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Coaching, Training, and COVID-19

We've all had a weird few weeks. You've probably seen enough blogs, videos, and promotions about training and at home workouts during this time. You've heard disaster stories and miracle stories of people with illnesses, businesses, and family matters.

You've been blessed with financial security during this time, or you've had it stripped away.

You have unfortunately had to lay employees off, or have been laid off.

You've got everything you need in your garage gym, or you've found it's too late to get the equipment you want ordered.

I'm not writing to tell you about how to train at home. I'm not writing to tell you how to keep your gains or keep your business open. I'm not writing about anything training related to be honest.

I'm just writing to let you know you're not alone in all of this.

The last two weeks have been a blur for me personally. March is a slow month for us at the facility I work at, and I had been in overdrive the previous few weeks trying to get things squared away for a four day absence where I'd be gone at our franchise's (Parisi Speed School) corporate summit in Orlando. I was pulling long hours, and was feeling the onset of burnout hard!

A still image from one of the six, longer duration videos I've filmed for athlete's parents with updates to training. Admittedly, this is the most energetic I've looked in a month.

Two weeks ago I was on a flight to Orlando for that summit, and by the end of that weekend I was very optimistic about the future of our facility and how we could restore it back to a place that could financially get me out of my parents basement. But when my plane touched down I was greeted by the news that our local schools were closing, and that it was being advised not to have more than 20 people in our facility. That quickly became 12 people. Then 10.

People were calling to cancel memberships. People wanted to know what we were doing to prevent any spread of illnesses. People stopped calling to set up new member evaluations. People stopped renewing their training contracts.

In the span of a week, I went from being optimistic about the future of our facility to watching two of my coworkers get laid off. And while I am not their employer, I felt that as our facility's Program Director I had let them down.

Some of you know what it's like to be on either of these ends right now, so know that you are not alone.

There is something about panic that gets people mentally. Panic, in my mind, is often associated with adrenaline. You get this surge of adrenaline, and in the process lose your ability to focus and see clearly, leading to the following thoughts.

This week I came to grips with the fact that I may lose my coaching job during this ordeal, and that coaching as a full time career for me might be over. Not to say that I have been very successful as a coach, but I would have thought that three years of work in the private sector would have lead to more financial stability than what has kept me in my parents basement. Unfortunately, with the mistake of not interning at the Division 1 level, I've found that colleges file my resume in the circular filing cabinet that sits on the floor next to the recycling bin, and I've not passed the necessary teaching licensure exams (yet) to work in a high school.

So if you've wondered what's going to happen with your job or career during this, know that you're not alone.

I've watched coaches, and admittedly been doing this myself, flood social media with at home exercises. Everyone's reminding you of how to keep fit during this time. Most, including myself, have not done a great job in living it with you. With our home gyms, private facilities where employees are still allowed to be on premise (in NC anyways), and optimized spaces for training. Sure there's a lot of creativity out there, and a lot of great exercises. There's a lot of great coaches doing great things, but admittedly I can't bring myself to care about that.

I don't even want to train, I want my life to go back to normal. If you've been feeling this way, know that you're not alone.

But amidst the chaos that's happened, an old Hymn came to mind that was sung often at the Christian boys camp I worked at when I quit my coaching job last year.

"When peace like a river, attendeth my way. When sorry like sea billows roll...It is well with my soul." -Horatio G. Spafford (It Is Well)

If coaching as a career falls through because of this, then so be it. I can always coach part time out of passion and out of love for training. No one is making me coach full time. And besides, perhaps coaching kids isn't really meant for me. I love working with kids, but I also really love working with adults. I also really love the sport of weightlifting, and would love to coach that in some capacity. It will hurt a bit to lose a job, or to change careers, if that's what this comes to.

If you're in this boat and scared about that possibility, know you're not alone.

At the end of all of this, we come back from this. It may be fitter or fatter, stronger or weaker, faster or slower, or in our old jobs or new ones. The only thing that is certain is that we come back a little different. A little different in the habits we form. A little different in the way we treat each other. A little different in the way we live.

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