“I was finally getting back to a regular schedule when it all started to change. I was working out 5 days a week, eating better, balancing work, it was all coming together. But then COVID-19 happened. First the schools closed, then companies shifted their employees to work from home, and finally all business, including both my gyms, were closed. That last one sucked. How am I going to keep improving without a place to get my squats, and deadlifts, and power cleans in?
That problem though was quickly taken over by other, perhaps more pressing, concerns. As toilet paper, and non-perishable foods started disappearing off the shelves, my attention shifted to how I would continue to properly nourish myself. I didn’t want to end up eating “junk” food for however long we were going to be living in this new reality. Even if I found a way to continue working out, it would be all moot if I fueled that with primarily frozen or packaged foods.
I was anxious and lost. With all this uncertainty, for the first time, I was truly forced to think about what truly mattered to me most at that moment. There was too much to take care of, and too much out of my control, that I had to prioritize and prepare.
First and foremost, I needed food. A nutritious, diverse range of foods that would not just feed my hunger, but fuel my body (and workouts) and keep me healthy. That meant good proteins – chicken, beef, pork, fish — and lots of vegetables and fruits, along with a stockpile of carbohydrates. Proteins can easily be frozen, and many carbohydrates (brown rice and oatmeal) can simply be put away. But I had to learn how to keep fresh vegetables for longer periods of time (eg. clean, parboil and freeze).
Second, I needed a plan for continuing my workouts, and in a way that was interesting and continued to challenge my growth. This is where having a coach was key. And not just any coach, but one who knows you well. Coach G adjusted my workouts based on the few pieces of key equipment I was able to scrounge up, while I had to get used to the initially awkward notion of working out at home, in my living room, in full view of my neighbors and my roommate (noise-canceling earphones are great from disconnecting yourself from the world and focusing on your task at hand!).
Within a week, I started to notice something had changed (for the better), and now 4 weeks into this new way of living, it’s starting to become routine. I cook just about every single meal and creating a balanced plate of protein, vegetables, fats, and carbohydrates to fuel and nourish my body. I’ve cooked everything including lemongrass grilled pork chops, mapo tofu, steak fajitas, vegetable stew, and Italian meatballs. And while continuing to work remotely at my full-time job, I have also continued to work out consistently 5-6 days a week. Even on days when I may be a bit worn out from work, I’m finding I have the physical and mental capacity to get it done. And perhaps that’s because of the most remarkable thing to emerge out of this period – getting the 7-8hrs of sleep that we all need.
Many have called COVID-19 the “forced reset” and it truly is. By stripping away everything, we are forced to re-evaluate, relearn and rebuild. Whereas before we were always too busy to slow down and truly think about what matters to us, we have that time now. This can be a moment of big reinvention for each of us individually, and collectively as a society, if we choose to. I, for one, can’t imagine going back to the previous way of living. I have found, and will continue to find, better ways forward!
Thanks for being an amazing coach and friend!
Let me say this, I cannot imagine not having a coach like you, you specifically, guiding and supporting my life.” – Bryan Cheung