As a seasoned global fitness professional who has travelled to over 60 countries around the world teaching fitness and nutrition concepts, I can share that 2020 has been quite a year of change. Change not only for me personally, but for the fitness training industry as a whole. On one hand I am grounded with no formal travel schedule that requires me to pack a bag and leave, but on the other hand I’m zooming daily into multiple countries around the world, all while managing my home, my family and the stress that online schooling for the kids inevitably brings.
Although physical fitness spaces have closed their doors the need for online fitness content has enabled people like me to continue to bring the joy of movement into people’s lives. There is an increased global awareness around the importance of eating healthy and staying active.
Here are some lessons I have learned over the past few months along with tips to manage the new 6ft apart world we live in.
I’m used to being truly focused. If I’m away travelling, I’m the ultimate professional, and if I’m at home I’m mom, but now I have to be both at one time and manage all that comes with it. Letting go of perfection was the greatest gift that I gave to myself emotionally. I initially felt pressure to be perfect and unfortunately perfection is difficult in my world when you suddenly become the programmer, camera guy, sound guy and uploader overnight at the same time as being the cook and teacher for 4 teenagers. (Algebra and I are not friends) After the first two weeks I let go of perfection and embraced perfect enough.
Accept Real Life
If my kids ask me a question while I’m live with thousands of people teaching, I simply smile and avoid getting stressed. If dogs bark, or my computer freezes momentarily, I need to smile and just do my best to breeze through it. During these moments of potential high stress, I choose to be authentic and invite the world into my life. More often than not it makes people smile. It make them feel normal because, chances are, parents everywhere are doing this balancing act, too. I do my best and go with the flow, and, I have forgiven myself in advance for anything that can, and may, go wrong while teaching at home.
Elevate Your Skill Set
I have had to elevate my communication skills, my technology acumen, and refine my multitasking skills in order to continue to pursue my fitness career here at home. I had to go back to my ‘think like an athlete mentality’ in order to keep up. I had to evaluate my weaknesses and turn them into strengths, and, I had to do so quickly. Technology was my weakness and I had to jump in with both feet. How to trouble shoot a frozen laptop; how to navigate the tricks in zoom. Gone are the days of saying “I’m not a technology person.” Instead, an attitude of acceptance that new skills need to be learned is the way to go. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this moment to up your personal game and work on your weaknesses.
Plan Your Nutrition
It is hard work to feed a family, work, and be a teacher all at once. I was used to being responsible for one amazing meal a day at home, as my kids relied on their great school kitchen for both breakfast and lunch. Transitioning my kitchen to a full- service, all day dining area has taken patience, creativity and planning. I now pre plan my week, create a grocery list and try to stick to the menu. Pre-chopping, pre-seasoning and planning saves so much time and reduces my stress, and also prevents food waste. Sundays are great to prepare for nutrition success. This process also stops the “what is for lunch/what is for snack/ what is for dinner” interruptions to my work meetings. Having healthy supplements and snacks helps me to stay on track with my healthy eating goals.
The work life balance removes the traditional boundaries of a workday and it takes a lot of practice to find that balance. My kids are teenagers, so I’m lucky that they do appreciate that I need uninterrupted time to work. I have found my sweet spot for balance. I allow them to freely come to see me at my desk during work unless I have posted a sign on my door that either reads. “I’m filming content and if you walk in now you’ll make me have to start over; I’m old so please don’t make me exercise again, Thanks Mom” or “This meeting is so important. Please only come in if someone is bleeding,” complete with smiley face, and only joking, non-bleeding emergencies get a pass too. If there are no boundaries, I think it would make it difficult to have a truly happy home. We respect each-others balancing act and occasionally they even bring me tea.
Meet your daily minimum of 30 minutes. Add in additional walking minutes and try to get out with the kids. I had to almost force my teens to get out of the house initially, but now they love the fresh air and change of scenery. It helps that we have dogs to walk as that keeps us accountable to daily outdoor time. Set a timer and make activity a priority.
Adjusting to the new normal is not easy, but it is possible if you are kind to yourself and plan for success.
VP, Worldwide Sports Performance & Fitness Herbalife
Samantha is responsible for all fitness education for Herbalife independent distributors and employees. As a former competitive sprinter and fitness expert, this role suits her well. Married with four children (including triplets,) Samantha understands how difficult it can be to make fitness a priority, but it’s her passion to reawaken everyone’s drive to exercise. She competed in the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 representing Great Britain in the 200-meter sprint and the 100-meter relay. Samantha has a Bachelor of Science degree in public health with a concentration in nutrition and wellness and is ISSA certified.