With large-scale shutdowns happening across the United States, the opportunities to train at gyms are disappearing. While it's important that we adhere to social distancing and avoid areas where viruses can spread, many of us are trying to find ways to continue our health and fitness routines despite the rapid change.
The biggest challenge for me has been replacing a fully functioning gym with a pair of 10-pound weights, the couch and the family pet. Many of us are struggling to find a replacement for our gym routine leading to negative effects both physically and psychologically. Goals are getting crushed, training programs are getting tossed aside and people are growing frustrated with their bodyweight-only programs at home. Where did the fun go?
I love that people are taking their health and fitness so seriously, as gyms start providing online training programs by the truckload, people are willing to try anything and everything to stay consistent. The gym has become the church of the millennial generation, with family and friends going together every week. With goals being accomplished and friends being made at gyms across America, it makes sense that we are struggling to replace it in the wake of this nationwide shutdown.
In the sea of confusion that is the fitness industry right now, these are a few ideas to keep in mind when realigning our training programs. These ideas are part of an effort to help find the fun factor that comes with training consistently that many of us have found over the years at our local gyms.
Priority 1 – Engage in a Community
This can not be overstated. Some of us enjoy going to the gym and working out with Buckcherry screaming in our ear while others enjoy the conversations that pop up between sets. Regardless of this, the sense of community that comes when we walk into the gym is not going to be there when we search YouTube search for the newest bodyweight workout of the day. It will take effort for us to have a group to train with. It may be through a social media site, the services that your gym is offering or simply reaching out to people you normally see at the gym. Building a community around you will help both your training goals and your psyche as we go through these difficult times.
Priority 2 – Realign Training Goals
We enjoy success. The hard truth is that if our goal was to improve our Deadlift by 50 pounds over the next few months, the odds of that happening if we have no access to a barbell are not great. They're terrible actually. As opposed to putting our goals on hold and sitting in the dark waiting for the sun to come up, let's pursue something different, shall we?
This could be taking the aforementioned Deadlift goal and adjusting it to a bodyweight goal. It could mean improving our mile time or a Push-Up repetition max. If we have a goal to pursue that is plausible given our access to equipment, we have a chance to reach it and find new goals, which means more fun training time. None of us like failing, so it's a good time to readjust our expectations to the situation at hand. Scaling our training goals helps us stay challenged but avoids the extremes of boredom and total failure anxiety.
Priority 3 – Log Training Time
It's fair to say that we may not be getting as many steps in our day if we aren't going outside, to work, to the store or anywhere other than the bathroom. By logging our time training we can notice and name the time that we are taking to prioritize our health. Reward those small victories like a 20-minute walk or 15 minutes of yoga. At the end of the day as we get blasted by the most recent news, it'll be nice to look back and remember the minutes that we put ourselves first. Intrinsic motivation stems from enjoyment and enjoyment stems from success. If we are to stay motivated during these tough times, logging every success we have can go a long way.
The best ways that I've found for logging would be through a simple written journal, an online training platform or in a visible place like the calendar or whiteboard.
Priority 4 – Avoid Multitasking
We are all smart enough to realize this. Turn off the news, email, social media and all other forms of distraction during training unless they are being utilized to accomplish building a community.
Priority 5 – Lead with Kindness
We may not hit our training goals this month and we need to be prepared for that. I've seen physique competitors pulling out of cancelled competitions, professional baseball players struggling to find a place to train and local parents forgetting about their health and fitness as they care for little ones at home. This is no time to be hard on ourselves and demand more. We can enjoy the successes that we have and find patience if our efforts fall short of our goals.
This is an unprecedented challenge for many of us. Prioritizing our health and fitness may still be a long way off. When we are ready I hope these few ideas help create the community and enjoyment that we all have come to expect from our training routines.
Photo Credit: hobo_018/iStock
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