Fitness: It’s Time to Change the Game
Story and photos by Will Butler
Four months ago, we were on our way to winning at healthy choices. We were going about our daily lives, finding the sweet spot between work, social life, fitness and family. Suddenly, we found ourselves in the middle of an unimaginable global crisis.
Phrases like “social distancing” and “shelter in place” have become new words in our vocabulary. Some of our favorite restaurants and retails stores still are closed, the streets are scarce, most people are working from home and our routine trips to the gym have been halted. Our daily lives have been totally interrupted by COVID-19.
For true fitness fanatics, the fact that some gyms are still closed, and others operating with minimal class sizing, can be devastating. However, this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the progress you’ve made with your fitness and health.
I know that you’ve grown accustomed to the daily routine of exercising before or after work. You’re used to your trainer or workout partner pushing and encouraging you to do more and finding comradery with the people in your group fitness classes who suffer through it with you. So, now what? It’s time to change the game.
Despite all of the anger and heightened emotions that come with being socially isolated, this situation does not give you an excuse to overlook your health and fitness. In fact, we’ve learned from experts that people with certain pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure are even more at risk. I don’t know about you, but this is enough motivation to improve my health numbers.
Become the gym
Changing your mindset is everything. Instead of seeing the gym as a place to go, understand that YOU are a living gym and can exercise wherever you are. As Ray Charles would say, “Let’s make it do what it do, baby!”
You can create your own gym right in the comfort of your home. Most of us already have transformed a portion of our homes into workspaces, so why not gyms, too? After all, exercising is just as important to your physical health as working is to your financial health.
Start by dusting off those old yoga mats, thigh masters, stair masters, ab rollers, abdominal balls and shake weights. Move the clothes hanging on the treadmill or stair master and get to work. Even if you don’t have all of this equipment, never fear. Everyone has a chair, gallon milk or water jugs or just yourself. Bodyweight exercises such as squats, push-ups, planks and abdominal crunches combined with cardio such as walking, running or cycling are simple yet effective ways to stay in shape.
Create the motivation
Okay, I get it. You have the equipment at home but you just aren’t motivated to use it because you know you need that push from your trainer or encouragement from your workout group. If you have a smartphone, computer and reliable Internet, many trainers like myself are offering online instruction. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Skype and Zoom allow us to bring the workout experience right into your home. Whether it’s one–on–one instructional training or group classes offered by your favorite local fitness studios, you’ll definitely work up a sweat.
Take it outside
If you are tired of your four walls and need a break from the inside, exercising outside for 30 to 45 minutes a day can help keep you mentally sane and provide heart-health benefits. Personally, I like to venture to Amerson River Park off of Riverside Drive. This park has breathtaking trails for walking, running and cycling, plus lots of green space, playgrounds and even outdoor gym equipment – thanks to my fellow Leadership Macon Class of 2017. If you have never been to this park, it is a must visit – you’re welcome, in advance.
Just like in baseball, life will always throw fastballs, curveballs and knuckleballs at us. While we cannot determine what the next pitch will be, we can change the game by practicing each and every day to be a better player in life. If you stay ready, then you won’t have to get ready. If you’re ready now, try these game-changing exercises.
- Pushups to failure (“to failure” means until you can’t do anymore! )– 3 sets
- Squats (beginners) or jump squats (advanced) – 3 sets
- Planks hold for 1 minute – 10 sets
- Sit–ups to failure – 3 sets
Macon native Will Butler is a certified personal trainer, pro-bikini coach, certified black belt instructor, radio personality and owner of Will 2 Win Fitness LLC. For personal training, fitness consultations and nutritional plans, contact Will at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-273-2861.