I miss the gym. I know I’m not alone. My Facebook feed is filled with people doing at-home workouts. In fact, I love seeing how pets and children throw themselves into the mix. For a decade or longer, I’ve gone 5 times a week rain or shine. When my kids were toddlers, people would ask how I continued to work out. And I always replied, I do it for childcare. Seriously — it was the one place where I could drop my kids for an hour or two and then focus entirely on myself. It kept me sane. The workouts have changed of course, and I’ve evolved from someone who ran on the treadmill for hours to someone who lifts heavy and no longer enjoys long bouts of cardio.
I never wanted a home gym. Aside from not having the space, I’m somewhat of an extroverted introvert, meaning I enjoy talking to people and being social but only for short periods of time. The gym was a place where I could be “around” people without really having to engage with anyone.
I never thought the gym would close. And it’s not just the barbell and squat rack I pine for. I find myself wondering about the other women who worked out at the same time as me.
I don’t know their names.
I never asked.
I miss people I don’t even really know.
I’m moving on, though. I’m strong enough to know I can’t wallow in these feelings.
I’m lucky to have my own coach who quickly rearranged my program to allow me to do bodyweight exercises from the comfort of my living room. I’ve improvised with heavy objects around the house. I tied a resistance band to a tree in my backyard.
This is me squatting my 72-pound son.
I’m walking more than ever. I have a visceral need to leave the house, and walking gives me a little of the freedom I miss. My children come with me sometimes and other times they stay home. But our daily walk in the morning has developed into a ritual they enjoy. Washing our hands and leaving our shoes at the door, of course.
I know the gym will open again. I expect it to look like January 1st.
I hope it does.
If I have to wait for the leg press, I’ll gladly do it.
Here are the top lessons I’ve learned during this time away from the gym.
- There are lots of ways to move your body that don’t involve gym equipment. Kids and dogs are perfectly suitable replacements for barbells. Heavy books, bleach or laundry detergent can fill in for weights. And when push comes to shove, body weight push ups, situps, squats and lunges are some of the best exercises you can do no matter what type of shape you’re in.
- Physical activity is even more important when stress is high. It’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have. Even if it’s a slow walk. Physical movement (including housework, yard work, chores around the house) reduces anxiety. And bonus, it will help you sleep better at night.
- We all take things for granted. Maybe having some basic equipment in the basement would be a good idea. 😉
All that said, honestly what helps the most is knowing we are all in this together.
What are you missing right now? Is there anything you took for granted and how will that change in the coming months?
Suzie Glassman is a health and fitness coach working for Extreme Human Performance (miketnelson.com). Follow me Suzie Glassman. I’d love to hear to from you!