It is not the good times that really teach us or make us grow. In fact, a life of good and easy times can be seen as a wasted life. It is the times of struggle and hardship that really toughen us and make us learn. This does not mean that a life of struggles and hardships is what we need, either. The universe is all about balance, the yin and the yang. We grow the most in the tough times, but we can reflex, relax, and recharge in the good times. The thing is, we need both, and we have little control over when either shows up. What we do have control over is our perspectives during these times.
Right now, our society as a whole is going through tough times in so many ways. I’m sure there is a large faction of people who could care less about gyms and training facilities being closed. I admit that with all of this going on, lifting weights may not seem that important. For many of us, this is a way of life, though. Even if it is not as important as some of the things going on, it is still important to people like me. I am not saying that all of the gyms should be allowed to run as usual, or something like that. What I am saying is that we can control our perspectives of this situation, and just because the gym is closed does not mean we cannot train.
We have the ability to choose how we feel about these difficult times and how we react to them. The gym is closed, but it is not the end of the world, and we do not have to lose everything that we have worked so hard to earn. I have an amazing home gym that took a lot of work and time to build. I feel extremely fortunate to have this setup, but I still feel the pain of the people who do not have anything. For this reason, I want to tell people that there are a lot of alternative options out there. They just need to develop positive perspectives on our current situation. Stop focusing on the gyms being closed, and instead, focus on the options that you do have.
The first thing is that lifters need to let go of the thought that they are going to lose all of those hard-fought gains after missing just a couple of training sessions. This is complete nonsense, and most lifters could use short breaks to let their bodies actually recover anyway. Too many lifters just beat themselves up, always trying to push harder and harder. They develop injury upon injury that they will never let heal. Some time off would probably do their bodies wonders. Even if they cannot mentally handle time off, bodyweight work with high reps or even low-weight, high-rep work would do them good. Personally, I think there is a very positive side to all of this for many lifters. This is a forced chance to back off the heavy loads and let the body catch up with all that it has been put through. When the gyms do open back up, I think many lifters will be surprised at how well they feel.
Another great lesson that I hope lifters get from this is just how important short and light training sessions can be. Not every session has to be heavy with crazy energy expenditures. Light recovery or supplement sessions can speed up recovery and do wonders at working on weak areas. Especially when those weak areas are the smaller stabilizer muscles. These sessions also offer a great chance to stay on top of flexibility, mobility, and the correct movement patterns. They are short, light sessions that can have long-term, heavy rewards. One of my favorite benefits of this hiatus from the gym is the chance I’ve had to work on technique, control, bracing, rooting, IAP, and intent.
There was a challenge to do push-ups going around social media. I got the feeling that it was about how many reps you could do (I actually paid very little attention to it). I thought it should be less about how many you can do and more about how difficult you can make 10 push-ups. Can you hold the correct positions, root your hands, retract and depress your shoulder blades, build your IAP, and do them with 100 percent intent? OK, so you don’t have tons of weights or even a bar; there are ways you can still squat. If there are ways to squat, then you can work on technique and intent. The way I see it, every lifter out there should walk away from this with the best technique that he or she has ever had. This situation is not a problem but rather an opportunity.
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There are options for everyone out there. It ranges from people with limited equipment to people with nothing at all. There are lots of bodyweight exercises that people can do in their homes and even outside of their homes. Bodyweight training can be very challenging if you use all of the things I wrote about in the previous paragraph. I would say that the next step up is bands, and there are a few other inexpensive ideas that I have to go with them. I have two full sets of elitefts bands, and I can get a great session in just by using those. So, maybe you only have a bench or even just some kettlebells or dumbbells. Again, so many different exercises and variations you can do with the simplest of equipment. I already posted some great videos for at-home training on my Instagram (@chadaichs), with more coming there and on my YouTube channel. I have also seen many of the elitefts athletes doing the same by putting out some very cool at-home training videos. You can always go to the internet and just look up bodyweight exercises, dumbbell exercises, or band exercises if you need more ideas.
OK, so we are all going through some struggles and tough times right now. That's fine because it is an opportunity for us to grow, improve, and learn. We could finally take the time to let our bodies heal from old injuries. We could take the time to finally figure out why we are injured and work on that. We could work on imbalances or lack of mobility. We could work on our bad movement patterns. We can actually have some fun figuring out new ways in which to train and challenge ourselves. We might even find some stuff that we can incorporate into our training when we get back in the gym. We must choose the perspective that we are going to learn from these times and come away from them stronger than ever.