Stu: 5 Things I’ve Learnt from COVID-19
This COVID-19 outbreak has been a surreal and peculiar experience, hasn’t it?
Placing aside the devastating human-cost side of this pandemic, the effect it’s had on our way of life has been staggering – particularly in sectors such as the leisure and tourism industries.
At T2, we have a foot in two sectors: the fitness industry and the education industry. Both have been affected to varying degrees.
While gyms and health clubs have fully closed, much of our core business has also needed to be put on pause until social distancing measures are lifted.
Thankfully we have distance learning options to keep things ticking and we’ve responded by tweaking our business model to pour our efforts into the online arena.
Aside from this very odd and trying time, I’ve tried to take a step back and consider my behaviour, actions, thoughts and feelings.
They say with every challenge comes opportunity and I believe it can have a positive effect on our frame of mind if we view lockdown in this way.
With this in mind, here are the 5 things I have learned.
1. Be agile
At T2, we’ve looked at what aspects of our business we could and should prioritise, what aspects we could keep running without much disturbance and what aspects needed to be completely paused for the time being.
Simply taking the first week of lockdown and social distancing to perform a kind of ’stock take’ offered a unique insight into the areas we needed to spend our attention on.
It set us in good stead for communicating with people, what our message was going to be and how we were going to support our students – both new and existing.
We had to adapt and streamline our practices to succeed in this.
If you’re a good planner, it won’t come as a surprise to say that it’s good practice to regularly take the time to ‘work on’ your business rather than continually reacting and service-providing.
This short period has demonstrated to me how important it is to continue doing this on a regular basis beyond lockdown. In today’s world, it’s essential to be agile and responsive to where the market moves, and that’s been the case for almost all in the fitness sector.
What I’ve learned: Where there is a will there is a way. And our students are incredible!
2. Set boundaries
We were initially told to expect a 3-week lockdown with the results dictating further action. For me, I considered the next 12-weeks as a more realistic timeframe for the initial disturbance to our day-to-day lives.
I thought to myself: I’m going to use this time as an opportunity and considered all the things I want to achieve personally and professionally.
I knew that for fitness, I wouldn’t be playing sports or lifting heavy weights for a while. Therefore, I made sure I set my new exercise routine and ensured it suited my wife’s schedule also.
I also looked at the rest of my daily routine and decided I needed a regular wake-up time and a bedtime to ensure I keep productive and focused.
Don’t get me wrong, while there is a time and a place for everything, we’re all human and it’s very easy to fall into endless cycles of binge-watching boxsets until the early hours of the morning.
As a one-off here and there, it’s no big deal.
But to keep a sense of ‘work’ at home, I knew I’d do well to maintain the same level of routine and boundaries as I do when I work at T2HQ or on the road.
What I’ve learned: Structure and order allows me to flourish and is conducive to productivity.
3. Improvise… thanks to Technology
Spending time with our friends and family means a lot to my wife and I, so we knew this important aspect of our lives would be heavily impacted.
Very quickly, we made a conscious effort to schedule in regular family facetimes so that it felt as close to what we’d usually do as possible.
It’s been a great distraction and when you’re on the calls, you can forget what a strange time we’re in and it gives you that lift to continue with your day.
While it’s easy to get frustrated, annoyed or demotivated with our current situation, it’s better to realise how fortunate we are that we have the infrastructure and capabilities we have now.
Think about it: FaceTime has only been around since 2010, the iPhone only first launched in 2007. The way we communicate, do business and learn has moved on in the last 15 years, it’s certainly helped cope with this situation a lot better.
What I’ve learned: Thank goodness for technology… and everyone seems to LOVE quizzes!
4. Take Pleasure in the Simple Things
Who else is so caught up in the humdrum of daily life, that slowing down a little hasn’t been such a bad thing?
For me, I find taking the dog for a walk in spring sunshine is a true joy! Hearing the birds sing, watching the wildlife flourish and not being distracted by the hectic pace of life is a lovely step back from my usually incredibly fast-paced life of rushing to appointments, training, teaching and clients.
A littler further afield, I’ve enjoyed seeing the wildlife from around the globe enjoying the break in our usual behaviour too – it’s one small silver lining
What I’ve learned: Our beautiful planet can prosper if we let it.
5. Our bodies are versatile – it’s the mind we need to train
Anyone who knows me knows how much playing basketball and heavy lifting plays a big part in my life. While it’s easy to get down in the dumps when your freedom to do the things you love has been taken away from you, I decided to switch it up and see what alternatives I could do to get a similar buzz and physical results.
I began running more and incorporating higher intensity bodyweight workouts to get my cardiovascular work in. I dusted off the range of kettlebells in my quest to achieve some resistance work. I started working on interval-based sessions with specific set/rep schemes to make the most of the equipment we have at home and make the sessions most effective – and it’s been a pleasant surprise.
While it may not be the same social occasion as going to the gym or sports hall to meet up with friends and train around other people, I’ve enjoyed challenging myself in a different way and embraced the change in pace and exercises.
What I’ve learned: Your muscles won’t disappear! And you can achieve an amazing workout at home with minimal equipment in a short space of time if you put your mind to it.
So those are the 5 things I’ve learned during lockdown so far. I suppose a lot of the things are things that I already knew deep down, but in having some downtime to appreciate the present moment a little more, they’ve definitely come to the fore.
I hope that your business or job hasn’t been too adversely affected and that you’ve been able to adapt, improvise and overcome.
If you’re choosing this time to stock up on some education, training or CPD, we have a series of webinars from our movement specialist tutor Paul, as well as an online Kettlebells CPD course to choose from.