Keep Moving That Dirt: Fitness During a Pandemic

This pandemic is a major life event for all of us. It’s thrown our schedules, activities, relationships, and everyday life into a completely different track, with little warning. Similar to a new child, a new job, moving, a death in the family, or a painful break up, this will have a lasting impact on each of us. 

It’s important to acknowledge that we’re in a new phase in our lives right now, with different rules, expectations, motivations, and constraints. Inevitably, this will alter how we approach our fitness goals. Any way you slice it, you’re not going to be the same athlete you were 3 months ago. Different doesn’t have to mean worse — it just means different. 

When we get back to the gym and resume a more “normal” training routine again, there will be some movements that feel really freaking hard, and some that feel better than ever. Let’s try to find and recognize the balance in this. 

Gratitude is important, but being thankful for what you have, doesn’t mean you ignore the sadness and disappointment around what you’ve lost. Gratitude helps even the emotional scales, so we can stay more even keeled. We can miss our barbells and be bummed about missing our friends, but we can recognize the positives and benefits of our situation at the same time. We’re developing grit and resilience, we’re learning not to take our relationships and activities for granted, and we’re probably getting pretty darn good at dumbbell movements. 

Maybe you’re someone who has really struggled with workout motivation since the quarantine started. Maybe you haven’t worked out much, or at all. For you, I have a few small reminders.

Our health & fitness journey is like moving a pile of dirt. Some days you get a shovel, some days you get a bulldozer, and some days you get a pair of tweezers. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve moved any dirt.

Ask yourself this: what would it look like, to move a couple grains of sand today? What one or two small acts can I do, to start moving that pile again? No action is too small. Pick one thing this week, and see how it makes you feel to cross it off your to-do list. It’s not about motivation. It’s about momentum. If we wait for a stroke of motivation to get us going, we might be waiting forever. Success breeds motivation, not the other way around. 

Remember, friends: This is a new phase of life. It’s not helpful or fair to compare the athlete or person we are now, to the person or athlete we were before, especially if this comparison is keeping you from moving forward. We have to give ourselves grace, patience, and understanding. But it’s also important we don’t give up. 

Take the time to define what success looks like to you right now. For 99% of us it will be a lot different than it was before. And that’s OK.

Decide what small thing you can do today to start moving in that direction, as slowly as you need to. Let’s start building that momentum again. 



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