Weightlifters push through pandemic and protein supply shortages

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 5:31 PM EST
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The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on many businesses and people among those the bodybuilding community.

With gyms shut down and supplements harder to find due to supply chain shortages, many are facing extra hurdles to obtain the perfect physique.

"I would say we rely pretty heavily on it (gyms). I mean you can do a lot with bands and body weight but when we're really trying to build muscle, we do kind of need heavy weight and the equipment and gym is really important," said Alexandria Johnson, a plant-based bikini competitor. "I mean the dieting alone is so hard but you're right, the mental focus and the strain that you have to have and the drive to get up in the morning, do your cardio, eating the exact things that you want, evening cardio, it's unbelievable the type of thing you have to put on your body and your mind."

With COVID-19 variants like omicron spreading, and fears of stricter ordinances, Johnson wonders on about the future of her industry.

"Like for nationals which is what I'm going to be competing in there's only about 5 or 6 so there's not that many shows coming in the next year. and so I don't know if they're going to cancel them or not, I mean it's been a little tough cause we're in a big crowd and you have a lot of people coming together so I guess it really depends on the sponsors and everyone hosting what they're really planning on doing," said Johnson. "We put months out to try to get ready for one single show so I can see if just one being canceled can really mess up the timing, and then you have to get ready and sustain that physique and your diet."

At the peak of COVID-19 many competitors resorted to home gyms to maintain whatever muscle mass they could, now nearly two years later many protein and supplement manufacturers are still short on supply.

"Basically when I go into places like certain products that I need, they're not going to be there, due to different things with the containers or protein powder or whatever supplement that I'm buying," said Charles Lako, a personal trainer.

Lako says with the shortage, he's encouraging people to focus on their nutrition, and foods that are high in protein and vitamins.

"I have been cooking a lot more instead of relying on protein powders making more grilled chicken breast or eating like 6 egg whites and oatmeal instead," said Lako.

Protein helps weight lifters reach peak performance levels and recovery but many in the general public also rely supplements for overall health.

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