Updated: May 23, 2021
an article for Australia New Zealand Association Manila
Chin-ups was never an issue for me before and now, I could barely do one. I could beat myself up all day for letting myself go but that would not help me get up - literally and figuratively. It will only continue to discourage me. It is fine to be tough on ourselves but with all these uncertainties around us, the lack of a solid, science-based unified approach locally, we cannot be hard on ourselves. Not at this time, at least.
I used to manage an Aussie gym called F45 Training in BGC, Taguig. I have been a part of the team since its inception in 2015 until recently when I decided to focus on my physio career. My constant exposure to the Aussie directors and the multiple trips to Australia have significantly changed my outlook in life both personally and professionally. I even connected with family in Melbs. At one point, I already felt more Aussie than Pinoy - efficient, really fit, not emotional anymore and yet one thing could never change. My labour was still cheap. Lol
Being in the fitness industry, I had to uphold a certain level of fitness to be able to command respect and inspire our members. I trained with them in class everyday, sometimes twice. I would run around BGC and somebody from the gym would always say hey. I enjoyed that!
I have achieved the body I have always wanted. I can do any sport that I want anytime. I was not faking it. I was it! And now that is all gone. I am a completely different person.
Early on in the pandemic, I still trained hard - no questions asked. However, there was one day when I just stared at that loaded barbell for twenty minutes and called it quits. That was the last time I set foot at that gym. "What for?" I asked. I could never forget that day. I started spiraling down, managed to pick myself up a couple of times and then just let go again. It has been a constant up and down and until now, I am still not that pre-pandemic version of me. I don't think I will be for some time and that's alright.
With gyms closing down, pools shut, guards telling you off at every little thing you do or not do, every ridiculous policy that gets rolled out one day and changed the next, how could we stay motivated? It is tough! Even for me who is already internally motivated, it is tough. Yet there was only one value I have kept that let me stay afloat and that is self-compassion.
I started living one moment at a time. There is no bigger picture for now. I acknowledge that on one day, I will let things go and on another day, I will pick myself up. I accept that that this one day that I slack off is not the end of the world. Surely, one of these next days, I will manage to sneak in a 20-minute run. I might get a three-cheese ensaymada to reward myself but for now, that is fine! Nothing is permanent. Just like the guards at high street!
As cliche as it may be, we all know that this will pass. I am sure we all look at Australia, New Zealand and cannot help but be frustrated when we look at ourselves and our dysfunctional QR codes. Yes, we are the luckier bit of the spectrum in Manila, but still our problems are valid! Someone out there could barely feed his family and me whinging about my chin-ups are two different problems indeed but they are still valid. Do not invalidate yourself. What you feel is true and valid and the moment you tune in and stop talking sh*t to yourself, you will snap out of this. Take it easy mate! You will get up again, one chin-up at a time.