Reflections On Not Being Able To Go To The Gym For Awhile

Hi all, I hope this finds you well. Today’s post is another reflective one. A while ago I wrote about how I damaged by arms big time but was still able to go to the gym from day one for light exercise. Today’s reflection, however, is completely different to that scenario.

We all know about the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the entire globe – hurting people and economy alike. When this first started over a month ago, I was happily a member of my local gym. In mid march, the government decided to implement a host of measures to contain the spread and flatten the curve, so to speak. One of them was to shut down gyms indefinitely!

StockSnap / Pixabay

Ouch! I know that this does not seem like much to most people – but someone like me goes to the gym first thing in the morning on most days. It is part of my everyday routine. And now I can’t even physically go there. Apart from being concerned for gym staff, whose livelihoods might be threatened by lack of work, I was also concerned about my routine and fitness. It almost seemed surreal.

Hours after the announcement was made, I started to make a plan in my head about what to do after my last session at the gym. Since we are creatures of habit and often go with what we are used to, my plan was to create for myself an environment which was as close as possible to what I had.

Fortunately for me, I had two things in my favour. Firstly, I had a place of my own, and I’m not living with anyone else. Secondly, I had some exercise equipment that was in good condition, despite not being used in a while. I decided to model my living room area into my personal gym with a few tweaks because it was my yoga space too. I’ll give you a spoiler of how it looks like first, before going into more detail:

Now, my usual workout routine was as follows: one day of cardio alternated with one day of strength/weight training, every day of the week early in the morning. On cardio days I would be on the exercise bike or treadmill, with headphone watching the TV on the cardio equipment with earphones plugged in. For strength training I had a sequence of which muscles to work, but I tended to alternate how I work them – i.e. bodyweight exercises, gym machines, dumbbells etc.

So how did I adapt? Let’s go with the cardio first. I am fortunate enough to have an old exercise bike at home that hadn’t been touched for a few years. So I set that up facing my old CRT TV. On cardio days I can pretty much watch TV and cycle – just like I would do in the gym! For a bit of variety and if the weather was good, I could opt to go out for a jog instead. Cardio sorted!

What about strength training? Well, it turns out I have a ton of equipment I could use for this. For a start I have a lot of resistance bands which I used to sell – they were leftover stock. You should totally check them out and get a set if you don’t have one already! Click on the image below for more info:

I also had a set of dumbbells, two kettlebells, a pushup aid, a swiss ball, and a pullup bar on one of my doors. While it does not give me the same variety of workout equipment as the gym, it was sufficient enough. Strength training sorted! You can see from the image of my home gym above how it is laid out.

All of these are well and good. However, the biggest weapon in my arsenal isn’t physical, but it is knowledge! You see, since I have been in the fitness world for a few years, I had the knowledge on how to improvise my workouts, and how to use the equipment effectively for my goals.

It happens that a few years ago, after I acquired this knowledge, I put them together into an ebook called the Lifelong Fitness Blueprint. You should totally check it out. It is a bit outdated, but the info is still relevant. Or get it as part of the Granite Fitness Masterclass, which also includes other ebooks I wrote around that time:

Marketing aside, I was able to create an environment which mimicked my usual routine as much as possible. I’ve used it for a while now, and it is nice working out on my own.

Oh, and you might already know this, but I also like outdoor cycling, jogging, yoga and kick-scooting. On some days I do go out for a walk after work (from home). I also found a wonderful trail by a lake which I like to ride my bike at. For some reason there aren’t as many people there as the other lake, which is more “urban”.

MihaiParaschiv / Pixabay

As for yoga, I have started doing it again since my injured hands are mostly recovered. On most days, in the evening I would set up my home yoga studio, find a suitable yoga workout from YouTube based on what my body needs (I prefer supporting those with less views), light up a candle and lighting accessories in my lounge, and just do it. It’s pure bliss.

However, while I love all of the things I mentioned above, the truth is that I do sorely miss my local gym, and can’t wait for it to re-open. I can’t pinpoint exactly why, but I enjoy working out at a gym much more than doing so at home.

One last thing – and this is a moment of honest reflection. In 2013, which was before I wrote all my ebooks, I was wondering how I’d be able to work out when I was away. I ended up purchasing an ebook called Hot At Home. I used some of the principles containedwithin the book, and can say that it helped me a fair bit. I would thoroughly recommend it:

Alrighty, that’s enough for my reflection. I hope you find out what works for you and what motivates you to keep on exercising and being healthy – gym or not. Take care, and thanks once again for supporting my blog.


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