It has been over two months since the UK government ordered a lockdown, advising citizens to stay at home to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

This has meant people having to work from home, without access to seeing friends, family, loved ones…

And more importantly a total shut-down of all gyms in the country.

This has resulted in a dire state of emergency as demand for key essentials – gym equipment, being in short supply.

The situation was worsened as many providers to high street gyms sold out, as gym bros across the country panic buy any available weights, pillaging all stocks like a swole plague of locusts.

For passionate lifters like myself, this has resulted in the need to improvise, mostly using  whatever heavy objects one can get their mitts on.

And as we work through the change curve, the lifting community is now reaching that stage of acceptance – we may have to resort to going for a jog…

When you’re in the zone with something – such as having a dedicated weightlifting routine, you can feel lost and unsure what to do with yourself when that routine is taken away from you.

It certainly got to me when all I wanted to do was squat heavy!

No matter how much initiative was applied, it never felt quite as good being in a squat cage with a heavy bar loaded on the shoulders…

50 shades of squats – bodyweight, tire, rubble… dog

Life can choke you out if you let it…

During lockdown it’s been difficult adjusting to the change.

I liken the gym to a place of sanctuary, a church even.

Both are places of dedicated purpose, a place to reflect, and let yourself go.

Better value than any therapist…

Although I’m not praying to God, when you are totally focused on lifting weights there is something almost spiritual that impacts your mind, knowing you are working to make steady, gradual improvement.

Working out at home was difficult for me – my mind became clouded, lacking focus.

It started giving the illusion that I could not perform like normal, like the gym closing meant I had become weak and unfit overnight.

Every session missed felt like falling behind, opportunities to progress and grow missed.

Two keys to success in the gym is consistent habit and set routine – you need to keep doing the same things week in week out for a set period of time to measure progress.

Whether it’s doing something a bit faster, a bit longer, a bit heavier – this doesn’t work if you change your mind every week what you are doing.

Lockdown left me lost looking for a desirable routine as I moved from weights to trying different bodyweight workouts.

It’s good because everyday I forgive myself for shitty home workouts, recognising I’m still in a discovery phase, trying to find what works best for me.

It was only through writing my wife a workout programme, I remembered I too should try and keep things consistent until the gym opens up again.

Focus…

The second distraction was focus.

Like many, I debated buying lots of expensive equipment to put in my garage, but due to the demand decided to wait.

I’m glad impulse was controlled, as my time at home made me realise how important the gym is.

It’s not just a place containing weights – it’s also an escape from my surroundings where I can focus on the duty at hand.

When I’m in the gym, I’m switched off from the outside world – oblivious to anything else going on.

At home, this is much more difficult:

  • Having to deal with calls from work
  • A child jumping on back as I attempt press-ups
  • Cutting workouts short due to a crying baby

When your mind becomes overwhelmed you start doubting yourself.

The Old Days…

To escape, I hit the pavements like the old days, allowing myself not to think about anything else, I didn’t even plan how far I was going to go.

Just me and the road….

Free.

My mind felt quieter keeping me focused until things were done – on my terms.

There is still the question when the gyms will reopen in the UK, when they do, I will be ready, better than ever, ready to get results.

For more experiences balancing fatherhood with keeping fit, see my post The Gym Dad


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