Hi, Friends. Izzy here.
It has been quite a year, hasn't it?
TruFit officially closed its doors for a few months on March 23rd, 2020. Whether positive or puke-inducing, I think looking back at the last twelve months can be invaluable if it means learning how to live better, healthier lives starting now and into the future. So let’s dive in, shall we?
One year ago, we all moved from the Before Times to a new world with a new culture, brand new (highly argued-about) mores, and seemingly non-stop unprecendentedness. A place that had a lot of Amazon boxes and very little toilet paper. A place that has brought some ups and many downs. A place called Covidlandia.
I don't have a PhD in scholar in culture shock but have been through it plenty of times, moving to and from the US, Europe, Asia, and back and forth. If you are a visual learner, here is the general idea of the journey through culture shock:
This might make you think, "Ah, yes, this resonates with me!" I love the *simplicity* of the above, but I don’t think it quite illustrates what we’ve all been going through. So I made my own curve:
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think we're at the top right spot right now. Like, we might get to hug each other again in the next few months. And though we didn't have a chance to prepare for life in Covidlandia, we DO have time to prepare for the After Times!
No doubt we’ll go back to what we loved to do in the Before Times. We'll also leave some things behind that are no longer a part of who we are now.
Life, it turns out, is precious, short, and fluid. A year in Covidlandia has no doubt changed parts of us. Have we learned anything that has sharpened our personal values? Are there actions we take in our lives now that line up with those values?
Well. The trainers at TruFit and I have reflected a little bit and here are some things we’ve learned and are taking with us to the After Times:
Who’s the expert?
I was having a discussion with two of my IzzyFit clients who also happen to be psychologists. Our clients hire us to BE THE EXPERTS, to coach our clients about how to adopt behaviors that will lead to a better existence. Except that we all moved to Covidlandia at the same time and, well, no one’s the expert anymore. And that's humbling and head-scratching.
The lesson? When searching out a professional to help you with your life things, emotions, health, well-being: Run far, far away from anyone who thinks they know it all and that you know nothing because they’re very likely conning you. Look for someone who asks you lots of questions, and takes a genuine interest in holding space for you to be where you are right now rather than where *they* think you should be.
What does time mean now?
One of the coolest things that’s happened for most of our clients is that, in one way or another, people got CONSISTENT. How?
The end of commuting led to making more time for other things, fitness being one of them. I’m not saying that meant it was EASY, but it created the habit of making exercise work somewhere in your day, in some place you weren't used to, even during the nuttiest of times.
The lesson? We’ve just practiced figuring out how to build a schedule that includes more frequent and consistent exercise. As we repatriate to the After Times, let us remember that fitting in fitness is doable and that we would like to keep movement a priority.
As much as some of us have become more consistent with working out, Covidlandia has taken out a TON of non-exercise activity. I do a LOT less walking around the studio training clients; less walking around running errands. Hell, less walking around the grocery store. And, as far as our joints are concerned, this kind of decline in non-exercise activity means they’re more stiff, creaky, and maybe painful. (My PT assures me “everyone” is breaking down after sitting at the computer for pretty much 365 days straight.)
Meanwhile, one of my clients spent five weeks in Costa Rica walking, hiking, practicing yoga, being outdoors. And guess what. The knees that had been bothering her since we went into lockdown now feel unstuck and when i asked, “How does your body feel?” she answered, “Great!”
Do you know how long it’s been since someone has replied that way with no hesitation? A year.
The lesson? Movement -- ANY MOVEMENT -- heals. You might not get to leave for five weeks but every little bit of movement helps. Get more of ANY of it in more frequently.
*I'm not even going to get into the amazing things exercise does for our mental health or immune systems but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it.
I asked some of the other TruFit trainers what they’ve learned over the last 12 months and here are some highlights!
That when crisis hits, prioritize the things that help you feel your best physically and emotionally. I can’t get over how my clients made exercise even more at the top of their priorities, even if only on Zoom. Clients have figured out how to incorporate others into their exercise by inviting them on Zoom sessions, even from other parts of the country.
Pre-COVID, I was convinced that you *needed* gym equipment to get a balanced workout. And while I do still think having some equipment is super helpful (I’ve been recommending this same $30 resistance band set to my clients since March!), the shutdowns allowed me to attend fitness seminars online that I may not have attended otherwise as they were previously only available in person on the West Coast ... and those changed my entire perspective. Not only is bodyweight-only effective; it’s a necessary component of any training program if you want to improve mobility and avoid injury.
My fitness take-away has been that the ability to get fit isn't found in equipment, gym memberships, or even reps and sets. If you have the will to change, you find a way--and often the most productive path to that change is in accountability to someone else in your life that cares.
For me it was the importance of finding a way to work out. It was key for my mental health. For clients it was the same plus showing them that you can provide a good workout at home improvising some of the equipment you can use.
Here are a few things:
1) In the chaos of having all of our routines broken by COVID we then allow room for a new one to emerge (like training and working from home!)
2) When all isn’t available (meaning equipment) we become creative with what we have and great options are found.
3) Thanks to virtual training communication and cues to guide clients have improved and become more colorful!