If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.
I'm talking to wellness professionals to learn how COVID-19 has impacted their lives, as well as how they're adjusting how they teach to make quarantine a little healthier for all of us. Today, I chatted with Amanda Margusity, a certified fitness coach in New York City.
What do you teach?
I teach a wide variety of modalities. I started my fitness career teaching indoor cycling but quickly added TRX, Lagree (a form of pilates) and strength training to my resume. Before COVID-19 you could come sweat with me at Solidcore, The Pe Club, and New York Health & Racquet. I've been teaching for almost six years.
Why did you start teaching?
I started teaching purely by accident. Before I found fitness I worked in the fashion industry. But in the early days of the retail recession, I found myself looking for a new opportunity. Health and wellness had always been in my life as a former competitive cheerleader. So when the owner of the spin studio I took classes at found out I was looking for a gig, he offered me a part-time front desk position until I figured things out. This led me to realize my true love for helping others through health and wellness.
What do you love most about teaching?
Hands down the client. I love interacting with clients, love learning why they showed up and then observing their journey. I really enjoy watching people find confidence in their abilities. As a personal trainer and group fitness coach, I see clients full of nerves and doubt in their bodies. I've been in those shoes before, so I totally get it. But as they continue to show up the nerves turn into confidence."I can't do that" turns into "watch me crush this." Watching people accomplish new goals like a PR or take their 100th class is like peanut butter — delicious! Client's don't realize this but they create the outcome, they show up, they keep going and yes they can — the coach creates the road map but the client drives it.
What is the current state of your studio?
The studios I currently work for are temporarily closed.
What virtual classes are you offering? How can people find those classes?
I just launched my website, AMF At Home, with four different fitness classes from anywhere you are: Experience Bands, Core, Recovery and Stretch with AMF at Home. And the best part is proceeds from each class benefit City Harvest, a charity that exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions. In this weird time, it's important to show up and support. With AMF At Home you can give back to the community affected by COVID-19 and support your health and wellness journey. To sign up head to my website or my Instagram @amandamargusity.
What is your biggest takeaway regarding COVID-19?
The biggest takeaway so far has been to enjoy slowing down. We go all day, attached to our phones or devices and become stuck in our own bubbles. I've had the opportunity to really take in the world that surrounds me. My husband and I have started to notice new things about our neighborhood while walking our dogs, a new beautiful public garden, entrance into Central Park even gorgeous architecture. Not to mention we have learned more about our family and friends in the past few weeks than ever before. This situation has helped us to connect more than ever before thanks to creative hangouts. We will come out of this as more compassionate, empathetic and patient human beings.
What long-term affects do you see COVID-19 having on the wellness industry?
This is a scary time for the health and wellness industry. Studios were forced to close their doors leaving their staff without a paycheck. No one imagined this would actually happen so it left many asking "what next." That one question has already led to such positivity, support, and creativity. I see the digital fitness industry booming now but come fall boutique fitness will start to thrive again with people searching for in-person connection again. Studios that were suffering before COVID-19 will sadly keep their doors closed but new studios will pop up. The creative process will move from digital to brick and mortar. Studios will need to create more "what if" plans. I am hoping it also leads to new laws and regulations that help support wellness professionals. There is a large grey area on independent contractor vs employee in this industry. I hope to see the government and companies step up to create new employee initiatives that will benefit their staff. Like paid time off, health insurance, 401K and more. Benefits that come naturally to other industries.
What is one thing you want the world to know about the wellness industry, especially in light of COVID-19?
This is NOT a hobby, it's a career, a career where you can find passionate people waking up at 4 a.m. to support their clients by 5 a.m., then work with little to no breaks until 9 p.m.
Being a health and wellness professional is way more than instructing someone to squat. We are coaches, support systems, therapists, innovators, and entrepreneurs. We spend hours educating ourselves to support and keep our clients safe so the hobby stigma has to exit stage left.
If you are a wellness professional interested in sharing your story, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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