And What The Hell Is “Normal” Anyway?

Count me in among the many who have been trying to acclimate to “The New Normal” with this pandemic.

Professionally, it’s been about trying to provide the best services we could to our clients despite the transition from face-to-face training into the virtual landscape. We’ve learned that, now more than ever, our clients are working from a different foundation of “What can I handle?”, “What do I need?”, and “How long will this last?”

Sometimes, we’re trying to answer all of those questions within the same breath.

Just like we, as health coaches, know that every weight loss client is working with a different skill set, background, and mental readiness to achieve their goals, these same clients are learning how to manage their own expectations against these goals when things aren’t quite how we ever imagined they’d be.

As each week passes, we encounter another element to the great unknown of “When do we get to have something normal back again?”

I know that the moment we get the green light from our state government, we will be working with somewhat reduced capacities at RevFit. There will also be the inability to hug someone to say “Welcome back. Thank you for sticking with us. We missed you!” The words will be there but the physical touch will not.

So, it’s led me to question my own place in this.

When has anything in my life ever been normal?

The answer: rarely ever.

From my upbringing, the trajectory of my life, the coping mechanisms, addictions, outlets for stress, hobbies and interests, I’m not sure any major area of my life has ever been “normal”.

Why should this time be any different?

As I have said to at least one client and even on my podcast, we’ve all been dealt a slice of turd pie…some of us just got frosting.

Almost every day now, on social media, I’m seeing another report of a fitness facility, independent trainer, or small chain gym shut down. Many of these locations and individuals have been in business for years. They’re not new to the industry, they’ve accumulated the accolades from years of success and there is no possible way they can stay afloat right now.

This makes the reality even more surreal. Many who were successful within this industry will transition into completely different fields, maybe they’ll move into “pandemic proof” arenas where they can count on a paycheck. Those who choose to remain in the industry despite shutting their doors will embrace, to whatever degree of success, what a virtual platform can offer.

We may never see the pre-COVID normal ever again…not as far as the fitness industry is concerned.

There was a belief prior to this pandemic that the country was due for another big dip, similar to the economic fallout in 2008. While some predicted this to be the case, COVID was not the reality they anticipated even though they knew that something was going to knock us all down a peg.

As some states are starting the gradual process of reopening which allows businesses to start following suit, we’ll see if the somewhat aggressive measures to distance ourselves from one another end up doing the good that was intended.

On my podcast, I’ll be continuing to talk to others in the industry who I admire and respect: those who were working in box gyms, those who work primarily in the virtual realm and those who had, prior to COVID, what appeared to be dream businesses.

Because no matter who they are, they’ve been affected. We all have. And speaking on behalf of every person operating in the fitness arena, we’re looking for answers.

I had to take a hard step back and remind myself of this whole idea of “normal”. If I’ve never been used to it, why would I want to go back to it? The things that have allowed me to thrive have been the few things in my life I had some sense of control over: my schedule, my time management, my sleep patterns, my diet, and my training.

Did the pandemic affect those things? 100%.

It also allowed me to shift my focus and ask: How do I make this whole situation work?

When the state government does allow us to open and be more active in public, there is no guarantee that this won’t come back later. Even if the curve is flattened, something else will happen. Maybe not this year or next, but just as those “in the know” were preparing for another economic downturn, we’ll be faced with another challenge that affects the way we operate: within the fitness industry and outside of it.

So, am I wanting life to return to normal? No, I want more ways to deal with the abnormal.

Maybe that’s the thought I want to leave you with: prepare for the blips, the deviations and the crises. They’ll come, whether we want them or not.

And to reframe it in the words of one of my clients: Doing the best you can, under the circumstances has got to be enough.

Below is a picture with my son, Sebastian, doing our best to not be normal.

“We Make Great People Greater”