Why Lock-down Fitness Isn’t So Bad - And 5 Ways To Make It Work For You

Gyms have now shut down. No group fitness or fun — what’s a bodybuilder or gym goer supposed to do?

When I got a text message from my local gym warning me of a shutdown starting on Friday midnight, I was shocked! Not again was my immediate reaction. How can they take away our lively hood — the only place which gives us the best form of therapy? The good news is, I learnt my lesson from 2020, bought a few bits of equipment, and dragged them back into my home from the garage. I never thought I’d see these pieces again, but I welcomed them with open arms. The gym setting is now my lounge-room, minimal equipment, and sometimes my toy poodle for company. It’s not that bad, really — I’ve grown accustomed to this, that’s why I wanted to highlight a few things that helped me make the lockdown work well.

Lesson one — it forces us to slow down and stop the incessant overtraining.

I’m entirely guilty, and I’ll admit it wholeheartedly. I tend to over-train, sacrifice my sleep and sometimes push my body so much that I need an urgent appointment with my physio. Look, I’m a bodybuilder who‘s been smashing my body for years can’t help myself. It’s like I have embedded this kind of forcefulness into my DNA. As I get older (I’m 42), I know I need to recover more than I did at 30 — but I don’t care. I feel that I’m the boss of my body, and it has to listen to me, and me only. Sometimes this can get me into trouble (hands up if this is you too, so I don’t feel like the only freak here?).Now with lockdown, I’m subjected to the small number of handheld weights and bands, plus a new treadmill I bought. Not that exciting, but it will do. I figured my home gym purchases are an investment towards my health and keeping my sanity intact during the lockdown.

Lesson two forces us to consider the beauty of the outdoors (if we are allowed).

Thankfully, here in Sydney, we can still get outside to exercise with another person. I love nothing more than going to my local park and doing a couple of relaxing laps to clear my mind, breathe in the fresh air and see something green for a change. I get quite restless being stuck behind a laptop, in full view of the white walls I’m confined in. So I’m usually busting to get out and move around as much as I physically can. Deadlines might be calling my name, but so is the sunshine!So I highly recommend picking a lovely park that’s relatively close, doing a few laps and then indulging in a nice cup of your favourite coffee as your pit stop.

Lesson three — No need to meal prep — or pre-pack everything. Just prepare and make it!

I love that I’m at home and can cook my meals without rushing. Better yet, the delicious smell of food coming out of the oven or stove is absolutely glorious. Even my toy poodle wants to get in on the action (sorry, fur baby, it’s vegan) Re-heating food in the microwave is not that good for you anyway. So try to avoid it at all costs and indulge in some fresh meal making when you can. At home, anything goes with cooking. There probably isn’t a huge need to pre-prepare all the food because you can just prep it in the morning and cook it during your lunch break. It’s so wonderful NOT to pack several food containers, so you can eat well while in the office. Think of all the time you waste washing that doesn’t exist for the moment. It’s now spur of the moment healthy eating. Bliss if you ask me!

Lesson Four — It forces you to become a lot more creative with your training.

Having limited resourceful equipment forces you to get your creative). I have minimal equipment at home, and I got into trouble buying a treadmill. Although it can be irritating seeing plates and weights everywhere, you can and should dedicate a space for your creative workout expressions. I like to scroll through Instagram for home workout inspo. It usually triggers a unique and fun session. So why didn’t I do this before lock-down? I guess I was lazy and appreciate the convenience of my usual loves — cables, barbels and squat rack. However, I believe we all get just a tad too comfortable with our typical workout and the same kind of equipment. Lockdown gives us a chance to force ourselves to try something new. When you do this, the triggering of new neurons takes place.That means muscle activation — and if we are lucky, a little bit of growth in the process.

Lesson Five — It FORCES us to develop a better mindset.

When my gym shut, I was furious. I had gotten to a point where I was getting stronger (injury-free) and felt I was heading somewhere. Then the ironic thing happened — that all ended and no more deadlifting for me. It was tough for the first few days, but now I’ve conditioned my mind to accept the inevitable. In 2020 I suffered from this a lot. It seemed nothing that I did calmed my mind and increased my spirit. When we go through hardships, it’s nothing more than a growth phase. So take that hardship, extract the learning’s from it, and prepare it for use very soon. In a way, I’m glad it happened because I didn’t grasp how essential mind control is when it involves habits and goals. Setbacks are now slotted into my “growth” basket rather than making it into something disastrous. Try it out for yourself. You most certainly will lower your stress and anxiety levels — nothing like a pandemic to help you exercise self-control of your feelings.

The beauty of these simple points is that you can use them during home training or work from home. Hell, you can use them all the dam time if you like! I will certainly head in that direction myself. I have now grown used to the comfortable surroundings of my place day in day out. I get to do a bit of cleaning, folding clothes and, of course, my workout in peace. I really could get used to this way of living indefinitely. Now, all I need is a nice squat rack on the other end of my lounge room (I wish!)

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