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May 18, 2020

Lessons from a Shut Down

Eight weeks. Fifty-six days. That's a long time to be isolated from the normalcy that includes a daily workout at the gym. Not only our fitness, but everything in our normal routine was impacted - jobs, the ease of sitting at a restaurant, sending kids to school, a stress-free trip to the grocery store. Life was, and continues to be, weird...people in masks, the public on edge, fear.

As the stay-at-home order comes to and end business begin to slowly open in Florida, I'd like to reflect on lessons I learned over the past eight weeks.

  1. We CAN get through tough times. The average life expectancy of a female in the US is 81 years. That's 4,212 weeks. The shut down was a mere .18% of my life. People have endured much worse for much longer with much less. We have modern comforts, technology, food. Pick up a history book. Humans are tough.
  2. A lot can be accomplished in eight weeks. Studies say it takes 66 days to make a new habit automatic. If you started the shut down with a new habit, you're almost to the ""automatic"" stage...or maybe you're already there. We had multiple members decide to focus on their health by sleeping more, exercising more and eating well. As a result, weight loss of this group ranged from 8 to 24 pounds. Yes, in eight weeks!
  3. Words have power and a profound impact on your mindset. The members we worked with that routinely said phrases like ""this sucks"" and ""I can't do this"" were the ones who struggled the most. Those who focused on things to be thankful for and truly remained positive fared much better.
  4. Trust is the key in helping others. We had our own little eight-week research project going during the shut down where we were able to communicate with nearly 200 people about lifestyle factors and deliver really effective at-home workouts. Those who trusted our guidance stayed on track and connected to a community. The ones who decided to go at it alone, finding random ""fun"" workouts online or attempting to program their own didn't have any linear progression or goals to work towards. As a result, they felt lost. You know the phrase, ""you can lead a horse to water..."" I am, however, proud of those who trusted me and our other coaches. We have always prided ourselves on educating our members about the ""why."" But, alas, not everyone will listen.
  5. In an unusual time, routines are important. Even if you're homebound, you can create a routine. This includes limiting drinking just like you would if you were going to the office each day; setting your alarm like you were going to the gym each morning; eating at your usual times...these help you feel a sense of control. NO ONE said they regretted doing these things.
  6. It's important to slow down at times. This is where I struggle. If I don't have work to do, I'll find it. But, that usually results in me not being present. So, although I kept up with work and my routine, I realized that it's OK to take a half-hour to lay in the sun or spend a few hours binge-watching tv now and then. When will we ever get this time to slow our pace?
  7. Connection makes it all happen. Sure, you can get through a tough time alone, but you don't have to. Being connected to a coach helps with accountability. Being connected to your peers in the gym brings motivation.

We made it! I hope most of you look back at the past eight weeks with pride. If you are feeling any sense of regret, learn from your actions (or lack thereof) and remember we are all works in progress!

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