Your gym is closed. You need to keep distance from every one else. You might even be self-quarantined.
You can’t access your coach. You don’t have a home gym set up. And if you’re not an athlete what’s the point of working on your performance and fitness anyway?
Doesn’t really sound like the prescription to improving your fitness and performance?
But it could be.
Below are 10 reasons you’ll come out of COVID-19 fitter than before this all started.
1. Fitter relative to everyone else.
Truth is we compare ourselves to others. Good or bad, it happens. We go on a hike with friends and family and notice we’re the only ones huffing and puffing while wishing there were more stops for selfies i.e. rest and water breaks.
You go on a beach vacation and you notice who goes to the pool and who avoids it. And of those that venture into the water who is all wrapped up and who ditches the cover ups and gets right in.
Whatever the situation, we measure our efforts and progress relative to those around us. And guess what? Something like that doesn’t change during a pandemic. For athletes seasons have been cancelled. Teams have been disbanded. And to prevent gatherings of larger groups there are no practices or training sessions. Most are in a holding pattern waiting until things return to normal.
And while most are doing nothing some are doing something. And if it something isn’t a lot or as much as you normally do it’s more than your competitor that is binge watching Tiger King and already finished the new season of Ozark.
Small, frequent and steady progress always leads to improvement compared to massive training sessions that only happen once in a while. If you are young athlete this is a great opportunity to create some separation and improve while your opponent sits idle.
2. You’ve got the time.
Time is one of the biggest excuses we use to avoid exercising. And during non-pandemic times this is an excuse. But now there’s no reason to not find the time. Here’s why.
First of all, look at all the time that’s freed up in your day. You aren’t stuck in traffic. You don’t loop a building looking for parking. You aren’t commuting going from one appointment to another. You probably don’t need to do as much laundry as normal. For those that can’t leave the house grocery shops have become simply texting a list to a friend. And all of the events are your calendar are cancelled whether this was playing in a rec sports league, going to a concert or play, attending church or anything else.
So let’s agree you’ve got the time.
But secondly it doesn’t take that much time. Sometimes we think ‘I’ve only got 20 minutes, what’s the point?’ 20 minutes of intense exercise done daily will lead to results. Plus, in a regular gym setting there are opportunities to chat at the water fountain. Or to hang out and talk between sets. Or maybe you’re waiting on your favourite piece of equipment to get started. All of sudden these bottlenecks and distractions evaporate.
It doesn’t take that much time and you’ve got enough.
3. You will eat better.
Now is a great time to improve your nutrition. Not only is there a great chance the whole family can eat dinner together but you should see improvements with your nutrition.
This may be because you’re running low on supplies and are finding novel ways to make meals. Or it could be because someone else is doing the shopping for you. If that’s the case you’re less likely to impulse shop. You can’t taste all the samples. You probably don’t include the pillow case of potato chips in the grocery list for your delivery person. And if your list gets misinterpreted you’ll end up trying new foods you otherwise wouldn’t consider. Lastly, being stuck at home means you’re probably making more of your own meals. This way you can control the quality and quantity of what you eat.
4. You will get more vitamin D.
Right outside our door is a huge park and trail network. It’s one of my favourite things about living where we do because there’s no need to drive or go anywhere. I cross the street and I’m on trails with wildlife, fresh air, lakes and incredible views.
Now we built our home over 10 years ago. And I’ve been hiking and running those trails ever since. Typically I would be the only one on the trails when I would go out. Now it seems like our whole neighbourhood is heading for the hills. You see families going for hikes. You see people on their mountain bikes. And kids take their dogs up there as well. It has never been busier.
When you think that most people tend to stay in during the winter months and that many are deficient in vitamin D this change in behavior will have an impact on improving health.
5. There is a greater need.
Have there been times in your life when you should have done something, but didn’t. And then eventually it got to a point when you had to do that thing? Maybe it was writing a term paper for a class in college. Or maybe it was filing your taxes just before the deadline.
Whatever the situation, sometimes the pain or potential punishment has to get real enough before we take action. In the cases above this would be failing a course or getting assessed penalties and interest from the government.
Right now we are cooped up. And things are fluid and changing constantly. Nobody has the answers as to when this will end.
At times like these we need exercise more than ever before. We need to establish some sort of routine when school and work is disrupted. We need to get ourselves moving when we are being told to hunker down. And we need a release when the uncertainty of the situation can wear on you. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the fact that those with poor health to begin with are even more at risk.
6. Your excuses are gone.
I look at sales as a transaction that solves a problem for someone. I need transportation. You sell cars. To get to an agreeement you need to get past some objections.
Fitness is no different.
‘The gym is always busy’. ‘I forgot my running shoes’. ‘I couldn’t find parking’. ‘My training partner or coach is away’. ‘I’m injured’.
