Now Is Not the Time to Guilt Yourself Into Working Out

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I’m going to be honest.

I know it’s expected of me to be this beacon of inspiration and to regale everyone with a bunch of “you can do it’isms” designed to motivate the masses into doing something (anything!1) to stay active during this time of malaise and sucktitude, and it’s n0t lost on me that what I am about to admit will come across as a bit uncouth given what I do for a living.


…working out is the last thing on my mind of late.

And I don’t care.

What Tha What, Tony?!?!

“But Tony,” some will say, “You’re a fitness professional. How dare you tell people not to workout, and to not only that…

…have the audacity to insinuate that it’s okay.”

Fuck it.

I’m not fishing for likes or accolades on an Instagram post.

I’ve seen a rash of posts and feigned bravado online that goes something like this:

“If you don’t come out of this quarantine with a new skill or in better shape…you never lacked time, you lacked discipline.”

Signed, someone with no kids at home (kidding, but not really)

Listen, I am not going to get into the philosophical and psychological vortex surrounding the numerous nuances this statement brings to the forefront. Context matters and I certainly understand it’s not meant to be a blanket statement meant for everyone under every circumstance.

That being said, I know many people out there are pressuring themselves into thinking they have to use this time to pick up  a new language, learn to play an instrument, finally beat Mike Tyson in Punch-Out, and too…

…believing that they have to be working out.

It’s not true, and invariably is a story you’re putting into your own head.

Similar to other good friends of mine (Dean Somerset & Heather Husmer) – who are also fitness professionals and have shared the same mindset – it’s not for lack of access to equipment.

My training studio is a mile from my apartment and I can mosey on over there any time I want to blast some Wu-Tang and toss some iron around.

And I have.


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The plan (for now) is NOT sticking to the plan. . First off: It’s not lost on me that I’m posting a video of me performing not body weight squats amidst a point in time when many don’t have that luxury. . Alas, my bad. And I hope you won’t hate my guts for it. . Secondly: The main message for this post is PRIORITY . I think for many of us the past few weeks have 1) been an utter shit show and 2) have made us reflect on priorities. . For me it’s been coming face to face with having my business forced to shut down (and the pivots I’ve had to make), juggling working from home while also attempting to keep a 3-year old entertained, coming to terms with world events in general, and maybe most important of all… . …figuring out what shade of grout fit I’m going to wear on a given day. . 😂😂😂 Last on the list, as ironic as it may sound, is following my training plan. . Now, this isn’t to say I’m nixing my training altogether. Rather, it’s just I could care less about blasting my biceps or hitting 93.5% of 1RM on my deadlifts. . My motivation to follow my training plan is LOW. But my motivation to do SOMETHING is not. . I mean, if there’s ever a time where this is the chorus of everyday life, albeit temporarily, it’s now. . I think a lot of people are in a similar head space: Not having access to their normal gym, equipment, or hell, let’s keep it real… . …the typical “mundaneness” of life has zapped many people’s training mojo. . I fall into this camp. . I still value doing something, though. So of late instead of beating myself for NOT following my training plan I’ve approached my workouts in this light: . “What do I feel like doing today?” . “What will fill my training love tank?” . I identify one or two exercises I’m game for and I go execute. . Yesterday for example, I decided 10×3 of Safety Bar squats would fit the bill. . I knoooooooow. Again, I’m sorry for being THAT a-hole for posting a video of a squat rack, a barbell, and weights that are heavier than 10 lbs. . I’ll eat a gluten free slice of pizza or perform some American swings as penance. . However, to bring this whole point home: planning to not stick to a (training) plan is pretty okay.

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It’s just my workouts haven’t been a priority. My mind is elsewhere:

  • Writing programs and organizing virtual sessions for clients.
  • I’ve got a toddler at home.
  • Putting off my gym expansion and signing a new lease.
  • I’ve got a toddler at home.
  • Figuring out the logistics of how my business will pivot when all of this is said and done.
  • I’ve got a toddler at home.
  • Figuring out the logistics of applying for the PPP Loan.
  • Realizing I’d rather jump into a shark’s mouth than deal with that bucket of shit sauce.

Did I mention I’ve got a toddler at home?2

All of this to say:

“Feel your feelings.”

Speaking for myself, I’ve run the gamut of feelings the past 4-5 weeks: confusion, anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, contempt, acceptance, carbs, you name it.

It’s okay to feel your feelings.

I’d just be reticent to say guilt should be one of them. Go at your own pace. You’ll be ready when you’re ready. One approach I’d highly advocate is something I’m doing myself: The “what do I feel like doing today?” approach.

  • 5×5 squats?
  • Working up to a heavy triple on deadlifts and then starting Season 3 of Ozark?
  • Biceps?

Do whatever it is that will fill your training love tank.

Just don’t pressure yourself into the illusion of productivity thinking you have to be working out (or finally writing that sick space pirate anime screenplay) during this time.

We all deal with stress differently.

The deadlift platform or squat rack aren’t going anywhere.

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. Except burpees

  2. I’ve got a toddler at home.

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