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RYPT: UNCHARTED TERRITORY PART-1
Written by
Bobby Smith, MS, CSCS, *D, RSCC *D & Pat Livesey, MS, CSCS

Uncharted territory is where we are right now in the world of training, sport performance, and competitive athletics.

We have never been in a time where we have not been able to train and compete with unlimited resources at our disposal.  We are used to having a choice between which gym we could be a member at or which sports performance facility we want to train at for the summer, or even something as simple as which state park/trail we were going to run that day.  And as quick as that final school bell used to ring at the end of the school day, all these options have been closed and shut down and it is unclear when we will be able to return to any resemblance of normal.

Our hope, all around, is that slowly we will begin to return to our normal training routines.  Regardless of where we preferred to go or how we preferred to train, re-opening dates have been pushed back time and time again, especially in the Northeast Region of the country.  Charles Darwin once said that “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.  It is the one that is most adaptable to change”.  This couldn’t be truer right now.

We cannot sit around and sulk that our seasons have been stripped from our grasps.  We cannot become lazy, just because our local gym of choice is shut down and closed.  We cannot let our progress diminish because practices and games are nowhere in sight.  We need to adapt.  Adapt as a whole, as a community, and together to push through this challenging time and come out stronger on the other end.

For many of us, we are accustomed to training with professional equipment: a sturdy power rack and platform, safe flooring to drop the weights down on, and colorful bumper plates to load up those bars.  But perhaps this training environment isn’t at your disposal anymore. What can you do? More importantly, what SHOULD you do?

We spoke with Seton Hall University Strength Coach, Angelo Gingerelli, and asked him what he is expecting from his Division 1 College Athletes during this time and he put it best, “if you are not sick, or not in a position to get others around you sick, you can, and should go out and get something done. Be physically active”.  Essentially he is saying that we simply need to just do whatever we can.  Traditionally, a college athlete’s summer training schedule is about 4 months (depending on when his or her sports season falls), during which time he or she focuses on strength and conditioning in preparation for their up-coming season.  Right now, every athlete is looking at being away from their college strength coach from March to September, and honestly, possibly longer.  So, what are college coaches expecting when you return this fall.  “I can’t be mad if my athletes return to school not as strong as I want them to be, but I’m allowed to be mad if they come back unconditioned”.  (A word from Dr. Sharon Wentworth, Elite Sports Physical Therapy…This does not mean that you should run yourself into the ground and end up with tendonitis, shin splints, etc. Getting super skinny from running everyday and not strength training is absolutely NOT what your coach wants. Do as much strength training as you can and be smart about your cardiovascular conditioning. Cross train by alternating days of impact and non-impact cardio. For example, run one day and bike the next. Just be smart and listen to your body.)

The takeaway from Coach Gingerelli is that you need to stay physically active with whatever you have at your disposal.  Whether it is your mom or dad’s old dumbbells in the garage, or the 20 yards of grass in your backyard.  You need to find a routine and adapt your training to the best of your ability with what you have.  At RYPT we realize that it is not easy to come up with your own safe and effective sports performance sessions. That is why we are offering virtual RYPT classes 3 times a week. No, it is not the same as being in the gym with top-of-the-line equipment and my loud voice coaching you from across the turf, but it is still a program backed with education and we are still giving all we can to our athletes, even if there is a Zoom screen between us!

Basically, you have 2 options: 1) Binge watch Netflix during the days of quarantine and diminish your physical ability OR 2) Adapt,  create new habits, and come out of this better than before.

Coach Adam Feit, Springfield College’s strength and conditioning coach, talked to RYPT athletes about the importance of habit building.  One thing he recommends is to create quadrants and separate your activities into these 4 boxes.  The boxes are labeled, “Urgent, Not Urgent, Important, Not Important”.  By simply creating this template, and inserting your daily activities into the perspective slots, you will be able to see which things need to take precedent over other maybe not so important activities.

As we ride through this pandemic together, we need to all adapt individually.  Find out what is important to you and figure out a way to get it done.  Time cannot be an excuse right now, as we all have plenty of it.  If you disagree and feel that time is a reason why you cannot go outside and get 30-60 minutes of exercise, then perhaps you are realizing that playing a sport at the next level really isn’t for you.  Like Darwin said, it’s not the strongest or most intelligent, but instead the one who can adapt.  Stay safe and stay home but keep training as hard as you can with whatever you’ve got.

  If you prioritize nutrition and recovery, you will allow your body to function at its highest level, reduce the risk of injury, and be able to reach your potential.