Why You're Letting COVID-19 Win
Life is different now. For a variety of reasons, but we seem to be clinging to the past more than we should. And the reality is, life after this is all said and done will forever be different. 2020 will be the year of the Coronavirus and future generations will read about the pandemic in their textbooks. However, the problems that we are facing now are the same problems that we faced before COVID-19 came into existence. Lack of consistency plagues us and prohibits us from making real progress. Our nutrition could be better and what we prioritize in the hierarchy of health and fitness should be reassessed. It doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom. You can win and you can re-emerge into the world a better human.
For the foreseeable future your workouts will not look the same as they once did. If you have a nice little garage gym set up that looks like a Rogue catalog, you’re one of the more fortunate ones. If you’re someone who was only able to borrow a single dumbbell or you missed out, you’re the majority. No matter which camp you belong to, workouts are still going to be different. You won’t have Coach Deb giving you feedback on your movements. You won’t have your 3 friends that you talk to while you’re squatting. You won’t have the atmosphere filled with loud music and kindred spirits who are suffering and pushing you to your limits. I hate to break it to you though, those are all non-essential. They are delightful comforts that add to our experience, but they are not a necessity for success in our endeavor of health and fitness. What do you need? Truthfully, you can accomplish quite a lot without any equipment. It won’t be quite the same as doing consistent strength work and you will suffer marginal losses in that department as time goes on. CrossFit was never purely about one facet of fitness though. In fact, CrossFit organized a hierarchy of what is important and the order of which your focus should be.
Before I dive into what that hierarchy looks like, there are some other things we can cover first in an effort to not let the virus beat us down any further than it already has. For the last week or so, we have been undergoing social distancing and as a gym we have implemented more of an individualized approach with our coaching. This has given each member an assigned coach who is their point person for any questions, concerns and the person who will guide them to success for the duration of this period. The most common sentiment that we have heard is that there is a lack of structure for people’s days. Staying at home, although great for other reasons, does make it hard to maintain a normal schedule. Most of our work is done via email/phone and makes it so that we are always accessible, so there is no 9-5. This constant “on-call” state also plays a role in our sleep and our nutrition.
There are a lot of us who are staying up later than normal and waking up at a variety of hours. The way in which we eat has drastically shifted to whatever is most convenient. Our day from start to finish lacks any sense of consistency. How can we expect to exercise consistently if we can’t get consistency anywhere else in our day? The easiest way to combat this is to write it all down. Writing down 15-30 minute intervals of your day sounds silly, but having your day written out will help you organize your time and help you allot time for exercise. It doesn’t have to be a 2 hour window either, start out with something manageable and give yourself 30 minutes to get a workout in. Once we have some consistency with exercise, you’d be amazed at how many other things begin to follow suit and fall in line as well.
Back to the CrossFit pyramid. The foundation of the pyramid is not based on how much you back squat or bench press, gasp. Rather, it is built on nutrition. Go figure, it has nothing to do with what sort of equipment you have available or what limitations you might have. Your food is the bedrock of everything else you do. Take it from someone who was the posterboy for eating whatever they wanted to and still being functional. The problem was that I was surviving, not thriving. I didn’t even know what good felt like. I thought being tired all the time was normal.
But, this could be its own blog in itself. The point is that your nutrition, and for sake of this blog we will include sleep and lifestyle habits into that category, is the foundation for which everything is built upon. It isn’t until the 4th tier of the pyramid that we see weightlifting as a pillar of its own. Metabolic conditioning and gymnastics are prerequisites for weightlifting. If you cannot do a proper air squat, you shouldn’t be worried about back squatting. This again could be a rant for another blog of its own. The misconception that lifting weights is the primary source of success in the gym is ludacris. But, by this logic and adhering to the pyramid’s hierarchy, we have plenty to focus on before we get entangled with the need for a barbell. As a result, much of your focus could be on improving your nutrition, metabolic conditioning and your gymnastics. Lucky for you, we are still posting workouts daily that can be done with/without equipment. Even better, we are posting gymnastics workouts that resemble skill sessions more than they do workouts. And to top it off, we have nutritional services in house.
As you’re reading this, I am sure you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. You might be saying to yourself, “but, Coach Cam I am not ready to give up my junk food and I don’t really care what my squat looks like, it’s all about what weight is on the bar!” And to you I say, good luck. There will come a time when your nutrition and lifestyle matter more than your back squat. There will also come a time when your inadequate air squat mechanics will lead you to a plateau or an injury. Why wait to see what that point in time looks like when we can start curtailing it from ever occurring in the first place? “But, Cam, there’s so much I need to work on that I am not sure where to start!” Start with something simple. No one said you have to have it all figured out at once. Take baby steps and slowly accumulate competency in one area before moving on. Gravitate to the low-hanging fruit (pun intended) and dial in on the nutrition front. A lot of us are at home and have lost the ability to grab food on the go and are instead cooking at home. From there you can start to pay more attention to other areas.
Begin where you are with what you have. We need to come to terms with the reality of life being different right now. We need to fight back and spend time working on ourselves. Developing some structure to our day will provide us with some accountability. Placing attention on areas that need work, nutrition, metabolic conditioning and gymnastics instead of wishing we could go back to the way things were with a barbell in our hands. This situation will pass. How long it will take remains unclear, but the choice is yours on how you want to come out of it: do you want to be in a position where you’re better than how you went in? Or do you want to be worse off? Don’t let the virus continue to win, control the narrative and look back knowing you made the most of your situation.
PS - If you’re unsure how to get started, email me. I will make sure myself or one of our coaches helps you set a plan to win the battle and surface as a better, more well-rounded human.