If It Can Happen to BullyJuice . . .

When this whole pandemic started, I no longer had access to the gym or my yoga studio for months and months. I knew I had to find other ways to get motivated to exercise, and so I searched around and tried different fitness gurus for strength workouts, HIIT aerobics, and yoga.

I did find a few favorites that I subscribed to and visit a few times a week. One of them goes by the name of BullyJuice (obviously not his real name), and he has hundreds of videos ranging from five minutes to an hour. BullyJuice has 1.3 million subscribers.

Let’s face it, whatever our gender or orientation, when we train, we want a hot-looking trainer to motivate us and BullyJuice fits the bill. The guy is also very smart: Not only has he seemingly created this entire empire on his own (from what I can see, he is the only person on the videos), but he never says a word. That’s right. In the hundreds of videos, he just does the exercises to music and a voiceover counts down the seconds at the end of each routine. This muscle guy seems to know instinctively that the way to ruin a fantasy is to open your mouth!

However, this week BullyJuice “spoke”, and what I mean by that is he showed a photo of himself, looking drawn and tired, in a basement bedroom, and he released a short written statement.

BullyJuice had contracted Covid-19 and thinks his daughter brought it home from school. He says that he went 48 hours without eating or even standing up and that he had lost seven pounds. He was experiencing high fever, body chills, body aches, and headaches. He confessed that he tried and could not do one push-up. This is a guy that can normally do push-ups with tires stacked on his back.

The message is clear: even those among us who are fit are vulnerable.

BullyJuice did not say if he had been vaccinated, but this comes on the heels of a recent report by Vladimir Duthiers on CBS News, which uncovered the fact that the health and yoga communities are among the most vocal anti-vaxxers. Wha??!!

I was so excited to find that a yoga studio in my area opened over the summer and I could go back to in-person classes. I am vaccinated and the classes are small enough at this point that we can safely keep distance around the room and wear a mask if we wish.

However, I just discovered last week that my beloved yoga teacher may be an anti-vaxxer. We were discussing a client of hers who had contracted Covid even though she had been vaccinated. I made the point that it was a good thing she had been vaccinated or her situation could have been much worse.

Although my teacher claimed to not be on “either side” of the debate, she asked if she could send me something to look at. She later texted me a speech by Dr. Ryan Cole, the kook dermatologist (yes, dermatologist) who now sits on the health board for the state of Idaho, which has been ravaged by the disease in recent months. He is the one who called the vaccine “needle rape.”

Cole is more interested in talking about a few who have died after the vaccine (not necessarily because of the vaccine, but that little detail would ruin his narrative) rather than the 2,000 people dying from the disease daily. The numbers don’t lie. Take a look at the Worldometer maps: where Covid deaths are raging are, not coincidentally, in the states with the lowest vaccination rates. By far.

The fitness community, historically mistrustful of big pharma, apparently thinks mindful eating and regular exercise alone can outrun a virus.

I am old enough to remember the ’80s, when a different epidemic was raging, mostly in our cities. There were many young gay men, well-known for their regular gym habits, who thought they could escape the virus. Wide swaths of them were cut down in the prime of their lives.

As a certified health coach myself, I am a big believer in healthy living to mitigate any health risks that may develop. But I am also a theater person and I always go to the lesson I learned in improv class: “Yes, and . . .” In improv, this means you take the story that is given to you and then add on to it.

“Yes, and . . .” also works for life. Life is rarely full of either/or choices, although labels seem to make us more comfortable. Embrace the “yes, and . . .”

When I was diagnosed with HIV several years ago, the first thing my doctor told me was, “Take the medication and join a gym.” He understood “yes, and . . .” My exercise practices have helped me remain healthy — I dare say, healthier than most guys in my age group. On the other hand, without the medication, I would not be alive at all — pretty much guaranteed.

What has happened to BullyJuice ought to be a wake-up call to the fitness community and everybody else. I pray that his healthy living habits will help get him through this ordeal. But even he has a serious case of it.

My advice? Yes, get the vaccine . . . and exercise and eat right every day.

I am an author, freelance writer, and singer/songwriter. I split my time between Brooklyn, NY and my native Massachusetts. I teach at City College of New York.