How Chris Bumstead Bounces Back in the Gym After Recovering From COVID-19

The three-time Classic Physique Olympia champion is training again after a much needed break.

The three-time Classic Physique Olympia champion, Chris Bumstead, is a bit behind this off-season compared to where he was a year prior. According to a video posted to his YouTube channel on Jan. 5, 2022, Bumstead “got COVID right during Christmas.”

Pretty much everybody down here got COVID — it’s Florida; it’s the wild wild west.

Check out the full video below, wherein Bumstead also discusses his mindset post-competition and how to recover, plus his first day back in the gym after recovering from illness.

[Related: Check Out Regan Grimes’ First Leg Day For His 2022 Arnold Classic Prep]

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Bumstead’s illness didn’t linger initially. He felt better after about 24 hours but then quickly fell ill again, though this time he was uncertain if it was COVID-19 or something else. He had a fever and lost his sense of taste — a symptom of COVID-19 according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Bumstead quarantined himself and was absent from the gym for a fortnight. During that time, he lost approximately eight to 10 pounds, meaning his body weight year-over-year in the offseason was 28 pounds less. He weighed 236 pounds on his first day back in the gym.

Choose To Rest

Despite still being relatively young at age 26, Bumstead is one of the most decorated bodybuilders of all time. His three Classic Physique Olympia titles are the most of any athlete in that division’s history. Achieving such results isn’t easy, and Bumstead is fully aware of the dedication required to exceed the packages his competition brings to the stage. With that dedication can come hurdles, particularly in the mental aspect of never taking a day off from the gym, nutrition, sleep, and everything in between.

I needed a mental break from all of it. When I compete…I put extreme pressure on myself and become obsessive about my goal.

In addition to the physical and mental gymnastics of training in the off-season and during a prep, Bumstead contends with balancing his love for the sport.


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A post shared by Chris Bumstead (@cbum)

[Related: Here’s the Leg Workout Brandon Curry Used to Grow for the 2021 Olympia]

Unlike sculpting his shoulders or leaning out to show off his signature vacuum pose, finding a balance between the enjoyment of bodybuilding and pressure to win is still an area Bumstead hasn’t fully mastered.

Take a step back from it all, relax, and wait until I want to workout, not feel like I have to workout. Bodybuilding is a longevity game.

Bumstead articulated the difficulty of work-life balance as a professional bodybuilder due to the constant need to be at one’s best because the margin for error is so narrow. He went so far as to suggest balance isn’t attainable to be “truly successful.”

In competing, your mind is on it 24/7. You can’t take a single break because no one else is.

Bumstead attacks his competition preps with such ferocity that “detaching” from the sport a major contest to rest his mind is critical so he can “reset” and feel eager to do it again. It was a lesson he learned after six years of never easing off the gas pedal. The takeaway is Bumstead recognized the importance of choosing to rest rather than having to rest due to burnout.

Back Day

Bumstead’s first training session in the gym has a heavy back day that consisted of two working sets of:

Bumstead admitted that sets of 12 felt like cardio after being away from the gym for so long. We’ll see if he can follow his road to recovery to a fourth consecutive Classic Olympia title in 2022.

Featured image: @cbum on Instagram