The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major disruption to the lives of people around the world, and this certainly extends to their fitness habits. With access to gyms limited and stress high, making progress towards fitness goals may seem impossible. However, with a little bit of reframing and reprioritizing, you can still move forward with your fitness journey.
This upheaval may actually be a blessing in disguise and an opportunity to reflect on what your greatest priorities truly are. After many coach-client conversations, what has emerged is a consistent realization that fitness is rarely just about improving a squat or bench press. Rather, fitness is a medium for living a long and fulfilled life.
So while your access to a gym and equipment may limit your ability to make massive progress on specific exercises, you don’t need a ton of resources to keep moving towards fitness that supports longevity and great health. You may just need to reconsider what shorter-term goals will support this long-term picture.
The number one thing that supports longevity is consistency. And you don’t need fancy equipment to move consistently. Bodyweight resistance training, Dumbbell training, Kettlebell training, walking, jogging, and/or cycling outdoors are all accessible and great modalities.
To put consistency into practice, you need to come up with an action plan. This four-step goal setting process is a great way to bring your fitness goals into reality:
- Ground: your starting point, which is defined by your initial assessment of body composition, movement quality, and work capacity
- Resources: the resources you need to meet your goal, such as time, equipment, finances, and support
- Recipe: the nutrition, training, and lifestyle prescriptions your coach will design
- Aim: a clearly defined goal
Let’s start with the Aim. For the foreseeable future, it may be unrealistic to set goals like “add 10lb to my back squat,” unless you’ve got access to a pretty epic home gym. But a short term goal for while you’re in lockdown could be “exercise for 30 minutes every day.”
Now, let’s look to the Ground, as your Aim must always be considered in relation to your starting point. This is where having a personal fitness coach really comes in handy, as they will help you understand your starting point with thorough assessments.
When considering if exercising for 30 minutes every day is a realistic goal, consider what you have been doing up until this point. If you have already been moving consistently then this Aim will suit you, but if you haven’t then it may be better to set an initial Aim of exercising 3 days a week.
Next, let’s consider the Resources you will need to exercise 30 minutes per day. You will need to block time on your calendar, have support from your family, have the space to exercise at home or outside, and have daily workouts to follow.
Finally, to reach your Aim you need a Recipe. You need to plan how you will alternate training at home with aerobic exercise outdoors, and exactly what you’ll do in those sessions, to make sure you hit your goal of training every day. For a balanced program that is designed to suit your needs, we recommend outsourcing this part to a professional coach. They’ll be able to assess you online, deliver your program through a handy app, and help provide a layer of accountability.
Having clear short-term goals is a great way to enhance your long-term fitness success. While fitness goals during Shelter in Place will have to be adjusted to new environments and resources, there is no reason why this period of time should negatively impact your ability to use fitness to support a long and vital life. You may not improve your deadlift, but you can certainly practice consistency and healthy habits!