisis.
Remember that you will get through this and if you apply the lessons you will be better for it. We may need to learn a new way of life, learn from the lock, and keep learning. One of our biggest advantages is the ability to continue learning.
Think of the lock as a fast-paced crash course in life class and decide to be a lifelong learner.