As the world catches up with the surreal events unfolding around us every day, there are mixed emotions that we experience. Emotions that hit like waves on the shore, intermittent, but continuous. And depending on one's experiences with or around or caused by COVID-19, the waves are of lesser or greater intensity.
Like the rest of the world, we as lifters have these same waves of emotion. But also as lifters, there is the additional thought. That thought is this, once this is over and with all hopes, over with health, family, job and finances intact, what will it be like getting back to the gym? The answer to that depends on what that lifter was like at the gym in the first place.
For those music lovers out there, you might have familiarity with the music of the band Pink Floyd. They have always been a favorite of mine, but in addition to their music, I still find meaning in their lyrics. For our purpose today, I share these following lyrics for you to read and think about for a moment, then finish reading this post. The song is called Time, and the album is The Dark Side of the Moon. Read Roger Water's words…
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.
Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I'd something more to say.
Within the larger pool of lifters, some, that very small percent of the hardcore lifters are "lifers" like yourself. These individuals are those whose training life is indistinguishable from their life outside of the gym. Just like family, friends and work, training is a staple of who they are. For those cut from this same cloth of iron and steel, these "lifers" still are lifting something, picking up something, hoisting something, most likely training with the few weights or that lone barbell doing high reps with what little weight they have lying around in their garage or basement. They are working hypertrophy, chasing 'the pump,' doing whatever they can to feed their need to be moving weights. For those who are competitive powerlifters, strongman/women, bodybuilders, and have a home gym, they are going through the movements alone, but not going all out heavy as the spotters aren't there. The smart money is on not injuring yourself at a time when going to the hospital could be more dangerous than the injury. They also know that one's non-life-threatening injury will have to wait as so many in hospitals are fighting life and death battles against this virus. Thus they don't risk popping something off that requires surgery to staple back on. So that group is doing what they do, and that is lifting something, lifting anything, it just currently looks a little different. But when they come back, they are back on the freight train of big weights, strength, power, size, muscle, and the intense training required to achieve their lifting goals.
That said, there are those others, the vast majority of those who go to the gym with an intent to work out. Those others, who when gyms were open, spent half their time at the gym on the phone, ticking away the moments of a dull day. Those individuals who fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way. They are the young, and life is long and there is time to kill today, gym-goers. But then one day they find ten years have got behind them. No one told them when to run. They missed the starting gun.
To you the serious lifter, this time away from the gym is time to fall even deeper in love with the weights, time to become more enamored with the training, time to spend rethinking or restructuring your routine, time to hone in on your nutrition, time for planning how to achieve your goals, achieve your numbers, your everything that makes the gym a foundation, a pillar, the bedrock of your life as a lifter.
There are sheep, and there are shepherds, there are lions, and there are lambs. There always have been, there always will be. When this all passes, and with hopes when it does, you and your family come through healthy and well, you as a true lifter, a "lifer" will continue on your path even as 'the flock' also returns and occupies the same gym space as you do. As they inevitably will do a set, check their phone, do a set, post a photo, do a set, video a lift, do a set, chat with someone, do a set while waiting for someone or something to show them the way…the time is gone, the song is over, thought they'd something more to say.
During this time the real lifters become a little less strong, but remember, your less strong is strong(er) than most would ever hope to achieve, and 12-16 weeks after gyms are open again, you will be fully strong, still living your authentic life as a lifter, as you too know that time will continue. We will grow strong(er) by our hand, while others become victim to that same time, also by their hand.
Ever onward, keep the faith and carpe diem!
Header image credit: PIOTR PIATROUSKI © 123rf.com