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Preparing for Basic Training in the Era of Social Distancing

By Mark S. Cassidy, MS and Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS

Weeks ago, our lives and our society as we operate have indelibly changed.  In the months preceding widespread lockdowns, the insidious and highly transmissible pathogen COVID-19, stealthily coursed the globe. This virus has infected millions and contributed to an extremely high number of deaths worldwide.

Mark Cassidy - Certified Personal Trainer InstructorWhile the COVID-19 pandemic has paralyzed a continuum of industries and businesses, our nation’s great military charges on.  They have assisted in erecting temporary hospitals, bolstering our nation’s law enforcement and security functions, distributing rations to displaced and needy citizens, and joining healthcare professionals on the frontlines.

And for those who have recently enlisted or are contemplating enlistment, preparation cannot cease. Just because local gyms and athletic facilities have temporarily closed, that doesn’t mean one should abandon their physical preparedness.  Each recruit, irrespective of their branch, will be called upon to complete a physical fitness test.

One can adequately prepare by incorporating a full-body resistance training regimen along with high-intensity cardiovascular activities that can be performed at home with minimal to no equipment.  This will ensure increases in muscle strength, lean body mass, and cardiorespiratory fitness needed to meet the rigors of basic training.

Although there are some slight variations, all branches of the military have some form of physical fitness requirement for entrance into their respective community.  The following is a list of these requirements for each branch (as of January 2020).  The scoring for each test is determined by the particular branch; along with the order or substitutions of exercises.

Marine Corps

  • 2-minutes of abdominal crunches
  • Pull-ups for maximum repetitions
  • 3-mile run
  • Push-ups for maximum repetitions

Navy

  • 2-minutes of push-ups
  • 2-minutes of sit-ups
  • 5-mile run or 500yd/450m swim

Air Force

  • 1-minute of push-ups
  • 1-minute of sit-ups
  • 5-mile timed run

Coast Guard

  • 1-minute of push-ups
  • 1-minute of sit-ups
  • 5-mile timed run

Army

  • Standing Power / Medicine Ball Throw
  • Deadlift for a three-repetition maximum
  • Hand release push-ups for 2 minutes
  • 50-meter sprint (3 x), 50-meter drag of a 90 lbs. sled, 50-meter carry of two 40 lbs. kettlebells
  • Hanging leg tucks for 2 minutes
  • 2-mile timed run

 

Service Academy Fitness Assessment 

The Service Academies of the Air Force (USAFA), Navy (USNA), Army (USMA), and the Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) use the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA)

  • Kneeling basketball throw for distance
  • Cadence pull-ups for repetitions
  • 120 ft. shuttle-run for time
  • 1-minute of crunches
  • 1-minute of push-ups
  • 1-mile run

Although there is no direct substitute for performing any of the actual testing exercises, performing a holistic resistance training program will help with the preparation of the actual test.

The resistance / full-body workout, will hit each major muscle group.  The initial program will go for 30 days (4 weeks), with 5 workout days and 2 light/rest days per week.  If you do not have access to free-weight equipment, you can substitute in something else while performing the movements. (Example: therapy bands, kettlebells, medicine balls, or even bricks, jugs of water or buckets of sand could work)

It is up to each individual to determine the amount of intensity, resistance or repetitions they can handle on each day.  Keep in mind that the military is a physically and mentally demanding profession, so working until a point of fatigue (or failure) can be a good guideline.  However, never use a workout intensity or resistance load that causes you to become injured.

Taking into consideration any nutritional / meal requirements, staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water and attempting to get seven to nine hours of sleep a day, is also important during your training.

If necessary, contact a certified Athletic Trainer, Strength Coach, Fitness Professional or Health Care Provider for additional guidance.

Resistance Program

Monday:
(10 – 15 minute warm-up and stretch should be done to start the program)
(The rest time between sets can be 30 – 90 seconds)
Dumbbell Shoulder Squat: 4-5 sets 10-12 repetitions
Dumbbell Bench / Lat Rows: 3-4 sets 12-15 repetitions
Dumbbell Lifts / Back Extensions 4-sets 8-10 repetitions
Dumbbell Bench Press: 4-5 sets 10-12 repetitions
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3-4 sets 12-15 repetitions

Cardio Work: 15 – 20 minute light jog / walk

 