There are lots of excuses we use to avoid exercise. Now many of them don’t exist. If we relied heavily on excuses in the past we’ll probably find new ones.
7. You improve your weak links.
Do you have a favourite restaurant? And if so, do you have a favourite meal there? Do you recommend it to friends when you hear they’re going to your favourite spot?
Of course you do. We all do.
We’re creatures of habit. And we have likes and dislikes.
When it comes to training there are people who love mobility and stretching. This tends to be really bendy people who maybe grew up as figure skaters, dancers, cheerleaders or gymnasts. They love grabbing a mat and spending the hour going through their favorite stretches and yoga-style movements while avoiding the squat rack at all costs.
Or picture the cardio king or queen at the gym. They love doing marathon sessions at the gym on ‘their’ favourite piece of equipment. You know what I mean? It’s not just that they always do the same 60 minutes on the elliptical it’s that they have to use the exact same piece of cardio equipment when they do so.
Now there may not be the same opportunity to access the treadmill or squat rack. And so we need to find new options to stay active. Maybe the bodybuilder spends a little more time working on their mobility and core strength. Maybe the powerlifting gets outside and goes for hike. And maybe the hyper-mobile person tries some at home bodyweight strength training.
The truth is we probably don’t have access to our regular set up of equipment and training partners and we may be forced to try something new that will shore up a weak spot in our fitness.
8. You’ve held yourself accountable.
Eating well, moving your body and getting enough sleep are important components of a healthy lifestyle.
But they mean anything if not applied with intent, frequency and intensity.
And that’s where accountability comes in. Because the best results don’t go to those with the best genetics. And the best chefs don’t eat the best. And the smartest exercise scientists aren’t the cover models for the fitness books.
It’s the people that make sleep, nutrition and exercise a part of their daily ritual. It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday, they go for a run. It doesn’t matter if they trave for work, they eat healthily. It doesn’t matter if there’s a pandemic going on, they get enough sleep.
Accountabiliy is the lighter fluid that ignites everything and puts in all in motion. Without it we never get started. When we don’t get started there are no actions. And without action there are no results.
Right now a number of people are figuring out how to hold themselves accountable. And they are learning self discipline. And this will lead to great results during the coronavirus.
9. You will get better sleep.
Sometimes when a client comes to us and says they aren’t seeing the results they’d like to see we look a couple of things.
We want to know if the efforts are appropriate and specific to the goal. We want to know that these efforts are consistent and happening frequently enough. We want to know that there is an intensity of effort. And we want know that there is purposeful intent with the training with every set and rep.
If everything looks good on the training side then we want to look at the other side of the ledger. I say ledger because you should think of this as though it were an accounting situation. Do the inputs balance the outputs? In this case one of the inputs would be sleep.
I would guess many people have the opportunity for greater sleep right now. I already discussed above how we should have more time. And this should allow us to get to bed earlier. Plus if we don’t have to drive the kids to school. Or we don’t have to go in to work. If that’s case than there may not be the same need to set an alarm.
We can go to bed earlier. We can sleep until rested. And with setting the clocks ahead a few weeks ago, with getting outside for more vitamin D and with better nutrition we are setting the stage nicely for better sleep.
I’ve written before here how sleep is the secret weapon for fat loss. Now is the time to take advantage of this weapon.
10. You have access to more coaching.
I’ve also written previously how those who work with a coach get 40% better results than the DIY (do it yourself) crowd.
And if you want to improve your career, it makes sense to look at what the top CEOs and entrepreneurs do. The majority work with a fitness professional on a daily basis.
A few years ago a colleague shared the idea of a coach being something/someone that brings you places. For example, a horse and buggy would serve such a purpose.
But not does a coach bring you places but it does so more efficiently, more safely and more enjoyably. I enjoy following the markets for investing but I still rely on Ben S to handle this area of my life for me. He’s a professional and spends all of his time in this area. I will get better results and mitigate risk by handing the reins (see what I did there?) in this area of my life.
Not only will a coach deliver better results sooner, and more safely, but this is also true when you increase the frequency of coaching appointments. If someone were to work with a coach once every two weeks they would not achieve the same results as if they were working with a coach daily.
Right now our coaches are available on a daily basis. They are coaching our clients every day. On rest days there is a quick call to check-in and see how they’re doing. The coaches are offering more content and classes than ever. You can quickly access more help for stretching, mobility, core training as well as nutritional tips, recipes and recovery strategies.
Once everything returns to normal we’re going to see some clients that achieved some incredible results. The frequency of their training may have improved. They have a higher level of accountability. And their sleep and nutrition are a little better as well. And looking back they will find COVID-19 was a time when they were their fittest.