With gyms closing and people being urged to socially distance, I found myself kindaaaa freaked out. This was the first time I’d ever felt this way so I took a step back and checked in with myself.
I realized that the panic had more to do with the fact that not being at the gym was no longer a choice. I’m not afraid of rest days (in fact, I love them) but the uncertainty of knowing when I can get back to my happy place creates a level of anxiety that was actually a little surprising. If you’re reading this, my guess is that the same rings true for you.
I sat with it for a bit, pushed my emotions to the side, and thought through this pragmatically.
This is what I know:
You won’t lose your progress by taking some time off from working out
How do I know? Because I’ve lived it, and you probably have too. I look back and think about weeks where I was out of my fitness routine – busy work weeks, family obligations, feeling sick, travel – and I remember feeling so anxious about losing muscle and strength. I remember being nervous about putting on extra weight and about sucking wind when I got back. Guess what? I actually felt great and was able to pick back up right where I left off. In fact, it’s actually encouraged to take a “deload” week every 6-8 weeks to allow your body to fully recover and be better equipped to kick ass over the long term.
At-home workouts are incredibly effective
I used to sleep on at-home workouts. They reminded me of my mom’s Jane Fonda step aerobics videos from the 90s (sorry, mom). But some of the at-home programming coming out now is really legit and incredibly effective in keeping your fitness elevated and preserving your muscle. Best part? Lots of pretty legit trainers are writing up equipment-free workouts. Need help finding one? Check out:
- Laurie Christine King’s Bodyweight + Dumbell PDF (use code ‘gianteggplant’) to get it for FREE!
- Comptrain’s Daily Home Workout
- WODGenerator (create a custom workout based on the equipment you have at your disposal)
This is a good time to address those nagging injuries
Now, I’m no doctor but if something has been nagging you and only feels better with rest, maybe now is a good time to rest. In fact, it’s a good opportunity to spend some time focusing on those exercises your physical therapist recommended, or doing some low-intensity stretching, yoga, or mobility. Again, there’s tons of free content out there for this. Some of our favorites:
You can increase your NEAT
It’s great that you normally workout for an hour a day, but what are you doing with the other 23 hours of your day? If you’re like most of us, you’re spending that time sitting. Now is a great time to increase your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), the energy we expend that is not exercise, sleeping, or eating related. Anecdotally, people who get more NEAT tend to weigh less than people who don’t. So start walking and moving around! 10k steps a day is a great goal. Go for post-dinner walks with the family, take the pup for an extra long walk, etc — just make sure you’re staying 6-8ft away from other people!
This is a great opportunity to manage your stress
If you’re constantly on-the-go, not sleeping enough, and always stressed out, this is a great opportunity to slow down. Work on getting your sleep habits in check, get your de-stressing game up, practice some mindfulness. Why does it matter? Because a body that is constantly in a state of stress is a body that’s not very efficient at putting on muscle or shedding body fat. Managing your stress and sleep can have you feeling even better than before once this is all over.
Nail in your nutrition
Most people make fitness a part of their life for two reasons: to stay healthy and to look good naked. Know what plays a MAJOR role in that? Your food. This is an incredible opportunity to get your nutrition in a good groove. If you aren’t working with a coach, considering hiring one. If you are working with a coach, talk to them about potentially adjusting your protocol depending on any changes in your activity levels now that the gyms are closed and your exercise modality may be different.
Remember, you are in control
As much as it doesn’t feel like it right now, you are in control. You can make the decision to do an at-home workouts or to rest. You can make the decision to eat a bunch of junk food or eat mostly well (with a little bit of the fun stuff). You can make the decision to stay up all night looking at the same Coronavirus memes or reset your circadian rhythm. Use this opportunity!
Remember, as hard as it is, there’s no need to be anxious. We’re all in the same boat. We’re all in control. Take care of yourself, stay healthy, and hold onto the positives that come with social distancing.
P.S. You’re not going to lose your gains 🙂
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