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 Lauren Mauro, an Orangetheory coach in New York City.
What do you teach?
I coach Orangetheory classes at East 39th Street in New York City! I have been a coach for a little over two years now and I have been a personal trainer for three years.
Why did you start teaching?
I started teaching because I believe a love for fitness has the ability to be universal, as long as individuals feel that the program caters to their needs. The beauty of Orangetheory is that it is truly a workout for all fitness levels. And most importantly, the community we have built at my studio is unbelievable. I choose to coach there because both the staff and the members are my chosen family.
What do you love the most about teaching?
Easy — the people. There's nothing like taking someone into class who is absolutely petrified and showing them that even though the first time will be a little scary — you have their back!
Over a year ago, I met a woman named Terry. She was probably the most scared individual I've ever had walk through the door. Before Terry even considered taking a class, she came in with me to check out the treadmill, the rower, and the floor space. We did a full 25- or 30-minute orientation on how the class would be broken down. A week later, she chalked up the courage to try a full class. Terry was, and still is, absolutely hooked! You can catch her in class at 6:15 a.m. all week! Even more impressive, she takes the 90-minute classes at 7 a.m. on Saturdays! To know her is to love her and I don't know a single person who would say otherwise.
I love what I do because of the people I get to work with. I'm happy when I wake up in the morning and I'm still happy when my head hits the pillow after a long day. I don't know how many people can truly say that!
What is the current state of your studio?
My studio is currently closed due to COVID-19.
What virtual classes are you offering? How can people find those classes?
I teach every day on my Instagram account! The easiest way to find them is through my public page @ren_mauro. I offer both bodyweight classes and dumbbell/band classes — classes are $5 a day. In a time of such uncertainty, I felt it was important to make fitness as accessible as possible to everyone. So, for the price of a latte, you can get a great workout from home!
What is your biggest takeaway regarding COVID-19?
Never take the little things for granted. Walking to a coffee shop, giving someone a hug, grabbing a quick drink with a friend, giving someone a handshake upon meeting them, running in and out of the grocery store — in the blink of an eye, gone. I live in the best city in the world. A city where the energy is unparalleled. The virus has brought New York City to its knees and while we remain optimistic, the odds that life will just go back to normal anytime soon are slim.
So my biggest takeaway? Take no one and nothing for granted because in the blink of an eye, life as you knew it can change.
What long-term affects do you see COVID-19 having on the wellness industry?
People are scared right now, and rightfully so. Will studios and gyms reopen? Yes. Will people be ready to rush there? In my opinion, no. With no other choice but to become virtual, I believe many people will stick to their newfound routines, at minimum, through the end of the year (especially in NYC). In a normal time, classes are packed and waitlisted to a point where you can basically add another class just off the waitlist alone. The proximity in which people workout near each other will change. A class that once held 30 people will be reduced to half that. There is no way to truly know until gyms and studios begin to reopen, but this is one industry where businesses will either adapt or fail. There will be little to no in-between. In an effort to move forward successfully, focusing on the way things used to be will not serve the business. This is a new and scary time and there is no choice but to implement change.
What is one thing you want the world to know about the wellness industry, especially in light of COVID-19?
Wellness is here to stay. We may have gone virtual but we are still here for you. Fitness is just as much mental as it is physical. Keeping your workout routine is imperative, even if you don't love training from home. I get it, trust me. There's nothing I wouldn't do to get under a squat rack right now. But like everyone else, I have to accept the things I can't change and control things I can! Clients are still burning tons of calories in my classes and setting their days up for success.
If you're new to fitness, great. There's no time like the present. Don't be afraid because you're in the comfort of your own home. No equipment? No problem. All you need is yourself.
We WILL get through this. You'll have some bad days and you'll have some great days. Regardless of how you feel, choose to sweat anyway! It's worth it, I promise!
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