Pandemic Lessons: Changing Our Relationship With Fitness
Alex Mogannam
March 18, 2021

On Sunday morning I woke up feeling a deep sadness--missing the studio, missing home, missing our community. I turned to Oscar and told him what day it was.

“It’s the one year anniversary of shutting the studio down.”

He turned to me and said, “So then it’s the one year anniversary of growing the business.” (He’s hella wise like that.) He was right too. We’ve grown into something we never planned or imagined. I, then, immediately thought of you. You helped us survive this past year. You believed in us and got us through. I also thought of the deep sadness you may have felt, the trauma you got through, and the loss you may have experienced. In many ways we are still processing what happened and what is still happening. If processing trauma and sadness is the key to healing, shifting your perspective is the key to progress. With much out of our control this is a good time to reflect on what we can change or what we’ve already changed.*  

Looking back on this past year, if someone told me we would be a bootcamp business with a virtual offering I would have laughed. I spent half my career teaching bootcamps just so I could own a studio. If someone told me I would be in NYC launching a new branch of said bootcamp business I would have told them they were crazy. But why? Is it so crazy to imagine life changing quickly within a year? We know it’s not so crazy because we all experienced it. So if our circumstances change, why can’t we change with them? Why can’t we grow with them? We must remind ourselves of our resilience and give credit where it's due. You made it through a year of the pandemic. Before you think about how shitty it was just take a moment. WE MADE IT. We literally survived. What a blessing. What a gift. Let’s not waste it.

To be clear, I’m not preaching about how you should have used this time to become your best self, started a side hustle, found true love, and be the fittest version of you ever. That’s not why we’re here. We’re here to reflect and learn, specifically when it comes to your relationship with fitness. While some of you finally found your ideal fitness regimen, many of you lost your routine (me included). Starting and running a business severely affected my health and wellness. Add a pandemic into the mix and anything resembling a regimen went completely out of the picture. While I am still working on adding physical activity back into my day, something shifted during the pandemic. My internal conversation around fitness has changed. While stuck at home, feeding even more into my work-a-holic tendencies, I found myself grateful for any type of exercise. A walk with Hank, a quick set of push ups, teaching a virtual class, taking a BB class—these brief but energizing moments gave me life—literally! It made me view fitness in a way I never have before. As an athlete, performance is your number one priority. I’ve had this mindset my entire life. But for the first time my priority was movement. While the athlete in me battled the thought of this, when I finally gave in I felt relieved. When you’re working out with the a goal of movement in mind, there are less restrictions. You’re just working to feel good physically and emotionally. That meant opening up my parameters on how I defined exercise and fitness: walking with a friend, stretching, foam rolling, dancing, roller skating—it all counted. I still got that endorphin release, and I might have even smiled a bit more. I became less focused on how I looked and more concerned about how I felt. But at the end of the day, I was still missing The Boombox.

I noticed this happening to you too. Pre-pandemic, there were many conversations in the studio about weight loss. These are very normal conversations to have in a gym. We all have goals, much of them inspired by aesthetics and performance and there is nothing wrong with that as long as the pursuit doesn’t become obsessive. During the pandemic, conversations focused on feeling better, getting out of the house, and actually interacting with other people! That’s the perspective shift I’m talking about. When it comes to fitness, particularly group fitness, should the goal be focused around the individual or around the community? Fitness was never meant to be a solo sport. The root of most exercise is community. Whether it’s on the field, in the weight room, on the trail, or at the court, we gather at these places for a reason. We now know you can do any of these things at home and alone. But we keep coming back to our community.

Below you’ll find a mindfulness exercise. (Yes, more exercise.) I hope it helps you identify what you need from fitness and why exercise is important to you. I hope it helps you shed any toxic thoughts about your body and reminds you of your strength, inside and out.

There is nothing anyone can say to take away the pain of this past year or change what’s happened. My dear childhood bestie always tells me we are never given anything we can’t handle. I have found that to be true this year more than ever. We can only control the controllable and we do have control over our own perspective. If you’re handed lemons, make the most delicious lemonade you can (and maybe add some vodka). There was no right way to get through this past year. Honor yourself without criticism. You’re still standing, BB. That’s the true meaning of strength.

*If you’re in mourning of any kind, do not try to change those feelings. Everyone processes grief differently. Just take it day by day. Maybe get a puppy. They make everything better. <3

Mindfulness Exercise
How have you changed? Mentally, emotionally, physically?
How has your relationship with fitness changed?
Would you have done anything different? If so, how?
What have you learned?
What lessons do you want to take with you in the next 12 months?

View All Lifestyle Posts
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.