Nothing can derail a healthy lifestyle faster than a global pandemic. Gyms and fitness studios across the country closed their doors or moved to online platforms, forcing many people to workout at home using whatever equipment they could find.
Because not everyone has a squat rack or weight bench lying around the house, the only gains many people have seen are likely around their waistlines. Once gyms and studios were allowed to reopen, even some of the most die-hard fitness fanatics found that they were starting if not from scratch, at least at a level to which they were previously unaccustomed.
While this can be frustrating, the trick is to meet yourself where you are and ease back into your routine. Trying to pick up where you left off will only cause frustration at best, and injury at worst.
Here are a few ways to find your way back to fitness and start feeling like yourself again.
- Re-establish Routines: Just because your favorite fitness center may be open doesn’t mean that all businesses are back up to speed. You may still be working from home or are supervising on-line learning for your children. That 9:30 a.m. cycle class or 6:30 p.m. strength session may no longer be an option. That’s okay! Find a new time that works for you, commit to it, and stick with it. Establishing a new routine may take a little time, but it will become a habit again before you know it.
- Modify Your Moves: If your Flying Crow pose is flying a little low in yoga class, or if you’re trading in your 20-pound dumbbells for something on the lighter side, that’s also okay. In fact, it’s better than okay! It means you are listening to your body and making the necessary adjustments. Modifications are never a sign of weakness, they are a sign of strength, because as tempting as it might be to just “push through,” it takes a lot more discipline to swallow your pride and take it down a notch until you are feeling stronger.
- Manage Your Expectations: There is no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to fitness – especially if you’ve been mostly sedentary for the past few months. Any extra pounds that you’ve put on or any muscle tone you’ve lost is not going to disappear or reappear overnight. Don’t get stuck in the mindset of what was, rather try focusing on what can be. When you set realistic goals based on where you are rather than where you were, you may just find that you come back even stronger than before.
- Cut Yourself Some Slack: Although it may feel like it, you are not alone. Almost everyone has experienced a change in fitness level during the pandemic and finding that motivation again can be daunting. Be patient with yourself and celebrate your accomplishments, regardless of how small they may seem. Muscle memory is a beautiful thing, so take it easy, trust the process and, more importantly, trust yourself. You’ll be back to your fit, fierce, fabulous self in no time.