Disclaimer – this is not medical advice.
Coronavirus, COVID-19, it’s just the flu, it’s way worse than the flu, pandemic, overreacting, yaddayadda… ok, done. Here’s what I’m not going to do: speculate as to what is going to happen or suggest things are either worse or better than they seem, nor am I going to recommend what course of action your gym takes in the coming weeks. It’d be an opinion that wouldn’t help anyone, and the first of the Four Agreements says to Be Impeccable with Your Word, so I’m going to stay in my lane and tell you the things I know are simple, beneficial, and work. At the end of the day, a combination of common sense and a reminder of the things you already know are both under your control, and controlling the things we can are where we should be focused.
Get 8 hours or more, at least. This means being bed for 8-8.5 hours, ideally in a cool room with no ambient or artificial light. Remind your members that throughout the day and when they come to the gym (or work out at home), they are digging a hole that can either be filled in and yield growth by sleeping, or it can repeatedly be partially filled to the point where it will not produce anything. We know that a lack of sleep can lead to elevated blood sugar, poor memory consolidation, and is linked to a host of other health problems. In more immediate terms, your body becomes more stressed and less capable of fighting illness. Pre-existing health problems are always a risk factor for contracting any sort of disease, so let’s use this totally free method of recovery and health to keep everyone’s immune system on point.
With all the time people may have at home in the coming weeks, now is a terrific time to learn how to cook. Of course it’s probably never a bad idea to have some non-perishable foods in the house in a preparedness sense, but learning how to prepare real food that tastes good is a basic human skill. This means reminding members to be eating the food they know they should be and preparing it themselves if possible. It takes remarkably little effort to put some oil, salt and pepper on a steak and put it on a grill or stove for 10 minutes and make a salad while it cooks. The easiest tip I always provide is to stay around the perimeter of the grocery stores, which is generally where the real food lives. Real food provides micronutrients that pre-made food can’t, is easier on your gut and digestive system, and helps control blood sugar more easily among other things. I don’t have to reiterate the importance of a sound diet, but now is a great time to remind your athletes who may not be thinking about it as often as you and I are. Personally, I know that when my diet is on point, my sleep and training is always better. Novel, I know.
Like I said, I’m not going to recommend your gym remains open or closes, but I will recommend that you keep your athletes moving in any way you can. We will continue providing at-home workouts that you can share with your members who would prefer to stay home, or in the event you decide to close your gym, but I really believe that members should continue to keep their fitness up as high as possible. There’s a reason doctors recommend that prior to any major surgery, patients are in as good of shape as possible – it reduces the likelihood of complications and makes the recovery substantially easier and faster. Of course, we’re in the business of preventing bad things from happening through fitness and lifestyle choices, so reminding athletes that sustaining their fitness any way they safely can is super important and can help reduce the chances of getting sick.
The easiest ways to keep training? Keep it simple here too – here are just a couple super easy options that don’t require any programming experience. Pick 3-5 movements and do them Tabata style (:20 work, :10 rest for 8 sets each), or 1:00 stations for 3-5 rounds a la Fight Gone Bad. If you want to run, pick a route and do intervals – sprint from one telephone pole to the next, then walk or jog the next two. If you just want to cruise, run 15 minutes in one direction and then 15 minutes back, trying to end at the exact place you started (a cool pacing exercise). We also have a slew of at-home/travel workouts that require zero equipment, or very little equipment in the TMF Travel Survival Guide. It’s free – so share it with everyone you can. It also has some great detailed tips for boosting your immune system.
Keep It Simple
Remind athletes that part of the reason they came to your gym in the first place is that they wanted nothing to do with becoming overweight, sick, in a nursing home, whatever. When some sort of major illness, flu, bug, or disaster happens, it’s usually those who are overweight, sick, in a nursing home, etc. who are the least able to combat the problem. Part of being fit and healthy means you not only have the ability to avoid physical injuries and perform basic daily tasks, but are also more resilient to sickness and disease. Our members, whether they know it or not, are better prepared than most by simply being part of your CrossFit community. It’s on us as the coaches to remind them of that and provide them with the information we know can help rather than speculate one way or the other.
Written by Hunter Wood