Yup – our winter of Covid is rapidly approaching & things in the USA hold lots of uncertainty about social gatherings, getting to the gym, and living life in general. Let me ramble on a little bit about why that’s not allllllll bad (although most of it is).

Thing #1: you can tackle something new, on your own, and get through the first few transitional phases of it without having to explain what you’re doing to other people. This isn’t new thinking – people have been picking up new skills, from new languages to cooking techniques, but I think the greatest opportunities arise in the areas of fitness & nutrition. Think small! You don’t have to write a cookbook or master vegan cuisine. Don’t think about perfection at all. Just think about new beginnings.

Here’s a small idea that has big benefits: if you work in an office or just have a million things to do normally, you might not be great about your meal structure. Well, right now, you can learn how to meal plan without the distraction of commuting or fighting for the time to plan & shop. As someone who commuted more than a hour each way for 12 years can tell you, every single meal is affected by demands on our time, especially if we’re the shopper/chef in the household.

Another small idea with big impact: tackle some very interesting functional movement routines to enhance your flexible strength & mobility.

In summation: use the current crisis far more confident in your abilities to budget/portion/prepare healthy meals, and also bust out some awesome cat/cow/hanging bear poses.

Thing #2: this is more specific to people who consider themselves regular gym goers, but maybe not so diligent about the fundamentals. Instead of spending some time on the treadmill (again), or doing strength workouts for legs (again) because you couldn’t think of what to do today, or maybe you hurt your elbow with some iffy technique working on your biceps, or your lower back pain keeps going to the gym with you… how about using the time for getting back to basics? If you actually dedicate your time to warming up, stretching, doing a new & varied routine, and then actually cooling down will pay off in a ton of small ways, so give it a try. When/if you go back to regular gym workouts, you’ll reap the benefits.

Here’s my own story: during the shutdown here in NJ, I managed to reverse my own COVID-related weight gain, put on more muscle, and lose an inch off my waist. I also had a hell of a lot of fun, never did a workout I wasn’t into, and got much more flexible at the same time. It was nothing like what I usually would do at the gym, and it really showed me the potential for working out from home as a viable alternative for people who aren’t into gym workouts but who still want to get into great shape.

So what about the unfortunate fact that we spend so much time alone right now? Think of it this way: it’s a chance to shine a light on a habit we were too busy or distracted to deal with before, and when we get to re-enter the post-COVID society, we’ll have left a few small things behind us that we never thought we’d shake off. That not only makes us better advocates for ourselves, but also better for those around us that we care about.