Tuesday:
(10 – 15 minute warm-up and stretch should be done to start the program)
(The rest time between sets can be 30-90 seconds)
Seated Knee Tucks: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions
Wide Hand Push-Ups: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions
Full Sit-Ups: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions
Pull-Ups: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions
Mountain Climbers: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions

Cardio Work: 10 – 15 Sprints for 40-50 yards

 

Wednesday:
Active Rest Day
15 – 30 minutes of stretchers for the entire body
15 – 30 minutes of cardiovascular work by a light-brisk walk

 

Thursday:
(10 – 15 minute warm-up and stretch should be done to start the program)
(The rest time between sets can be 30-90 seconds)
Barbell Bench Press: 4-5 sets 10-12 repetitions
Barbell Dead Lifts: 3-4 sets 12-15 repetitions
Barbell Up-Right Rows: 4-sets 8-10 repetitions
Dumbbell Bicep Curls: 4-5 sets 10-12 repetitions
Dumbbell Triceps Extensions: 3-4 sets 12-15 repetitions

Cardio Work: 15 – 20 minute light jog / walk

 

Friday:
(10 – 15 minute warm-up and stretch should be done to start the program)
(The rest time between sets can be 30-90 seconds)
Full Sit-Ups: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions
Narrow Hand Push-Ups: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions
Standing Oblique Twists: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions
Lying Supine Back Extensions: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions
Mountain Climbers: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions

Cardio Work: 10 – 15 Sprints for 40-50 yards

 

Saturday:
(10 – 15 minute warm-up and stretch should be done to start the program)
(The rest time between sets can be 60 – 120 seconds)
Jumping Jacks: 4-5 sets 15-20 repetitions
Walking Forward Lunges: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions
Jump Squats: 4-5 sets 8-10 repetitions
Side Steps: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions
Depth Jumps: 4-5 sets 8-10 repetitions

Cardio Work: 15 – 20 minute light jog / walk

 

Sunday:
Active Rest
30 – 60 minutes of Stretching / Yoga / Meditation

 

Substitute Exercises

In the event that you would not have access to the type of resistance exercise equipment necessary to perform the movement or for some reason you found the exercise too difficult, below is a list of substitution exercises that you can utilize in any of the program’s daily workouts:

Narrow Stance Body Weight Squats: 4-5 sets 12-15 repetitions
Single Leg Body Weight Squats: 4-5 sets 5-8 repetitions on each leg
Stationary Lateral Lunges: 3-4 sets 5-8 repetitions on each leg
Single Leg Standing Calf Raise: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions on each leg
Clapping Hands Push-Ups: 3-4 sets 8-10 repetitions
Non-Symmetrical Hand Placement Push-Ups: 3-4 sets 8-10 repetitions
Single Arm Push-Ups: 3-4 sets 5-8 repetitions on each arm
Side Plank: 3-4 sets hold 30-45 seconds on each side
Bicycle Abs / Knee to Elbow: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions on each side
Superman: 3-4 sets 10-12 repetitions
Chair Dips: 4-5 sets 10-12 repetitions

 

Summary

It will be best to begin training 3 to 4 months in advance of the actual fitness testing date.  This will allow time for a certified Athletic Trainer, Strength Coach or Fitness Professional to make recommendations on when to change intensity, time and exercise variations, to help the probability of your success.

To find out when a particular branch of the military is scheduling fitness tests, contact your local recruiting office for specific details.

Here are websites that can be used for reference:
https://amops.org/
https://www.military.com
https://www.todaysmilitary.com

 

Thank you in advance for your service to our country!

 

Mark S. Cassidy, MS has been an educational instructor with the W.I.T.S. organization since 2000. He has held professional positions with The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia 76ers, YMCA, Delaware Blue Coats, Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, and American Heart Association.  Mark has an Associate’s degree in Business from Delaware County Community College, a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Temple University and a Master’s degree in Organizational Development/Business Psychology from The Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  He has professional experience as a Fitness Instructor, Strength Coach, Sports Coach-Counselor, Exercise Therapist, Sales Manager, College Professor, and Athletic Facility Director.

Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS is an educational instructor with the World Instructor Training Schools, fitness and recreation specialist at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and an adjunct faculty member at Eastern University and Chestnut Hill College where he teaches exercise science electives. Previously, Giandonato served as the Manager of Health Promotion and Wellness at Drexel University, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Germantown Academy, and Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Saint Joseph’s University.

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Insurance & Coverage In The Age Of COVID-19

CPH & Associates is committed to supporting our clients during the Covid-19 pandemic. We understand that many of you have had to alter the way you practice in order to face this unprecedented challenge.

