The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot of things for a lot of people. I think that qualifies as a gross understatement. I know I’ve talked about it, lamented on it, and repeatedly insulted those who refuse to get vaccinated (which I refuse to apologize for).
Believe me, I’m sick of talking about it, too.
There are so many terrible aspects to this pandemic and it will have plenty of terrible side-effects that’ll last long after it becomes a distant memory and/or an inconvenience nuisance. It has certainly changed major aspects of my life. It has also affected so many of my friends and family, both directly and indirectly.
But rather than dwell on the drama and hardship of those stories, I’d like to share one positive effect that has persisted since the pandemic began. It has to do with how I work out and stay in shape. I’ve noted before that getting into shape was quite a journey for me, personally. I also can’t overstate how poor my health habits were for my teen years and most of my 20s. I say that because if a guy like me can get into shape, then I’m confident anyone can do the same.
For years now, I’ve been working out on a regular basis. The structure and regiment of that workout has varied over that time. It used to be that I only went to the gym once a week, but I did a half-hour run every at least three times a week.
Then, once I got better at that, I started running six days a week while going to the gym at least twice.
Then, as I continued to improve, I started going to the gym three times a week while running a half-hour to 45 minutes six times a week.
Up until the pandemic hit, that was my main regiment. And I think it worked well for me. I probably would’ve continue that routine had nothing really disrupted anything.
Then, the pandemic came along and everything got disrupted, including my workout. But because this disease was so scary and everyone became so paranoid about their health, I suddenly had even more incentive to stay in shape. Moreover, I felt motivated to push myself even more.
That ended up being a real challenge because in March 2020, the gym I always went to closed. Even the secondary gym I frequented closed. For a while, I didn’t have anywhere to work out. All I could do was go running around my neighborhood, do body weight exercises in my living room, and use some old free weights I still had lying around.
It was better than nothing, but it wasn’t ideal. I also didn’t get the same feeling I usually got when I finished my workout at the gym. That told me it just wasn’t enough.
Finally, when the gym did open on a limited basis, I was determined to catch up. So, I decided to overcompensate by going even more often than I went before the pandemic. I committed to going to the gym at least six times a week for at least an hour at each visit. I thought if I could do that for a month or so, I would be back on track.
But after that month passed, I just kept doing it. Once I got into a rhythm, I didn’t feel inclined at all to stop. Going six days a week with one rest day in the middle of the week felt great. I even felt better results. It showed in how some of my shirts started feeling tighter and how some relatives began commenting on my appearance.
It’s a good feeling. I feel stronger, healthier, and more energetic than I have at any point in my adult life. I also credit this workout routine with helping me navigate COVID-19. A great many friends and relatives have tested positive and have gotten sick. I’ve even been in close proximity to them while they were positive.
But despite that, I always tested negative. I’ve never shown any symptoms. I’m nearly certain I’ve been exposed multiple times. But I’ve never gotten sick. I think my workout regiment is as much to thank as the vaccine I took.
So, in addition to sharing my experience, I’d also like to share my routine with everyone. Please note I’m not a personal trainer or fitness guru. This is just what I do and it works for me. If you can do the same or better, then more power to you.
Pre-Workout: Stretch my arms and do lunges to stretch my quads and calves. Then, drink a cup of black coffee or an 8 ounce bottle of water.
Workout Phase 1: Do 30 minutes of cardio by either going 30 minutes on an elliptical or by running at least 30 minutes outdoors.
Workout Phase 2: Do another 30 minutes of circuit training that include the following
- Five sets of bicep curls (5 to 8 reps a set)
- Five sets of tricep extensions (5 to 8 reps a set)
- Five sets of butterfly chest press (8-12 reps a set)
- Five sets of reverse butterfly chest press (8-12 reps a set)
- Five sets of shoulder press (8-12 reps a set)
- Five sets of lat pulldowns (8-12 reps a set)
- Two sets of 10 to 20 pull-ups
- Two sets of 10 to 20 dips
- Walk around the block (about a half-mile) to cool down
Post-workout: Drink one protein shake and another 8 ounces of water
This is my current routine. There’s a chance it might change and evolve as my health continues to evolve. I don’t deny it’s a little intense. More than one person has commented that it’s quite strenuous. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s something I had to work towards. It took me years to get to this level where I feel comfortable and not totally drained after exercising. But again, if I can do it, then anyone can do it.
The health benefits are remarkable. In wake of a global pandemic, we all have more reasons than ever to take our health seriously. Just taking the right medicine is only part of the process. Working on your body, your mind, and everything in between is a much bigger part of that process. And I encourage everyone to begin that process if you haven’t already.
You’ll feel better.
You’ll feel stronger.
You’ll even feel sexier, but that’s just a nice bonus.