Has the pandemic got you derailed from your fitness goals? You are not alone. Everyone struggles from time to time to stay on track with regular workouts and healthy eating. Even I do, occasionally, and I am a personal trainer. That’s part of being human. But let’s be honest. Living in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, brings the phrase ‘the struggle is real’ to a whole other level. Gyms might be closed or using strict safety guidelines to keep members safe from the virus. More people are working from home, making it easier to get to the fridge than the gym, not to mention, spend even more time sitting, than ever. Yes, the vaccine is here, but we are a long way away from everyone getting one who wants one. This struggle really is real. We’re all feeling COVID fatigued. We all want real life back. We know it’s coming, but not soon enough. Here are some tips to help you push through the pandemic prostration:
1. Breathe and Reboot
This is a great time to get back to basics and work on simple moves like squats, push-ups, and rows. Check yourself (before you wreck yourself) and watch your form. Do your exercises correctly from the start and you won’t have to break bad habits, or worse, recovering from an injury due to performing exercises incorrectly. Start small and recreate the habit. Spending just 10-20 minutes a day, to start, can help you get the ball rolling back in the right direction. As it becomes easier to make the time, start to add a few extra minutes to your daily workouts.
2. Mix It Up
Bored with your current routine? There are lots of workout options out there. Get on the internet and start doing some research. Many fitness sites have downloadable programs either free or cheap that are easy to follow. Try something different. If you do lots of cardio, try adding in more strength training. If you do lots of strength training, try adding in some yoga, Pilates, or both. And if you want more comradery, try looking for a live online class. Doing something a little out of your comfort zone can help break up the monotony of working out at home alone. And while you’re at it, mix it up in the kitchen with some fun, new, healthy recipes.
3. Let’s Take This Outside
Yes, it’s winter, and it might be cold where you live, but getting outside is helpful, especially during this time of year. Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) is a real thing that can already affect many of us. Pair that, with a global pandemic and you could be headed for some dark days. According to the Mayo Clinic, Light Therapy is sometimes prescribed by doctors to treat SAD. Light Therapy mimics natural sunlight with a lightbox. It is generally recommended to be used within the first hour of waking each day. Or you can get out and get some of the real thing! Fresh air and sun are good for both our bodies and our minds. Bundle up and go outside. Run, walk, hike, bike, ski, or snowshoe. Whatever will get you outside and moving, do it.
4. Bring a Friend (or two)
Did you find a live online class that you like? Enjoying outdoor walks? Get a friend (or two) involved. Having a workout partner is not only nice for the company, but for accountability as well. Making a workout date with a friend makes you less likely to bail. Also, due to the pandemic, many of us are experiencing a lot more isolation than normal. We could all use a little extra (safe) socialization right now and combining it with exercise is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
5. Dream a Little Dream
Imagine what life is going to be like when we finally kick this thing to the curb. Things like concerts, crowded bars, parties, and vacations will start to happen again. Now imagine the pandemic is over and you’ve reached your fitness goals. What would that feel like to you? Visualization can be very powerful. Take a couple of minutes every day to close your eyes, meditate, and see it for yourself. Visualize your life, post-pandemic, and fitness goals reached. Make some big post-pandemic plans for yourself, keep your eye on the prize, and keep going.
A very wise former coworker of mine used to say to me ‘This, too, shall pass.’ There is some light at the end of this very long tunnel. Life will be our ‘old normal again, someday. Set your eyes on your goals, make some changes, and stay the course. This, too, shall pass.