Before the start of the pandemic, I was in a solid routine of attending 5AM CrossFit classes four to five days during the work week, and one 10AM strength or cardio session on Sundays. I have a core group of friends who held each other accountable for getting to these 5AM classes, along with providing encouragement as we got through the workout that day. This exercise routine was definitely a big part of my life, and I could never see myself doing anything differently to keep myself active.
Well, we now know that a lot of things we could never see ourselves doing without have gone by the wayside since March 2020. After ensuring that my family had a plan to stay safe and determining how we would navigate work and school from home, one of my next thoughts was, “What am I going to do about my workout routine?”
I know that maintaining an exercise routine is the least of the worries that people have encountered during this pandemic. That aside, I do think it’s a fantastic example of how adaptive we can be, and how we have within us the ability to create the experiences that we (our true self) needs. Exercise and physical activity is very important to me and I’ve also learned now that beyond the benefits to my physical body, the peace/repetition aspect of a daily routine offers benefits to my mindfulness practice.
In working out at home, I’ve been able to disconnect the feelings of not being good enough or strong enough, not being able to do some type of exercise, and any other “ego” created shortfall from my daily fitness routine. I’ve also been able to renew regular runs with my wife which has deepened our connection through the time we make for each other and the conversations we have when we run.
I also value my time outside in the early morning hours (yup, still at 5AM!...old habits die hard...). I enjoy the peace of being in the backyard and hearing all the sounds of nature waking up that I really hadn’t experienced before. Was it ideal to do burpees on a concrete slab when it was 16F outside? Not so much, but it still felt good to get out there and have time for myself each morning.
Small and easy adaptations can be used in so many parts of your life. Healthy eating doesn't mean you switch completely over from all fast food to kale and steamed salmon for every meal. You can make small adaptations like drinking more water or substituting a piece of fruit during your afternoon craving for something sweet. These smaller adaptations aren't overwhelming, and they tend to build on themselves.
Are you looking for more family time but feel guilty because you're tired after work? Adapting your nightly schedule to allow for a walk around your neighborhood with your kids is quick and easy, and will give you some of that family time that you're looking for. Keeping an open mind for these small adaptations will lead to small successes, which then set the stage for bigger changes in the future.