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Stay the Course: a Guide to COVID-19

Derek Teel on March 21st, 2020

There is a strong sense of unity beginning to develop since the initial shock of our government mandates here in California.  “We’re all in this together” is something I’m beginning to hear more, but the truth is that we’re all affected differently. Amidst the layoffs, temporary closures, and uncertainty, some business and individuals are thriving.  Honestly, I wish I was one of them…or do I?  The reality is, I’m the same person internally that I was 2 weeks ago, but now I’m faced with hardship and factors outside of my control.  Here are the options: Feel defeated and let that become my new “story” or adapt and use this to build mental fortitude that will be invaluable down the road.  Choose the latter.  Here are some habits and rituals that will serve you if you need to find your new way or keep up with an overwhelming amount of new workload.


This is my biggest struggle.  I have sacrificed sleep more than anything else over the last 3 years while I’ve built my training business.  This week (since I haven’t been able to train in person) I have had 4 consistent nights of 7 more hours of deep sleep.  The mental clarity even as I write this, is proving how much this “unproductive” activity is quite the opposite.  If you have the ability to achieve this volume of sleep, but can’t get the quality, I urge you to focus on these next principles to solve that problem. If you crush the day(mentally and physically), there won’t be energy left to stay in bed with your mind racing. When your head hits the pillow, you’ll be grateful to have some rest.


There are 4 things to consider when looking at any type of food.  Ask yourself: Is this high calorie or low calorie?  Is this high quality or low quality?  High or low calorie foods are relative to your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and macros (if this doesn’t make sense, check out a previous journal entry titled “Nutrition guidelines”). High quality and low quality foods refer to the composition of the food itself.  How many ingredients are in the food?  How many healthy nutrients from this food are benefiting my body?  Think of one-ingredient whole foods like an apple or avocado as being “perfect in quality” while a Pop Tart is very low quality.  The strangest thing about weight management is that you can lose/control your weight with low quality foods.  Take a Coke Zero for example.  It’s low quality as it contains artificial sweeteners, but has 0 calories which means it won’t effect your weight.  The only thing it affects is your overall health, but there are so many considerations for this being positive or negative that I’ll save that for another journal.  Keep this in mind with your current activity level and the new normal will be within your control.


Start your day with drinking 12-16oz of water (before coffee or any food consumption).  This habit is literally the most important habit you can adopt to be at your healthiest. “I don’t like to drink that much right when I wake up” or “ I don’t have time” are two excuses I hear frequently in regards to this.  I get it, it’s not what you’re used to, but you’ll be missing a huge piece of your potential by leaving out what I would consider to be the easiest thing on the planet to implement.  For the entire day, shoot for at least 80oz of water for women, and 100oz of water for men (this is me being nice, because on the DIALEDHEALTHSHRED it’s a gallon). Staying hydrated also helps curb your appetite by filling up your stomach and fulfilling your body’s number one need.


Being the place dedicated to Strength Training For Cyclists, there are all the examples of specifics available under programs(or even my Instagram for individual movements and circuits), but let’s talk strategy.  If you’re someone who typically trains in a gym that you now don’t have access to, don’t panic.  Your schedule on a macro level actually can stay the same.  Halt your current program and use the No Equipment Program.  If you have a set of dumbbells and a bench, use the Dumbbell Program (mix the two if you would like a 3rd/4th day per week).  Hopefully, this is just a temporary change.  The consistency is what will pay off here and depending on the person, the change in stimulus could help you find a new weakness and be beneficial. STAY ON TRACK, even though the details aren’t what you anticipated. If you're scheduled “peak” for an event is up in the air due to event cancelations, I would hang out in the Strength Phase for any program available to you.  As soon as there are more concrete dates, re-adjust so you have at least 3 weeks in the Power Phase before your event.  Thankfully, we can all still pedal. If your schedule is now tighter because of it, opt for a shorter than planned ride (30 min on a trainer is worth it).


This is still an underrated way to keep your body feeling “fresh.”  Regular stretching will bring you more comfort on your bike and a more relaxed body when you lay down for bed at night (ever have that R.L.S. feeling?).  I recommend starting with my total body stretch routine from the Mobility Program or following yoga routine on YouTube (I like Five Parks Yoga).  Prioritize this session at least one day a week and then pick the most important stretch(or stretches) for your body to implement daily(you can also use the OHS Assessment from the Mobility Program to determine what stretches are most important for you).  The real sweet spot for lengthening tissue through static stretching is 2 min (no bouncing).  Once this has been implemented, get comfortable on your foam roller, then consider other modalities like, ice, heat, compression, and more.


Most of our therapy comes from riding, however there is a practice I would encourage you to start each day with or use when you’re momentarily overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, or discouragement.  It’s simple: Think of 3 things you’re grateful for and 3 things you’re just excited about.  Make them real and don’t rush to find it.  Take a deep breath and let the thoughts come to you.  Even a forced smile is proven to lift your mood and could help you find it.  Here was my personal list from today:  “This morning, I’m grateful for the sunshine, the opportunity to grow my online business, and my son who is sleeping safely in his crib.  I’m stoked to start my new book today, go for a ride, and make progress in an area of my business that I have wanted to for a long time.”  Do this while you’re drinking that water first thing after waking :)

Time to implement…