Time to rejoice! Gyms are reopening in just over 3 weeks!

Things can go back to normal again! Back as they were.

Can they?

Will they?

Should they?

Never in our lifetime has the world given us such a huge opportunity to do a big ‘ol reset as it is right now. To have a good hard look at our current life, our lifestyle and what we value.

Every single conversation I have had with people about COVID and the lockdown have all circled around the same sort of themes and have reached the same sort of conclusions. We always end up agreeing that:

  1. We were too busy.

We were all trying to fill up every bit of time we have with something. (I believe it is because technology has sped everything up for us, giving us more time back on once time consuming tasks. Yet instead of enjoying that time, we filled it up with more crap!) It was exhausting. And while doing everything we were never often in-the-moment. It was ‘get this done so we can get onto the next thing’. But where did it all lead to? Fucking nowhere!

  1. Many of the things we thought were important, really weren’t. 

Well, they may still be somewhat important, but for too long they have been prioritised ahead of what should be most important. Like chasing ab’s and deadlift PR’s over health and balance. Or working so damn hard to provide our kids with everything we could get them, when all they really want is just to spend quality time with us. Or keeping yourself obsessively occupied by the trash on social media, yearning for attention/praise/acceptance from strangers in order to feel worthy. When all the praise and acceptance you need can come from the inner circle of friends and family you already have, and they are all accessible in the flesh! Or that by just being still in your own backyard, in the sun, lost in your own thoughts, can give you all you really need when looking to escape for 5 minutes, rather than needing to drink, drug and gamble or even vacation to numb the stress away. 

I love that all of our members aren’t excited to get back to the gym just so they can get epically fit again. That’s good and all, but they’re far more excited that they all get to see each other again. Once again they get to share laughs and smiles, sweat and tears, hugs and fist bumps (air versions), moments and moments together. 

The cold hard truth for all gyms out there right now is, is that people don’t need gyms anymore. Everyone now has a home gym, or has found a way to make what they have work for their fitness desires. So why still go?

It is people. It is the connection. It is the rush of joy and happiness we get from what the tribe brings when they are all together. 

There are four joy giving chemicals produced in our bodies. Two are selfish, two are selfless. All are important. The selfish ones, endorphins and dopamine, are easy to access in any gym. That strange good feeling we get that helps mask the pain during a tough workout, that keeps us coming back for more, that’s endorphins. The feelings we experience when we succeed, reach a goal, get praise, get attention, hit a PR, that’s dopamine. These two chemicals give us the short term highs we all love and crave.

The two selfless chemicals, serotonin and oxytocin, aren’t as easy to come by in a gym, or anywhere for that matter. When we give or receive respect and admiration. When we support and praise others. When we show gratitude. When we go out of our way for someone else, or someone does for us. The gooey feelings we feel, that’s serotonin. When someone smiles at us, hugs us, fist bumps, elbow bumps or air high fives. When we tell someone we love them, or them us. When we give and receive quality time, conversations and care with one another, that’s oxytocin making you feel a million fuckin’ bucks. These two chemicals provide us with the long term feels. Contentment, love, joy. 

For too long we have been chasing an unbalanced cocktail of chemicals. We prioritise the short term selfish ones over the long term selfless ones. Our actions prove it… drinking, gambling, overworking, social scrolling, narcissisting, comfort eating. All of these things have been coming first. Therefore our bodies are commonly overrun with only 2/4 chemicals. We need all four, we need balance. The selfish chemicals are easy to access (especially dopamine, and every marketing company or big corporation knows it. Those pricks have a lot to answer for.), we need to prioritise the selfless ones. 

Visiting our grandparents, playing with your kids, going for a long bush walk with friends, cooking with your partner, doing kind things for others just because. Cheering on the person working out next to you, even if you didn’t perform as well as you were hoping to. 

I believe it is absolutely vital that we take these lessons ‘Rona has given us and we make sure we put them into practice. The world has a funny way of balancing itself out, as for far too long we have been well out of balance. Ya selfish bastards (myself included).