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Imagine if you will, where one day you wake up and gas is cheap, traffic has evaporated, and you have been given six weeks off from work. Sounds like a dream come true, except everything is closed, the economy is shut down, people are dying, and all the toilet paper is gone. You realize this isn’t a dream, it’s a nightmare. And thanks to the coronavirus, this is reality. Our lives have become an Alanis Morissette song.

And it’s been that way for you as it has been for me for the last month and a half. The gym I own, along with my co-founder Eddie McKenna, has been sitting empty for six weeks. Tens of thousands of dollars of exercise equipment accumulated over the ten years of building a fitness business; bars, plates, bikes, rowers, etc., all sitting and collecting dust, unable to be used. But as we closed our doors in mid-March, we knew one thing that many people were about to learn: Gyms and all the fancy equipment are great; but for the average Joe and Jane, they’re nice, but not necessary.

Unless you’re a martial artist, competitive athlete, bodybuilder, or Olympic/powerlifter, your fitness results shouldn’t suffer because you don’t have a gym to go to. You don’t need the four walls of a gym and ellipticals to get in shape. You simply need resolve. Provided you’re not on the front lines fighting the virus or on the brink of financial ruin, you’re fresh out of excuses. You can still march forward towards your fitness goals provided you’re committed enough to deal with the inconvenience.

If there’s one thing that this pandemic has taught us, it’s how to prioritize and improvise. We live lives of endless distraction and noise, but in a flash, you were forced to identify what was absolutely essential and, quite painfully, had to amputate everything else. And what was left, you had to reconfigure in ways you never had to before, completely on the fly.

That’s exactly what happened to our gym. One day we’re a group-based fitness facility running 30 workouts a week for hundreds of members and the next, we’re a public safety hazard forced to shut down. The immediate shock of shutting down hurt, but stripped down to its base parts, our community exists to turn busy, everyday people into strong, indomitably fit people. We train on the premise that what you do in the gym should arm and equip you to thrive in any challenge or circumstance outside of the gym (and wow, did Mother Nature call our bluff).

So while closing was a very painful and expensive mandate, at the end of the day, we didn’t need barbells and treadmills to accomplish our mission. For however long it takes to beat this thing, we decided we can adapt and bring the gym and community to you. Like many other gyms, we pivoted, moving our training program to the digital realm and our gym floors to the living room, doing live workouts virtually six days a week. People from six different states joined in weekly.

One of the silver linings I’ve witnessed is seeing the breakthroughs many people are having as a result. We tend to tell ourselves how much we need things to be perfect; we over-complicate what’s required to get and stay fit. We confuse what’s nice to have with what’s absolutely necessary to get the job done. So when a pandemic blows up “normal” to oblivion, people are suddenly forced to make it work. And surprisingly, when backed into a corner, you discover you’re a lot stronger and more resourceful than you thought you were. Finding that out about yourself is one of the most powerful epiphanies you can ever have. It’s self-reliance that, if achieved, proves that if you can do this now, you can do this no matter what happens. While this lockdown will prove to be costly in many ways, if you can learn that about yourself, maintain a healthy lifestyle and grow as a result, you’ll have made good use of a bad time.

So I’ll leave you with a quote stolen from somewhere on social media, “The biggest waste would be if you didn’t come out of this a stronger person.” In other words, embrace the challenge. spt

photo of san pedro today author Ricky Magana

Ricky Magana

Ricky Magana is co-owner of Heyday Elite Fitness. Heyday offers a two-minute scan that provides a full one-page body fat analysis to help you tailor your fitness goals. For more info, email