In mid-June, fitness studios and gyms throughout the region were permitted to once again open their doors, as part of Virginia’s phase two reopening plan, bringing personal trainers and fitness coaches back to the studio.
For Bonny Beebe—the assistant fitness director of Chantilly-based The Fitness Equation, who holds seven certifications—that meant it was time to restart one-on-one, in-person training, organize schedules with other coaches and prepare for the complex days ahead. And, as Virginia has officially moved into phase three, enabling gyms to function at 75% occupancy, Beebe’s days will change once again. From setting daily goals to staying connected with clients from home, we chatted with Beebe about what her experience has been like during the global pandemic.
What does a typical day at The Fitness Equation look like for you, pre-pandemic?
Six days a week, my alarm goes off on or before 4:30 a.m. I will admit, I do not open my eyes and jump out of bed with a smile. But after a quick transition, I get ready, both physically and mentally. I go through my day’s schedule to be fully prepared. By the time I’m pulling into the parking lot, I have set my daily goals and am ready for all challenges. At The Fitness Equation, I have three areas I manage: making sure our current members get a continual professional prescription for their own health journey, on-boarding new members on the correct path and helping to build a professional and contributing staff.
At midday, I stop myself and evaluate my day because the urgent issues of the morning sometimes consume many hours. Time management is key for ensuring that I have met with my own clients, touched base with the different staff members to provide positive guidance, and I never let myself get too busy that I cannot reach out to at least one of the new members that joined the previous day. Making a difference in our growing community is the heart of TFE.
How do you balance your own health regimen in addition to your clients’ journeys?
I live daily knowing people need me at 100% capacity. Even at 44, I have goals and dreams that require my body and mind to be at an optimal level. I not only need to be optimal for my clients, but for my own family, which includes my four children that are 19, 17, 13 and 4. I am a firm believer that a way to feel balanced is to be “where you are.” My family understands that when I am at work, I am not handling home issues. I am there to focus on my clients and other responsibilities. I give this same focus to my family and myself when it’s time, and I have learned in order to guide others to crush their goals, I must continually work on mine. Even though I am a coach, I also have my own accountability team that I trust to advise me on my fitness and nutrition journey. I do try my best to lead by example in all areas of life.
How were you able to stay connected with clients during the stay-at-home order?
When the stay-at-home order was first mandated, I immediately reached out to my clients. I always push to my clients to know a fitness program should be part of one’s daily routine. Work, gym, home, dinner … It all is a part of a normal day, but the stay-at-home order absolutely redefined everyone’s “normal.”
For the most part, humans thrive emotionally and handle anxiety better with routine and schedule. As part of my quarantine schedule, I reached out regularly to my clients. We would focus on how to stay active and positive, set some structure and create short-term goals. My regular three-day-a-week, 6 a.m. client still wanted to keep her workout schedule, so we met via Zoom three days a week at our regular time. I was so proud that the TFE executive team took immediate action to provide videos and services for our members to have home workouts too, and they stayed connected with all the staff. I also had the honor of creating a few videos for the TFE workout library, and felt I was somewhat doing my part to help ease the stresses of our quarantine.
What has it been like at the gym since you reopened services to clients?
TFE has the best members, and I say that with 100% confidence. We’ve had to implement several guidelines that have made doing a standard workout a challenge, but our TFE family has been patient and cooperative in order for everyone to enjoy their workouts. It’s great to see that we are not just a place to workout—we are a community. I am glad to see the long-term bonds being created in spite of a world crisis. Within the hour it was announced to our members that our doors were reopening at 6 a.m. on June 12, I received this text from my client: “So this means we are on for our 6 a.m. session on June 12 like you said, right?” That first minute the doors reopened, I was able to pick up right where I left off, providing a service with the purpose of making life better.
What has been the most challenging aspect of the pandemic for you personally?
I consider myself a physically affectionate person. In my line of work, for many clients, I am also their confidant. For me, facial expressions and body language do the talking, so to limit communication to only words and voices challenged me. I could not let my mind feel isolated even though my being was. I had to make sure to reach out often to people via different methods, and also keep busy with projects at my home. Downtime is not my friend, nor good for my personal well-being, as I am a true believer that humans decline in isolation and thrive in community. Therefore, I had to proactively set my daily routine to ensure I was keeping a sense of community for me, my family and my TFE community.
What is it about your job that keeps you coming back to work every day?
I made a full-time career change many years ago, and have never regretted it. I believe my life calling is to help people become the best selves they can be, and my gift and passion is through fitness and nutrition. Ironically, I have learned that life is beautiful in the way that while we think we are helping others, through this process, we are in fact helping ourselves. I also have the honor of working in an industry and for a company where every single task is geared toward changing lives, and I am grateful to possibly be able to make a positive difference to those around me. I won’t be on this earth forever, and the gift I wish to leave my industry is continuance, and that drives me every day.
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