Yesterday marked the effective end of the pandemic here in the UK as they announced all rules will be lifted from next week. Assuming nothing unexpected pops up the rest of the world will follow in due course and life goes back to normal.
As the pandemic ends we will be able to see what effect it has had on all areas of life. I have seen a few patterns around fitness over the last two years both in my clients, friends and from the population wide data. Some observations and what it means for you.
The Big Picture
Looking at the population as a whole it has been a disaster, reports showed 40% of people had gained over half a stone (3kg+). Drinking, smoking and drug use all went up. Take away meals and junk food dramatically rose and home working meant most peoples reduced the amount of movement and exercise they were doing.
One Lockdown Too Many
While some people have struggled massively throughout this period the majority of people I have met had a mix of ups and downs, perhaps they were really good during one of the lockdowns then a disaster during another. The first lockdown happened during some of the nicest weather we have ever had for a UK spring which meant many people were fine with their habits. However, lockdown three, in the depth of darkness during the winter proved one step too far. The opposite was true for many, the first lockdown they were unable to adjust to the change and struggled with their health & fitness but by the third one they had a system in place to handle it.
I have seen a good few people do their best with fitness and healthy living during the actual lockdowns themselves. Many have got into the best shape of their life due to it. This could be from having more time, less social events or just being able to focus on this area for a prolonged period of time.
For some, it was the return to ‘normal’ life between lockdowns where problems arose. A return to the office, making up for lost time socialising and not being able to take your usual holiday breaks to de-stress all contributed to this regression. The ongoing fatigue with everything was also a factor, especially with parents and having their children off school.
What This Means To You
As I have written about many times before there is no need to beat yourself up however bad you were during this period. It will probably never happen again in our lifetime so you do not need to spend time dwelling upon it.
However, the last 2 years have given you some good information to use going forwards. You can take a quick review of which periods did you break even or make progress and compare it to the times you were regressing. What common things were you doing / not doing? How can you apply this to your lifestyle going forwards?
In my experience, most people are ok at short fitness regimes or losing small amounts of body fat. For example, you train hard during Janaury or you ate a bit too much over Christmas so you reduce your food and move more during the start of January to get back to your original weight.
However, most people are not good at prolonged fitness regimes or fat loss periods, the speed you can gain fitness or lose fat is limited and thus you can predict how many weeks or months it will take to get to your goal before you ever start your plan. This is usually a fair bit slower than you would like. Instead people train too hard then quit before they get the gains. With their body they get caught up chasing ‘fake and fast’ losses through the many crash methods out there. This inevitably fails and before long you think it is impossible to get to your goal.
In reality, you simply have not learnt the skills it takes for prolonged periods of body transformation. No drama, you just need to develop a couple of new skills and use a slightly different approach.
My Fitness During The Lockdowns
My own fitness during these two periods has been pretty good. In lockdown 2 I was rubbish and only did half what I would usually do, this was not helped by me being snowed under with work to finish my book and then getting quarantined for a week. The winter lockdown last January I wasn’t motivated at all but I trained every day just because I was in a bad mood so would look to clear my head and get out of the house. This meant I accidentally came out of it with some nice gains. This summer I was pretty focused and entered my 5th fitness model / bodybuilding show.
Photo – Some photos of me training over the last year from the January lockdown to the summertime back in Wales.
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