Pandemic Gym Closure Doesn’t Stop Terence Man from Becoming the Fittest he has Ever Been

May 10, 2021 by
Courtesy of Terence Man
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After being a CrossFit athlete since 2014, Terence Man decided last year, just before the pandemic hit, to dial in his diet and see just how fit he could get. 

  • A year later, the 37-year-old who “doubled down to focus on my fitness,” lost 20 pounds, acquired new skills like strict ring and bar muscle-ups, and qualified to and competed in the CrossFit Quarterfinals.
  • He also qualified for the Age Group Online Qualifier in the Men’s 35-39-year-old division, but chose not to compete. 

One big thing: Man managed to achieve all this living in a city where gyms have been closed since last March, and a country that is currently experiencing a third wave of COVID-19.

  • Man is a member of Breaker Strength in North York, Ontario, and has been relying on Zoom classes and working on his weaknesses at the home gym he has slowly built over the last 14 months
  • “Right before the pandemic, I was on a roll and didn’t want to lose the momentum, so I put the pieces together and built a home garage gym,” he said. It’s not always an ideal scenario, but it works, he explained. “Barbell work is hard sometimes. My garage is attached to my neighbors’ living room, and I like my neighbors so I don’t drop weights,” he said, laughing. 
  • Still, Man managed to complete every single Open and Quarterfinals workout (except the wall climb event (21.1) which he did at Breaker Strength) from his garage.
Courtesy of Terence Man

Pandemic positives: Prior to the pandemic, Man traveled a lot for work, often 100 kilometers a week, which came to a halt when he started working from home in March 2020. 

  • “I used to drive to work and my daily coffee stop often ended up being a coffee and McMuffin, or a coffee and donut stop,” he said. “So cutting out that McDonald’s run has helped, too. And I also used to go home at lunch to let my dogs out.” 
  • Today, instead of driving home on his break, he often hits a second workout at lunch. “I just have so much more time now, so a lot of things just kind of fell into place this last year,” he added. 
  • Man said he thinks much of his success has come down to the positive mindset he adopted since the start of COVID-19. “It’s interesting because, at the beginning of the pandemic, my mindset was just that I’m glad I still have a job, and then as my daily routine changed and I wasn’t going out as much at night and didn’t have to rush places after work, I just started to think it would be a waste not to take advantage of the positive things,” he said. This is what allowed him to focus on advancing his professional education and spending more time on his health and fitness, he explained. 
  • “The pandemic certainly isn’t the best for society, but if you can turn some things into a positive, then why not?”

The big picture: While Man is empathetic to what others might still be going through in relation to  the pandemic, he urges those who are struggling to focus on what they can do, instead of all they have lost.

  • “I know everyone has their own situation to deal with. Some people have work restrictions and a kid, or two kids, and I know I have clearly benefited from what’s going on, but I think we all need to do what we can to manage this and make the best of it,” he said.
  • Man added: “It’s weird to say, but it would be a shame to let a good pandemic go to waste. We have all this extra free time, so find something to do with it if you can.”

Doing just this helped him become healthier and more fit than he has ever been before. 

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