Here we are in the midst of June and what feels like a bear coming out of hibernation. We went from months of the world being essentially locked down, to now a strange re-opening experience. I'm not sure if you are like me, but I have mixed emotions of this "re-opening". Excited but skeptical might be the best way to describe those emotions. In many parts of the world, gyms have now begun to re-open with some social distancing and disinfecting guidelines. Honestly, the fact that it took a pandemic to teach people how to wipe their equipment is alarming. I hope some of these guidelines last longer than the fear of COVID (including the 6 feet apart thing, man I hate when people stand too close).
Now, will I be rushing back into a gym? Absolutely not, and here is why you should also consider continuing "at home' workouts.
1. The Unknown
Here's the reality of 2020 as we know it. We don't know anything. even these leading experts and scientists seems to not fully understand the where, what, how, and why of COVID. We have gone from 'you can't leave your house without a mask' to packed bars, we have gone from 'don't touch your Amazon packages without disinfecting' to you can't get it from surfaces. The media surely doesn't help with their fear mongering style of reporting, but the facts are that we just don't honestly know or have predictability in this. Whether you are someone who believes the whole thing was a strategic fear transmitting tactic or that it was really as serious as they told us, one thing can be agreed upon, we just don't know. We do know, and this is coming from someone who has spent 80% of their days for over 10 years in gyms, that gyms are a great place to share motivation and germs. I have picked up on more colds & flus from gyms than anywhere. You can't control someone aggressively exhaling in your direction and spraying a dose of 'is that sweat or was that spit' on your face. These moist (ya I said it), are like a five star resort for bacteria and viruses, and even with wiping down equipment rules, people are still walking germs.
2. The Distraction
I'm about to be brutally honest with a lot of you right now. You are easily distracted and have terrible focus in the gym setting. I have watching hundreds of people's behaviors in gyms, from my years of sitting at a front desk to putting away equipment. The average gym go-er spends more time in the gym NOT working out than they do working out. If we were to take the total time from when they walk into the gym doors to leaving, more than 50% is a combination of deciding that they want to do, looking for equipment, texting or aimlessly scrolling through their phone, taking instagram content, talking with other people in the gym, sitting on cardio equipment barely moving, watching the TVs, and people watching. Some people take longer rest periods than they do actual work periods during their workouts. Why is this you may ask? Well humans are extremely easy to distract. We are basically computers walking around with a whole bunch of tabs open. It doesn't help when technology is constantly distracting us, and when we don't have a strategic plan, focus, timeline, or pressure. The funny part is, we are programmed to associate getting in a good workout, with being at a gym. It is how we are programmed to feel cleaner after a hot shower versus a cold one. That is called conditioning. Conditioning is a program set in the brain so concretely that you believe it to be true (whether it is or not). Now, before any bro science guys come for me, obviously there is access to equipment much of us do not have at home, like machines or heavy weights. But, hear me out. Unless you are trying to gain a ton of muscle or have specific needs, for example rehab, for specific machines, you actually do not need the gym right now. You need movement and discipline for consistency. Which brings me to the next point.
3. The Discipline
Boy, oh boy. Discipline. This concept is a very interesting one. Everyone has it. So, for those of you who have muttered the words "I just don't have any discipline", you're lying. The issue is, we have more discipline and loyalty to our bad habits than our good. Don't believe me? You won't even think twice about binge watching Money Heist or Ozark every night despite losing sleep (I am calling myself out here), but you will think twice about if you have time to workout tomorrow. You won't think twice about having dessert because you said the words "I deserve this" but you will think twice about when you should "start eating clean". You feel me? I'm not pointing you out alone, it's a human nature thing (I will go deeper into the gratification and justification science of the brain another day). So, where I am going with how this comes into to play with at home workouts versus the gym. The best way to build discipline is consistent behavior. If it becomes as consistent as brushing your teeth is in your day, then despite what life throws at you, it still will happen. When building this type of consistency, the most important thing is to remove variables that can break the pattern. For example, it's day 4 of working out and you get in the car to go to the gym, you realize you need to stop for gas, you forgot your mask so you have to go home and get it just so they will let you in the gas station. You get to the gym, and they are only allowing 50 people in at a time, so you are on a waiting list. By the time it's your turn you realize you now only have 10 minutes so you can't workout. You miss today's workout and now tomorrow you tell yourself you don't have time for all of that again. That is one example scenario, but you get my point. Eliminate the potential pattern breakers to build consistency. Consistency builds discipline. Discipline is what is still remaining even when motivation is dwindling. And that's a fact.
4. The Logistics
Remember how pre-CVOID life you said you didn't have time? I'm going to just take this moment to pause and stare at you with glaring eyes now. Guess what, you always had time, quarantine just took your days and flipped them upside down, so you all of a sudden had time to workout at home. I saw more people working out during this time that didn't workout their whole lives, because....they had time! So here is the thing I need you to understand, even with life returning to a form of "normal" you still have time. Everything is categorized by priorities and what you make of it. What at home workouts showed you is that you don't need to dedicate two hours commuting to the gym, the locker room, setting up your equipment or waiting for some, regaining consciousness after to drive, and that you could knock out that 20-30 right there on your floor or in your backyard and keep the day moving. You ever hear the saying K.I.S.S, keep it simple stupid. Well, this applies. You don't need to overcomplicate something like movement.
5. The Mental Results
Quarantine forced you to spend time with you. For some people that was a frightening and uncomfortable task at hand. Even if you were locked down with others, you still had a lot of time with your thoughts since you weren't able to rush around life at a normal pace. This isn't a bad thing. Now, I am not suggesting you stay in isolation the rest of your life (trust me I have debated this seeing how 2020 has been acting up), but I am suggesting to keep it as a small piece of your routine. Working out can be a fun social experience, and I am all here for bonding over dying a slow burpee death. Accountability partners are amazing too, because there is nothing like someone calling you out on your shit. But, doing some of your workouts by yourself in your space with no one else, have a mental training result unlike any other. It's honestly what my running career did for me. Growing up in the middle of the woods in Canada, much of my training was by myself, with my thoughts. A lot without music even (because not to date myself but this was when the original iPod was heavy as hell and there were these things called cords attached to your headphones). I was left for kilometers (sorry Canadian language will be used often), with my thoughts. We often spend our whole day every day actually muting ourselves, ignoring ourselves, and not even with ourselves. Pre-COVID you were spending most of your time socially distancing from your damn self. Use these small moments of working out as a time to reconnect. Trust me, although it wasn't favorable, quarantine was a blessing in disguise.
I really want to hear from all of you in your continued post quarantine at home workout journeys this summer. So please tag me on social media. Also, if you want any direction and help with how to train at home and continually reaching new levels of progress and results outside the gym, click below to become an X2 member today!
Catch my energy,