COVID-19 or Coronavirus is currently at the forefront of nearly everyone’s radar and whether we like it or not is affecting each of us. We can’t control if the pandemic (or the threat there-of) affects us, but we can control our reaction to it.
Before going on, I believe it’s important that you follow the recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local officials. I’m just a coach and not trying to give medical advice, but continue to support good habits and build a resilient mindset to handle challenges. And this public health crisis presents a huge challenge even if you don’t feel the immediate strain, the ripples will likely soon rock your boat.
In general, the habits of staying active and practicing other good habits that go alongside seeking higher performance allows this reader base to be a better position than the average individual, BUT that doesn’t make you immune. So I’d encourage each of us to continue embracing these good habits if not refine them more with these suggestions;
Yes, I still believe we are made to move. Depending on where you are there may be different levels of restrictions from quarantine to minimal, so you’ll need to be creative in the former scenario. That may mean doing some home circuits since your gym is closed, walking more as a low-intensity option, doing more trainer sessions. Either way, consistency is the key. That is one thing over any magic bullet of training that will help you limit your losses. Building new fitness is a challenge but maintaining is much easier.
Take it Seriously
We must be smart. Just because you’re not directly affected, doesn’t mean your actions can’t affect those in the high risk demographic. Just because you may not get sick or even recover, doesn’t mean your actions couldn’t negatively affect someone else. Think about if you want to be a method of transmission to your last living grandparent, elderly parent, etc.
I’ve already experienced some athletes and other individuals thinking they’re bulletproof and blowing it off continuing like it’s no big deal. The bottom line, people are getting sick and dying, it is spreading. Even if it turns out to not be, it’s each of our responsibilities to limit the transmission with respecting the recommendations of guiding organizations.
Embrace slowing down
What is so difficult with having some downtime? Trust me this is the pot calling the kettle black on this one as my wife can confirm. I like to have things go, go, go, but as I reflect not always in a social setting. Our culture is constantly craving fewer work hours, fewer obligations, and more time with the ones we love; so use this as a time to connect with those closest to you. And even if that is not direct, there are so many simple things like FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, or conferencing options that allow you to connect remotely.
Focus on what’s in your control, not the opposite. It’s like dieting, if someone tells you “can’t” have something, then by gosh you want that one thing even if there are many other options. Instead, put your focus on those things within reach. Instead of worrying that at event canceled, see it as an opportunity to build yourself better by the time it gets rescheduled or when your next goal approaches. If your normal group ride is canceled embrace the solo mission or connecting with just a couple of your closest buddies (if still allowed where you are) to dial in specific goals. If your confined indoors training then make it count and really know your goal versus the extra efficiency often lost coasting outside.
Your body is adapted to a certain level of training so that should serve as your baseline. Try to not deviate too far from that drastically or abruptly. If this situation has alleviated more time to train, then be careful not to overdo it as that can compromise your immune system. But also recurring bouts of normal activity (within what is your normal) helps keep your immune system strong. It’s like training, we train to give the adaptive signal to get stronger, but too much and you’ll be wiped out for days.
I debated putting this one first in my list but really they are all equally important. Moving for mental health is key for many of us facing this health crisis and social change. I’ve personally considered myself somewhat unaffected by this until recently joining up with Go 4 Graham Foundation. The group focuses on raising awareness for mental health and the discussions with my fellow ambassadors have helped me realize that I’ve always used activity to bring me back to baseline. So staying active, maintaining good habits, and even finding other ways to keep engaged with your previous social groups is key. And if you’re struggling you can always reach out to a group like G4G or another.
Build a better you
This time may allow you to reflect and refine you a bit to come out the other side better. Take the time to build upon where you are at with deeper fundamentals that serve you when the road clears. Hopefully, you work with a coach and if not, you can still reassess the focus and set yourself up for later in the year.
The bottom line you don’t want to be sick when things come back online or events get jammed on-top of one another, so stay healthy now. Here are some quick reminders on some simple fundamentals to encourage that.
- Sleep It’s when your body repairs and decreases in sleep increase cortisol (stress hormone) similar to a dose of hard exercise
- Hydrate Drink plenty of pure water. Ideally, aim for 1/2 of your body weight in ounces as MINIMAL each day then add 1 1/2 oz for any diuretic (uh hum coffee) and then follow the session-specifics for the pre-, during and post-exercise windows.
- General Nutrition – eat a variety of real food. This discussion could be huge but make sure you’re sources of Fats, Proteins and Carbohydrates are from the best sources you have access to. If you’re active, eating carbohydrates is key especially during longer, difficult, or depleting workouts.
- Session Nutrition – Fueling prior with 16-24oz of water and some carbs will set you up for a good session. During consuming 30-60g/hr for shorter and 60-90g/hr of carbs for longer sessions along with 20-40 oz of water will keep you going. And following consuming quality carbs and protein in 4:1 ratio can help minimize a cortisol response and restock glycogen and stimulate muscle synthesis.
- Don’t skip rest days
- Listen to your body. If you’re tired, rest or go easy.
- Practice intensity discipline. Easy days easy, hard days hard. Don’t fall into moderately hard intensity daily.