COVID-19 helped me start doing these three things that changed everything.
“There is nothing that can happen TO you that can’t also happen FOR you…if you’ll let it.”
― Mandy Hale
EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: Any advice or recommendation given in my writing is what works for ME and may not be the best regimen for you based on your psychological or physiological makeup and stability. Please consult a doctor when making decisions about your health.
First of all, I want to say that I KNOW the pandemic has been extremely hard on a lot of people.
For all of the parents out there who were raising kids on their own while trying to work a full-time job at home, I am in no way implying that because you weren’t able to take your fitness game to the next level, that something is wrong with you.
The fact that you were able to survive and just get through such a tumultuous ordeal is extremely impressive, and you should be commended for that.
With that being said, however, as an individual with no kids or major outside of work responsibilities (other than making sure my wife is happy and knows I love her every day), I was put into a situation in which COVID-19 was the perfect storm to help me take fitness from a casual hobby to something that I now look to as a major part of my life.
Now don’t get me wrong, I was into fitness before COVID, but I just never saw the results that I wanted from an overall aesthetic perspective.
I would work out mostly to keep a decent appearance and prevent myself from looking like some of my former high school friends that I see on Facebook every now and then.
However, when COVID-19 hit, I was surprised how the events played out to cause me to start doing these three things, and they have all been MAJOR game-changers.
I began to eat much less food than I did before.
While the pandemic changed so many things about the world in which we live in a negative way, the one immediate positive for my world was that it forced me to not eat out as much as I did in the past.
Being in sales, it was a daily ritual for me to travel to some restaurant around noon and meet a client there to discuss business of some kind.
If it wasn’t a client, then usually I was going with a colleague to discuss a client that we were working on together or to help foster a better working business relationship.
The ability to eat out for lunch for free every day seems like a good thing until you realize that you are steadily packing on the pounds because of it. Most restaurant’s portion sizes are much larger than what one might serve at home and much more than what is typically needed.
One of my main weaknesses is that I typically just don’t have an off switch for something that I like. What that means is that when I start eating something good on my plate, I’m going to typically eat all of it until the plate is clean.
This led to a lot of consumed calories at the end of a typical workday.
When the concept of eating out became foreign because of COVID, I was able to control the amount I ate for each meal because I could now control the volume that I was putting in front of myself every day.
As shared in Why You Should Consume WAY Fewer Calories to Stay Healthy as You Age, this led to me reducing my caloric intake from anywhere from 1800–2500 per day to about 800–1200 per day.
Once you added my mid-week and weekend cheat meals, this would probably be around the 1200–1500 number, but it was still significantly lower than my previous intake.
This resulted in a number of benefits including feeling lighter, more clear-headed, and just way more in control of my weight daily.
I began to focus on calisthenics
The second change related to how I worked out because the gym became somewhat of a COVID hotspot for individuals.
Because of all of the sweat and touching of various equipment that was shared, going to a gym was seen as rather risque when COVID first came out.
Therefore, I completely ended my membership since I wasn’t going to be able to use it anymore, but I needed to do something to stay in shape.
After googling “ways to stay in shape without a gym” and reading through all the different content online, I stumbled upon a bunch of cool videos for this thing called calisthenics, and I was hooked.
I began practicing and was amazed at how challenging all the workouts were and how they helped me maintain my current strength while building my strength in areas that I had never focused on before.
This training was more around functional strength and made me feel overall more well-rounded, flexible, and sturdy.
I began to feel strength in various parts of my body that I had put little to no emphasis on before and overall just felt that my fitness was morphing into something that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life.
Couple this with the fact that I could do many of the movements with little to no gym equipment, and it has become something that I can take with me as I travel to combat the terrible food that I will likely eat while doing so — a much needed added bonus.
I began to truly analyze what worked and didn’t work.
While COVID took away a lot of our freedoms and many of the things we enjoyed doing with our friends, one thing that it unexpectedly seemed to give some of us without children was extra time, as we no longer had all that wasted time sitting in traffic.
For me, this allowed me to spend a bit more time than I did in the past on analyzing my daily fitness activities and understanding what worked and wasn’t working overall.
I was introduced to MyFitnessPal and began to track almost everything I ate. Since I was basically eating the same type of meals every day, it was easy to follow what was working for my diet and what wasn’t.
I could now tell what exercises seemed to burn the most calories and made me feel the best afterward, as well as the type of food and quantities that didn’t tip over the calorie scale but still left me feeling full and satisfied.
This helped me decide to do more of what was working for me overall and less of what wasn’t.
This created a continual analysis of my plan from week to week, making sure I had the right mix of the calisthenics, cardio, and diet to give me the results I desired.
This was the beginning of a consistent pattern that I now follow to ensure that I’m always doing the right things to keep me in the best shape possible.
This often stays the same 90% of the time, but I’m constantly monitoring it and introducing new ideas and concepts when it makes sense to make sure I am always working to build the best version of myself both mentally and physically.
COVID-19 changed the world in a number of different ways, and for many people, it has NOT been for the better.
For those who might have lost their jobs or are struggling with maintaining their jobs while trying to homeschool their children, my heart goes out to you.
However, for me, I must say that even though I do miss so many of the events and experiences of the pre-COVID world with my friends, I feel lucky that the unexpected consequences have been very beneficial to my overall mental and physical health.
And since it probably wouldn’t have been possible for me to stumble upon this new lifestyle without COVID as the catalyst, I rather think of it as a silver lining from something that has taken so much from so many.