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Setting Yourself Up for Success During Lockdown

Author, Dr. Brian Grant, PT, DPT, CSCS 

The international crisis known as COVID-19 has been unfortunate for many reasons, large and small. Obviously, the health and welfare of our neighbours are paramount, but we can’t ignore the secondary ramifications.

If you’re reading this article, it’s likely training is part of who you are and what you do. The capacity in which you train is irrelevant. Maybe you’re a CrossFitter, who spends most of his or her time in the box. Or perhaps you’re an endurance athlete, whose triathlon was cancelled secondary to the pandemic. Maybe you train for aesthetic reasons. Regardless of your training modality, what’s common among athletes is the desire to achieve and common to high achievers are the visions necessary to set and accomplish their goals.

However, like a sailor who sees a storm ahead, disruption of routine can cause the visionary to steer off course.

I, like many, threw myself a bit of a pity party when my local gym closed its doors. I primarily train for size and strength, two objectives made immeasurably difficult when a pair of 25-pound dumbbells and a floor make up the bulk of my equipment.

However, after reiterating to myself that training is a continuum, not a destination, I turned my attention toward what I can achieve during lockdown, not what begrudgingly eludes me.

There are three tactics I’ve used during my mental grapple with our current circumstances. These tactics have allowed me to create and refine my training and personal goals. No matter your ambitions, I recommend implementing these three exercises.

Interview Yourself to Verbalize Your Goals

Like many, I listen to quite a few podcasts. Some are business-centric, some exercise or sport-related, and many others. Of course, many podcasts will bring on guests for individual episodes, usually an accomplished professional in their field. At the episode’s opening, guests usually introduce themselves and give a brief rundown of what acclaims them.

This is where I begin.

By interviewing myself, I’m not only able to recant things that may have actually happened but also those that I hope to accomplish in the future. All vanity aside, verbally reiterating to myself whom I want to be and what I’d like to accomplish tends to pour a layer of concrete on my goals.

For instance, the question I answer most is “What does a typical day look like for you?” I then go on for 5 minutes verbalizing what my ideal day looks like; the day I hope to have in one or two or even ten years.

Personally, I enjoy this exercise while having a drive. My roadside neighbors might wonder whom I’m speaking to, and I don’t mind saying “myself.”

Set Super Short-Term Goals (With Eyes on the Long-Term)

During this time of uncertainty, it’s difficult to set finite, long-term training goals. I appreciate optimism, but realism is going to reign in many of our exercise ambitions if access to gyms and proper training modalities is restricted.

Therefore, set short-term goals, and set many of them.

  • “I’m going to perform 5 more burpees each day, starting with 50.”
  • ” I will spend 15 minutes reading each day.”
  • “I will meal prep every Sunday.”

You get the idea..

Achievement is a learned skill, and though our circumstances are uncertain, training to achieve goals should remain paramount. Whenever this situation does eventually end, you’ll not need a shift in mindset because the power button stayed on.

Revel in Routine

This is perhaps the most cliché piece of advice.

I don’t know a soul who’s daily routine hasn’t been altered in some form or fashion due to COVID-19. That said, don’t lose all sense of routine if you can help it.

Maybe you had a habit of exercising for 45 minutes at 6:30am before work. That’s fantastic and don’t stop that habit. Perhaps you made a point to drink a gallon of water each day, keep at it.

By making a point to keep a semblance of routine, you’ll once again be able to seamlessly transition back into normal life when society gives us the proverbial go ahead.

Author, Dr. Brian Grant, PT, DPT, CSCS