By Amy Lewis
Photography by ChiChi Ubiña

“The mark of community is not the absence of conflict. It’s the presence of a reconciling spirit.” — Bill Hybels

What is your current state of fitness? After two months of doing Insta live classes, have you given up because you feel isolated or just bored? Understandable, right? It is so hard to believe, over the course of four months the fitness community has completely unraveled?

This article has nothing to do with getting back into shape or how you do it. It is about reinventing your own community of health and fitness, without the big gym or boutique classes. These communities are gone and yes will come back, but normalcy is out the door. Big gyms will require a mask and a new set of rules. Small boutique niche studios that rely heavily on HIIT, cycling, hot yoga, etc. in which we sweat bullets may be a bit of a turn off right now. I am so sad for my industry that I love. Before March, the fitness industry generated roughly 80 billion dollars in revenue per year. However, without any clear sign of a vaccine, what will the remainder of 2020 look like? The saddest part for me is the encouragement to stay home, indoors, and the fear to go outside without a mask. Yes maybe in Greenwich everyone has a home gym, but in the real world most people do not. It’s proven that Vitamin D, cardio, strength training all lead to a stronger immune system. We absolutely need fresh air! Exercise has become a holistic approach to battling asthma, chronic illness, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, need I go on? Staying sedentary and isolated sounds horrible. I was overwhelmed by my loss of community, but it was a progression and I took these steps to reinvent and find my own niche.

Zoom Classes – thank God for technology! The Insta live classes are great and free but without interaction other than the feed, I really got bored. And personally speaking, I did not understand how people could write while sprinting on a bike. I would zoom with my trainer. These were not free, but I did it with all friends I have worked out with before, which felt like we were training together. We could joke around, push a little more and correct our overall form.

Old School Home Gym – over the past 3 months I have collected a few fitness items and made a nook outside for myself and my son. I was able to get barbells, a squat rack and bench. The space on our patio is 10 feet x 12 feet, there’s room so I can squat, press, pullup, deadlift, split squat, etc. all while outside blasting any kind of music. It is better than any indoor gym. I call it old school because it’s from an 80’s film of teenagers working out of their garage. This is not fancy at all.

Private Access to a Full Service Boutique Gym – Yes, I am going to say it, it pays to be me and my friend. My son, daughter, two close friends and I got private access to a boutique gym on a daily basis after month two. We are a workout quarantine pod. I know some may think this wrong of me, but who would turn down wide open space that has both strength and cardio? We went with all our bacterial wipes, blasted music, and trained super hard. (For the record, this was after the study came out about Covid not likely transferring on surfaces.) It felt phenomenal to get the heck out of the house! My mental state of anxiety – resolved. Also for the record, here lies the future of fitness. Find an out of the way gym where you know and trust the owner and make it yours. Membership will be limited and at the owner’s discretion. It should have high ceilings and good ventilation. Prior to March, I was a member of four gyms; two around Greenwich and two in the city. That was absolutely insane! Going forward, my membership will be one and my loyalty lies with this one.

At Home Workout Buddies – I’ve also opened up my little outdoor piece of heaven to a few very close quarantined friends. I train them three times a week, sometimes joining in. This has been amazing. We are outside, doing our best social distancing, but the sheer pleasure of normal social interaction has made such a difference.

There you have it, my fitness community reinvented. We should never stop our health and wellness journey for anything. This is the time to be strong both in mind and body. Good luck and stay well!