7 Months Without the Gym

Since hitting my twenties, exercise has become a crucial facet of my life. It’s how I offset all the malaise, muscular atrophy, and cognitive degeneration associated with spending 90% of my time in front of a screen.

But, when COVID-19 arrived in mid-March, I dropped my thrice-weekly gym habit like a hot potato. I had already attributed the terrible pneumonia I contracted in December of last year to my gym visits. So continuing to take my chances by heavy-breathing around potential spreaders of an even more deadly disease seemed unwise.

Now, it’s been almost seven months since my last in-gym workout. But thankfully, I’ve still been working out.

A Home Gym Improvisation Extravaganza

Fittingly, the first iteration of my at-home workout setup leaned heavily into the sort of improvisation you might expect during an early-stage pandemic. I had managed to purchase a cheap barbell from Canadian Tire, but barbell weight plates were in short supply. So I resorted to hanging IKEA shopping bags on each side of the barbell and loading them up with heavy items.

I also created an improvised dumbbell by filling my blender with small heavy objects. Then, to really hammer home the theme of desperate improvisation, I duct-taped the blender lid to the base to prevent it from opening. This way, the damn thing wouldn’t open accidentally while I was doing lateral raises, and I wouldn’t drop canned beans on my toes.

A few months after the coronavirus home-gym-buying-frenzy subsided, I bit the bullet and picked up some weight plates. Keeping with the theme of improvised jank, the Olympic (2-inch) weight plates I bought don’t actually sit flush on my 1-inch standard barbell. Instead, they dangle awkwardly and clang angrily with one another.

But all jank aside, the transition to working out at home has been pretty smooth. Replacing my gym visits with at-home workouts has spared me an hour of transit time, which I appreciate. And while my workouts aren’t as comprehensive or versatile as before, I’ve still been breaking a sweat and challenging myself where I can.

The Sad Case of the Shrinking Titties

Unfortunately, as a life-long ectomorph, I’m probably one of the few people who will emerge from this pandemic weighing less than before. While I’ve tried to adapt my gym routine to a gymless routine to the best of my ability, it seems that some of my auxiliary muscle tissue is… shrinking.

No, not that auxiliary muscle tissue! I’ve primarily noticed this so-called “shrinkage” in my chest, which has always been stubbornly difficult to grow. Previously, I got pretty good results by using a combination of various bench press forms, machine flyes, and dumbbell pullovers. But having reduced my chest routine to just push-ups, I’ve likely “reduced” my cup size as well.

Anyway, given that I usually write about media on this blog, I’m not sure how many readers are interested in what essentially amounts to a  chronicling of my breast tissue. But given that this whole COVID-19 situation has been unprecedented and transformative, I figured I’d make a note of it — even if it serves as little more than a mildly amusing anecdotal footnote.


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