“Lost” vs. Pressing the Pause Button

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Before I dive into the meat-n-potatoes of today’s post a few #COVID19sucksdonkeyballs “quarantine” thoughts:

  • Caffeine is glorious.
  • Disney+ is saving my wife’s and I world right now with a toddler at home all day.
  • I don’t have enough eye rolls to give to those people complaining about getting fat during this time.
  • Wouldn’t it be amazing if the cure was banning kipping pull-ups for good?
  • LOL.
  • That would be spectacular.
  • But for real: Disney+ = fist bump x infinity.

“Lost” vs. Pressing the Pause Button

I’ve been seeing the same therapist since 2011.

We’ve worked on everything from me finally addressing the fact my biological father left me when I was three to my incessant negative self-talk to, I don’t know, Michael Bay deciding to make more than one Transformers movie.

She’s helped me through some shit, to put it mildly.

When we first started working together we met upwards of 1x per week for about a year (OMG was that hard). That was eventually “downgraded” to every other week for a number of years. And now we’re in a nice routine of meeting once per month as a sort of “check-in” on life and other shenanigans.

Truthfully I’ve felt great for awhile now and have questioned whether or not I should even bother continuing on. As tepid as I may be at times, I still consider my therapy session(s) a stand-alone, non-negotiable appointment akin to getting my car’s oil changed every 5,000 miles, or, I don’t know, working out.

In short: It keeps me from wanting to throw my face into a brick wall.

As it happens, my most recent session served as a stark reminder of all of this.

I left the States for Europe on February 26th…just as the Coronavirus had kinda-sorta started to take shape here in the States (and had most certainly entered the day-to-day psyche of the average European).

  • I spent five days in Athens, Greece (workshop and pleasure).
  • Two days in Paris, France (pleasure; mostly to eat cheese).
  • Five days in London (two more workshops and because I’m obsessed with it).

Each day that passed I saw more face masks in public, more people carrying hand sanitizer and keeping their distance, and more general unease.

I flew back to the States on March 10th.

Two days later the US had made the decision to implement travel bans while entire countries had started the process of shutting down completely.

A week after that, a Thursday, was my first therapy session. By then the world had changed (and toilet paper seemingly ceased to exist).

And boy-oh-boy did I unload on my therapist.

The theme was loss:

  • I “lost” clients.
  • I “lost” all my workshops scheduled for later in the year.
  • I “lost” my new gym (I had to renege plans to expand CORE to a larger location).
  • I “lost” all my pants (I mean, shelter at home advisory = who needs pants?).

After 20-30 minutes I finally gave pause and my therapist, with a reassuring smile, made the time-out sign with her hands.

She said simply:

“You didn’t LOSE anything. Things are just on pause at the moment.”

NOTE: Now, of course, this wasn’t meant to imply there wasn’t substantial suffering and real loss going on the world (then or now). No one, least of all my therapist, was making light of the situation.

That said:

Holy Fuckin A – what a baller re-frame!

Her words punched me in the kidney.

It was exactly what I needed to hear (and something I hope resonates for the bulk of fitness professionals who may be reading).

Like many of you I’ve vacillated between determination, fatalism, ennui, and just trying all I can to clone anything that feels normal.

The health/fitness industry – like many industries – has been decimated in recent weeks.

There’s no sugar coating things.

It’s bad.

Thousands of us have been left to marinate in uncertainty, doubt, and the feeling of inevitable loss.

The unknown.

It’s not fun and it’s going to stick around for a while.

But not forever.

As cheesy and as impossible as it sounds…

the pause button has been pressed.

What this means for me:

– Checking in and being there for my clients.

In the end I know my clients will come back (or I’ll kill them). It’s important to recognize we’re in the service industry and that we should still serve our clients. This could mean accommodating them with at home workouts of course, but it also could mean nothing more than sending a “hey, how are you doing?” text.1 I haven’t lost my clients; the pause button has been pressed.

– Making the pivot to more online & virtual training until social distancing measures are loosened. Who knows: maybe it’ll turn into a more viable and robust revenue stream when all is said and done? I haven’t lost in-person training; the pause button has been pressed.

– Recognizing that I can (and will) reassess expanding my gym at a later point this year. I haven’t lost my new gym; the pause button has been pressed.

– Recognizing 2021 will be an EPIC travel year for workshops. I haven’t lost all my workshops; the pause button has been pressed.

– Finally getting my head out of my ass and watching Ozark on Netflix. No excuses here. I suck.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.
  1. Commercial gym trainers. Hint, hint, nudge, nudge. I wouldn’t resort to 1st Degree murder, but I would make it a point to prioritize your clients over your Instagram feed in the weeks/months a head.

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