20 reasons 2020 wasnt a total waste of fitness

Wednesday, January 6, 2021, in Life, Fitness by

As the global pandemic took over our lives in early 2020, our physical health took a beating. When our gym doors closed, we were left helpless - no more hydraulic machines, our gym dates cancelled and a dedicated exercise space was hard to find. But that doesn't mean that last year was a total waste of fitness. Here are 20 reasons why last year made us stronger.

1. We sought alternate forms of exercise

For some of us, our idea of exercise took a complete turn. Instead of smashing the weight rack, we turned to yoga or bodyweight movements. We even signed up to an account on Strava and ran for the first time. Now, fast forward 9 months, and we can happily incorporate all forms of movement into our training regime. Monday, Leg day, Tuesday, Yoga. 

2. We tended to our ailments

While gyms were closed, there was never a better time to finally fix that flexibility issue you've been putting off for the last 10 years. Whether it's a dodgy shoulder or a tight hamstring, stretching at home has meant we can see more gains in 2021, and you'll finally nail that bench press with more ease.

3. We learned how to cook

Hands up if you finally learned to make bread. *Raises Hand*. Yup, many of us experimented in the kitchen, learning to create healthy dishes. Now, with those new found skills, we can finally supplement our training with the right foods.

4. We valued the importance of fitness

Countless research backs up the importance of exercising every day. But when you have it taken away from you, you truly understand how good it was. We've never been more motivated to step back in the gym!

5. We're finally okay with Leg day

When you have something in front of you and so easily accessible, it's easy to give it a miss. But when our memberships froze, I can confidently say, I would have done anything for a leg session. 

6. We invested in new gadgets

Becoming a runner overnight or wanting to track your health, suddenly, it was time to invest in toys. Now with our new set of kicks and our latest smartwatch, we're ready to conquer 2021.

7. Without physical exercise, we had to focus on healthy eating 

In order to maintain shape, in the absence of heavy squats and bicep curls, we needed to ensure our food was on point to both keep those hard-earned gains and also stay in shape. Let's take that into 2021!

8. We've prioritised physical recovery

Last year, many of us turned to home equipment, including the fabled foam roller and the latest percussive instrument. Now that we have the tools, and we're familiar with a post workout stretch at home, let's continue that in the new year!

9. We learned that being fit is more than lifting heavy weights

When we think of a gym, the first thing that pops to mind is moving around heavy weights. But if 2020 is anything to go by, the treadmills might become more popular than ever. Being fit is no longer about your physique. 

10. We joined a Fitness community

Although we were forced to train in solidarity, the fitness community became stronger than ever. Facebook groups and online apps helped us stay connected and pushed us to achieve results. 

11. We meditated for our mental health

Physical health is important – it's great for our heart health, we look good and we can perform physical movements with ease. But in 2020, it became apparent, that we shouldn't neglect our mental health. Meditating helped ease the burden of the pandemic and we expect it to stick around.

12. We now hold ourselves accountable through mobile apps

Fitness apps for our smartphones helped keep us on track with dedicated programs and tools that let us record our progress.

13. We're taking advantage of working from home

As more and more of us worked from home, we suddenly realised it was a lot easier to fit in a session during a lunch break. Now, even back in the office, we know how important is to fit in a workout throughout the day. 

14. We've picked up gym hygiene habits

Chances are, pre-pandemic, we might have been a bit casual with our gym hygiene. Now, there's no way to sneak in without a towel and we won't have to deal with someone coughing on equipment! 

15. We don't feel scared by our bosses when we prioritise our health

2020 was a tough year for everyone. So there's no shame in putting your health first this year, both physical and mental. While in previous years we may have felt awkward in the office taking an extra 15 mins at lunch or stretching our legs throughout the day, in 2021, our co-workers know it'll help in the long run (just don't take the mickey!).

16. We got comfortable with tech

When walks became our only form of exercise, monitoring steps and distance covered became more important. For most of us, 2020 was the year we turned to smart watches, and now we're loving it!

17. We thought more about what we enjoy

Whether you were forced into isolation or you chose to stay inside, chances are you were desperate to move. we soon found out that exercise wasn't just running and lifting, and even ourfavourite past times count – suddenly dancing is our movement of choice, and there's no turning back!

18. We embraced things we hate

Planks. No further words needed. If you're like me, you've been putting it off for 25+ years. But with so much floor time at home and with countless benefits, we didn't have any choice but to finally get better at planking. Sigh, who'd have thought we'd finally plank...

19. We got creative

Remember the viral videos of people turning their water bottles into dumbbells or turning their kids into weights on their shoulders? Yup, turning household items into pieces of equipment was exciting. But those same principles can be applied in the gym – for many functional workouts, exercises mimic real life movements which means we can get creative with our tools of choice!

20. We were kinder to ourselves

When you find yourself grinding away in the gym and changing up your diet, if the results don't come through straight away, motivation tends to go out the window. But after the year that 2020 was, we've started being a little kinder to ourself, appreciating that exercise is also enjoyable and it can take a little longer than a few weeks to start seeing changes. 

Alex Pierotti is a media veteran, having reported on health, fitness and sport for the better part of a decade. He got his start in TV, working on the live broadcast of the Intrust Super Shute Shield on 7TWO before making the switch to Men's Health Magazine. A one-time third-grade try-scorer, Alex is obsessed with two things: the beach and his footy team. When he’s not researching the latest fitness trends, you'll find Alex by the water.

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