As we come to the close of a crazy year, it’s a perfect time to reflect on what 2020 has taught us about staying fit and healthy.
COVID-19 completely upended the way we live. And as lockdowns were initiated and social distancing protocols were put in place, the way we worked out also shifted wildly. Some people inevitably threw in the towel and took to their sofas. But others saw their routine redo as an opportunity to get gritty, be flexible, and figure out how to stay fit and strong in the age of coronavirus.
We caught up with some Spartan coaches to ask them what lessons they learned to help others start 2021 off on a fit and healthy footing.
Lesson #1: If Nothing Else, Do the 1%
Spartans know they should always go the extra mile. But when your typical training day is given the no-go for the foreseeable future, figuring out how to maintain your workout level can leave you blindsided.
But Spartan instructor Eduardo Cantarero, who runs Beats per Minute Fitness, claims that even small steps in a time of crisis can make a big difference in the long run.
“It's not easy being 100% each and every day,” Cantarero says. “However, think of it this way: If you're even just 1% better, by the end of the year you'll be 365% better.”
Lesson #2: Stay Consistent
Consistency is a vital part of any fitness success. According to Dave Scott — a Spartan coach and CrossFit instructor based in Cadillac, Michigan — it’s key in anchoring you to your "Why” when chaos is all around.
“I found that I needed to remind myself why I started my health and fitness journey to begin with,” Scott admits.
However, by maintaining his training and building momentum, he was able to focus on a healthy future rather than get caught up in the craziness of the present. A consistent practice can keep you focused and remind you that "even if the world seems to be falling apart before our eyes, there will always be better days ahead.”
Lesson #3: Focus on What You Can Control
In times when our lives have been pushed to the limits, do what you can and don’t sweat the rest.
“Control what you can,” Cantarero advises. “Your emotions, your habits, your behaviors. Everything else is beyond us and is just noise.”
Lesson #4: The “Place” to Exercise Is Wherever You Are
During the pandemic, many people panicked because they could no longer get to the park, gym, or a “proper” workout space. But as SGX coach Joshua McCloy notes, there isn’t ever one place to work out.
Maintaining close contact with his clients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington-based instructor worked with them to simplify their training.
“I tried to help them simplify how they viewed their training, and stressed to them that a difficult environment is no excuse for compromise when it comes to their health," he says. "For example, any calisthenics can be done in a very small area and require no equipment.”
His advice worked. “Overall,” McCloy states, “I saw more positive changes with regards to fitness than I have seen in the last five years.”
And the takeaway for others facing an uncertain 2021? “Sometimes it takes negative circumstances to create positive change," he says.
Lesson #5: Stop Taking Your Health for Granted
The public health crisis spurred by COVID-19 was a wake-up call for many who’d been taking their health for granted. With stay-at-home orders in effect across the globe, many used the time to shake up their health and fitness routines.
“In many ways, this year has created more opportunities and has helped people come to the realization of how important their physical health really is,” says McCloy. “Particularly in how it directly relates to their mental health in these types of situations.”
SGX Coach Gennaro Meriano agrees. Throughout the pandemic, he’s been working online with clients to help them fit their day into health and fitness — not the other way around. From the moment you get up in the morning, everything you do should be healthful, he advises.
“Drink water, read 10 pages of a book, train your body, live life, relax in the evening with family or friends, and then go to bed without phones or clocks," he recommends. "It may seem a little strange, but it’s about changing your attitude to what being healthy really means.”