Wait, isn’t doing something wrong bad? I mean if you’re building a house and you lay the foundation the wrong way isn’t the house going to sink? If you build a wall with different and oddly shaped bricks and lay them the wrong way isn’t the wall going to fall down eventually? Yes it is, but unfortunately sometimes that is the way the learning process works. For example learning to walk as kids we all fell on our faces a few times, which is obviously not the right way to walk but it is what we needed to learn to balance. Or maybe when we were learning to drive we hit a few curbs, or blew a stop sign, or maybe even had an accident. Did that prevent us from getting back behind the wheel? Some people maybe, but for the vast majority probably not. This same rule applies to activity.
When you work out, whether it be at home or in the gym odds are you are probably doing something wrong. We all do stuff wrong. I do, you do, even the top lifters in the world will tell you they still have bad habits and movement patterns that they are working on. And all of those people have made mistakes along the way that they learned from, grew from, and got better because of. I’ll give you an example of an obvious personal mistake that I’ve made. I’ve been taking BCAA’s since I was around 17 years old (until recently). Now, if you are familiar with supplements you will know that the average container of BCAA”S is around $20-$45 and will last around a month depending on how often they are taking them. To make things easy let’s say the container cost $30 and lasted a month. Let’s make the math simple and say that I’ve been taking BCAA’s for 10 years. That’s $360 a year and over 10 years $3600. Well, if you follow the fitness industry you also know that according to recent studies BCAA’s are a waste of money if you consume a high protein diet. Which for the past 10 years I have been. That would mean that I have wasted $3600 of my money on a worthless supplement. Sheesh it would be nice to have an extra $3600 in the my savings account. Not only that but in my time as a fitness junkie I’ve made countless mistakes. Whether it be bad coaching advice, bad form, or just bad habits you name it I’ve done it. My point is, you;’re going to make mistakes. A TON of them. That’s life. What you shouldn’t do is allow the fear of making mistakes stop you from pursuing your fitness goals.
One “excuse” that I’ve heard numerous times over my career is “I didn’t workout at home because I was afraid of doing something wrong”. Personally, in 99% of cases I don’t find this argument to be realistic. I do believe there is the 1% of cases where someone has debilitating back pain or a pre- existing condition where they need constant supervision from a clinician to make progress. But, for the general population this argument is worthless. We all have a choice to make when it comes to pursuing our fitness goals. We can choose to explore the unknown and try something new. Odds are we will fail a few times, maybe even countless times before we get it right. Or we can choose to let the “fear” or “excuse” of doing something wrong inhibit us from undertaking something that in the long run will make us healthier and happier.
I think the reason why I chose to write this blog post at this very moment is because of everything going on right now. With the pandemic shutting down gyms and people being left to their own devices there are many people claiming that “home workouts won’t get me closer to my goals”, or “I don’t know what to do at home with no equipment”. To all of those people I have one thing to say “Doing something, even if it’s wrong, is better than sitting around and letting time pass by”. Because doing nothing will not keep you at the same level, it will actually cause a decline in progress when normal activity is resumed. However, working on uncomfortable movements at home, or doing a bodyweight circuit, or practicing tempo on movements can keep you from losing progress and in many cases actually make further progress. Continuing a fitness journey especially during these times is challenging, but don’t let the fact that you may not have a “perfect” workout stop you from working out at all. If you are unsure what to do, check YouTube, reach out to someone in the industry, do research, but do something. Even if you are only doing push ups, planks, and walking is better than sitting around and doing nothing. Get up, do it wrong, and learn from it. In the long run the habits you build will be more important than the movements that were performed wrong while you were learning. Stay strong everyone.
I am writing this post in response to everything that’s going on, the unrest, mild depression that I’m sure many people are going through right now, and most of all the uncertainty that’s going on right now. Obviously I am not a therapist, tied to the government, or living anyones life but my own so I can only speak to all of you through my own perspective and my own struggles through this time. But, while this post is going to be geared towards living healthier and making better choices, I think that everyone can glean some form of positivity from this post even if they don’t engage in any type of activity.
