Some Notes from The Locker Room

Lockdown has been a weird time for everyone. Not least for those who are used to the outdoors or a regular form of exercise being a big part of their routine.

For the duration, I’m fortunate to say I’ve managed to maintain my training at a [fairly] even pace throughout in some form or other. Using outdoor spaces and being creative with limited resources.

After a couple of return trips to the gym this week, with stabilisers firmly in place, my curiosity prompted me to see what the impact of a few months out of my regular routine was.

Despite what my Instagram might have seemed to want you to tell you, the results weren’t all good. They also weren’t by any means devastating [though tell that to my arms after the first round of curls in months].

Percentage wise body fat was up, muscle down and my hydration level [though admittedly I’d also already gone walkies on park-trip that morning] seemed to be the biggest factor to bemoan. In summary by some metric, whatever credence you give it, at that moment in time my metabolism largely spoke to that of a premature thirty-five-year-old, having previously clocked in at a sprightly twenty-eight.

For three plus months out of practice [my last check in was 1st March vs. 28th July] it wasn’t by any means a crushing disappointment, but of course it also wasn’t what I’d hoped for.

In light of recent events, and as most of us are in the process of trying to kickstart things back up — it feels important to share failures as well as success.

Social media can be a mixed bag. I understand the issues people have with it. Holding individuals or accounts as benchmarks or limbo bars, can be extremely unhelpful but contrary to what you might expect, I’m actually typically pretty ok with it. So I don’t want this to be seen as me “taking one for the team” or pinning myself as any kind of martyr.

For the most part, what engages me most about my training is the upkeep of a general sense of wellbeing, and a desire to maintain a good level of movement and mobility, but I’m happy to admit I suffer the same insecurities that many do.

Like most guys I could always do with a couple extra centimetres to fill out my shirt sleeves, or a little less self-consciousness regarding how my speedos sit, but I don’t blame that on social media, any more than I blame it on the guy on the bench next to me at the gym. At least on the good days.

The best reflection I’ve found of this attitude is [Men’s Health editor] Andrew Tracey’s take on social media as a highlights reel.

“Sometimes, I want to see the best of people, not to pressure myself, not to riddle myself with insecurities… but to remind myself that we’re all capable, even if only for the length of time it takes a camera shutter to snap closed, of some pretty cool stuff”.

We have a tendency to lean toward a preference for our experiences to be linear. In truth, they often aren’t. Not every day is going to be marked by solid progress, or clearing your goals, if you can find a way to celebrate it anyway, often that’s just as valuable.

Show me your best self, you do you, and I’ll weed out the ego from the id for myself.

A couple of years getting to grips with the basics of human biology, has given me a broader view of what I consider “health” to be (here’s a hint: it’s more often a verb, than a noun). I certainly don’t claim to have many answers, but the one thing I would say with certainty is that it looks different to everyone. The times when I still get most excited about it is when somebody is able to show me it from a new angle.

So, go ahead give me your best side, show me you living your #bestlife. For the most part, I think we can all do with the extra enthusiasm.

Quotation taken from: Instagram [@] theandrew.tracey. []

Movement enthusiast & bit time writer. iTEC Qualified Sports Massage. | He/him #LGBTQ+