August 31, 2022
Confronting Covid in our Training
WRITTEN BY JJ Pepper

Look, I don’t like it, but I believe in calling a spade a spade—and the fact of the matter is the ‘rona is here to stay. And as the world learns to navigate this new reality, I think it’s important for us to dispel fear and anxiety by opening up and talking about options regarding how to best adapt one’s training when confronted with a positive ro-ro test. The goal: to expedite returning to the previous training block as quickly and safely as possible. I will be providing suggestions that I personally used to navigate my recent episode with my new brovid. These suggestions will be part of a holistic and practical approach for those both vaccinated and not. The protocol can also be used in addition to Western medicine when navigating other viral or bacterial infections.

Preface:

I have been an avid and consistent practitioner of the Wim Hot Breathwork technique since being introduced four years ago. This technique is essentially the Tummo breath practice used by Tibetan monks for hundreds to thousands of years. It is just simplified and packaged for easier consumption and distribution. Regardless, the practice is very effective.

I will be leaving a link to literature on breathwork and the importance of breathing, and I believe every human could benefit from reading “Breath” by James Nestor. It’s essential information for those interested in diving deeper into the science of Wim Hoff/Tummo and countless other breathing techniques, practices, and general research findings.

The Fall:

My lovely partner came down with Covid upon returning from a trip to Colorado. Of course I stepped up to help care for her and keep her comfortable; and given the small confines of our lovely domicile, I knew it was only a matter of time for me unless I was just straight up immune. Alas, I am not and I was stricken by Corona(-na-na-na-na-na…Batman). Knowing she was probably going to pass it on to me, while stocking her up with supplies, I got the next wave ready: plenty of immune-boosting support via zinc supplements, vitamin C supplements, vitamin D supplements, Gatorade, water, and all of the classic soups and broths that are easy to tolerate when feeling under the weather. I didn’t need toilet paper because it’s gross and we have a bidet and it’s time for America to hop on that long-overdue train.

#1 Keep your practices up but definitely have some basic supplies prepared.

I kept up my consistent breathwork and movement practice until the day the positive result came in.

Damage Control, aka Survive:

The moment I tested positive (I was on the first week of increasing intensity in my training, aka basic 5s), it was time to cut ties with where I was in my program.

#2 Cut ties with where you currently are in training; the quicker you can let go of that the sooner we can pivot toward things that will get you back there as quickly as possible. Trust me, skip the denial phase and keep that ego from getting too humbled; this isn’t a big deal and you’ll be back soon. You will be going back to volume regardless, which we will get to in due time. It was a bummer for me as I had my best set of 10s of the whole year so 5s was looking promising but in the end it’s not about numbers, it’s about the lifestyle.

Seriously though, STOP what you’re doing and get yourself in bed because we’ve got one hell of a wave to ride. The main wave can last anywhere from 5-14 days so especially in the early onset when symptoms hit hard, get in bed, stage your supplements, water, electrolytes, and soup, turn on your favorite show and sleep and rest as much as possible. If you have an easily accessible sunny space, I encourage direct sunlight intermittently throughout the day. I also would alternate between hot epsom salt baths and quick cold rinses 1-2 times a day. For me, days 2 and 3 were the peak. When you feel like you’ve crossed that threshold, and you’ll most certainly know, this can be the time to slowly reintroduce walking and breathwork. I began really modestly: 1/2-mile walk and maybe 1 round of WH breathing and some light joint circles (CARs for my FRC folk). The lingering fatigue is very real so approach your progression with grace and compassion. Days 4-7 looked like this with small increments of improvement; 1/2 mile + 1 round, 3/4 mile + 2 rounds, 1 mile + 2 rounds, 1 mile + 3 rounds for reference (no rules here, just do it, could be done altogether in whatever order, or spread throughout the day). Day 8 I tested negative and it was time to RISE.

The Rise and Ramp-Up

#3 The typical guidelines recommended are waiting 5-10 days after your last negative test before reintegrating movement. If you’re at all concerned, I recommend that guideline. I was feeling good and ready to start reintegration. Whether you wait that extra week or not, my guidelines will be the same. The first week back focused on Stability, Cardio, and Contrast Therapy. I encourage you to reintegrate at a similar level as you were doing before, so if you trained 2 times a week before, then jump back into movement for 2 days/wk; I have consistently trained 6 days a week for a long time so I jumped back in there. No pressure here, though; play it by ear and don’t be a hero because superman is a moron and batman is a trust fund douchebag and we don’t have time for that.

This is literally how my training was laid out for my ramp-up. Simple, light, and tight. I did my training at Central Athlete. I kept consistently walking 1-2+ miles and doing my breathwork as well.

M-W-F=Stabilize          

Sun-T-Th=Cardio and Contrast, aka Heart and Head Strength 

Saturday= Sit down and shut up

STABILIZE:

warmup-5 minute easy pace air bike (or any cyclical cardio modality-row, jump rope, walk, jog, ski-erg)

A1) Wall Sit

30-45s x 3 sets

A2) Copenhagen Plank (straight leg, or bent leg, or traditional side plank)

20-30 seconds each side x 3 sets

B) Supinated Chin Over Vertical Plane Hold

15-30s x 3 sets

C1) Sorenson

30-45s x 3 sets

C2) Isometric Split Squat

20-30s each leg

D1) Plank Army Crawler

30-45s x 3 sets

D2) Ring Row Hold

30-45s x 3 sets

cooldown-10 minute vibration plate

CARDIO+CONTRAST

warmup-full body joint circles (CARs)

A) Bike Erg

30 minutes @ 60-75 RPM (low resistance)

B) IR Sauna

20-35 minutes @125-135 degrees

C) Cold Tub

1-5 minutes (any amount of time, really)

cooldown—10 minute vibration plate

I ran this for 1 week but I would be ok and confident with running this for even 3-4 weeks before jumping back into a return to your previous program and volume. Simple, efficient, hitting all major stability lines with infinite opportunities for modification, addition, regression, and progression. 

The Return:
      I am confident 1-4 weeks of Cardio + Stability + Contrast will get one efficiently prepared to safely jump back in. (Or just ride it out for the rest of your life because you really can’t have too much of Cardio and Stability.)

From here I was able to move back into my key compound lifts and auxiliaries. As mentioned before, it’s important to return to a phase of volume to reintegrate yourself with the resistance demands. Once again, you just came out of something intense, so don’t be surprised if you need to start lighter and give yourself the grace and permission to do so and you will quickly build it back. I jumped back into 10s, lightened up my previous loads, slowly rebuilt it and got back to my previous level of tens and safely transitioned to 5s. A few weeks late yet right on schedule ;)

Covid may be here to stay, but so are we and we at Central Athlete will always step up to help our fellow humans navigate whatever trials and tribulations the world throws at us. I would love to see you in a strategy session sometime soon if you’re ever in need of guidance. Breathe deep and keep chippin’ away, champions!

In Movement

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