Right now is a very challenging time for everyone. Some people don’t have jobs. Some people while they may not be financially effected are dealing with their own demons being cooped up, or taken away from things they love like going out, lifting weights, etc. I will be honest with you and tell you all that this whole thing had a massive effect on my mentality when it all happened. Things were going great, I was coming up on having my most profitable month as a business owner, and all of the sudden a mandatory 2-3 month shutdown of all gyms happened. It definitely was hard to grasp at first and I definitely think I stewed in my own misery for a couple of weeks trying to absorb the fact that I couldn’t do what I love in the same way for the next 3 months. When your source of livelihood is taken away from you abruptly being motivated is challenging. And over the past couple weeks I have been FaceTiming and calling all of my clients to see where everyone is and everyone that I have talked to is struggling with the same things, but all in different ways.
The point of my writing this post, while it is partially for my benefit I think it is also something that needs to be heard by everyone going through a tough time right now. None of us have been through anything like this in our lives. And many of us are extreme creatures of routine. We thrive on having a job to get us out of bed, or having weekend plans that get us through the work week, or having family member and friends to gather with to keep us sane. And all of that has been in some way taken away. So it makes sense that we are all struggling. Now as I said that this post was going to be mainly about fitness, and I am getting there I promise. Most of us have fallen off our normal activity routine in some way or another. And I think the reason behind that is many people have lost sight of their main goal with working out. Whether it be body composition alteration, weight or fat loss, or simply being healthy. There is something that is so motivating about a gym setting. Dozens of people around you doing their workouts and making themselves better. Maybe before all this happened you were an avid participant in group training. Looking forward every workout to seeing your friends and working together with them to get better. And now all of that has been taken away. But, all hope is not lost.
Realistically, this quarantine for small businesses, gyms, and individuals is going to last until at least the end of May if not longer. If that is the case we have roughly another 7 weeks of being prisoners in our own homes. 7 weeks is a long time. A long time to decide what is the best course of action in this time. This next 7 weeks could be wasted on feeling sorry for ourselves and wondering what is the point of being active or eating healthy. Or, it could be a 7 weeks of growth in the areas we can focus on. 7 weeks of taking time to research things that apply to your goals. Fat loss strategies, fixing muscle imbalances, focusing on weak points, getting in better control of your diet, healthy recipe options, Or even mastering your own bodyweight. The reality is the choice is up to you as to what the next 7 weeks will mean for your fitness goals.
There is one thing I can tell you with 100% certainty. Whatever decisions are made over the next 7 weeks will set up your return to normal activity. If you spend 7 weeks wasting time and not being active odds are you will lose a decent amount of muscle, coordination, strength, work capacity, and endurance. Or if the next 7 weeks are spent wisely you could come out of this armed with better knowledge, bodyweight control, endurance, and a better toolbox to deal with no access to the gym. Not only that, but forcing yourself to be active during this time and eat well will provide a sense of normality. While everything else around you is going insane.
My point is, what you do over the next month or so is completely up to you. And whatever you do during this time you will have to deal with afterwards. So this post, above all is a call to action. Maybe up to this point you aren’t happy with your actions. That is ok, this isn’t over yet. I will admit that I could be better. As I said this post is as much for me as it is for you. Times are tough right now and I think this is something we all need to hear. It will all be over soon, so let’s all start preparing for what is to come. If you are lost in terms of fitness, need a little bit of motivation, or just needs some ideas for what to work on send us a message. Whether you are a client or not during this time we are here for everyone. And remember, just do the best that you can. If you can honestly tell yourself that you have been doing your best, Good keep doing it. If not, don’t be hard on yourself just work on being a bit better. Stay strong everyone.
My name is Patriel Dunford and as the owner of Infinite Fitness my main goal in life is to spread good advice in the health industry and help people live healthier, longer, more fulfilling lives.