SINGAPORE: I hated going to the gym, until it became my safe space over the last six months of the pandemic.
Up till my late-twenties, I equated exercise with toxic gym culture, no thanks to the slew of gym bros and fitness influencers who humble-bragged about their physique any chance they could. No way could anyone look like Adonis reincarnate so effortlessly, as they seemingly could, which intimidated regular plebeians like myself.
Even when I finally convinced myself to give it a shot and got a gym membership, working out felt performative and obnoxious, as though a lean and fit physical appearance was a reflection that I could indeed be the proverbial woman who had it all.
Not to mention, standing out as one of the few women in a testosterone-filled space in most gyms, made it an unbearably self-conscious hour.
Then COVID-19 hit and my relationship with gyms changed.
With all routine and structure thrown out the window during the circuit breaker, I didn’t have anything more to lose. I needed to reintegrate those elements of order into my life through the quickest way I knew — exercise.
After several outdoor exercise sessions, like running along the park connectors and playing sports with friends, I realised I preferred individual workouts. I could zone out without interacting.
When gyms resumed operations in Phase 2 last year, I decided to set aside my reservations about gym culture, while I used physical activity to get my mental health back on track. And so the gym became a regular haunt.
I figured I also needed the strength and conditioning training I could do in a gym with the equipment, and could make better use out of my hour-long exercise sessions.
I’d been to a couple of gyms in the past where I felt safe and comfortable, so finding another similar space that met my location and budget criteria, and had a culture I appreciated, wasn’t impossible.
I developed a routine of four gym visits a week — a habit I was really getting fond of until the Government announced tightened COVID-19 measures on Tuesday (May 4).
Under the tightened measures, indoor gyms like mine will be closed from May 8 to May 30, as they have a “tendency to be hotspots for COVID-19 transmission”, said the Health Ministry.
READ: Cap of 5 people for social gatherings, household visits to return as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures
It might be just for three weeks and it’s a reasonable restriction as we hunker down to curb the rise in infections. But understanding why gyms need to close didn’t stop me from feeling like I’d been walloped by a new wave of uncertainty after I’d just found my footing.
A SEMBLANCE OF CERTAINTY
Admittedly I’m painfully slower than the average person at adapting to change.
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