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2020 Broke Me, and I Couldn’t Be Happier About It

Coach Meg Smith


I think, like many, I went into 2020 with hope. I enjoy the chance to start fresh, make goals, let go of burdens, and see potential in the possibilities ahead. While I’m never one to say “THIS is my year!!” I knew that so many good things were coming my way.
And then…2020 happened. For me, it started at the end of January. We were putting the Christmas decorations away in the attic. I carried a tub on my shoulder, pushing it towards Chris, but was a little short. So I puuuuushed. And my shoulder didn’t like it and was aggravated for a few days. I just kept plugging away at life, and in the gym, because “I was fine.” By late February, it became clear I actually wasn’t fine, so I saw my doctor and she ordered an MRI.

And then March. COVID became a pandemic, and our world changed overnight. We closed the gym, my MRI got cancelled because it wasn’t critical, and I was left to deal with it on my own. I was frustrated. I own a ton of equipment, but being WITH people helps me focus and push. Yes, I have been a CF coach for 10 years, and in the fitness industry for nearly 20, so I knew how to modify for my shoulder, but I didn’t want to “suffer alone.” And I didn’t. We did Zoom classes, and I chose to really focus on why I was online. For the first time in a long time, I stopped thinking about what I should be doing. I couldn’t see anyone else, and it was an awakening in me that “moving for me” without a care about anyone else was refreshing. I also didn’t compare myself to, as I like to call it, “use-to-could.” It didn’t matter what I would have done under more ideal circumstances, it mattered what effort I could, and did, give that day. I “moved for me.”

When we reopened the gym, I’d really gotten into a groove of “moving for me” and looked forward to continuing it. I rescheduled my MRI, only to have in cancelled because of a COVID case at the MRI facility, and then rescheduled and cancelled again because my referral was expired. What a blow! A chance for progress…for answers…taken away. I had two choices. Be frustrated and just push, or continue to respect my body’s need for rest and recovery, and “move for me.” 

In August, I bought a new pair of running shoes. I was really enjoying the jogging and long walks COVID life had afforded me, and my kicks needed an upgrade. Low and behold, they weren’t the right shoes for me, and I developed a painful (and still aggravating) case of bursitis in my ankle. What a set back! My jogs were no more, my walks and hikes really hurt, and I was having to modify in the gym for ANOTHER part of my body! Gah! But it stripped away some bad, too. I didn’t care if I was Fitness or Sport…fast or slow, keeping up, falling behind, or leading the pack. I “moved for me.”

It’s a good thing I’d been using this year (by choice, or by force!) to reset my wellness priorities. In October, when leaving a special baby shower, I got rear ended. (Maybe it’s because I went back for another Rice Krispy treat??) I didn’t really realize how bad it was, either from adrenaline, or because I drive a tank and damage to my car was minimal. It wasn’t until the next day where it became clear I had whiplash and a back injury. Luckily it was only muscular, but the impact on my daily life and my gym life was substantial. I could hardly pick up a bar without real pain for about 3 weeks. But…it was ok. I did what I could, I got good advice from the coach on duty about modifications I could do (because every athlete needs to be coached, and our coaching staff has a lot of good ideas!), and I “moved for me.”

  Then the end of October came along. Let’s recap. My shoulder was finally feeling reasonably good and I was moving light weight overhead. My bursitis was manageable with modifications, and my back pain and whiplash were subsiding, and I could move more comfortably. Things were looking good!! Until I got my bloodwork back. You see, I’d been having some stuff go on. Hair loss, rapid and unexplained weight gain, afternoon fatigue, serious temperature issues, and legit brain fog. The diagnosis? Hypothryoidism with some follow up stuff to sort out. This means lots of appointments, blood work, medication additions and adjustments, and more. It also means giving myself a LOT of grace for my workouts, knowing my body won’t be able to keep up with what my mind knows it should be able to do. 

Is this annoying? Sure. But you know what? I’m SO glad that this year has put me through the paces. Without all of these steps in my journey, I can assure you I would be in a worse place. Disordered eating, depression, anger, blame, anxiety, overuse or over-exertion, comparison and failure…all of it. Instead, this year has taught me something I’ve always tried to be aware of as a coach…respect for the whole person—an awareness that every day brings a different version of each athlete into the building. My job as a coach is to adjust WITH these changes, to help that athlete have the best hour possible. And I learned to do that this year for myself, too. “I moved for me.”

My hope for you, moving into the new year, is that you recognize the nuances of each day. That you take inventory of what has happened in the previous 24 hours that would impact your workout. How full is the plate you’re balancing? Did you sleep well, eat well, recover from yesterday’s workout? Do you need to warm up more because of an injury, a preexisting issue, or higher stress? Should you modify, even though you always use a particular weight? Could your coach give you a recommendation that will actually make your workout better, rather than you ‘sucking it up’ so your workout looks like everyone else’s or because you know what to do? Should you work out in a different spot in the gym so you aren’t influenced by others? What do you need to do to say “I move for me”?

Interested in talking about your mindset for the new year? Sign up for a chat with Coach Meg HERE

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COVID vs GYM

Is COVID in your GYM? Of course it is, it’s everywhere. If your gym is telling you differently, then they are lying! What matters more is how they are handling it. Do they have planned action steps in place or are they unprepared and winging it?

As you know, the nation is spiking with cases and we are here in Maryland as well. By now I’m sure it’s safe to say that everyone knows someone who has contracted the virus.

Here at Everlasting Fitness we have had a few members test positive. Those members did the right thing and let us know. We notified the class they were last in (if applicable) and anyone that they were in direct contact with individually. To our knowledge we have had zero transmission issues. 

We have sectioned off 24 blocks, 7ft x 12ft for everyone to have their own space while working out in class. Every station has a 45# and 35# barbell, 225lbs of weights, a pvc pipe and access to a squat rack. If the workout calls for an extra piece of equipment like a bike, rower, kettlebell or box the athlete will own that piece for the duration of the class. At the end of class everything is wiped or sprayed down with disinfectant, the floor is cleaned and is left fresh for the next class to come in 30 minutes later.

Masks are required in every portion of the gym except for the athlete’s designated workout area. We deem it a hazard to exercise with a mask on and do not require it. However, if someone chooses to, that is their right.

We ask that everyone wash their hands frequently and to abstain from coming to the gym if you do not feel well regardless of the symptoms.

Cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer have been expensive and hard to find but we have secured enough to get us through the winter. Our members and coaches have been a crucial part in our success during this time as they take pride in our facility and community by helping clean their station after workouts.

Our next step was to institute temperature checks when athletes come into the building. This has been going extremely well and we appreciate everyone’s willing participation!

Recently we took another preventative measure and acquired a CO2 monitor for the gym. While CO2 levels aren’t correlated to COVID transmission risk, they are a proxy metric that tells you how often the air is exchanged in the gym. If our CO2 levels are lower, we have better air exchange and thus lower risk of COVID transmission. What we have found is with our 10,000 sq ft facility, our CO2 levels are normal even when the gym is closed up. When we have the doors cracked and the fans on, our CO2 levels are almost equivalent to being outdoors. Yes, we know it’s cold out and the doors are cracked but we think it’s a good trade off!

Overall, 2020 has been a rough year and full of new challenges for gyms. Some gyms did not survive the summer, others will not survive this winter. The ones who took action, embraced change and kept their members best interest at heart are the ones who will come out on top. We are all anxious for a better 2021 and we will do everything in our power to provide a safe, supportive, encouraging place for you to make lasting bonds and build Everlasting Fitness.

Happy Holidays

Coach Bret Lurz