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How I'm Taking Care of Myself (well, it's really about You)

How I'm Taking Care of Myself (well, it's really about You)

Billy Pratt, BA, CPT, PAS, GIPS, CFMSP, Pn1

Monday March 16th at around 11:00am I received word that the studio was mandated to close indefinitely as of 8:00pm that night.  I haven't told many others this but I was thinking of closing us down for 1-2 weeks anyways to help do our part with what was rapidly becoming a real concern in the community.  But it was that word "indefinitely" which really bothered me - are we talking a couple weeks?  months?  Nobody knew (and as of March 31st we still don't, though the official order stands at a May 1st reopening - though it is likely that could change so please do not treat that as a hard date).  The funny part to all this is I thought I would have all this free time on my hands now that we're shut down - but in actuality I have less.  I have spent the better part of the last two weeks buried in paperwork, phone calls, video conferences, glued to my computer filling out forms and strategizing.  Loan paperwork which takes hours upon hours to compile (how are we going to pay rent?  when do we need to ask for a deferment?  how do I make sure my staff can pay for their rent, food, etc.?), in addition to the release of our new Virtual Training service to help existing clients continue to make some measure of progress (or at least prevent the dreaded backslide) has made making my health a priority challenging.  But what kind of fitness person would I be if I let all this nonsense get in the way of keeping my body's immune system reinforced and continue to feel good?  There are three ways I'm managing this and holding fast to my commitment to myself:

(hint: you can too!) 

1.) Exercise - gotta have it!  Gotta do it.  I work best in a structure (surprise surprise) so I still keep a record of what I'm doing to make sure there is room for progress (e.g. 155x10 on Friday so push for 165x10 today).  Yesterday I did a PHA (Peripheral Heart Action, i.e. circuit) routine of Standing Press, Squat, Curl, and Heel Raise.  Tomorrow I'll do the same kind of routine but change the exercises to make my routine more balanced.  Is this the sine qua non of exercise programming?  No, far from it.  But it is something I can do to work on my conditioning and keep all the hormonal benefits that come with resistance training.  Right now my focus is on losing nothing I have gained, clear my head when it needs clearing, and perhaps even continue to progress.  It can be done and will be - because it's that important to me.
2.) Lifestyle - staring at a computer screen for so long does not feel good.  So I only do so much work before getting up and reading a chapter or going for a walk outside.  Repeated disengagement from "sit down work" is the key and there are innumerable things you can do to help: read, exercise, study a subject, just be outside, pray, meditate, spend quality time with the family.  Just disengage regularly and live.
3.) Nutrition - if we want to talk about fighting disease or illness the best way is to boost your body's immunity.  I went shopping at BJs last week and it was ridiculous to see everybody panic-shopping for paper products and bulk processed foods while the produce aisle was near-overflowing and they had to get rid of what was old and wilting.  All that produce just sitting there is loaded with disease-fighting micro- and phytonutrients.  My own personal nutritional fortification list includes blueberries (high in anthocyanins, a very powerful member of the antioxidant family), turmeric (high in curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory & antioxidant), all manner of leafy greens, and frozen mixed vegetables (yes, frozen veggies are just as good as fresh as long as they weren't sitting too long before entering the freezer).  Boom - immunity explosion right there!  You don't have to follow exactly what I do but you get the idea - fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs help the body fight off unwanted invaders and operate at a high level of performance. 

So that's what I'm doing to keep myself in the shape I want to be in during these disruptive times, but despite the title this wasn't really about me - I want to help you make sure your health & fitness stays a priority.  Exercise with a plan, fill your gaps with activities that you feel are beneficial (and make gaps if you don't have any), and feed your body with whole, colorful foods - it may not eliminate the current crisis we're having but it will help increase your resilience and ability to adapt.  

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