Dealing with the Effects of Social Distancing and Gym Closures
Coronavirus COVID-19 has had a crippling effect on businesses, economies, and everyday lifestyle activities across the world. No matter what your opinion is of how nations and governments are handling the situation, a return to normalcy seems very far away. One such industry that has been severely impacted is fitness. Local mom & pop gyms as well as big chain fitness centers have had to close for the foreseeable future. The resulting gym closures have led to a surge in those members looking for at-home alternatives.
I’ve never been a gym person myself. However, since I started training with kettlebells I’ve really tried to persuade others to use them as well. They’re extremely effective at achieving a variety of fitness goals. In fact, you can mix cardio, strength, and endurance workouts all in a single session with a kettlebell!
While my efforts to convince people to use kettlebells have focused primarily on non-gym goers, the coronavirus situation has changed things. Those who had gym memberships no longer have access to the bulky and expensive exercise equipment they’re used to. Fortunately, no one needs to shell out big bucks to purchase their own similar machines to get the same benefits.
Before explaining these benefits I think it’s important to assess the current situation with social distancing. It’s a term that was seldom used before. Now, it’s plastered on every store window, broadcasted repeatedly on the radio, and continuously discussed in the news and media. No doubt, it will be ingrained in history for years to come.
What Does Social Distancing Mean?
The most basic definition of social distancing says that it is an infection control protocol designed to reduce the spread of disease. Although, this doesn’t adequately describe the common methods of observing this practice. Around the world, many doctors have set the following guidelines that one should follow:
- Stay at home unless absolutely necessary
- Wash your hands and face frequently
- Maintain at least a 6 foot distance from others
Looking at this list, it’s a reasonable request to prevent the spread and transmission of COVID-19. However, society wasn’t built to withstand such measures for a long period of time. If it were for a couple of days or even a week, businesses and economies would quickly recover. The fact is, we may be facing months of social distancing which means loss of income, and frankly, loss of sanity.
It’s a safe bet that some of the drastic changes to life are probably forever altered. If you liked going to the movies, the era of the silver screen may have just ended. Streaming services have been eroding movie ticket sales for several years now and the coronavirus could signal the fatal blow. Will big box gyms suffer the same fate? I don’t think so.
I believe that when this mess is all over, memberships will be down but then start to pick up again. Why? One word – prestige. The association we have of fancy gym equipment and machines with attainable fitness goals requires a revolution to break. Yes, I whole-heartedly believe that the mighty kettlebell can lead to the same amazing results that you get from these machines. However, trying to convince others that a $50 to $100 kettlebell is equal or superior to a $1000+ machine seems like the talk of snake oil salesmen.
It’s for this reason I’ve made it my mission to conduct interviews with trainers and specialists to back up this claim. The data and research are sound – it’s fact, not fiction. I’ve experienced results first-hand. What started off as a weight loss journey evolved into a quest for strength and endurance building. My story is just one account of body transformation due to kettlebell exercising. Sure, it took some hard work and patience but for just 20 minutes a day, I feel fitter than ever. Don’t expect to breeze through such workouts but if time is scarce for you, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Don’t Let Gym Closures Stop You From Exercising
Although I’m an advocate for working out at home, it does sadden me to see gyms completely shut down. Any activity or facility that helps a person better themself is a good thing. I’ve noticed a lot of these gyms are creating workouts for their members to do at home. In some cases, virtual classes have replaced the standard exercise class. The issue with this approach has to do with accessibility. You just can’t recreate the same intensity that weights or a machine offers with bodyweight exercises.
Enter The Kettlebell
This super portable and affordable tool makes it possible to get a full-body workout in a small space. There are a variety of exercises that target the core, legs, arms, abs, back and other muscle groups. The skeptic in me believed that there was no way a 15-25 lb. kettlebell was effective enough to see results. That viewpoint quickly changed when I started swinging one and felt completely gassed afterward.
As Dr. Ben Fung mentions, the forces exerted from a kettlebell swing are several times greater than that of its weight. It’s not uncommon to see men with extensive weight lifting experience to struggle with a 35 lb. kettlebell. There’s conditioning involved and with enough practice and determination, those with petite frames can handle 70 lb. kettlebells through various reps and sets of exercises.
Where to Purchase Kettlebells and Learn Safely
With all the gym closures in the U.S. and beyond, the demand for kettlebells has skyrocketed. Traffic to this website nearly doubled overnight once stay-at-home orders went into effect. As a web designer and SEO specialist, I’m very attuned to changes in the search landscape. Take a look at the below screenshot which shows the spike in kettlebell related searches.
Huge spike in search queries for kettlebells!
I’m extremely happy that people are looking to kettlebells as their go-to choice for fitness. There is only one problem – kettlebells are virtually out of stock everywhere. Most of the brands I promote on this site are completely out of kettlebells and may not have them in stock for a month or longer. The reason behind this is the unprecedented recent demand coupled with shipping restrictions and logistics.
Over the past week, I’ve been researching various manufacturers and suppliers looking somewhere to direct my visitors. The one thing I won’t due is promote cheaply made kettlebells just to make a quick buck. If it doesn’t a cast iron or steel core, don’t bother! I do know that many brands on Amazon won’t have their stock replenished for quite some time. This has led me to other reputable vendors and suppliers.
American Barbell is one of the places where I spoke to an agent who said they are working hard to fulfill orders and maintain inventory. Since 1978, they’ve continued to innovate with their exceptional range of fitness products. Currently, they offer both traditional and competition style kettlebells. As of this moment, most of their inventory is available for shipping with only a few sizes out of stock. I’m monitoring the kettlebell landscape on a daily basis and will update accordingly.
When you manage to get your hands on a kettlebell, you’re going to need some tutorial videos to get you started. YouTube has hundreds of videos with different trainers demonstrating kettlebell exercises. If you want the absolute best videos for kettlebell training, head over to the Cavemantraining YouTube Channel. Their library consists of proper technique and mechanics for many popular kettlebell exercises as well as plenty of workouts for any skill level. The videos you can watch for free are BETTER than most of the online workouts from other trainers that cost money.
If you’re serious about learning kettlebells, I highly suggest you check out the Ultimate Kettlebell Starter Kit. The man behind Cavemantraining, Taco Fleur, put together this package which includes several highly-rated kettlebell e-books, a fundamentals video, and a 21-day kettlebell training course. If for some reason you’re having difficulty understanding and executing certain moves, simply contact him and he’ll advise you accordingly.
Finally, if you’re missing that sense of community due to the gym closures, you can get the next best thing from the kettlebell training Facebook group. Consisting of over 13,000 members, it’s the largest kettlebell community group online. There’s a strict no judgment policy meaning you can upload your own videos without fear of being ridiculed. The positive atmosphere and encouragement from others will make you feel right at home (pun intended)!
Making The Best of a Bad Situation
Just because you’re required to adhere to social distancing doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Use this time wisely and challenge yourself with new goals. You might not be able to interact with people on a face-to-face basis but thanks to the internet, there are several options for communication. I hope that one of those new goals includes kettlebell training as you’ll find it very rewarding on many levels.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond as soon as possible. I realize people need help now more than ever. I don’t have all the answers nor do I know what the future holds. All we can do right now is to make the best of a bad situation.