Fitness centers, often a daily or weekly haven for exercisers across the region, have had their doors shuttered for nearly three months since the start of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19.
As Virginia has entered phase one of reopening, fitness locations in Northern Virginia are just beginning to offer outdoor classes under the commonwealth’s new restrictions, at least for the time being. But [solidcore], known for its challenging workouts and signature equipment, currently remains teaching classes online.
We caught up with Michelle Martini, studio manager of the Courthouse [solidcore] location and now at-home instructor, to find out how she’s been spending her days during the global pandemic, what she misses about the studio and more. Highlights from our conversation below.
Let’s start with what a typical day would look like for you before the pandemic started. What was a “normal” day like for you?
I have always giggled at this question. A “normal” day always begins with a coffee! After that it’s challenging to describe a typical day because each day is unique. It depends on scheduled training times with clients, whether they be one-on-ones or classes. For example, on Wednesdays, I would start at 5 a.m. I coached classes at 6 a.m, 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and noon, coached a one-on-one at 10 a.m., and then would work on studio updates and needs until 2 to 3 p.m. After that my workday was done. Whereas on Thursdays, my day wouldn’t start until 11 a.m. and would go until 9:30 p.m. Prior to COVID-19, I worked five days a week, coaching 12 classes and had three clients I trained individually. I would workout at local neighboring gyms such as MADabolic, SoulCycle, Ryde and Barry’s Bootcamp.
How long have you been teaching and managing at [solidcore], and what do you love most about it?
I have been a coach with [solidcore] since September 2017. I decided to move over to [solidcore] full time as a studio manager in March 2019 and it is by far one of the best decisions I have made. My absolute favorite part about [solidcore] is the community and clients. There is absolutely nothing more rewarding than witnessing someone accomplish their goals and create the best version of themselves.
When March came along and all fitness centers were forced to close, what was that process like for you at the studio, and how have you all adjusted since then?
March was a very unique month to say the least! [solidcore]’s executive team was very communicative, and just as everything else was changing, so were procedures and communication on a day-to-day basis. On March 15, we found out we would be shutting down March 16. We did as most businesses did—contacted suppliers to inform them we were shutting down, turned off our power, locked our doors and started freezing memberships. A couple of days later, on March 19, we were laid off. Not even a week later I received a phone call asking if I would be one of the [solidcore] at-home coaches. Without a doubt I accepted and we launched on March 30. Throughout the entire experience, the studio team I manage, we have remained in contact, joking with each other and checking in. I am super grateful for the group of coaches I manage.
What does a normal day during the pandemic look like for you now?
COVID-19 life is very similar but also very different—every day is unique. I wake up around 6 a.m. and make a morning coffee or tea. I coach several morning classes but class times vary on a day-to-day basis. I try to squeeze a workout in for myself in the late morning or early afternoon. I do a lot of at-home virtual workouts myself, [solidcore] at-home being one. I go on way more walks and runs then I did prior to the stay-at-home orders, and I have become more creative with my cooking. Most importantly, I talk to friends and family members way more frequently than I did prior.
How are you staying motivated to stay fit and active during this time?
While I do miss the studio atmosphere, it has been enjoyable being able to connect with others from all over. For example, I have a girlfriend in San Francisco and I can attend her boxing classes (virtually) now. I have a girlfriend in Washington, DC and I can attend her yoga classes (virtually) now. I’m going to sound like a Pinterest girl, but I am a big believer that perspective is everything. If you want to keep talking about all things you miss and dislike about our current situation, then dwell on, but if you decide to enjoy what you do have you will find yourself way more energized. When you’re energized, you are way more motivated! When that doesn’t help, because let’s face it, we are human and some days you don’t want to do anything, it helps to have a group of friends to lean into. I have a small group of girls that push each other.
For fans of [solidcore] in Northern Virginia, what would you want to tell them?
The [solidcore] family misses each and every single one of you. I can’t wait to see you all under the blue lights, more fierce, healthy and stronger than ever.
What do you miss most about being in the studio?
What do I not miss? I miss everything about being in the studio. I miss the music blasting, I miss the coaches, the clients, the machines, the workouts, the smiles, the grunting, the grit, the phone calls—just kidding, I don’t miss the phone calls!
What has been keeping you hopeful during COVID-19?
Just knowing that this will eventually be behind us.
Is there any additional information you would like to add for our readers?
This time is a huge opportunity. Spend time wisely, try new fitness routines, new instructors, cook something new in the kitchen, play games, finish that project around the house, read a new book or call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Two years from now, when people ask what you did during the COVID-19 pandemic, be proud that you took advantage of the time you were given.
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