Q&A: How student athletes are staying active amid COVID-19


St. Edward's Athletics Page / Graphic by Gracie Watt

With a global pandemic currently limiting gyms and large gatherings, how are student athletes at St. Edward’s staying conditioned for their upcoming seasons?

COVID-19 has created a new normal for many, including student-athletes. The absence of sports felt around the globe leaves a gap in the lives of many people. This is especially true for upperclassmen athletes trying to adjust to their new routine. With gyms closing around the country to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, it can be challenging for athletes to continue perfecting their craft. 

Justin Robinson, a senior forward for the St. Edward’s University men’s basketball team, and D’Aviyon Magazine, a junior guard for the women’s basketball team, open up about their reaction to the changes and how they balance online classes along with staying active.

Hilltop Views: What was your reaction to the news about the university moving to an online format for the rest of the semester? 

Robinson: I was a little hurt by the news simply because I wasn’t going to be able to finish my college experience. Walking to class every day, seeing friends [and] just being on campus are the things that help create those lifelong memories, and I didn’t really get to see it through.

Magazine: Moving to online classes didn’t really surprise me for two reasons. First, professors addressed us in classes about the possibility. Second, just watching around the country at other universities and colleges.

Q: With the rise of COVID-19 and the changes it’s brought on, how are you staying active or training during lockdown? 

Robinson: At-home workouts are the biggest things to keep me being active. My best friend is a fitness trainer and health coach, so he has set up an at-home gym in his garage with weights and we just get after it every day, pushing and motivating each other. 

Magazine: I stay in and do as much core, bodyweight exercises and yoga [as possible]. 

Q: What does your new daily schedule look like?

Robinson: Since I’m back home in Chicago now I try to find new creative ways to keep myself busy. So I wake up in the morning and go workout to get my mind/body awake and ready to be productive. Then I come home and meet on Zoom for class and complete homework. After, I sometimes play card games with my family, play video games with my friends or just watch some Netflix. 

Magazine: I sleep, workout, work on homework, shower, eat, repeat. Pretty boring. 

Q: With the closing of gyms, how are you getting creative with workouts?

Robinson: With gyms being closed some workouts become very different and transformed. For example, a lot of the weighted workouts are changed to bodyweight workouts done in different ways. Also, instead of running the treadmill for cardio, my friend and I jump rope. Just changing workouts so you can still be productive and get the job done. 

Magazine: Looking up workouts on YouTube and following the workouts given to us by our coaches.

Q: What advice would you give to other student-athletes trying to balance online classes and stay in shape? How are you doing it?

Robinson: I would just tell them to approach it as if nothing had really changed. When at your school, you have a set schedule to keep you organized and on track so you can complete all tasks. Take the time you would usually have practice at school and use it to train and get better. Where it becomes hard is holding yourself accountable, that’s where you have to become your own motivation.

Magazine: Honestly, unless students have access to run in their homes it would be inevitable for athletes to not stay in shape. I think the biggest priority until the gyms open up should be to maintain your health as well as weight during quarantine. Getting in shape will happen after all of this is over. And getting in game shape won’t happen until an athlete’s respected sport comes around. As far as school, I constantly check my emails and Canvas. Also, I keep in contact with my professors. 

Q: What are you doing to remain at top physical shape in terms of healthy eating?

Robinson: Being back at home always makes it difficult to eat very healthy. But to ensure that I’m being as healthy as possible, I try to cook my own meals so I know exactly what I’m using and how much of it I’m using as well, instead of eating restaurant food. 

Magazine: Just eating the way I usually do — no difference in diet. I’m getting my daily calories in. 

Q: What are you looking forward to the most once this is over?

Robinson: When this is over I’m most excited about going to see some of my relatives I haven’t been able to see since this all started. For example, my great grandmother who is 97 years old. My family is who gives me strength and motivates me, so being able to see them just gives me an extra push. I also want to go out and enjoy Chicago again, experience all of the things that make this city great. 

Magazine: I’m looking forward to weight training, basketball workouts, open gyms, playing in women’s leagues, hanging out with friends, seeing family, eating açaí bowls. The list goes on! 

Q: How are you improving your skills for next season?

Magazine: I do ball-taps on my bedroom wall. The closest I’m going to get to dribbling because I will not be dribbling in my mother’s house.