Chris Doyle adapts weight and nutrition programs for Iowa players during COVID-19

Published: May. 3, 2020 at 11:09 PM CDT
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Iowa strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle is one of the best at his job. But just like every coach in the nation right now, he's having to adapt due to the restrictions of COVID-19.

"Typically, when you’re on campus, 6 a.m. and 30 guys walk in the door and you train them," Doyle said. "Another group at 8 and another group at 10. Every couple of hours, guys come walking through the door coming to you.”

Since the University of Iowa facilities are closed, Doyle has remained in constant contact with the players on their routines. He's had to get creative, including with nutrition by sending players shopping lists and cooking instructions.

"We don't talk about shopping lists anymore," Doyle said. "We provide the food. They go upstairs to the All-American room and they eat great meals. Or they go to the refueling stations. There was a time in the '90s when we're giving guys shopping lists, 'Hey, what are you going to buy at Hy-Vee? They don't buy anything at Hy-Vee anymore, but now they're back to doing that."

Doyle also adjusted the weight training program. In the beginning, not all of the players had access to the same equipment. So Doyle broke it down to four different levels of workout: full facility, garage gym, access to a kettle bell or dumb bell and body weight only.

"Nobody's on a body weight program," Doyle said. "Everyone has something. They have a kettle bell, dumb bell, weighted vest -- everybody has something at this point. The first three weeks, we had some guys training on a body weight only program. There's no way to absolutely duplicate what we do. Okay? When you talk about 30 guys, toes on the line, tempo, equipment -- they cannot duplicate. It's our job to close the gap."

No one knows when players will be able to practice again, but Doyle says it's important for him and the staff to have the players ready when that day comes.

"Everyone in college football is experiencing the exact same challenges and we have to do it better than everybody else," he said.

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