The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced many to stay at home in Baltimore and all over the United States.
For athletes, stay-at-home means gyms and other training facilities are mostly off-limits.
However, staying at home doesn’t mean physical exercise and training has to stop altogether, according to Mack Allison III, who runs the Time2Grind Gym, a haven and sanctuary for many area youths.
Coach Mack, as he is famously known, hasn’t stopped trying to motivate his students.
“I’ve been training all kinds of athletes for more than 30 years, and this is the first time in my life that I’ve experienced a situation like [the coronavirus pandemic],” Allison said. “This virus has changed a lot of people’s lives.”
Still, Allison works out each evening after the work and he regularly calls and encourages many of his students to do the same.
“Our athletes have to become more self-motivated and disciplined,” Allison said. “I tell them to train in their basement, bedroom, backyard or any place that you have in your house.”
Allison also does what he calls drive-bys.
“I get in my car and tell them to put a mask on and come out and run up and down the block for exercise and a workout,” Allison said.
The longtime coach, who has helped to develop champions from his gym, added that health and safety is the recurring theme.
“I tell them all of the time that boxing was here before we were born, and it will be here long after we’re no longer here,” Allison said. “So, I keep telling them to wear a face mask and gloves, and have hand sanitizer if they’re going to go anywhere.”
Allison also has a unique exercise to stay active during the pandemic.
“It’s called ‘5020.’ You can use jumping jacks or high knees push-ups,” said Allison. “You do it 50 times with 20 regular push-ups or knee push-ups. You want to be able to do eight sets of this without stopping, but you can start with four sets.”
Allison has kept his students engaged and encouraged.
“Whatever your coach has taught you— practice it. I had my students laughing, when I showed them a video of me using toilet paper to help me with my push-ups and curling exercises,”
Allison said. “I think it’s so important for the coaches to stay connected with their athletes by texting them, calling them, using Zoom. We have to stay away until the virus goes away. The mayor hasn’t opened things back up yet, and I agree with the mayor because Covid-19 is no joke. It’s serious, and I tell my kids that nobody is dying on my watch being silly.”