I have to admit, I did it. When COVID-19 hit, the gym membership was one of the first things I cancelled. I panicked and thought of catching COVID from everyone sweating in the gym and figured that was the last place I wanted to be.
So, I joined a bunch of fitness apps. Each one had a price tag but still I was paying less than I did for my gym membership. I bought a ton of equipment I could use at home. But now I was paying MORE than I did for my gym membership because the price of weights and anything fitness-related, when you could find it available, SKYROCKETED online. But still, I started on my AT HOME fitness journey because it was safe.
This was great. After being an avid gym goer for over 25 years I was now going to work out in the convenience of my own home. Hey I could work out in my PJ’s if I wanted to, hence problem number one, but I will get to that a little later.
For the first three weeks, I started strong. This COVID was changing a lot, but it would NOT change my commitment to staying in shape. No way. It was great, going into the basement when it worked into my schedule and watching - let’s call him “Tim” - on my tablet with his perfectly toned pecs coaching me during my HIIT workout. After a while I realize Toned Tim couldn’t see me when I took a 2-minute break instead of a 30-second rest between my intervals or if maybe I ran upstairs because the doorbell rang with the Amazon package I ordered yesterday, and I took a few minutes to open it and check out my latest purchase. Toned Tim didn’t realize I was gone for 10 minutes and didn’t pause his workout, I started right back in without him noticing I was gone.
I could also roll right out of bed and go down to the basement in my PJ’s to take Tina’s cycle class and at first, I got up, got out of my PJ’s and rode with her. Then staying in my PJ’s a little longer seemed like a nicer option. After all, Tina would be there anytime I wanted and I could always do it later. That was the problem - later started not coming until days later. Hey, I had to do laundry before work, and after work I had to make dinner. That’s okay, I will just do it after dinner. Well talk about not feeling motivated. Going riding with Tina was the last thing I felt like after eating dinner and hey, it’s not like there were other people in the class that would notice I wasn’t there.
I kind of liked going down the basement by myself and lifting weights at first. It was my time to think and focus on me, nice and quiet with no distractions. But soon there was no motivation. I didn’t have the need to pick up a little heavier weight than the person next to me because, well, there was no one there that I had to compete with and had to push myself a little harder. I could answer my cell phone if it rang between sets and talk for 5 or 10 minutes and not get the stink eye from anyone else on the gym floor. No one was there. THAT became the problem. NO ONE WAS THERE. That became a common theme. COVID had caused me to isolate myself for good reason, but now I was craving human interaction. Even if it was a nod to the woman I saw on the treadmill every time I used to go to the gym. I suddenly missed the guy who was always in the same cycle class. I missed him asking where I was last week when I couldn’t make it to class because I had a parent-teacher conference for my daughter. I used to think “None of your business Bob”, but now I wanted him to ask me. I wanted the instructor to see me and push me when I wasn’t climbing that hill hard enough. I wanted to be around people. Not close to people but at least around people other than the ones on my tablet screen.
I was paying MORE than I did for my gym membership and I felt horrible. I had less energy, was less motivated and just not my happy self. So I started doing a little research and guess what? You can’t catch COVID from sweat. I couldn’t believe it, here is the study see for yourself. I called a few of my friends who I thought were crazy for still going to the gym and guess what, none of them had gotten COVID. They were all still going to their gyms and none were sick and none knew of anyone who got COVID from going to the gym. They explained how safe they felt in their gyms because of all of the cleaning procedures and physical distancing.
I thought about it for a day or two then went to my old gym for a visit. I was shocked at all the measures they had in place to keep their members safe. Why was I still going to the grocery store but not coming here?? I reactivated my membership and have never been happier. I lost the 10 pounds I had gained from working out (or lack of working out) at home and felt better than ever. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I miss Toned Tim, but I am sure he doesn’t miss me.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are pros and cons to working out at home vs at a gym but for me, the boredom, excuses and lack of motivation I got from working out at home made going back to the gym the right thing for me to do. I am sure there are people who do great with working out at home. I just need a little more motivation, ability to change up my workouts and do different things and more social interaction. No matter what you choose, staying fit and healthy has never been more important. The physical and mental benefits are vital during this time.