COVID: THE BAD JOKE no-one understands

By Maryellen

Hello 23W

It’s me, Maryellen here.
I’m currently experiencing a form of what they call long covid, it’s covid pneumonia.

Ange and I had discussed how great it would be to chat to you girls about health and life post covid as many of us are experiencing it together. Would love to hear what you’re going through and any unanswered questions you might have.

There’s not as much guidance out there, it’s new territory for the entire world, and it can be disheartening when your body doesn’t do what you want it to.

For me the next part of the journey will be about reframing my goals and workouts. 
I can still have ‘gains’ but that word will be interpreted very differently. My PB’s are going to be PB’s as of right now, starting anew.

As many of you know, powerlifting is not my background. I’ve come from functional fitness, calisthenics, barre, Pilates, and Hiit background. For the record, I love Hiit, it’s just been bastardised into something else entirely. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Right now I wanted to share my experience with my health. As a health professional I want my clients to view me as the epitome of health, I’m there to motivate and inspire, I can’t be seen to be fatigued, lacking drive, or losing control.

"Create new goals. Forget your old numbers, right now the most impressive thing you can do is get back on your feet and find the silver linings. And while you’re at it, enjoy it with those around you. Tell people what your body is going through and don’t be ashamed of it."

Covid has been a real challenge for me as a trainer. 

Some trainers got into this because they were always naturally athletic and that’s where they progressed but that’s not me. A lot of trainers have experienced their own health journeys that have led them to this point. Like many of you, I didn’t approach a gym with enthusiasm for a long time. It was all about weight loss (which was never inspiring) and then suddenly as a formerly very healthy 16 year old I got arthritis and my relationship to ‘health’ completely changed.  I had to learn about resistance training, to ease my pain. I had to start so small, from bed ridden, to even be able to attempt a squat.

So I’m immune compromised, I’ve had many many other health issues along the way, I got my vaccine early, I had special permissions for pfizer. I knew that if covid got near me, I’d be under more threat than others might. My health has deteriorated since I’ve met you all in the middle of covid. Like many of you might be feeling, I’ve become less accountable, less consistent, and returning to routine has been a struggle.

This is not in line with my identity as a trainer, or a comedian. Capitalism reigns supreme in my brain- a moment of rest is failure, not showing up, or being present at every moment is failure.  But I’ve had to accept a retraining of my brain. 

Any trips or holidays I’ve had to try and rest and recuperate in this time have been disrupted by illness and so to say I haven’t had a break is an understatement. But I know I’m not alone. Many of you have expressed the same frustrations in the gym, and shared your own struggles with this covid era, be it mental health, physical setbacks, or both. 

The world is in so much turmoil, our bodies are under stress, we’re not done with the fight or flight of it all.  While it may be a privilege to say take rest, I fully encourage you to do so if you can. Ignore the voices in your head that tell you you’re lazy, missing out, or unproductive. They don’t help you get better.

Covid is no joke. Even though I plan to make some about it in some of my sets.

If you’re returning to the gym from having had covid or are even experiencing a form of long covid like me. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy rebuilding your strength. It doesn’t have to be a downer. Share with the team your small gains. Be proud of being able to catch your breath again, the fact that you made it in, or better yet that you’re listening to your body and not putting it under undue stress.

Create new goals. Forget your old numbers, right now the most impressive thing you can do is get back on your feet and find the silver linings. And while you’re at it, enjoy it with those around you. Tell people what your body is going through and don’t be ashamed of it. 

Would love to hear what you’ve been struggling with specifically so we can try to help find the right resources for you.

See you in the gym! 

Love ME X

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Our founder

Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.

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