The Gym Life

If you live in Nigeria like I do, you will agree with me that Nigeria is not only home to a rich variety of meals but we enjoy eating them too.

Unfortunately most of our foods are rather too rich in carbs that allow for rapid weight gain. Taking conscious efforts to properly have balanced meals had never been a major concern to us in this part of the world.

We woke up one morning and discovered, like a thunderstorm that rumbled out of clear skies, the world was agog with living healthy. What is ‘healthy living’ everyone was asking? As Nigerians, we were late to the party; but because of who we are, we not only show up late but we show up big.

The healthy living movement became a global anthem and this was in no small measure made possible by the lovely Michelle Obama who advocated for healthy meals in schools across the United States. Suddenly, Nutritionists, Dieticians, Medical practitioners and new experts became spokespersons of this Holy Grail on healthy living.

Across cyber space, there was an overwhelming amount of information for anyone seeking to join this movement. As with all things, many found it to decipher what information will really apply to their own needs. The one thing that was obvious was over time, the healthy living movement having redefined our standards on certain things needed to be stretched to accommodate a pathway to achieving these standards. One of the most impacted industries was fashion, where models needed to look a certain way, more clothes were made to fit an acceptable size(s). This of course had the ripple effect of putting an undue amount of pressure on men, women, adults and children alike. The downside to this was quite a lot of people had to deal with some mental and / or emotional trauma of some sorts.

With this, it became pertinent to find ways to expedite the journey to healthy living. It is easy to imagine that some athlete somewhere may have deduced that sharing their own daily exercise routine may benefit others; so what did we see – we became witnesses to people taking up jogging and walking not as athlete but for a different reason all of which leads to ensuring that the benefits accruing from healthy living will be easily noticeable.

However, let’s take a look at how healthy living became a revolution in Nigeria. Don’t forget we had said, Nigerians may show up late but we show up big. In a very short while after catching up with the message, we had a couple of Nutritionists who tried to sell the message but may not have gotten the desired traction that was needed. Our revolution did not truly start until multi-level marketing businesses e.g. Forever Living Products, Tianshi etc. came into the country, made a kill in profits by selling ‘healthy living’ in pills, drinks and potions. Of course, we bought into it but alas! The transformation we so desired as seen on our screens and propagated across cyber space was not satisfying enough for the crowd this side of town.

Before long, the disciples of the holy grail on healthy living explored the possibilities of engaging in active physical activities to fast track the results we all desired. Enter the business of gyms! Our lives became almost every plus size person became obsessed with losing that excess weight, men of all shapes and size were made to believe a six-pack abs was the definition of true health, retirees were and till this present day be seen walking long miles to keep up their cardiovascular health, schools infused more modern physical activities in their curriculum and suddenly gym business was no longer a trial and error, it was proven to be a business that by all standards should be a thriving one. It is fair to say gyms evolved into places not only designed for physical exercises, but a place where people go to network and some even pay premium to become members of exclusive gyms around the country. The truth is healthy living has come to stay!

Let’s talk the reality staring us in the face now where #SocialDistancing and #StayAtHome are vital requirements for staying safe and alive; gyms are no longer an attractive option. Suddenly, as a business owner you are forced to close down, losing tons of funds and over time the usefulness of such business becomes very debatable. Physical exercise enthusiasts have paid homage to lots of gyms and recreational centers offering exercise activities for a fee or even free have suddenly discovered in recent times that their otherwise laid down coping mechanism is gradually being taken away from them. This is especially difficult for those who have used exercise as a way to resolve any mental, physical and emotional issues they may have. It is little wonder why people often defy the #StayAtHome orders to ensure they keep up with their daily routines.

I often ask myself, why it is so much easier to pay thousands at the gym or even have to work out amidst other people. The simple truth is this, the idea of seeing other people working out provided the much needed inspiration to keep working towards desired goals. This accounts for the fact that even with the #Lockdown people have not only been keeping to their routines but trying to do so within a collective.

With the COVID-19 being our modern day reality, we have seen the resilience in people and that human beings will most often than not chart a new course for themselves. Most of us are trying to find alternate ways to doing the things that was so much a part of our daily routine and that is reflective in how we have adopted innovative ways to still keep up with our exercises. More and more people are taking the bold step to self-motivate themselves and we see this all across cyber space where friends come together to challenge themselves, and still find a way to exercise together via modern technology tools.

Without a doubt, life as we know it has changed drastically, true. But the question to ask yourself as a business owner who has invested so much in creating a desirable place for people to enjoy meeting their health goals, or the thousands of fitness coaches who have made such successful careers out of engaging people in physical workouts or even you and I who are striving daily to meet our own healthy living goals is how do we evolve and focus on the fact that the world is always open to newer ways of doing things and to see the opportunities in this seeming chaos?

Our BC (before COVID19) life can be looked back on with fond memories as we chart a new course on how to optimally live a fulfilled and productive life during and AC (after COVID19).

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