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Reimagining my fitness routine for post-pandemic life

With two doses of vaccine in my arm, I find myself pondering what my new ‘post-pandemic’ fitness routine will look like. Here’s one thing I know, it will not look like it did before COVID-19 and in many ways I’m grateful for that. Gyms, small fitness studios, local YMCA’s and other recreation centers are all open again. In addition to Pilates, I love to play tennis and am thrilled to be back on the courts! While I’ve been lucky to keep up my Pilates at home during the pandemic, it’s time for me to return to in-person workouts. Do I need to give up my ‘at home’ workouts? I don’t want to!

I see an opportunity to evolve my fitness routine — hopefully to include both virtual and ‘in studio’ training. As a result, I hope to build a more robust and more flexible fitness routine into my post-pandemic life.

A duet Pilates session at MOVE Wellness

My pre-pandemic fitness routine

Like many people who have had a regular fitness regime for years, my pre-pandemic fitness routine included a combination of memberships, class fees, court time, outdoor activities and even a splurge on some semi-private Pilates training with fellow tennis enthusiasts. When the pandemic hit, it was March in the Midwest. Things shut down quickly, leaving many of us who use fitness as a wellness and mental health tool floundering. Tennis in the snow, anyone?

My (current) pandemic fitness routine

Things evolved quickly with COVID-19 and thankfully, so did my Ann Arbor Pilates studio — MOVE Wellness. As a team, they managed to go completely virtual within days and offer a fantastic array of livestream fitness classes. Kudos to all the Pilates, GYROTONIC, yoga and barre teachers for turning their homes into online studios and their laptops into lifelines. As grateful as I was to still be ‘moving’, I joined in online with a bit of skepticism and an attitude that I ‘would just get through this’ until we could get back to normal classes at the studio.

Nancy Kelley doing an online fitness class with MOVE Wellness
Nancy Kelley doing a duet Pilates session online with MOVE Wellness
Nancy Kelley doing a duet Pilates session with MOVE trainer Natalie Krienke

One month, two months, three months. I lost count. But I also lost count of how many classes I have taken online with live instruction. It’s become a new norm for both me and my husband, and in some ways I’ve grown to love it. 

What is it that I love? Here’s a short list.

  • Weirdly, I love seeing who shows up for class (a little like happy hour). I do feel like part of the community. Sometimes we chat, sometimes we don’t and both are ok.
  • I love the flexibility of changing my clothes (or not) 5 minutes before logging on for class.
  • I enjoy the ease of adding extra classes to my schedule when my schedule allows it—no pressure of an early commitment to do something I’m not sure I will be able to do. 
  • Occasionally (but not often), I enjoy doing class in my pajamas with the camera off.
  • I spend a lot of time in northern Michigan and I love that I can take my new routine with me.
  • As a contract employee paid hourly, I value the time I save by not traveling to any studio (I’m in and out of class in 50 min!).
  • I love the overall value of my classes – I am getting LIVE, professional instruction at an affordable price.
Nancy Kelley doing an online Pilates class with MOVE Wellness
Nancy Kelley doing an online Pilates class with MOVE Wellness
Nancy Kelley doing an online Pilates class with MOVE Wellness

What do I miss? (A much shorter list…)

  • In the group classes I miss the 1:1 in person connection with my trainer and their ability to correct my form with more nuance or encourage me to push a bit harder. 
  • The equipment—love my weekly Reformer class.
  • In person interactions with friends and instructors.
  • Occasionally leaving my house to immerse myself in the small studio environment.

Over time, I started making some adjustments to take things to the next level with livestream classes. I eventually took the money saved from membership fees and tennis court time and bought myself a home Reformer. Having my own equipment at home allowed me to participate in a livestream small group training class with MOVE. My instructor is up close and personal managing only a few clients on the screen and I don’t miss a thing. Honestly, she sees everything and gives me fantastic feedback.

Nancy Kelley updating her fitness routine with a home Pilates Reformer
Nancy Kelley updating her fitness routine with a home Pilates Reformer
Nancy Kelley on her home Pilates Reformer after her workout

What’s next? A hybrid fitness routine?

I have learned so much by being forced out of my normal fitness routine and experimenting with live online classes. It’s something I would never have tried had it not been for COVID-19 shutting down all the gyms, tennis clubs and small fitness studios in Ann Arbor. It’s easy to point to these online classes as a silver lining in a very difficult time.

I have often heard MOVE Wellness owner Elaine Economou say that “the consistency and frequency of your routine builds positive outcomes” and I have to say, she is right. I was able to increase my workout frequency while still receiving quality instruction — all from the comfort of my own home. And, I am definitely seeing the benefits. At a time when most people were moving less, I was actually moving more and both my physical and mental self benefited.  

Nancy Kelley playing tennis as part of her new fitness routine

Truth: If I could only choose ONE form of exercise — I would likely not choose online fitness (I’d choose tennis). I’m grateful to be back on the courts and ready to return to some in-person fitness classes. Even with my Reformer at home, I miss the face to face interaction. But, I also have NO intention of giving up this newfound form of online fitness instruction. It’s extremely clear that these online classes have a very important place in my routine adding significant value, flexibility and very real positive outcomes. I also know how much Pilates improves my tennis game and keeps me injury free. Since I don’t have to choose, I plan to keep a mix of virtual and in-person training. 

I might not be ready to jump into a big gym environment again, but I am ready for a small fitness studio where I feel safe. In addition, I am committed and excited to continue my online instruction. I’ll find my new balance between in person and online instruction as I go forward. I’m confident in one thing, that my new fitness routine will be just that—new.


You Can Start Now

We know the more you move the better you feel. There’s no better time than now to reimagine your own fitness routine. Here are five ways you can start now and join the MOVE Wellness community:

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