BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Home is where the…gym is?
While some athletes already had workout areas in their homes before COVID-19 hit, others had to get creative. That’s exactly what Bills offensive lineman, Bills offensive lineman Ryan Bates had to do.
“I’m in my parents’ garage you know this is kind of my sanctuary that’s what I call it you know it’s my office and doubles as my weight room. My household’s not the quietest household so I call it my sanctuary,” Bates said on a zoom call with News 4 Sports.
After finishing his first season in the NFL and during the pandemic, Bates moved back home to Bucks County on the outskirts of the Philadelphia suburbs.
“It’s been very hectic you know moving back home. I like my personal space you know my family knows that and this is the time to be with loved ones during quarantine and the whole COVID thing happening and everything going on in the world and I’m just happy I have a place to put everything. They kind of let me have the garage and you know it’s going good,” Bates explained.
When he says it’s not the quietest household, it’s not hard to see why as he’s living with his mom, dad, younger sister and grandparents who recently moved in.
“It’s the best it can go for right now. I think acquiring the weight rack and all these weights was the biggest thing that I could have done at the time and you know it’s nice being home with family. It’s nice, I’m getting a lot of work done, a lot of studying done, they understand everything,” Bates said.
If you scroll through social media, some players post their at-home workouts with these elaborate set ups and gyms that look like they could be a professional set up. But Bates’ is a little less glamorous than all of that, yet still effective and almost has that old school feel to it.
“There’s something about working out in the garage that’s kind of like I wanna say gritty almost where it’s like you’re in the garage, sweating, you’re working hard. It’s going good so far,” Bates said.
Now it’s only natural that from time to time, there’s going to be times when your family gets on your nerves. Especially when being stuck in the house for weeks and weeks on end with them. On top of that, being an NFL player trying to train and study for the upcoming season while living with five family members, there are definitely going to be some irritating moments.
“It’s gotten a little frustrating sometimes because my dad he wakes up he goes hunting in the morning sometimes and my family will leave stuff you know in my “weight room” or in my “office area” that it will make me mad and irritate me because they’ll just leave stuff out and I gotta put it back. I like having a clean area to do things and sometimes they don’t understand that and it can get frustrating at times,” Bates said.
And then there are the unexpected moments.
“Yesterday I was working out and I was doing squats and I guess we have mice in the garage, I don’t know, I found that out yesterday. So I was squatting and I saw a little mouse run across the floor so now we have a mice problem we have to figure out,” Bates said laughing.
But you do what you’ve gotta do right?
“Exactly I’ve been doing sprints in my driveway, I’ve been doing conditioning down the street you know anything I can do to get the job done I’ve been doing. It’s not the most glamorous style of life right now.”
Here is what Bates said a “typical day” looks like:
-Wake up around 8 a.m. and have breakfast then does soft tissue work and stretches
-Zoom meetings from around 12-2 p.m.
-Squeeze lunch in after meetings
-After meetings he’ll start working out with conditioning, speed and agility or whatever is on his schedule that day. Then he’ll have more workouts that finish around 4:30-5 p.m.
-Personal time for things like watching Netflix.
The Eagles first signed Bates as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State in 2019 but a few months later, the Bills traded for him at the start of the preseason.
So having that first year in the league is extremely beneficial when dealing with the virtual offseason.
“It can be challenging at times, you know I know the playbook pretty well. I consider myself a smart guy and I’ve got the playbook under my belt and having that first rookie season you know finishing my first season last year it’s a big difference. I couldn’t image being a rookie in times like this. I’m sure it’s very difficult just trying to learn everything through zoom calls because me personally I’m a visual learner,” Bates said.
Speaking of the rookies, Bates said some of them have reached out to him and he’s texted others. But there’s one unique aspect of the Bills’ virtual offseason that Sean McDermott made a part of their routine every day.
“We have a virtual locker room period where we’re spending time with our teammates and it’s kind of a bonding period. It’s a 30 minute period throughout the day where we get to kind of just talk and hang out with our teammates and see how their families are, see how their lives are going and I think that was a phenomenal idea,” Bates explained.
McDermott puts a big emphasis on team building and having his players get to know one another on a personal level. Throughout the season, he has guys take turns sharing their stories in front of the group and now even though they’re not in person, that aspect hasn’t gone away.
If anything that time is probably more important now because they’re not together face to face.