It’s crazy how a lockdown can transform people’s relationship with exercise.
Now gyms are closed and going for a run is the only reasonable (and legal) reason for leaving your home beyond shopping for food, the population is suddenly significantly more interested in their own fitness.
And with lots of people now working from home, many of us have turned to exercise as a way of making sure work doesn’t take over our lives.
This surge of lockdown fitness has lead to the phenomenon of lockdown fitness fanatics. Some of these people are gym regulars looking for a place to belong, others haven’t picked up a dumbbell in years. Let’s take a closer look at each type and what makes them tick.
The most common of the lockdown fitness fanatics.
There’s not much to do outside these days beyond running. It’s a bit more exhilarating than another walk around the one spot of countryside accessible from your city without a car and you definitely feel much better about yourself afterwards, if not during.
The curious thing about the lockdown runner is that, for the most part, they’d never run in their life before the pandemic. Amateurs can be spotted by their inappropriate footwear, football shirts (the most athletic item of clothing they own) and an unmistakable panting as they try to reason with themselves why they should drop their running schedule from three times a week to two.
The lockdown runner always apologizes when they almost fall into you, conscious of breaking social distancing but also unable to control their burning limbs. Regular runners have a much more peaceful stride, like a metropolitan gazelle. They’re the ones who will make use of those luxury running shoes well into 2021, while the lockdown runner will likely delete Strava a week after lockdown.
At least they’re trying.
The first-time yogi
Yoga is cool.
It’s difficult, exhilarating and makes you considerably more flexible. Yoga is truly the most enjoyable way of making your body feel like its on fire. Exactly what exercise should be.
It makes sense that lockdown would be such a prime time for everyone to discover yoga. It’s something you can do without equipment, you feel less stupid doing it in the living room of your shared house and there are copious amounts of YouTube sessions to get lost in.
Lockdown has given birth to a lot of first-time yogis. Your roommate who usually does nothing but lift who wants to “use this as an opportunity to switch up their routine”. The guy who has never exercised in his life and makes the mistake diving straight into yoga. For them, yoga seems like an easy starting point, and they couldn’t be further from the truth. They come out of the garden after a morning session redder in the face than after any day drinking session sans the sunscreen.
Expect to see a lot of yoga mats, barely used, coming soon to a Facebook Marketplace near you.
Online class taker
They love Joe Wicks, they set their alarm for six every morning and they’ve already bought two pieces of merch. The online class taker is using lockdown to find their fitness muse.
If you look at this cynically, you could look at this type of exercise as just wanting to hop on the latest Twitter trend. Like that friend who insisted on hosting a full recreation of The Weakest Link in the early weeks of lockdown. They want to be seen getting involved in all the biggest lockdown moments, making sure they understand the references and get the full coronavirus experience.
Surprisingly, this is possibly the lockdown fitness fanatic most likely to stick with it once we can all go to the pub again. They live off the buzz of being a part of something, and the chance to turn up to real-life classes with a sense you already understand what’s going on is too good to pass up.
Let’s be honest, this is much more likely to be the guy in your life.
Whether it’s your best friend, your boyfriend or your brothers, at some point they’ve probably proclaimed they’re going to use the lockdown to “bulk-up”. They want to get “massive” ready for the summer that we all know is never really coming. They ordered weights the first week of the pandemic and that protein they got on a deal last year has never had so much use.
Truth is, this is probably the lockdown fitness fanatic who does the least amount of work.
They’re all talk and no game, and in lockdown that’s actually kind of respectable. It’s the ultimate grift of the pandemic, there’s no one to check if they’ve gotten any bigger or watch them across the gym. In the sanctuary of your bedroom, no one can see you not lift.
So there you have it, a look into the psyche of how everyone you know and live with is sweating their way through the lockdown. Maybe you’re one of them. Is this just a phase, or is this a turning point towards a newfound passion?