March 1, 2020: Boarding a plane to the USA for my 8th tour of the US of A.

This trip would see me revisit three gyms and visit two new gyms for the first time. A perfect mixture of familiar and new.

First stop, Iowa City. If you told me 3 years ago that I would visit Iowa 4 times in 2.5 years I wouldn’t have believed you. Little did I know that this place would be firmly one of my favourites and mainly because of the epic community at Alchemy Strength and Conditioning.

From IA it was a flight to upstate New York. I was hoping March would be a little warmer but it turns out that spring in the mid-west and east coast of the USA is in fact colder than winter in Melbourne.

(Melbournian’s are obsessed with talking about weather, so bear with me here…!)

So here I was freezing my butt off in Clifton Park, NY, listening to locals telling me how warm it was! Weather aside, Contemporary Athlete – a performance gym for both rowers and normal people (like me) started to become a very attractive place for me to stay…

This is what happens you see. I get welcomed into these seriously amazing communities, I fall in love and I struggle to leave. THEN, I find the next one just as compelling. It’s a pretty amazing life to be honest.

CA schooled me as much as I schooled them. The youth rowers had me as a plus one in their spring training (scheduled just before their summer on-water season) and man I was whipped into shape! Or at least they tried to.

So I was 10 days in, had struggled to leave my family at Alchemy in Iowa (again), then partied (code for trained, hiked, seminar-ed, learned, taught, fitness-ed…) in upstate NY and COVID-19 started to creep into reality.

I remember talking to my dad as I boarded a plane to Lansing, Michigan. He told me that shops had run out of toilet paper and tissues and that I should be careful ‘over there.’

There was definitely less hysteria where I was which made me think it wasn’t as bad as it was and I carried on.

Arriving in Michigan (first time in the State of Great Lakes) and my excitement drowned out my worry. From the moment I arrived I loved it. People were so nice and the accent was soooo good!

The following day I headed into Spartan Crossfit – the location for the ‘Projects’ over the weekend. I loved it there. People were so welcoming and so much fun.

As the day progressed, so did the local worry about COVID. Michigan State University (a huge portion of Lansing and its population) was closed, the NBA was cancelled, schools shut down, restaurants closed and workers sent home. Just like that.

We went ahead with the seminar, but by Monday gyms were ordered to close in Michigan.

The other states of the US followed a similar pattern and before I knew it, I was boarding a flight back to Melbourne two weeks ahead of time.

Cutting the trip short was a huge disappointment but I realised this pandemic is bigger than any of us and we had to work together to get through.

I had two more seminars scheduled. One in Bozeman, Montana (first time at MTN TOUGH) and one at my second home in Oregon at EPIC Fitness.

All of us were totally on the same page in postponing the workshops and I know I will be back there really soon.

For now it’s at home workouts on the beloved Erg and connection with my global community via social media, zoom and YouTube.