During the NBA’s Orlando Bubble, the Toronto Raptors training staff used the spatial and equipment limitations as necessary creative inspiration. There was an outdoor track, a pool available 24/7, and bicycles. Team strength and conditioning coach, Jon Lee, made a mini triathlon for his players. Though the circumstances there were extremely specific, everyone can recall a time where it felt like their physical outlets were limited.
The important thing to remember is this: getting hit with a disruption or sudden change doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel. Instead, it can be a good opportunity to treat setbacks like the pros and adapt.
“We have to be really creative sometimes in the things that we do,” Lee says. “Especially when we're on the road.”
Lee notes that when the team is traveling, they aren’t always sure of the access to equipment they’ll have. As a visiting team, the Raptors won’t necessarily get to use the same dedicated practice facilities as the host team. They might have to make do with hotel gyms. Lee and his team will adjust and devise training plans depending on the city the Raptors are rolling into. And they’ll keep schedule and travel concerns in mind. For example, without their regular recovery methods on hand, Lee might have the players skip a weight-heavy workout after a back-to-back series of games. He’ll opt for a lower impact workout that focuses on stretching instead.
Our own disruptions may look much different than a pro basketball team. Yet we can still make the tools and spaces we have work for us in our workouts. Lee points out that YouTube and Instagram are great fitness resources for anyone who wants to try to get active indoors. They also work when time is tight or your mobility changes. With a few pieces of home equipment, such as resistance bands and free weights, it’s possible to maintain a varied strength training routine from our living rooms.
Otherwise, look outside. Lee is a huge fan of walks, and jokes that the colder months help us move faster outdoors. But hills in parks, or outdoor staircases, can be incorporated into cardio workouts at any level of experience. And bike paths and walking trails are typically maintained throughout the year.
“If you have the will, you're gonna find a way to be able to do something,” Lee says.
Perseverance isn’t just for the pros. Try out different options at home and take note of what’s around you. Ask your family and friends what they do and challenge them to tune into their surroundings too. Versatility is a term that gets used a lot in basketball. Think of adapting workouts where you can like perfecting a skillset along with the pros.