It’s been nearly a year since many countries have begun to implement safety measures to curb the spread of the virus-that-mustn’t-be-named.
Between staying current with the latest news, and navigating life during this “new normal”, it can be easy to lose sight of what gave you joy before the pandemic started.
The things we took for granted like going to the gym may seem out of reach, but that’s no reason to feel hopeless.
No, we can’t train in large groups, and yes, it’s difficult to remember a time before face masks and hand sanitizer were essential for leaving the house, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up everything from pre-pandemic life.
So, what does the new normal mean for the athletes?
The answer to that will mostly depend on where you live and what restrictions are in place.
Even if gyms and sports facilities are closed, you shouldn’t feel discouraged.
For those of us who are in confinement, we must rely on training at home meaning that making progress in the same way as with training in the gym may serve as a challenge.
So much for GPP…
Life was quite different in 2019 B.C. (before co-vid).
It was a simpler time when you could share a barbell and elbow bumps weren’t “a thing”.
Will life ever go back to normal? Who knows!
But for now, that’s out of your control and so I recommend not worrying about it much.
It’s true that gym culture isn’t what it once was, but that doesn’t mean the downfall of the fitness community.
In the end, we are still athletes and we grow from facing challenges.
Here are some ways to stay motivated and moving during lockdown.
Enlist a squad
One of the most redeeming qualities of training in a gym (especially in a class setting) is the social aspect.
Not only are you surrounded by people who share your interest in sport, but you also physically test yourselves side by side on a regular basis thus creating an everlasting bond through sweat and chalk.
If you’re having a tough time finding the will to workout, recruit a workout partner.
Reach out to your gym buddies, convince your significant other to try a WOD with you, or show off to your family or roommates.
Being held accountable to someone can give you the push needed to keep yourself moving.
If possible, arrange to train outdoors (always respecting a safe distance).
If not, arrange a time with your gym bros, set up your phone or computer with the video conferencing app/software of your choice and get training!
Set up your personal CrossFit box at home.
Congratulations, you’ve become a box owner!
Just as you associate your box with training, you must begin to associate part of your home with training.
This doesn’t necessarily mean investing in a home gym.
A yoga mat, a loaded backpack and some water jugs are fine, but keep your gear together in an area where you have space to move.
You’re more likely to train if your environment is accessible and your gear is ready to go.
The idea here is to emulate your in-gym experience.
Blast your playlist and put on the same clothes and shoes that you’d normally wear to the gym.
Have a Plan
“How do I get a high-quality workout in at home?”
Maybe you don’t necessarily have access to barbells, ERGs, rigs or rings, but there are other ways to challenge yourself.
You can do some pretty gruesome workouts with your bodyweight and a backpack full of books.
Need a home plan?
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Get creative or look online for some home-friendly training plans (enter shameless plug for the Prgrm at home).
By taking the guesswork out of your planning, you’re more likely to make it a regular part of your new normal.
If you were training to compete or to be on top of the whiteboard, stay in shape to ensure a seamless return to the gym.
Change your pace
As Crossfitters, we are obsessed with intensity.
If gyms will be closed for a week or two, this could be a good time to reduce the duration or intensity of your sessions.
We’re living through unprecedented times and it can be difficult to stay focused or give 110% in your workout.
Consider breaking up your workouts into shorter sessions to make them more manageable.
Another approach could be training with a “for quality” mindset.
Forget finishing the fastest or loading the most weight.
Perhaps it’s time to be a little calmer and just move for the sake of moving!
Even if you don’t have the time/equipment/surroundings that you’d like, regular exercise is essential for improving your health.
Find a new objective
It feels like gym closures couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
“Why did this have to happen just as I was getting better at X?!” The beauty of CrossFit is that there is always something to work on.
Commit to improving a weakness that you can develop at home. Want to be a bodyweight ninja?
Surely, you could benefit from devoting more time to improve your ankle, hip, and/or shoulder mobility.
Or maybe there’s another sport or skill that you’ve always wanted to learn, but never had the incentive.
Even outside of the gym, there is always something that you can do to improve your fitness even if it doesn’t result in you writhing on the floor in a sweaty mess.
Just like difficult times, motivation comes and goes.
Your sense of purpose may be challenged but with some adjustments, acceptance, and optimism, you’ll come to peace with what you can do under the given circumstances.
It’s okay to mourn the cancelled competitions and on-and-off temporary gym closures.
It’s understandable if you feel victimized or frustrated.
Like it or not, we have to comply with government-enforced restrictions even if it means less gym time.
Does that mean we can’t train?
It may only be a matter of changing your perspective and being open to changing the way that you train.
Sometimes you can rely on a strong internalization of habits, or the support of your community to get you through the rough patch.
Sometimes you have to remind yourself of what you’re working towards, or why you started.
Time will pass regardless, and what you decide to do with it is your choice.
For myself, even if I don’t come out of lockdown as “fit” as I went in, I opt to come out better.