"Having a nationwide quarantine right after your wedding isn't exactly how you planned the honeymoon phase," the defensive end tells PEOPLE

By Jason Duaine Hahn
July 09, 2020 12:35 PM
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Like many other Americans, JJ Watt is just doing the best he can during coronavirus quarantine.

The Houston Texans defensive end was a month into his marriage with his longtime love, Chicago Red Stars player Kealia Ohai Watt, when much of the country went into lockdown in March.

"Obviously, having a nationwide quarantine right after your wedding isn't exactly how you planned the honeymoon phase," 31-year-old Watt tells PEOPLE.

But the newlyweds made the most of their first few weeks in isolation by training together at their property in Wisconsin.

"It was great, we really enjoyed it," Watt recalls. "We got a chance to spend a lot of time together, to train and just to be together after our wedding."

But once the National Women's Soccer League moved forward with its season, Kealia rejoined the Red Stars in Chicago. She's since been in a quarantine "bubble" with her team as the league holds its "Challange Cup" tournament in Utah.

"I haven't actually seen her in about a month and a half," Watt says of Kealia, 28. "I'm not allowed to go, not allowed to see her. So it's very bittersweet because I love — I absolutely love — watching her play soccer. I love watching her compete. I love watching her play. For me, it's incredible."

From left: Kealia and JJ Watt
Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

"The downside is that I don't physically get to see her in person," Watt continues. "It's bittersweet, but I love watching her do what she loves and I can't wait to see her again at the end of the month."

Other parts of the sports world are also preparing to make a comeback. The NBA is on the verge of restarting its season at Walt Disney World at the end of July, and the MLB is following suit with a shortened 60-game season. The NFL has also said it intends to start its season on time in September. But, of course, things can change quickly.

Yet Watt — who is raising awareness about the importance of hydration with Gatorade this year — has kept focused on his training regimen during quarantine. If the league does proceed with the season, he'll be ready.

JJ Watt

"When I came back down to Houston, they opened the gym I work out at," Watt says, adding that while he leaves the house to work out, but is otherwise staying indoors to stay safe.

"It's just me and the trainer. He wears a mask, and we get full workouts in there and then we run on the field," he continues. "It's been really good. We really worked hard on my body all offseason long."

Gatorade released a video on Wednesday featuring Watt sharing hydration tips for anyone working out at home during quarantine. In it, Watt advises weighing yourself before a hard workout and then comparing that number to your weight after you've finished.

"However much weight you lost during your workout, that's basically all fluids that you lost, electrolytes, fluids that you lost during your workout," he tells PEOPLE, adding that he recommends drinking 20 ounces of fluid for every pound lost during a workout.

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"For me, training camp is the most important time to hit that because of how much weight I lose with the heat combined with the pads and everything," Watt says. "But it applies year-round."

"Right now, I'm doing some more running and workouts outside and it felt like it was 109 degrees the other day down here," he adds. "You lose over 5 lbs. during a workout, so you have to make sure you replenish."

Until the season begins, though, Watt is looking forward to reuniting with Kealia once her tournaments wrap, and he'll also be checking out the NBA's restart to get a feel for how his own future might look.

"I'll be watching as an athlete just to see exactly how this all plays out for them, how they handle the protocols and safety measures to make sure everything is staying in line," he says. "Because we're going to be going through something along those lines, not necessarily a bubble, but we're going to be going through a sports season here soon, hopefully. And I'm very interested to see how it all plays out."