Working Out in a Gym for the First Time in 9 Months Thanks to COVID

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By Michael

I finally had the opportunity to work out in the gym again after 9 long months, and it felt wonderful.

The previous gym that I used to frequent has been closed since the end of February due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The gym is part of the local hospital and due to the equipment being used during the day for patients, it has been closed to the public.  It has not been fun, and it has definitely been a bit of a roller coaster for me.  In the months since I’ve been off and on with working out.  I started doing some DDP Yoga and admittedly fell in love with it.  Recently I’ve had trouble getting the motivation going to do it, due to trying to remodel a house my family is trying to move into. (Currently nearly a month later than I had wanted/hoped for)

So tonight when I finally got up the gumption to go tackle a late-night workout, I was a bit nervous.  It had been 9 long months, I’m no longer in the shape I was before. I’m very much back into dad bod mode, and slightly self-conscious.  I turn 40 in a few weeks and I used to work out with and around kids nearly half my age.  So I was a bit nervous not knowing what I was going to be facing or walking into in regards to the number of people working out.

To my relief, there were only a few people in there when I got there.  The sign on the door clearly stated masks were required, but being a 24/7 gym and no one working, the other patrons were not as strict on that.  I honestly wasn’t phased by this because I was hitting the cardio for warmup, and these guys were on the other side of the gym with the free-weights.  Socially distancing plus some.

The cardio, oh the cardio!  Let’s just say this Dad needs to up his game and cardio.  I was winded and spent way sooner than I should have been.  I hate treadmills, so I hit up the elliptical, and to be frank: it whipped my ass.  I kept my mask on and it really didn’t bother me, and it didn’t really have time to as my attention was solely on my burning thighs!

Thankfully around the time, I was finished with my cardio, the rest of the gym freed up.  I had this whole place to myself and it was glorious!  I missed working out.  Lifting weights.  Feeling that pain and exhaustion in your muscles.  Feeling that you’re accomplishing something.  With having the place to myself, I had to try and pace myself a bit, not only because I was not even in the same realm of shape I was the last time I lifted weights, but also because I didn’t want to hurt myself, which is something I’ve done in the past.  I admit, sometimes it’s easy to forget I’m not 18 anymore, and when you forget that, your back and your joints enjoy reminding you for a long time after.

Despite having the place to myself, I kept my mask with me, because I wasn’t sure if someone else could or would be popping in to grab their own late-night workout.  I also was much more aware of the equipment and wiping everything down before and after I used it.  If you’ve been to a gym, you know there are people that don’t wipe off the equipment after they use it.  I always tried my best, but if I was in a rhythm, even I admit to forgetting once or twice.  However, I was never that worried about wiping a machine down before using it, especially if it had been sitting vacant for a while.  That was not the case tonight, I was very away from wiping things down.  That and hitting the hand sanitizer half a dozen times between doing things.  Not even remotely a bit deal, but something I was aware of.

Overall, I love the fact that I’m able to get back to a gym.  Currently here in Kentucky, gyms are supposed to be at 33% capacity, and frankly, that’s fine with me.  Packed gyms give me a bit of anxiety.  Likely from the fact I’m a bit of a “freelancer” when it comes to working out.  I don’t always go in with a plan.  I know I should, but sometimes I feel like doing 12 reps vs 8 or hitting this machine rather than that one.  Biceps are tight?  Let’s be careful and go hit the triceps and back instead.  I know it’s not the smartest method and I admit I need to be a bit more focused and disciplined, but currently, I’m just not there mentally.

Coronavirus or not, I have four months to knock off as much of this dad bod as I can before my little guy gets here.  I’m thankful I have a new gym I can visit and where I feel it’s fairly safe considering everything, and wearing a mask while I do it, is not a big deal.  Working out at home has just not been for me up to this point.  I need the chance to just block things out and lift some weight for a bit.  I need it mentally as much as I do physically and I’m thankful I have it back.  (Plus I think my wife enjoys having a little bit of alone time at home in the evenings while I’m at the gym and out of her hair.)  Once I find my routine again and throw in some DDP Yoga, this Dad will be golden sooner rather than later.

I’ll be posting my progress periodically here on Fatherhood: Reloaded, but you can check out even more over on my Twitter and Instagram feeds for the site.  Feel free to check-in and share your own gym experiences and progress.  The fight against the dad bod is not a solo mission!

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