What can I say? 2020 has been a year like no other.
But you know that. We have all faced challenges we never knew before.
I know for a fact, I wouldn't have made it through this year as well as I did (and it was tough!) without all the incredible Team Fit Body members who joined me and trusted me in their fitness journeys.
Everyone who took a class with me, even just once, THANK YOU! It is thanks to you that I'm still standing and living my passion.
Like many, I would have never imagined the complete and absolute change in my industry. The fitness industry as we knew it was completely turned upside down. But, we didn't let that stop us.
If you've have asked me 10 months ago, I'd never heard of ZOOM!
Now, it's my world almost daily (except most Saturdays).
I was never one to be really in the know with the latest technology pre-COVID.
Ha! I've learned about screen and sound sharing, best lighting, and how to stream/record on 3 devices simultaneously! I'm still no expert by any means, but I'm 100 times closer than I was last year that's for sure.
It‘s actually incredible how my process and set-up has evolved since my transition to the virtual space began in March 2020! I was lucky to already have a few things on hand like a simple hands-free mic and external speaker.
But believe it or not, when lockdown first hit and virtual classes started popping up, I didn't really have any intention to 'go virtual'. With two young kids, I just feeling everything out - having the kids home for what we thought was an extended March Break, watching for news on what was happening, trying to order groceries for delivery with the only available dates over 10 days away! (Luckily, no panic - I was already stocked on toilet paper ... why were we panicking about TP anyway!).
Thinking it'd only be an extra 2 weeks after March Break (ha!), at first I just sort of thought it’s not too bad having "a few days off", and get a little break from teaching.
But then reality set-in. Everything was closed. My entire industry and everything I'd known for the last 10+ years teaching and training was no more.
There was no such things as group fitness classes. Traveling to teach Zumba Instructor Trainings? Nope. Even leaving the house? Full stop.
It was surreal at first.
I was just taking it day by day, trying to understand and learn about what was happening and realizing this was getting very serious. And we weren't going to go back to 'normal' anytime soon.
About 2 weeks into lockdown, thanks to a particular participant (thank you Angela!), I became curious about the virtual teaching space. Angela messaged me in the later half of March when virtual fitness classes started to pop up and asked if I'd be teaching virtually. I didn't really have any plans to, but I wasn't against it either.
After testing the basic functionality of ZOOM with her, I announced my first class on March 20th - open to any and all who wanted to move with me. I made no promises and didn't know what would happen!
My first virtual class, what an adrenaline rush! I pushed the kids table, toys and trinkets out of the way, opened my laptop on ZOOM and went! No external speaker, I could barely hear my music. I didn't know about sharing the music from the computer yet, But that was okay. because what I realized was - teaching virtually was possible! I thought "hey, I can figure this out!"
After 2 or 3 classes in our upstairs loft area in what used to be the kids dumping ground for toys and crafts, I moved down to our make-shift gym in the basement. I've never been so thankful our basement is so much colder than the rest of the house!
I taught the first full month just on my laminate floor in the basement (that has no padding or sub floor - ouch!). My knees and legs started aching, and I knew I needed to smarten up. I repurposed some of my kids play mats along with some other mats a past client has passed on to me about 5 years ago that’d just been sitting in storage.
I kept learning, and tweaking, and testing. Trying out new set ups and adding to my tech set up with new lights (some purchased, some repurposed from around the house!).
Thinking it was now all set, I taught for awhile then realized I needed better flooring teaching 5-6x/week. I needed more light.
After cake and in-house celebrations with my boys and husband on my birthday weekend mid July, I spent my evenings putting up wallpaper in what I now fondly call my virtual studio.
I'd had enough of my basic yuck walls and wanted to spice up my backdrop. And I'm so glad - I love it! Best decision ever (thanks for the push Melissa!)
But still even now I'm still adjusting and adding or changing to give the best experience I can!
I feel grateful that this situation has given me a silver lining in rediscovering and solidifying my purpose in the industry. I have completely re-branded and re-structured my business. And truthfully, I love it!
My heart aches for those who have suffered during this time, whether in their own sickness or losing a loved one. Many have lost jobs, without alternatives like I was fortunate to adapt to. It hasn't been easy for any of us but I recognize how fortunate I have been to be able to write this with my family safe and well.
It has been a rollercoaster of emotions and changes! When the official announcement came in May the kids would not be going back to finish their year, it was intense. This was when it really hit me that plan to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary this August somewhere gorgeously exotic and amazing, and with the kids are grandma's house, was just not going to happen.
But, we kept pushing forward.
I'm so proud of my husband for adapting to working from home with the kids home full-time and doing his best to help me, someone who was so used to being out and active and client-facing for the majority of days.
I'm so thankful to him for assuring me, "I've got the kids, go do your thing" and off I'd go to my new make-do teaching space in the basement. Without his support, in him knowing how important it is for me to move and teach, I don't know how I would have survived.
And without each of you, I wouldn't have been able to shift to this virtual teaching space! Knowing you're there on the other end, ready and waiting for our class to start, drives me to keep going and do better.
Thank you for being there with me and navigating this strange new world together. Keep moving, prioritize your physical and mental health - and stay safe.
Here's to our continued adventures and exciting growth together in 2021!