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TBT: Virtual Personal Trainers

Outside the homes of those fortunate enough to dwell in safety, terrible threats are raging: authoritarian violence, injustice, contagious disease. In this moment, finding an online personal trainer may seem vain or frivolous, but in truth, home fitness has never been more relevant. The value of self-care cannot be underestimated, especially for those most vulnerable to illness and toxic stress. For anyone with access to the internet and a space to exercise, a virtual class can be a powerful tool for an individual to maintain physical and mental strength to stay in the fight for justice.

The pandemic has already created a boom in virtual training sessions. Personal trainers and dance and fitness instructors across the nation have pivoted to offering virtual lessons. If you can afford it, paying a professional for interactive virtual services is the best way to stay fit online. You'll support the career of someone who might otherwise be out of a job, and your teacher can offer you personalized feedback such as posture correction or alternative movements to better suit your body's needs and abilities.

However, free prerecorded exercise videos are also plentiful, and they have their own benefits. Prerecorded videos can be slowed down, paused, and replayed to give you a chance to move at your own pace and according to your own timeline.

My favorite ways to stay fit involve going outside--for bike rides, nature walks, swims at the beach, or even sweaty chores in the backyard. But here in Michigan, the weather does not always permit. Spectacular thunderstorms have been rolling through as spring turns to summer. It can be fun to frolic in a warm downpour, but lightning is a hazard worth avoiding.

So I've enjoyed this renaissance of online workouts. Though the joy and camaraderie of in-person classes can't be replicated through a screen, it is fun to be able to learn from instructors from all over the world. And when nobody else can see you, you can feel free to do embarrassing stuff like yoga that makes you fart or sexy dancing that makes your lady lumps jump.

Legendary belly dance instructor Sadie Marquardt posts free videos and offers interactive classes for an affordable subscription fee at Raqs Online. Before, most Sadie fans had to buy a DVD or travel or wait for her to visit a nearby city for a hafla if we wanted to learn her techniques, so this is new and exciting.

UK instructor Leilah Isaac has resumed posting new videos, and her library of past videos are also freely available on her YouTube channel. Remember the good old days, earlier in this long year of 2020, when the headline news was the cultural battle over whether J.Lo and Shakira's Super Bowl dance was too sexy? AHAHAHAHAHA! Now you can travel back in time with Leilah "whenever, wherever," and learn how it feels to shake it like a middle-aged mujer who truly does not care.



Moroccan-born dancer Tiazza Rose has stepped back from creating new videos lately, but she has kept up her YouTube channel of fun workouts and educational tutorials.




Long ago, in the Before Times, I enjoyed a mix of in-person fitness classes and free home-internet belly dance sessions. When I was very young and not yet a mother, I'd prop up at least one mirror and follow along with the same video repeatedly, toggling between watching the instructor and watching myself, until I felt like I "got it." This moment of clarity would tend to hit me after about 45 minutes of flailing around in confusion, but it always came if I was patient enough to keep trying. 

I also liked mixing it up with different kinds of cardio and strength training. Below is what I wrote back in the 2000s, when I subscribed to Glamour and had a lot of time on my hands.

Virtual Personal Trainers

Your fairy godmother of fitness is at Glamour.com!

I just completed the three-month Body by Glamour program. The weight training was HARD. This is no sissy workout, I swear. I started out with 2.5 pound weights and could not finish the recommended number of reps. By the end of one month, though, I had moved up to 10 pound weights, completing all the reps.

For the cardio intervals, I did belly dancing drills from YouTube, walked quickly up and down my stairs, or did a few rows with the manual mower. (I can get about 1/3 of the yard done in five minutes at a good workout pace. Multi-tasking!)

To boost the calorie burn and muscle building, I drank coffee before each workout. (Caffeinated tea works also, but don't drink soda or vitamin water. Chugging calories and toxins kind of defeats the purpose of working out. And you don't need an electroyte supplier for a half-hour strength training session. We're not running a marathon here!) Another trick I used was working out to music. Somehow, doing reps to a rhythm builds muscle and burns calories faster than doing the same workout without a soundtrack.

I don't weigh myself (and weight loss was not one of my fitness goals), but I did notice a toning-up and a significant increase in strength. I have lower back scoliosis, which usually makes my back sore after 15 minutes or so of working in the garden. After completing the BBG workout, I have no problem with back pain! I can work in the garden until the mosquitoes drive me nuts, without muscle soreness.

I highly recommend the Body by Glamour plan. Get a buddy to sign on with you to keep motivated. It's a fast way to get into shape, and you can even get in on a nice prize sweepstakes, all for free!
Work it now, and get your hottest body ever in time for this year's Halloween costume parties!

Comments

  1. I've been thinking about signing up for that, now I'm definitely going to! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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