As you shift to providing training sessions via online platforms, we are pleased to assure you that your professional liability policy covers online/video services, per the terms and conditions of the policy. There is no additional “rider” or endorsement that you need to add to your policy to be covered for these services. We encourage you to confirm that you are providing services legally within the scope of your state’s laws.

It is important to ensure you are protected while you continue to see clients during this time. Injury and mishaps can still occur, especially with the limitations of online/video training and the lack of hands-on instruction. A policy with CPH provides peace of mind while you and your clients adapt to unfamiliar methods of working together.

Questions about your policy? Please call us at 800-875-1911 or send us an email at info@cphins.com.

Interested in learning more about our coverage for W.I.T.S. members? Please click here for our Coverage Highlights.

Please let us know if you need anything else!

Sarah HolionaCPH & Associates insurance COVID-19

Phone: 800-875-1911
Website: www.cphins.com
Address: 711 S. Dearborn St, Ste. 205 | Chicago, IL 60605

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W.I.T.S. Faculty Cindy Senk Helping in a Time of Need

Cindy SenkW.I.T.S. is excited to share the amazing work our faculty are doing during this unprecedented time. Cindy Senk has been a part of the W.I.T.S. Team of Instructors for the Massachusetts and Connecticut area for the past year. Her students love her, and it is easy to see why. Cindy has over 35 years of experience in the fitness field, and a heart of gold. Cindy has lived with Osteoarthritis for the past 48 years, and has a passion for helping others living with arthritis as well! Cindy is using her skills and passion to host free classes during the Covid-19 pandemic through the Arthritis Foundation. Learn more by visiting the Arthritis Foundation’s Living With Arthritis Blog article How Can I Be of Service to Others?

About W.I.T.S.

World Instructor Training Schools (W.I.T.S.) took the national stage in 1993 to change the fitness industry. W.I.T.S. develops and administers certification programs for competent practice in personal training. W.I.T.S. is the first in the fitness industry to earn NCCA accreditation for testing the written core knowledge and practical skill competencies of personal training. W.I.T.S. offers fitness courses and certification testing locations in 39 states in the U.S. and in Canada. W.I.T.S. has the largest college and university testing network in the industry.

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Maintaining Your Cardiorespiratory Fitness while Maintaining Your Distance

by Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

Disclaimer: The content disseminated in this article shall not be constituted as medical advice, nor should any of the suppositions set forth supersede the time-sensitive directives enacted by government organizations and public health agencies which are both empirically driven and continually evolving.

The decree of social distancing has now been embedded in our lives, influencing how we tackle mundane tasks we formerly took for granted.

COVID-19 and the resultant societal shutdown have grinded virtually every aspect of life to a screeching halt, but that doesn’t mean your workouts should be shelved. In fact, with a little introspection and a modicum of creativity, one can still maintain, or even elevate their game during these otherwise trying times.

Here’s some encouraging news, in the few weeks since your gym or fitness studio closed its doors, it’s doubtful that you’ve lost everything you worked so hard for.

Aerobic endurance can be maintained for a period of up to (30) days. Though, among highly trained endurance athletes, slight decrements in aerobic power and capacity are observed within three weeks of total inactivity. However, these losses can be attenuated by incorporating cross-training, or a combination of exercise modalities to develop fitness qualities, or in this case, maintain one’s fitness level.

For those unable to safely venture outside due to a dearth of running trails nearby or residing within an area with a high population density, these workouts should do the trick in keeping you in shape. Additionally, the inclusion of traditional strength exercises, involving your bodyweight, or household objects and fixtures, something most recreational runners already eschew, can improve your running economy, a term that describes the efficiency your body utilizes energy at a given velocity. Strength training adeptly strengthens muscles and tendons, enabling them to absorb, store, and redirect forces sustained during running gait.

Here’s a circuit that lengthens and strengthens muscles while keeping your heart rate at or near the pace you’re maintaining during your runs.

Circuit

Perform each numbered block (i.e. “1, 2, 3” for as many rounds as desired, or possible with little to no rest between exercises).

