Training, staying physically active, has always been a big deal to me. A part of me. Growing up I did all the sports I could and after having competed in gymnastics at international level, and knowing what the human body is capable of, I find a certain pleasure in seeing just how far I can push myself.

If you’ve been following be on social for a while you will know that making time is a huge thing for me. Whether at home or when traveling, doing some kind of exercise, sweating, is non-negotiable. Daily.

After managing high end safari lodges for many years, when I moved back to Johannesburg I was finally able to make my own health and wellness a priority again. I joined a CrossFit box, fell in love with the intensity and competitive nature thereof – yes I am both of those things – and competed in three African regionals.

Eventually the CrossFit thing can get a bit much and all consuming and the coaches at the time didn’t really have what it takes to ensure longevity and I joined another gym as well to supplement my own Olympic lifting and gymnastics that I was pretty good at. Having been heavily involved in fitness education while doing gymnastics, I know how to program and I started getting more into my own training and putting training programs together using a wide range of skills, knowledge and experience. I believe creativity comes in here and that I have a little bit of. I’m loving programming my own health and fitness regime.

I started to train at our local Virgin Active and then later at Go Health which had pretty amazing equipment and is only about 4km from where I live. I enjoyed getting stuck into my training and combined with a few CrossFit classes, this time at a new box with a really amazing coach, training was going well.

Training is for me. It’s as much, if not more, about the mental side of as it is about the physical.

A while ago I posted this on my Instagram feed.

Make time. I’ve been training at home during this entire lockdown period and without fail, at some point before each session there’s a little voice that tries to suggest I take it easy and take a day off. “It’s only one missed day, it’s not a problem.” But it is a problem because one missed day turns into two. Then three. And that’s not good enough. Yes, some days it’s hard, really hard, to get up and get dressed and start. But it’s non-negotiable. It’s not a choice even though some days I have to play little mind games with myself to start. Sometimes when my inner bitch gets too loud I punish him and, once I start moving and working out, I do extra sets. More weight. Go for longer. It’s a weird combination of discomfort and pleasure every time I get to that extra work, the heavier weights, the sets or time that wasn’t planned for. That last, extra bit of work never gets easier and seems to be the exact same amount of suck, no matter how often I do it or how much I try to push myself or prepare myself mentally. It’s one of my favorite parts of each day.

I find it easy to go into my bubble when I’m training and I don’t struggle with the motivation to get shit done. Did I mention I’m a just bit competitive?

I drove to the gym daily. Trained hard, saw some good progress and overall it was going well. I was happy and thought the gym was cool and everything and thought that things have fallen into place quite nicely.

Then lockdown happened.

First panic set in and then, after my neighbour told me he won’t be home for the whole of lockdown and I can use his bench and barbell, I made peace with the fact that I’m gonna have to train at home.

I almost planned ahead that I’m gonna miss the gym and that I will just do the bare minimum to get through lockdown. Because surely there is no way that you can train at the same intensity at home than at the gym where there are other people who can motivate you and with all the amazing equipment they have there.

Fast forward to this morning where I did another morning of fasted cardio on the assault bike in my pretty awesome garage gym where I have been training since lockdown started.

I have not missed the gym once.

On the contrary…

Egos. People trying to impress. Having to wait for equipment because some wannabe is doing curls with a 20kg bar in the squat rack while checking his phone in between sets. Waiting for the gym to open or rushing cause it’s almost closing. Driving to and from. The really really shit music most gyms play. The breeding herd of school boys who swamp the place after school and do some really strange, and dangerous, things which I can only imagine has something to do with getting muscles ’cause chicks dig it.

The oversized, balloon animal looking personal trainer who is more worried about checking himself out the mirror than paying attention to his paying clients while sucking on his vape.
Yes, in the fucking gym!
#ProperChop

But I think the biggest change for me, training at home rather than at a big gym, is focus. A focus on me. My training. How hard I want to go. The music I listen to. Being able to train twice, or even three times a day if I want.

It has taken a few months but my home gym is finally my own space where I can literally do anything I want and need to. I have absolutely loved my own space and, along with a few close friends, have been crushing the training.

I don’t need to see other people to motivate myself. I’m a little competitive remember, even with myself! I don’t have to, like so many guys, have an unspoken pissing contest about who is stronger or lifting more weights while looking at each other but not actually look at each other.

Yeah, the male ego can be a pretty bizarre thing at time and it often shows itself when holding dumbbells or a barbell. I couldn’t give a crap for gym moments like this.

During the last 5 months I have gotten better results, gotten fitter, a lot stronger, I feel (and hopefully look) better and the best of all is the headspace I now get from training is really all mine. No other people. No crap music. No full of shit personal trainers. Just me and my space.

Just. Me. My. Training. My. Headspace.

I never thought I would say this, but I have finally confirmed it for myself…

I am never going to gym again!

Wherever in the world you are, good morning, good evening and good night.

Stay safe. Stay awesome.

G.


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