It’s midway through March 2021, the world is going back its old ways but I have not quite gotten back to mine. Many people have sad stories to tell about 2020, but I am lucky to say that my only downfall was my fitness journey.
As you read this, I am officially back in the office. Just one week short of a year after we went into full lockdown, life is slowly returning to what may or may not resemble normal. I suppose it is the new normal – masks, sanitiser and all. I mean, God forbid we accidentally cough into our elbow, then greet our friends with the glorified elbow bump. But let’s stay positive… this is normal. This is one year after it all started, and one year into life as we know it.
I know many of you have officially canceled 2020, but as millennials, we don’t ‘cancel’ things. No, we learn from the experiences and turn them into blog posts. It was a year and a half, while not a year at all… But it happened, and we are here nonetheless.
What happened in March 2020?
I remember the date we officially went into zombie-mode better than I can recall my friends’ birthdays. It was March 27 when South Africans were told to stay off the streets, schools were closed and offices told their staff not to come in. At that time, I was in shock, but my excitement could not be contained. For me, that was a blessing in disguise because I got to spend three weeks indoors with my people. Three full weeks with my husband and toddler! But there was a catch – we had just moved into a one-bedroom apartment.
International news had warned us that the pandemic would mean a lack of toilet paper… So I bought toilet paper. The news warned me that food would go scarce, so I stocked up on as much food as I could… But that one bedroom apartment quickly became a problem.
The last stretch in my fitness journey
Working from home with a bouncy toddler that wanted to go outside was a challenge. Ignoring a screaming toddler to take client calls became impossible. And maintaining my fitness because a mission. But there were people who did marathons on their balconies, so I was determined.
I woke up later than usual because working from home meant working in pyjamas. But in compensation, I would take a 30 minute break during my day to burn some calories. It was a very simple equation: sleep more, eat less and work out a bit. And then a bit of exercise turned into new challenges. And the new challenges turned into more eating. But as long as I worked out, it would all be okay. The assault bike in my living/dining/workspace/gym combo got quite a bit of use. The kettlebells were thrust several times a day. I was on a high, thriving off the adrenaline…
…And then I got CoVID-19.
And then CoVID-19 got real
If there is something you need to know about me, it’s that I don’t take breaks when I need to. My husband often scolds me for pushing through a workout when I have the flu. But no matter how many times he drills the wisdom into my head, it fails to stick. Almost like he’s using a toy hammer and nail on a concrete wall. However, when I found out we had the coronavirus, I knew I would need to take a break.
When my father-in-law gives me medical advice, I listen to him. And his word was to avoid exercising for two months. Two WHOLE months! In all honesty, I wasn’t planning to stick with it, but after our quarantine, I still felt off. I was struggling to catch my breath just taking my toddler on walks! It wasn’t just a scary feeling, it was a rude awakening that things were different. So I waited until I felt ready. Spoiler alert – 8 months and 8 kilograms later, I still don’t feel ‘ready’.
My first attempt at a comeback
Some time in September, I decided to sign up for one of the online CrossFit classes that my box offered. Well, I died. Quite literally – it’s my ghost writing this right now. But on a serious note, that workout wasn’t the worst they had put us through and yet I couldn’t do half of what I was able to achieve just two months before. Some days later, I tried doing a YouTube class by Natacha Oceane… and it felt like hell. A few days after that, I decided to try skipping and burpees. When that failed, I unofficially declared it the end of my fitness journey.
There have since been a few ad-hoc workouts here and there, but none that can qualify in my books. I’ve even jogged a few kilometres this year, in an attempt to support a friend that is on a fitness journey. But the concept of working out just hasn’t stuck at all. It is almost as though my body has gone on strike, leaving me to carry the extra pounds with my guilt.
So does this mean that my fitness journey is officially over?
The thing about a journey is that unless you establish a destination, you will never know when you get there. The very same thing applies to my fitness journey. What I have and will aim to do is keep my body fat percentage in the fit range. It’s not there right now, but I know exactly what I need to do to get there. So my home gym will be kitted out, and my wake-up time has officially shifted to 5am. No excuses.
Notice how I am not talking about eating less and trying to starve the fat away? Take it from me, that doesn’t work. It may appear to work if you are rigid enough, but as a side effect, you will deplete your muscles and deprive your brain of nutrients. I’ve been watching Stephanie Buttermore’s all ‘in journey‘ and it hit home. The extreme hunger and bottomless pit she refers to are things that constituted my norm. I never want to go back there – ever! So I will make consistency part of my fitness journey.