1a) Alternating Heel Grab with Overhead Reach 1 x 10 repetitions (each side)
1b) Alternating Reverse Lunge 1 x 10 repetitions (each side)
1c) Shuffle Steps 20 repetitions total
1d) High Knees x :15 seconds

2a) Alternating Groiner with Thoracic Rotation 1 x 5 (each side)
2b) Push-up 1 x 10 repetitions
2c) Prone Robbery Exercise (scapular retraction and shoulder external rotation) 1 x 15 repetitions
2d) Alternating Cook Hip Lift 1 x 10 repetitions (each side)

3a) Prisoner Squat 1 x 10 repetitions
3b) Side Plank with Hip Abduction (Leg Raise) 1 x 10 repetitions (each side)
3c) Prone Alternating Shoulder Touch 20 repetitions total
3d) Burpee 1 x 3 repetitions total

Try it out and if trekking outdoors, be sure to keep your distance as the most recent recommendation is maintaining 6 feet or more between you and others who may be sharing the same trail, sidewalk, or roadway.

Reference

Coyle, E.F., Martin, W.H., Sinacore, D.R., Joyner, M.J., Hagberg, J.M., & Holloszy, J.O. (1984). Time course loss of adaptations after stopping prolonged intense endurance training. Journal of Applied Physiology, Respiratory, Environmental Exercise Physiology, 57 (6), 1857-1864.

Joe GiandonatoJoseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS presently serves as a fitness specialist at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he assists with the oversight of recreational and college-wide wellness programming. Giandonato also serves as a part-time faculty member at Eastern University and Chestnut Hill College, where he teaches Exercise Science electives. Previously, Giandonato served as the manager of Health Promotion and Wellness at Drexel University where he initiated and implemented the award winning A HEALTHIER U campus wellness initiative. Additionally, Giandonato serves as an instructor for the World Instructor Training Schools, through which he’s helped certify hundreds of personal trainers since 2010.

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Staying Fit in the Age of Social Distancing

As we continue to practice social distancing and local fitness facilities remain closed, we’ve received a lot of inquiries regarding opportunities for exercising while remaining at home. We’re here to help! Here is a short list of free fitness options that you can either provide to your clients, use for yourselves, or both!

We hope you like this addition and please share what your club group or W.I.T.S. alumni business is providing for their clients and community virtually. Be safe and healthy as we do this together.

Planet Fitness – Planet Fitness is offering a way for everyone — members and non-members — to work on their fitness while at home. Every day at 7 p.m. Eastern, the gym will be live-streaming “Work-Ins” on Facebook.

ClassPass – ClassPass is offering free unlimited access to 2,000 video and audio workouts when you create an account and download the app.

305 Fitness – 305 Fitness is offering at-home dance classes that will help you work up a sweat. The studio is live-streaming cardio dance workouts on its YouTube channel twice a day that you can playback at any time.

Life Time – You can now get your favorite yoga, cardio and strength-training classes on demand! Life Time invites members and non-members to experience a good workout for free, and new classes get added every day.

OrangeTheory – Orangetheory is uploading new 30-minute workout videos to its Facebook page and website every day to help you achieve your health goals without leaving your living room. Be prepared to use just about anything you can find around the house for resistance!

Blink Fitness – Every weekday at 8 a.m. ET, log on to Facebook to get access to Blink Fitness’ live streams that will focus on a certain part of the body.

Gold’s Gym – Membership or not, Gold’s Gym is offering free access to its online collection of over 600 audio and video workouts until the end of May 2020.

Fit On – You can work out with celebrity trainers every day for free and get the superstar treatment when you try out the FitOn app. You will be able to customize your fitness plan according to your schedule and will have access to over 100 classes that focus on cardio, strength and even some exercises for pregnant women!

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Vitamins to Support Your Body’s Immune System

Mark Cassidy - Certified Personal Trainer InstructorBy Mark S. Cassidy, MS

COVID-19 is now causing major health concerns throughout the United States along with the world. Close to 150 nations are being affected by this virus and (as of March 2020) there is no vaccine currently on the market.  However, that doesn’t mean that people can’t take proactive measures to help slow the spread of the virus.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has made the following daily recommendations:

  • Limit social gatherings and keep approximately 6 feet of distance (Social Separation)
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay at home if you are sick (Self Quarantine)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or disinfected wipe
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

All of these recommendations by the CDC are important.  But we can all do more.

Viruses negative effects on the body are influenced by one’s own immune system.  The stronger and healthier your immune system is, the more efficient you are to fighting back against bacteria and viruses.  It is very important for us to maintain a healthy immune system.  Therefore, a proper diet that is filled with the necessary vitamins is needed, to help against harmful germs.

