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 Daniela Dib, a Senior SoulCycle Instructor, yogi, and fitness influencer.
What do you teach?
I am a senior SoulCycle instructor! I also teach yoga mixed with pilates and cardio-based classes. I've been teaching for almost five years now.
Why did you start teaching?
Prior to my fitness career, I use to be a professional dancer. I lived between New York and LA for years, dancing in music videos, commercials, film, and television.
Like many great things in life, SoulCycle found its way to me at the perfect time. I was invited to try a SoulCycle class from my dance agency. I initially said no, thinking cardio was NOT my thing! After some thought, I figured I would give it a try. After my first class, I was absolutely hooked. In the middle of riding and being encouraged by the instructor, I thought to myself "I want to be up there!" I was drawn to the vibrant and truly electric energy of the room. It seemed to merge my passions of dancing, performing and motivation together perfectly!
It took me almost a year to pass instructor training (I had no cardio stamina and struggled immensely) but I was dedicated and determined. It has been an incredible and humbling journey. My career started officially in New York before I relocated back to California to teach there. Now I am back in my hometown of Vancouver B.C., where I moved back to open up the first Vancouver location almost three years ago!
What do you love most about teaching?
My true passion is being a motivator. My class is heavily focused on motivational speaking and mindfulness, as well as an ass-kicking. The most rewarding part of my job is impacting people's lives beyond the superficial. I aspire to have people leave my class feeling more motivated and courageous than when they walked in. We work hard in the class, so we are ready to tackle life challenges with the grace and strength that already exist within us.
What is the current state of your studio?
We are closed until further notice, but will be re-opening as soon as it's safe to do so.
What virtual classes are you offering? How can people find those classes?
Every day at noon, I teach an Instagram Live fitness class for an hour. All you need is yourself, but I do use weights and a resistance band (if you have!) You can follow me @danieladibfitness to see me come on Instagram Live. I leave the workout up for 24 hours for viewing later!
What is your biggest takeaway regarding COVID-19?
Like everyone, I found this situation pretty shocking and overwhelming. I love to plan and be very organized (I'm supposed to get married this summer, and have had my wedding organized down to the very last detail). It has been very strange and challenging for me to have to let go of being in control of the timeline of my life.
The fact that we have to fully surrender control, and just take things day by day, has really forced me to be present and even more grateful for what I do have. And I know I am not alone in this. You can still be a grateful human being and disappointed that things are not going to turn out as you planned.
But the real gift of a challenge is who you become when you face it. And although in some ways we are more isolated than we have ever been, I believe in other ways we are more united than we have ever been. Everyone understands your fears, your hopes, and your anxieties right now. Conversations can be leaned into with more compassion and understanding because we are all seeking to be understood. We may not be able to be there with each other, we can be there for each other right now. These hard times are truly revealing powerful truths!
What long-term affects do you see COVID-19 having on the wellness industry?
Growing up a dancer and performer, I have found that I felt the MOST passion and most alive in front of a real audience or group of people. I LOVE human connection and have not previously felt the need to find it over social media or technology. However, this virus has changed the nature of that and forced myself (and everyone else in the fitness industry) to think outside the box.
I know a lot of companies have jumped into the online world, and are finding creative ways to stream their content to a larger audience. While I do not think this will replace the need for group fitness classes (if anything, this probably makes people who love that crave it/miss it even more) but it will likely lead to many more options of online fitness classes from more studios and instructors, worldwide. I believe that people can see how incredibly important finding wellness and balance in their life is.
I always say we don't work out to punish our bodies, we workout to thank our bodies. Fitness and personal wellness are about a lot more than burning calories. When you feel strong in your body and clear in your head, you can handle life's challenges with a better mindset. Now more than ever, people are turning to fitness as a way of coping with the tough situation the world is facing.
What is one thing you want the world to know about the wellness industry, especially in light of COVID-19?
I am proud of the response I've seen from fitness professionals in the middle of this turmoil. Trainers have been so generous and gracious of their time to offer free, or very affordable classes. And it is not just about people live-streaming classes or trying to get a six-pack.
From the bottom of my heart, I am blown away by everyone's effort to just connect with each other. To check-in, send a text or a virtual hug. To keep people feeling motivated and grounded and SEEN. A lot of the behind the scenes and just truly heart-opening gestures have been the forefront of people's attitude. This shows the world how passionate trainers are about their clients and society as a whole.
If you can, reach out to people giving their time and hearts. A lot of trainers are accepting donations for their service, as well as studios who are live-streaming classes. If it's in your current situation to give, even a little goes a long way. Post about your instructors and wellness community to get others involved! And keep showing up the best you can. I have committed to being there for the community, every day at noon. If I have a thousand people, or five people joining it does not matter. I will give you 100 percent of my heart and soul every time. Until we can see one another again, I am sending you a virtual hug.
If you are a wellness professional interested in sharing your story, please email email@example.com.
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