Certified professional trainer, Abdelhak Chegri, helps others to flex with his PostureLinx.com fitness training and consulting business in Scottsdale.
The fitness professional offers personal training, home gym design and consulting, according to a press release, noting business adjustments made to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Chegri recounts challenges presented to stay open while keeping clients safe and active during the transition to virtual fitness while people were unable to work out in Arizona gyms during restrictions.
“Few industries have been as dramatically impacted by Covid 19 as the fitness industry. Gym closures, the everchanging rules regarding masks and the uncertainty regarding safety made many unwilling to risk their health by going. It seems our thinking shifted from improving our health to preserving our health,” Mr. Chegri said.
Questioning if there would be a cure to the disease so “we can all go back to normal,” and wondering how long before a cure, he said as a personal trainer he understands the importance of convenience, consistency, simplicity and functionality related to exercise, regardless of age.
“Clients turn to me for many reasons, especially my elderly clients. They are more vulnerable to Covid and they know that if they stop exercising, their balance, coordination and mobility will rapidly deteriorate. Consistent, safe workouts are critical to their quality of life. Yet, the public gyms could have been a threat to their life,” he said.
When clients shared their concerns, he was determined to adapt, despite lockouts and the “Quarantine Fifteen,” he stated.
He began imagining a new kind of gym, different delivery methods for personal training, including a simple, effective home gym without expensive and limited function machines taking up space.
“This new gym had to be fully capable with just a few tools to provide a potent workout session. It had to be capable of delivering a total body workout that was fine tuned to the unique need of each client. And, it had to be in the safety of their home,” Mr. Chegri said.
“Our first test site was in Scottsdale with an active couple, Michael and Ellen. I have trained them for years and have witnessed their commitment to regular exercise. The gym I designed for them was mounted on a garage wall. It could be mounted in a ceiling as well. Michael did the installation. We then invested in minimal equipment including my custom suspension trainer, dumbbells and carefully selected sets of bands.”
Then, he said they went to work, virtually.
“I’ve always known that being totally reliant on a traditional gym for workouts is not practical for sustaining weight, muscle tone, stamina, etc. In fact, I personally know many gym goers and personal trainers who gained the “Quarantine Fifteen” during the pandemic because they were locked out of gyms,” he added.
Those willing to adjust to the virtual gym, like the Scottsdale couple, he said, appreciate how well the concept worked for a transitional home gym including weights and resistance bands to do the virtual workouts, plus a cool suspension training system.
The suspension trainer, heavy duty bands attached to wall anchors at various heights and dumbbells became the backbone of workouts. After a couple of months, a specialized stability ball was added to the regimen.
“Initially, all my training was done virtually. As our knowledge of Covid increased and the stay-at-home orders relaxed a bit, Mike, Ellen and I adjusted again. Phase two of training had become a hybrid model of virtual and in-person training.
The reality is, in-person instruction and training cannot be fully replaced by remote. Too many nuances of posture and execution cannot be seen remotely. And, we are now entering Phase three and have returned to mostly in-person training. I travel to them,” he said.
He added that when the couple travels, they can even pack their gym to transport their home gym in a box and set it up anywhere they go and be ready for a remote workout with him, which he called convenient, consistant, and cost saving.
“So, yes, COVID-19 has changed many things in the fitness industry. But in the process, we have done a lot of learning. The cool thing is, with some creative steps and the willingness to be flexible, active individuals like Michael and Ellen, were able to avoid risk, maintain an active lifestyle, not miss workouts or end up dragging around the 'Quarantine Fifteen' for what might be the rest of their life,” he said.