If there was ever a year to use our 3 superpowers, 2020 wins the prize. The belief in possibility, a sense of curiosity and a willingness to be (a bit) uncomfortable enabled me, my clients and my students meet these past 9 months with open arms and open hearts. 

When the shutdown happened, I had an opportunity to change how I worked. My clients and students had the same opportunity. Believing in the possibility of a new direction, stepping back and looking at the situation with curiosity and willingness to be uncomfortable helped us all find a new way to move our bodies and connect our spirits. 

Here is what I have come to appreciate about 2020 

I didn’t want to do virtual training, but now I love it

Working as a personal fitness trainer since 1999, I was aware that online training was “a thing,” however, I never felt it was for me. I felt virtual training couldn’t afford me the ability/luxury of analyzing movement patterns, which in turn, dictate what my clients should/should not do or what they can do safely. 

However, if I wanted to keep my training clientele through Covid-19, then I had to buckle up and change my thinking. Being curious about the situation helped me adapt to a different way of servicing clients. I adjusted how to analyze physical movement virtually and lo and behold, it’s working. I love it. More importantly, my clients love it. One client stated, “I get the same workout and it’s still so much fun.” 

So much so, that moving forward into 2021, virtual training is my primary platform. 

Virtual group exercise is the future, regardless of your age

As a fitness provider for the County of San Diego’s Aging and Independence Services, I teach an evidence-based (link) program called the Feeling Fit Club. What I love about this program is that it is FREE to anyone over 60 years. I have students ages 60-94 years. 

was teaching in person when the pandemic hit; I naively thought it would be month or two until we would return to in person classes. It became apparent very quickly that we were in stay at home for the long haul. 

I needed to dig deep to my “willing to be (a bit) uncomfortable” superpower. I began experimenting with teaching my class virtually. I felt awkward. Alone. Uncomfortable. 

Thank you to my talented sound master talented sound master, I learned how to use a sound mixer and wireless microphone to foster the best sound available and my classes are rocking and rolling. I’ve gained more new students these past months than in the past 4 years of teaching. 

Students who moved out of San Diego to faraway places such as New York, Colorado, and Washington state can still connect with their San Diego friendsI have new students from all over San Diego county that could not travel to my teaching site. Students are so grateful for thopportunity to work out virtually. We log in early before start time and everyone can socialize with their friends and talk about what’s happening in their daily life in lockdown. 

One student stated that having access to this class has created structure to his days. Another commented the virtual class motivates him to stay active. Still another student loves to be challenged with the balls and weights from her living room. This virtual program offers the opportunity for social connection; and when combined with physical movement, magic happens. 

There is no technology barrier when you have the right mindset

Before the pandemic, I occasionally had meetings on the Zoom platform. Now, I host Zoom meetings daily. My students and clients have had to “skill up” and tackle any looming tech phobias. One student remarked feeling so proud of herself for figuring out how to log in to the Zoom platform. Zoom has allowed social connection to continue and foster while sheltering at home. Any technical issues I have had have been dealt with from Zoom’s stellar customer service team. 

Riding my bike is how I make exercising fun. What’s your favorite way to stay active?

I am a big advocate of finding what you love for physical activity. I have always loved bike riding. I have a mountain bike and a road bike, both of which I love. But this year, I added to my bicycle collection with what I have always wanted-a girly bike.

Public Bikes C9-Joy of Active Living

After a day of working from home in a house filled with 3 other adults also working from home, I go out for a neighborhood ride. I can’t quite express how good this feels. There is something about the wind going through my hair that rejuvenates my spirit. I feel like a new person when I return home and no doubt my housemates appreciate that. 

I’ve noticed many students and clients have opted to try new activities as well. One student began jump roping in the evening, something she has always loved to do. Another began a routine of hula hooping at home, a childhood activity she remembers lovingSeveral students have incorporated pickleball into their routine. Still others are walking more. One client got a new dog and has found that walking her dog has helped her stay strong. 

Who says virtual exercise can’t be social?

I often hear how much I help people feel better about who they are; but the reality is that my students and clients help me so much more. There is an effortless energy I feel when helping people realize that physical activity can be their BFF even during a pandemic. 

Physical activity is a way to release pent up stress and anxiety, create social connection and helps manage chronic disease as well or better than pharmaceuticals. (link). My students and clients give back to me so much more than I can express. 

As I look forward to 2021, I will be offering programs, virtual workshops and webinars for those of you who struggle with physical activity; where to start, what to do, how to tolerate it even if you don’t like it. If you find yourself wondering how to consistently exercise in this new year, let me know. I’d love to help.