Krav Maga After Having COVID-19

Our instructors who have been infected tell you how they got back on the mat.
Valley Self-Defense
January 28, 2022
Krav Maga After Having COVID-19

Millions of people around the world have been diagnosed in the past year with COVID-19. Whether the illness was mild or severe, whether you isolated for 10 days or are struggling with long haul COVID, after a year, everyone in the US and around the world is trying to figure out how to continue with life.

If you started Krav Maga and caught COVID-19 or if you've had COVID-19 and now you're looking for a way to empower yourself - we understand what you're going through.

Two instructors give you the information around their COVID-19 diagnosis, how long it took them to come back, and what you should know if you're coming back to Krav Maga (or just starting out!) after having COVID-19.

A COVID-19 Diagnosis

The day I found out, it blew me away. I didn't think there was any way that it was COVID. I thought there was no way and then the test came back positive.

I immediately went into isolation in my basement while the rest of my family stayed upstairs for 10 days straight. The mental part of that became more difficult as the days went on. And the boredom just drove me crazy. Not being able to be active made it even harder.

I was lucky that it never went into my lungs. I never even coughed once. It was all fatigue, brain fog, and congestion.

What surprised you the most about your first days back in the gym after COVID?

I quickly noticed that I had probably come back too early. After putting in very little effort I was absolutely wiped out. It was almost funny in a way. I rested for two days before feeling normal again.

How long did it take you feel like you were back to normal?

Instructor Jeff Barthman
Instructor Jeff Barthman

It took about 5 weeks until I felt like things were back to normal. For the last two weeks I would have a good day here and there, but not consistently. That was one of the weirdest things about the whole experience. It's like you get to this point where you realize that you're just along for the ride. Each day is different, and you have no idea what you're going to get form day to day.

What advice do you have for people who have had COVID-19 and are struggling when it comes to exercise and activity?

Be kind to yourself and be okay with the fact that you're probably not going to be able to do what you did pre-COVID for awhile. When you start back, do it slowly and ease back into it.

Owner and Instructor Danae Hudson
Owner and Instructor Danae Hudson

A Breakthrough Infection

I had been vaccinated for five months before I contracted COVID-19. I had a cough (the same cough that I get twice a year) before I was about to go visit family. Since my mother has cancer, I wanted to double check with a COVID test. Even the doctor who scheduled the test said that it was a very low chance that I had COVID. I'm not going to lie - when the test came back positive, I about hit the floor.

But I was vaccinated!

I have no idea where the infection came from. No one else that I was around ever told me they were ill.

In the end, I've been incredibly lucky. Of all the people I had been around, both masked and unmasked, the only person who got COVID from me was my spouse. Because I'm part of a vaccine study, I'm heavily monitored with nearly 20 tests and 28 days of nearly 24/7 monitoring of my oxygen and heart rate. One of the trial doctors recently checked my heart and lungs and said that they both sound like they're damage free.

What surprised you the most about your first days back in the gym after COVID?

Even though I never had shortness of breath and I never felt like I was struggling to breathe, my first day back at the gym was hard. I had done yoga and stretching every day of my isolation, but that's so different than cardio.

How long did it take you feel like you were back to normal?

I would say, for the most part, it took a week for me to feel like I was back in the swing of things at the gym. I feel lucky that I was vaccinated - I have no idea what it would be like without it. For me, it was just like if I'd had a "regular" illness like the cold and flu and then came back to the gym.

What advice to you have for people who have had COVID-19 and are struggling when it comes to exercise and activity?

Be kind, be kind, be kind. As we tell everyone who comes to us saying that they're out of shape - we are all out of shape! This year has been hard on everyone except runners, I think. So just take your time, give yourself some grace, and set low bars. Start with a walk around the block and keep adding 5-15 minutes on to what you're doing. You'll be able to get back to it - we promise.

Whether you've had COVID-19 or you're just feeling out of shape after a year of self-motivating, Valley Self-Defense is here to help you. One of the best things about Krav Maga is that it's designed for you no matter your age or your fitness level. We can work with you to move at your own pace. To learn more or to join us, you can send us an email at or you can text/call 651-504-2255.

Owner Lee is not a huge fan of Krav Maga, but her experience with Krav Maga was pivotal in her journey to healing after trauma. Learn more about her story and how she decided to heal at her own pace.

All Valley Self-Defense instructors have been trained in trauma-informed care and how to help those handling trauma in a Krav Maga class. For anyone with anxiety about trying Krav Maga, we are happy to meet with you in person or speak with you over the phone. To connect with us, email us at

There are a number of great books regarding trauma in the body and the use of self-defense. The Body Keeps the Score, The Gift of Fear, and Unbreakable Woman all have something to say about trauma, self-defense, and moving forward.

Krav Maga near me? There is! If you're looking for a Krav Maga class near you, Valley Self-Defense is a proud member of the International Krav Maga Federation with schools located across the United States. To find a school near you, visit the IKMF USA website.

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