There have been a lot of posts circulating that we need to really profit from our time in COVID-19 lockdown.
They say that you should use your newfound free time to learn a new language, pick up an old creative habit, or improve your health habits.
And, hey — for those of you who have been able to do some kind of cool project or pick up a new skill, that’s awesome. Props to you.
But not all of us have been able to take the time for ourselves to attempt a goal like that, even while confined inside our homes.
We may have other responsibilities to be taking care of, or, honestly, we just might not feel motivated or well-rested enough to devote our energy to something like that. (There is actually significant discussion about this.)
But in fact, exercise is a great way to help you get rid of some of that negative or sluggish energy, and these fitness experts are here to tell you why any movement can help you feel better – even if it’s just for 5 minutes.
Plus, exercising from home is a great way to support your favorite fitness trainers or yoga teachers, since many of them are offering donation-based training online!
So let’s hear from a few…
First, some introductions
Caitlin is a running coach and wellness instructor in Portland, OR. After sustaining an injury a few years ago, Caitlin began to reevaluate her view of exercise. She found that the hyper-athletic, high-achieving motto of “no pain, no gain” really didn’t resonate with her. Instead, she felt grateful to be able to exercise each time that she did, and wanted to help people find a way to balance that ambitious, goal-oriented energy with an appreciation of the process and learning to love your body.
Christina is a yoga instructor who relocated from Portland to Albuquerque not long before all of the lockdowns began. Her passion for yoga started years after she was first introduced to it, and she fell in love with yoga because it encourages everyone to do what feels best for their body. She quickly became a yoga instructor to share the process of reconnecting with one’s self that she experiences with her practice.
How has the transition to online coaching/classes during the lockdown been for you?
Caitlin has always coached remotely through her business, using an online training platform paired with weekly calls. But what has changed for her clients is their ability to do the exercises they want to do when gyms and many parks have closed down and all races have been cancelled. She also coaches a women’s running club in Portland that, obviously, is unable to run together during the lockdown. However, they do their best to coordinate their runs and communicate afterwards.
Christina never thought very seriously about offering online classes, but this process has encouraged her to finish her website and think more seriously about social media. She knew she wanted to take this opportunity to build her brand online, but she was feeling defeated until she came across a Remote Hustle webinar about ways to shift your business online. The webinar not only provided her with all kinds of ideas, but also discussed the actual practical application of the ideas, as well. Christina took a few of the ideas, applied them to her practice, and her online classes were born!
What have you learned from this experience?
Caitlin has taken the lockdown as an opportunity to ask her clients – and herself – “why are you doing this? If you’re not running just to get that finish line photo, why are you doing it when it’s hard and you’re tired?” She says that she’s had a mix of people who say that their time exercising is the only time they feel that life is back to “normal,” whereas others have just been using exercise as a way to clear their head.
“I always tell my clients that we only have one well of energy to pull from,” Caitlin tells me. “So if you’re tired from a long day at work or with relationships, you’re not able to put your normal effort into a workout because that’s all coming from the same pool of energy.” She says that it’s ok if we don’t want to push ourselves the same way we do outside of quarantine, because whatever exercise we’re doing still helps, even if it’s in a different way.
Working for studios, Christina tells me, she often felt boxed in to a particular style or expectation, but now she’s able to have more freedom to choose the practice of the day. At the beginning of the lockdown, Christina felt guilty about not producing enough content for her students. But, honestly, she herself felt that she didn’t have the capacity to churn out multiple lessons per week. She knew her energy and her heart just wouldn’t be in the practice. She struggled with whether there was an expectation to produce more content, but now she has come to terms with the fact that her students want an authentic practice. And the best way to do that is to do what’s best for herself, too.
She has really enjoyed being able to reconnect with former students, however. Even though they are not physically in the room together, many students send Christina videos of themselves following her practice, which she absolutely loves.
What advice would you give to people exercising from home?
Caitlin says that the hardest thing is always getting started. Here are her recommendations to help get you motivated:
- Participate in live workouts or with a friend (virtually) to help hold you accountable
- Schedule something after your workout so that you MUST finish in time
- Plan out your workout schedule at the beginning of the week, the same way you plan out the rest of your week
- Find the workout video you want to use ahead of time
- Think about your real reason for working out and find a way to remind yourself of it every time
She says, “There is no one right way to get into fitness. And especially right now, there’s no shortage of classes and workouts online, so just do the ones that you like and give you a positive experience!”
Christina says that you know yourself best. If you prefer to work out first thing in the morning, or the afternoon, or at night – just do it, regardless of how you feel. Just do whatever it is you have the capacity to do at that moment. It could be just a few jumping jacks, or a sun salutation, or even just 5 minutes of being still and closing your eyes.
Without much structure because of the lockdown, even Christina has been having more difficulty with her personal practice. “I always tell myself, ‘Oh, I’ll do it later,” she says. “No. Just go do it, and you don’t need to have any expectations for yourself. When we have too many expectations for how much we have to do, we put this pressure on ourselves and start to not want to do it. So I just grab my mat and go. Sometimes I’m out there for 5 minutes, and sometimes I’m out there for an hour and a half. I just do what feels right.”
Another way to encourage yourself, Christina says, is to journal about how you’re feeling emotionally, physically, and energetically before your workout and also immediately after your workout. When you see how your energy and even your mood increases after your practice, you’ll feel more excited about doing it the next time around.
What advice would you give to business owners, teachers, coaches, etc. having to make the transition to remote classes?
For Caitlin, the most important thing is keeping front and center what people need right now. How can you adjust your business to help them? “It’s a tough time right now,” she tells me. “So for me, I’m not going to tell my clients to do a six-minute wall-sit. Now is not the time for that. People want to have fun right now. They need release and happiness and freedom and joy.”
Christina says, “Don’t compare your business to others or doubt that you’re good enough. You are.” Not everyone will like your style or your practice, but it’s important to continue to provide authenticity for those people who do resonate with your business. That way, they’ll keep coming back every time.