The vitamins that should be taken to help maintain a healthy immune system are as follows:

VITAMIN C

Vitamins C takes aggressive action towards germs causing damage to your immune system.  Vitamin C strengthens the cells that help in killing the germs, hence providing a boost to the immune system.  In the body, Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, working to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals.  (Antioxidant – is a substance that inhibits oxidation, deterioration or reactions promoted by oxygen, peroxides, or free radicals).  Vitamin C helps the body make collagen and helps improve the absorption of iron from plant-based foods.

Citrus fruits and green vegetables are all great sources of vitamin C.

VITAMIN A

Vitamin A is often associated with vision, but it also has a positive role in a strong immune system.  Vitamin A is considered to be a defensive line for the immune system because it helps keep the germs and the viruses from entering the body.  Vitamin A helps in keeping the mucous membrane moist and soft (which can be found in the nose, throat and mouth).  The mucous membrane needs to be kept moist and soft because this helps it in trapping the germs and stopping them from infiltration into the body.  Vitamin A also creates the enzymes that boost the immune system, along with playing a role in the maintenance of body linings and skin reproduction.

Vitamin A can be found in vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, carrots and squash, along with breakfast cereals, dairy products and some types of fish.

VITAMIN B6

Vitamin B6 (chemically know as pyridoxine) is a critically important nutrient with a wide range of functions.  Vitamin B6 is involved with more than a hundred enzyme reactions, within the body, involved in metabolism.  (Metabolism – is the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life).  Vitamin B6 plays a big role in protein metabolism, making hemoglobin (that is needed in blood – oxygen transportation) and boosts to proper immune function.

Vitamin B6 comes from a variety of foods such as chicken, fish, potatoes, starchy vegetables and non-citrus fruits.

VITAMIN E

Vitamin E is good in boosting the immune system to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.   Vitamin E helps in the production of the protein, interleukin-2, which is a protein that kills bacteria, viruses and germs when the body is infected.  The protein (interleukin-2) that is produced by vitamin E is also used in the treatment of certain cancers.

Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and green, leafy vegetables are all good sources of Vitamin E.

VITAMIN D

Vitamin D supports the immune system and is necessary for building and maintaining healthy bones.  The reason for this is calcium, which is the primary component of bone, can only be absorbed by your body when adequate amounts of vitamin D are present.  Your body is able to make vitamin D when direct sunlight converts a chemical in your skin into an active form of vitamin D (called calciferol).

Vitamin D isn’t found in many foods naturally, but you can get it from fortified milk, fortified cereal, and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.

Each of these vitamins can be obtained through food, eaten during a balanced diet.  However, you could also choose to take any (or all) of these vitamins through supplementation.  A multi-vitamin or a combination of vitamin tablets (once a day) will be sufficient to help your body’s immune system remain strong and healthy during these tough times.

Being proactive with your health, is a benefit to you and the people around you.

Stay safe.

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Epidemic Survival Strategies for Fitness Enthusiasts and Professionals

by Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

Disclaimer: The content disseminated in this article shall not be constituted as medical advice, nor should any of the suppositions set forth supersede the time-sensitive directives enacted by government organizations and public health agencies which are both empirically driven and continually evolving.

Joe GiandonatoEvery aspect of our lives has been seized by ambiguity, uncertainty, and downright worry. Seemingly no societal stone has been left unturned as countless industries have been disrupted resulting in the cancellations of tens of thousands of commercial flights, countless commencement ceremonies, dozens of competitive seasons and respective postseason tournaments, prominently including March Madness, the NBA Finals, and NHL Stanley Cup, while shattering global tourism.

The coronavirus has begun to make its indelible footprint on life as we know it. However, through full adherence to evolving public health measures as a means to “flatten the curve” of growing cases while adopting a resolve of acceptance and adapting under a new set of circumstances, our society can surmount what mainstream media leads everyone to believe as an existential threat to civilization.

According to multiple media sources, this coronavirus strain, also known as COVID-19, initially emerged from the Wuhan region of the Hubei province located in southeastern China. Though conflicting reports prevail precisely from where and how this virus originated.

Coronaviruses are members of the subfamily Coronavirinae in the Coronviridae family under the order of Nidovirales and comprise four genera, or types of viruses, which have been shown to cause gastrointestinal and/or respiratory infections within mammals and birds. They have demonstrated the ability to transfect multiple species, jumping from one host to another through close contact. Additionally, they possess mutative abilities, meaning they can intensify into more virulent iterations of the virus, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in 2012 and 2013.

