03 May Redefining Fitness during the Pandemic
By: Reena Parekh, Fitness Coach
When you think of “fitness” – what comes to mind? A Gym? Coordinated athleisure? People smiling and sweating together in a group class?
In Toronto, Ontario, where I live, gyms have been closed for the better part of this year. I should know, because I worked in one. When the initial lockdown happened, pretty much everyone I knew in the fitness industry – myself included – transitioned online to virtual fitness. It was a means to an end at the time, but time is revealing that this is the direction we will likely continue moving in.
Transitioning to training my clients online has allowed me the opportunity to build a virtual coaching business. The way I coach clients has also changed: The added pressures of balancing working from home, virtual school, parenting and all the other “adulting” responsibilities during this complicated time has sent traditional fitness out the window.
Who has the time these days for hour-long workout sessions and structured programming that requires a ton of equipment? Not many people.
In working with mostly women who are tasked with balancing more than they ever have, I realized that traditional Coaching was not going to fly. It was time to re-define what fitness looks like to meet clients where they are at.
So how can YOU redefine fitness in your life?
Remove weight loss from the equation. Exercise has many benefits and weight loss/physical changes don’t have to be attached to working out. If you weren’t concerned about physical changes, would you still work out? Food for thought.
Walking counts as physical fitness. Walking outdoors is known to improve cardiovascular health, support muscle and joint health and, more important now than ever, support your mental health
10-15 minute workouts consistently are just as effective in maintaining heart health, and in keeping your muscles and joints healthy and happy.
Don’t bother changing. Seriously, if you’re working from home, not going anywhere and not seeing anyone, working out in your pjs or loungewear is 100% acceptable (in fact, it’s encouraged!).
Include the kids. If you have children at home, get them involved. You might enjoy it. And if you don’t, that’s ok (I don’t always love having them around when I’m working out, either) but remember you’re setting a positive example for them either way.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. Life happens. If you have to stop to get a snack for the kids or change a diaper, do what you need to do and then get back to it. It’s hard not to get frustrated but the more you allow ease around this, the better it will feel.
Accountability. Having an accountability partner or community of like minded people to connect with virtually will encourage consistency and an opportunity to celebrate those wins.
Use what you have. Fancy equipment, really ANY type of equipment can be hard to come by these days. Bodyweight, mini bands, long loop bands and a set of DBs is all you need to get a good workout in. Plus they don’t need a lot of storage space!
And last but not least, consistency over perfection. Re-define what fitness looks like in your life! Exercise includes intentional programs like yoga, HIIT or strength training. But, it can also include chasing your kids around, having a rainy day dance party or going for nature walks with your family.
Making physical activity a part of your life (rather than another thing you feel like you need to do) makes it that much more approachable and realistic. So don’t worry about what others are doing on social media, find what works for you with your life and your family.