So here we are, nearing the end of week 3 of "lockdown".
I originally wanted to try to write down some ramblings every week of it, trust me in week 2 the ramblings were there, they were just structure-less and pretty incoherent 😂 so I thought I'd give it a few days and gather a slightly wider perspective on things before tying to make something useful of them.
The first thing I realised was that structure-less and incoherent is actually, contrary to a seemingly new popular belief, absolutely fu@*#ng fine?! 🤷♂️
This realisation came to me right about the time I was staring at an instagram post telling me that "if I don't come out of this with a new skill, a side hustle, or more knowledge, I lacked discipline"
I've got a couple of thoughts on this...as I'm sure everyone else has...and this particular ramble is inspired by a nice article that was posted by one of my clients, essentially picking apart the same meme for various reasons.
Firstly, let's start with some jumped up little insta-tw@t having the cheek to start his/her meme with "if you don't..." in the first place!
I think we can safely assume on this one that the person sat there creating memes is of a certain age, and has therefore probably not lived through many worldwide pandemics, and is therefore unlikely to be in a position to tell people how they should or should not be dealing with such an unprecedented situation. Likewise for the people reading said "advice" and thinking
"YES! MY FLOCK OF LOST AND CONFUSED INSTAFOLLOWERS MUST SEE THIS BEFORE THEY CEASE TO EXIST ANY LONGER". 😒
Guess what dickhead, we're actually doing alright.
Secondly, as I mentioned, it is more than enough to "just" be dealing with everything going on right now! You absolutely DO NOT need to be thriving in this newly forced environment. At least not yet anyway.
Take your time to process what is going on and when you're ready, if you're ready, start to think about pushing on from getting through the day to day basics of living. Make no mistake, for normal people, and almost certainly for the people telling you to come out of this with a new side hustle, this is a hell of a hard transition, the only difference between you and them is that you're not naïve or egotistical enough to think that spouting throw away advice through the medium of memes counts as excelling beyond the average Joe. It is not, it's just a lazy way of making themselves feel better.
Ok, now that I've got my initial rage at this post out of the way (I feel better, thanks.), let me backpedal slightly. It is important to note that not everyone who posted this (and there were a lot!) was trying to be as condescending as they came across. A lot of my friends and particularly people I know from the fitness world used this meme, but after having a conversation with a few of them about it, it's quite clear they were merely trying to stir a bit of "get up and go" in either their clients, family or friends. For me it was the wrong way to do so, and more noticeably far too early in all of this to be doing so, but the intention was good and I understand where they were coming from.
As my area of expertise is not life in general, now that I've finished being butt-hurt by the original post, I want to try to look at this from the perspective of a fitness professional.
One thing we can take from this message is that it is important not to sit and wallow for too long. If you need to, great, take as much time as you need to do that. But when you feel like you might be ready, try to put some structure back into place and think about using this time productively. I guess this could work for both general life and fitness but for now let's stick with the health and fitness side of things.
I know a ton of my friends, family, clients and myself included struggled and are still struggling to get a new fitness regime in place. Understandable. Speaking from my clients point of view, they had structure in place, a routine and a goal that they had familiarised themselves with and which fit around their everyday life without having to put too much thought into it. That's why it worked and we had taken time together to get that set up right. All of a sudden, everything is thrown into the air and we're being forced to do things that are outside of our comfort wheelhouse, our daily routine is down the crapper and we're being pulled from pillar to post by our jobs, family responsibilities, social circle and personal needs to try to come up with a new way of living which allows us to do what we need to in all of these areas.
For most, personal fitness regime would have dropped way down the to-do list. Some used this as an opportunity to have a bit of a break from training, some were far more focused on making sure the family unit was running smoothly, some were simply overwhelmed by the whole situation and working out has not even crossed their minds yet. All absolutely reasonable ways to act and all absolutely understandable reasons for your fitness life to take a back seat.
However, this way of living is here to stay for a while, looking after you is vitally important, and like it or not, having a solid fitness regime will play a big part in this. This is why you had a solid training routine before the lockdown and it's why, eventually, you'll need one again.
So let's look at where we go from here.
If you’re not there yet, FINE!! Get your house in order so to speak, whether that is mentally or literally, then when you're ready, come back to this list and think about taking the next few steps. For now, you're good, but after 3 or 4 weeks of lockdown inactivity, you will start to notice your body change, your fitness levels drop and your mental health could suffer as a result. This is the last thing we want right now and being head strong is more important now than ever. So start to think about how we might be able to build some training back into things slowly.
Speak to somebody who can help, let's take some of the difficulty and pressure out of the situation, share the load. There are a ton of fitness professionals sat at home right now doing far less work than we are used to, trust me. And believe it or not some of us really want to help. Take advantage of that and get some advice on the options you have, from setting new goals to going through the various types of training at your disposal to achieve them. From what I've seen and heard there are a fair few misconceptions surrounding training from home and a lot of people seem to be pigeon-holing their out-of-gym options into "cardio" or some sort of awkward living room recreation of the Eric Prydz – "call on me" music video. (look it up if you're not sure, you won't regret it.)
This isn't necessarily the case and there are plenty of ways you can implement bodyweight training or using minimal equipment in a training routine that shouldn’t feel a whole lot different from what you were doing in the gym. It just requires a bit of smart programming and knowledge of fitness and body mechanics. The good coaches you know will have that. Use them.
Once you've worked out a goal and got some sound advice on the best way to achieve this using training that you will enjoy and fits around the equipment and space you have at home, schedule it in.
Work out a daily routine and try to gain back some of the day to day structure that may have been lost for the first few weeks of this adaptation period.
While you're doing this, try to fit in a small amount of time for training as well as a small amount of time to spend on doing something that you enjoy. If that is training....bonus....but that’s not the case for all of us so make sure to find time for something else too.
Remember that we don't have to be going all out straight away here. 30/45 minutes, 3 or 4 days a week to start with is plenty of time to train! Ease yourself in and use the time that you're saving from having to travel to the gym, train for longer, and travel home again to do something that will have a positive impact on you. Just as an example, for me, I've been going for little walks, reading a chapter of a book, I've baked(?) and I've also spent an hour laying on the floor contemplating life with the dog. All were things I wouldn’t usually find time to do and all made me feel better. Give it a go.
If you've managed all of the above and things are starting to become a little more manageable and familiar, here's where you can kick on. You might want to up the intensity or amount that you're training if time allows, you might want to buy a bit of kit, you might want to start seeing a PT via zoom call once or twice a week, or invest in an online programme now that you're in a position to commit fully. At this point the intensity and amount you're training probably won't feel a whole lot different to the effort you were putting in at the gym before and you might even start to enjoy it. If not, keep in mind, this won't be forever and you'll be back to the gym fairly soon. So embrace the short term challenge. If you make it to #4, amazing. Well done and big up yourself. If you're reading this and thinking I'm nowhere near, FINE!! Above all else, do not rush, do not skip steps to try to keep up with what the memes are telling you to do, or even what I'm suggesting for that matter! Take your time and trust your ability to adapt. You will, in your own sweet time. If you stuck with the ramble this far, thank you. Good luck with finding your own way back into fitness and if there's anything I can do to help, don't hesitate to ask. I'm probably just lying on the floor with the dog eating some dry cake I baked while getting angry at memes.
Oh and for christ sake stay indoors. I've got beach barbecues to do.