Though persons with the coronavirus exhibit symptoms similar to the flu, both viruses differ in their genomic and virion structures, with the coronavirus bearing doubly greater rates of infection and transmissibility than the flu. The case fatality rate of coronavirus, or the percentage of cases resulting in mortality range from 1.0-3.4% versus 0.1% for the seasonal flu.

Concerningly, no vaccines exist, however, scores of pharmaceutical companies spanning the globe are scrambling to develop one. Within weeks of its emergence in southeastern China, the virus’ genome, or unique strand of genetic information, was culled from an infected subject, helping fast track vaccine development. As of Monday, March 16th, human trials are underway with a vaccine prototype in the Seattle area.

Globally, our access to healthcare and advancements in science are in stark contrast to 1917 when the first wave of the great influenza pandemic hit. A century ago, physicians and scientists only read about viruses and since the electron microscope didn’t make its way to laboratory benches until the early 1940s, there was no way to identify the culprit that claimed the lives of 50 million people.

Further, sanitary practices weren’t as stringent in healthcare settings as they are present day. Poor sanitation, in conjunction with suboptimal personal hygiene and lack of intensive care units and sterile isolation areas, lent themselves to secondary bacteria infections which many theorize, ultimately choked the final breaths from flu-stricken victims.

Chances are, history won’t be repeating itself. Though municipalities that enacted travel constraints and preventive quarantine measures, fared better than cities with lax or non-existent standards during the pandemic, so we can expect continued restrictions to reduce the likelihood of infection.

  1. Pump down the volume and turn down the intensity.

If one has access to equipment during this time, it is recommended that restraint be employed pertaining to exercise intensity and volume as both have been implicated in temporarily suppressing immune system function as marked by increases in immune cell phenotypes, cortisol, and oxidative stress. Based on the review of the literature, acute singular bouts of exercise at or above lactate threshold (55% of VO2max among untrained individuals; 85% of VO2max among trained individuals) for periods of up to, or more than one hour, contributed to temporary immunosuppression. Regular exercise among individuals has shown to yield immunoprotective benefits. The takeaway here should be, exercise during this time should be regarded as a tool to reinvigorate and recover, not bury and deliberately fatigue. Sparingly perform sets to failure and limit volume at or beyond lactate threshold. Do what is necessary to maintain muscular fitness, such as endurance or hypertrophy, but do not try to force adaptation through grueling training modalities as temporary inflammation and metabolic and oxidative stress may leave you more vulnerable to infection, if exposed to the virus. Alternatively, one can train to improve maximal, or limit strength, since development of this fitness quality is dependent upon neural, not metabolic pathways that elicit heightened metabolic and oxidative stress that can impede immune system functioning. Also, one may engage in submaximal lower intensity steady state cardiovascular exercise without much metabolic or oxidative stress inducing consequences.

  1. Prioritize lagging fitness qualities or movement capacity.

This time can be better invested focusing on deficient fitness qualities, such as limit strength, if equipment avails, aerobic fitness, or soft tissue quality, muscular extensibility, flexibility, and stability and motor control, which in concert, can improve movement capacity. Aerobic fitness and movement capacity can be improved simultaneously through hybridized circuits such as the one outlined below:

Repeat 5 times with 1:30 rest between each sequence

  • Banded Pull Apart x 15 repetitions
  • Glute Bridge x 15 repetitions
  • Alternating Groiner with Thoracic Rotation x 6 repetitions (each side)
  • Alternating High Knee Hug to Forward Lunge x 6 repetitions (each side)
  • Yoga Push Up (High Plank to Downward Dog) x 6 repetitions
  • Squat to Overhead Reach x 15 repetitions
  • Burpee x 3 repetitions
  1. Catch up on vitamin “S”…sleep!

Slow wave, or deep sleep, has shown to bolster immune system functioning (1), whereas, deprivation, even for as little as a week, impedes phagocytosis (2), the body’s process of engulfing, internalizing, and processing foreign particles, or antigens, such as viruses and bacteria. Many athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and fitness professionals are sleep deprived. Now is the chance to catch up and get a solid seven to eight per night.

