ATLANTA - With gyms and fitness centers closing around the country, people are having to get creative to stay in shape during the COVID-19 outbreak. One college football strength coach is getting creative ... and getting cute.
"These are moments you don't get back," said Georgia Tech strength coach Lewis Caralla.
Caralla's creative home workout videos are making a social media splash, due in large part to his adorable free weights. Caralla's three kids -- a son and two daughters -- are regular parts of the videos.
"My 6-year-old son is my camera guy, my daughter is my resistance at times," said Caralla. "My little baby is perfect for any weighted object exercise possible."
What started as (and continues to be) a series of videos for his Yellow Jackets football players to see the correct form on his assigned exercises has turned into something shared widely online.
An example might be Caralla doing lunges with two kids in his arms and another in a baby carrier on his back. Or jump squats, where his daughter laughs every time he goes up and down. A particularly popular video shows him doing lunges ("to failure," of course) with his 9-month-old on his back. She fell asleep during the slow motion workout.
"Very proud dad moment," said Caralla.
Georgia Tech's weight room guru is not the only strength coach thinking outside the box. UGA's Scott Sinclair is putting out regular videos as well. One of the most popular on social media had a "grocery store" theme, showing him use a bad of grapefruits and gallon jug of water as weights.
"What Scott [Sinclair is] able to do is say, hey, if you don't have a place to go -- which we're finding out, not many of our guys do, or weight set -- here are innovative ways to get the same thing that you need," said Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart. "I know Scott's done a good job of being creative and trying to share that with the world."
Sinclair and Caralla both show the practical side of these workouts: spring football is often a time where college players spend a lot of time in the weight room, followed by even more time in the gym over the summer. With coronavirus concerns, the coaches know that their players will have to self-motivate to stay in shape.
Caralla notes that he's helped by seeing Tech assistant coaches post their own workout videos online, encouraging the players even more to stay busy while largely staying at home.
Overall, however, college strength coach is just one of the long list of professions impacted in unexpected ways by COVID-19. While a challenge, Caralla is looking on the bright side: more time spent with his family than coaches typically get during their high-stress jobs.
"It's been such a blessing," said Caralla. "I got to see my 4-year-old daughter ride a bike for the first time, getting to see my 9-month-old start to really crawl and climb up on stuff. I don't think I would've come close to seeing that if I was still at work. My son wants to beat me in basketball every day. My wife, being able to help her right now, because she never has it, has been huge. I'm honestly more exhausted at the end of our days now than I am working a full day at Georgia Tech."
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