The world is opening back up. The masks are coming off, and it seems like life might be returning back to normal. And for many, this feels like it’s high time to wipe the Cheeto dust from our chins and get back into a fitness routine.
This is exciting. We are entering a honeymoon phase in which we can’t wait to experience the mundane realities of the pre-pandemic life we took for granted, like finally getting to the fitness club and using your gym towel to wipe the sweat from three dudes who used the bench before you or waiting in line for a treadmill to open up at gym rush hour.
There are those for whom the pandemic was the stated obstacle to living a healthy life and staying in shape. Their reasons being “gyms are closed,” “I’m on Zoom calls all day,” and “the world is shut down,” etc., “so I simply can’t do what I need to.” And I can say with a high level of certainty that once gyms are open, Zoom calls are over, and the world is fully functioning again, many of these same people will have a different but equally plausible excuse that’s keeping them from living a healthy life. Namely, that once life returns to what it once was, you will find your plate full of obligations that make finding the time to get to the gym, grocery shop, meal prep, eat healthily, and the myriad of habits required for a healthy life very difficult. Things like weddings, parties, happy hour, dinner dates, conferences, business meetings, and the like will all be clamoring to fill up your calendar.
And knowing this, it got me thinking about a mindset shift I’d encourage you to make before you begin your quest for health and fitness coming out of the pandemic: Own your results. Good or bad. Stop saying it’s something “out there,” like the pandemic. And turn the locus of control inward to you. Fitness is not the result of circumstances. It is the result of the decisions one makes continuously regardless of circumstances. It does not mean circumstances are irrelevant, quite the opposite. It just means that, at the end of the day, your response to those circumstances is what ultimately matters.
Take, for example, the common belief many people who struggle to get in shape have: “I don’t have the time.” Specifically, their belief is that they don’t have the time to eat healthily or exercise. Well, let’s work through that for a bit. When you walk to your kitchen, does it take more time to grab a Greek yogurt or an apple than it does to grab a bag of chips? When you order delivery, does it take more time to order salmon than a pizza? Does it take more time to steam veggies than it does to make pasta? Sure, one could argue that grocery shopping and meal prep is time-consuming, but to them, I’d say the junk they’re eating now had to be bought somehow. It doesn’t just appear in your kitchen. Everyone has to buy food. The only difference is the decision to buy some types of food instead of others. What we’re really saying is that we don’t want to plan for eating healthy; we’d rather default to what’s easier, eating poorly.
Accepting this doesn’t mean you need to change it. In fact, if you’re happy/confident/healthy, then, by all means, keep doing what you’re doing. You do you. But if you have a nagging sense that things aren’t how they should be, stop hoping for fair weather. Stop waiting for the perfect moment. It ain’t coming. So make do with what you have and do something to change it.
And now that the gym is open, stop by and join me for a workout. spt