  1. Contemplate shifting to virtual mediums

With much of the country under lockdown and some jurisdictions, such as the state of California, restricting person over the 65 from leaving their homes, fitness professionals, especially those who are self-employed, should consider temporarily transitioning to virtual sessions conducted via Skype, Hangout, Blue Jeans, or FaceTime. Many of these applications are free and the majority of modern-day iPhones have FaceTime capabilities. If virtual training arrangements are not possible, fitness professionals should regularly check in with their clients to ensure they are staying on track, helping ease the transition when they will inevitably be meeting with you again.

  1. Invest some time in professional development.

Investor magnate Warren Buffet has a reputation as a voracious reader, consuming newspapers, novels, and journals in upwards of five hours per day. He attributes much of his success as an investor to possessing a wide breadth of knowledge on a number of subjects and industries. Many fitness professionals fail to reach five hours of reading, or more broadly, professional development per week, let alone per month. Use this time to devour a subject or domain on which you know very little or an area that will help you better service your clients.

Joseph Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS presently serves as a Fitness Specialist at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he assists with the oversight of recreational and college-wide wellness programming. Giandonato also serves as a part-time faculty member at Eastern University and Chestnut Hill College, where he teaches exercise science electives. Previously, Giandonato served as the Manager of Health Promotion and Wellness at Drexel University where he initiated and implemented the award winning A HEALTHIER U campus wellness initiative. Additionally, Giandonato serves as an instructor for the World Instructor Training Schools, through which he’s helped certify hundreds of personal trainers since 2010.

References

  1. Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Born, J. (2012). Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Archive European Journal of Physiology, 463 (1), 121-137.
  2. Said, E.A., Al-Abri, M.A., Al-Saidi, I., Al-Balushi, M.S., Al-Busaidi, J.Z., Al-Reesi, I., Koh, C.Y., Idris, M.A., Al-Jabri, A.A., & Habbal, O. (2019). Sleep deprivation alters neutrophil functions and levels of Th1-related chemokines and CD4⁺ T cells in the blood. Sleep and Breathing, 23 (4), 1331-1339.
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COVID-19 and Fitness: How Should We Proceed?

Written by
Dave Johnson, W.I.T.S. Curriculum Director

As many of you are aware, the world is currently battling a new pandemic, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). As of the publication of this post, there are over 100,000 confirmed cases across the globe and over 500 cases in the United States. Most public health experts anticipate continued spread throughout our communities and many people are choosing to stay home rather than continue their normal routines – which includes visiting their fitness facilities.

We’ve put together some tips to help navigate these difficult times. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out – we are here to help you!

  1. Increase hygienic protocols
    Your facility should already be wiping down equipment at the end of each business day (at a minimum) but now is the time to bump that frequency up to at least three times per day. Consider investing in hospital-grade disinfectant and increase the number of times you clean equipment. Alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol should be effective against the coronavirus, according to the CDC and here’s a comprehensive list of viable disinfectants from the EPA.Also, make sure your locker rooms and restrooms are fully stock with hand soap and paper towels.
  2. Be mindful of high-touch areas
    Take a walk around your facility and note how many areas are likely to be contacted by your clients’ hands. COVID-19 cannot be spread through sweat but it can be left on surfaces or objects that come in contact with hands. It is currently unknown how long the virus is viable on surfaces.Doorknobs, dumbbells, barbells, and handles are all prime examples of items that receive high touch-traffic throughout the day. If you are running a group fitness class, wipe down everything after each class.
  3. Encourage client participation
    Increase the availability of both hand sanitizer and disinfectant in your facility. Your job becomes much easier if your clients buy in to the sanitization process.Post additional signs encouraging people to wipe down their equipment after each use and be sure to mention hand-contact areas. Some facilities are allowing clients to bring their own wipes, as well.
  4. Decrease hands-on activities
    Do you love shaking hands with your clients or do you offer a hands-on training style? Do you currently offer classes that are high in the potential for skin-to-skin contact? Consider cancelling them for the time being. Any skin-to-skin contact increases the likelihood of transmission. 
  5. Increase your client communication
    Be proactive and reach out to your clients now. Send out an email blast and/or post on social media the steps your facility is taking to combat the spread of COVID-19. Assure your clients that their safety and well-being is your number one concern and you’re taking all the appropriate steps to maintain a safe training space.This message should also remind your clients that, if they are feeling ill, they should stay home and rest.

     

  6. Get staff on board
    If you currently manage a staff, make sure they are on board with your sanitization procedures. If you’re able to, consider dedicating at least one staff member per hour to be visible in the facility cleaning the equipment. Not only does it keep your facility clean but it also provides peace of mind to your clients who physically see your efforts.