We are 2 months into this pandemic and gym rats the world over are agonizingly jonesing for an “iron fix”. Yes, not being able to train really, truly sucks. Some of the ways it blows are obvious and there is also some unexpected “suckage” which I will outline shortly. Surprisingly, though, there a few silver linings to this flab-inducing, gainz-stealing cloud. So, with no further ado, here is my take on the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the great Covid 19 Gym Drought:
Obvious Suck Factors:
- Bye-Bye Gainz: You consistently train for years and months and are forced to throw it out the window. This is beyond frustrating. Literally 2 days before everything shutdown I did all time Bench and Deadlift PRs in the gym. I was on track to smash competition PRs in my scheduled May competition but alas…
- Home bodyweight workouts just don’t cut it: Sammy Hagar won’t drive 55 and I just can’t muster any enthusiasm for dreary, lonely bodyweight workouts. Look, if that’s your thing, my hat’s off to you. I do them, but no as regularly as I should and with little joy.
- There goes what little social life the majority of weirdo Powerlifters have in the first place: Hey, we all miss the social aspect. If you spend that much time at the gym training it’s de facto part of your social life. For many of us the daily routine was work, gym and then home and now it’s work at home with no gym, for the vast majority of us. Hello, cabin fever.
- Endorphin withdrawal: For most of us, training was a sustainable, effective method to relieve stress. Also, the emotional satisfaction of hitting training goals and achieving PRs was/is indescribable. It’s no surprise that alcohol consumption is sky-rocketing which, is unfortunate. Alcohol as horrible, extremely short-sighted and wildly counter-productive method of stress reduction, but I get it. The only reason I know this is I drank all the beer, literally all of it, and so am uniquely qualified to report that it don’t work, folks. If I was still on the sauce, you wouldn’t go wrong buying stock in the beverage company of your choice right now.
Less Obvious Suck Factor
- No more “Super Power”: Okay, this going sound funny to the uninitiated. And hell, maybe I’m the only who feels this way, but here goes. When you train in powerlifting for a while, you get strong, and it’s actually a lot of fun to be strong. Lifting heavy stuff is a real gas. And, let’s face, there is is more than a little pride mixed into the equation. However, if you’re not training, you’re getting weaker and it’s of a bit a psychological hit. Not a major one if you’re relatively well-adjusted, but a bummer nonetheless.
- Going from Fuscular to, er, well, flabby: Powerlifters do not train for aesthetic reasons but nonetheless one does get jacked from training, albeit perhaps still somewhat “fleshly” for some of us. If you’re not training, you’re losing muscle, which means you’re just another Cheeto eating slob watching Joe Exotic on Netflix.
- Injury Recovery – Let’s face it, if you train seriously for any period of time, you are walking around with a series of injuries in various stages of recovery. 2 months off of “forced” recovery will allow you to heal. I am finally resolving a nagging shoulder issue, so there’s that at least.
- More time for family – I am spending more time with kids which is great. Before, during the work week it was work, gym, home, fix dinner, bed. Now it’s it’s work, go biking with the kids in the early evening, make dinner with them and, yes, bed. This is priceless, especially since they are teenagers.
- (Re)discovering other physical activities – As I said above, biking is one of physical activities available to us, as is hiking. We live near a number of forests so that is an incredible bonus. There is no better stress reliever known, not even power-lifting, than walking or biking deep in a forest on a beautiful spring day. I used to do this quite a bit before my kids were born and now we can do it together. Also, and this is weirdly specific, I’ve become fixated on my ab-roller which I keep in front of the TV. I used to avoid ab training like the plague, but now it almost seems “fun” to bang out a few reps in between Netflix binges.