I'm no newbie to a workout class. Prior to most studios closing, I'd attend every type of fitness class around for work and for fun. And I'll admit, during 95 percent of the classes I took, I rolled my eyes when the instructor would begin an emotional pep talk or get overly enthusiastic with the affirmations. My goal was to get in and get a workout as quickly and efficiently as possible.
But after nearly five months of at-home workouts with nothing but my hand weights and bands to keep me company, I've totally changed my tune: I'm the person who enjoys — thrives — off of trainers' affirmations and bubbly "Yeps!" or "You got this!"
With my first few online workout classes, I thought it was rather silly that some trainers were saying things like, "Looking good!" when I knew the majority of the class had their cameras turned off. But over time, I started to expect those reassuring comments. As I struggled each morning at 7 a.m. to make each workout count and not simply slink off back to bed (which now is a mere 20 paces away), those enthusiastic affirmations kept me motivated.
Where I used to feed off the energy of a room full of athletes breaking a sweat and going through the same strenuous workout together, I now find myself relying on a screen to get that same energy. I've also done a few things to make my home feel more like a workout-friendly space: I invested in a stationary spinning bike, I always dress the part with my best no-slip leggings like the HeatGear® Armour Hi-Rise Capri ($35), and I reserved an entire corner of the kitchen to serve as a makeshift home gym.
But what helps keep me the most motivated and on top of my fitness game are the moments when trainers let me know I'm not alone through their anecdotes, inspirational quips, and cheesy but endearing phrases reminding me how strong I am. I've even taken a class where the trainer reminded the class that it's OK to make modifications to accommodate what you can do right here and now because the "right here and now" is what we're focusing on in class and in life. To this day, I'm not sure if I had sweat or tears in my eyes after that one.
Really, perhaps this should be more of an appreciation letter to the trainers out there who are giving all they've got to a black screen of names. Even though these trainers can't see me or can't correct my form, they know I'm there putting in the work. And in turn, I know they're there with my fellow classmates sweating and making a choice to maintain this particular aspect of normalcy.