I ducked in out of the rain and into the gym, adjusting my mask so that the guy at the front desk could take my temperature.  This was usually one of the best parts of my day; the pre-workout supplement kicking in, the clink and clack of weights punctuating the steady hum of the treadmills upstairs.  It was time to workout.  But on that particular evening, a hard day had finally gotten the better of me and the truth was that I didn’t want to be there.  Even the festive holiday decorations hung up around the gym didn’t feel me with much cheer.  

“How you doing?” I asked the kid from beneath my mask without much effort.

His answer came so earnestly that it shook me out of my own private doldrum. “I’m great!”

I looked up to see the eyes above his mask crinkled in a smile and I felt ashamed that I’d entered the interaction with so little effort. “How are things going here?” I asked, trying to chip in for my part of the conversation. “Are you guys hanging in there?” There was no need for any context; the survival of gyms around the nation and the world is on everyone in the fitness industry’s minds.

“We’re here today!” he answered, swiping my keycard and holding up his other hand as if to proudly show me the handful of others already working out across the gym. “That’s the way we need to look at things.”

I swallowed and scratched my head. “Yeah,” I said, my voice brightening. “You know what, you’re right.” Suddenly, the Christmas decorations draped across the front desk no longer looked so silly. I waited for a moment—wondering if this guy would pop out with any more Yoda-isms, but all he did was wished me a good workout and turned back to cleaning his spray bottles.  I walked away, still a little stunned by the lightning bolt of positivity, and I wondered as I started loading up the bench press whether I’d just been visited by some sort of Retro Fitness Christmas Ghost.  

The fact of the matter is, I wasn’t visited by any Ghost of Christmas Present.  I was just lucky enough to cross paths with someone brimming with gratitude and positivity on a day when I truly needed it. Over the last few days, it got me to thinking about all that we in the fitness industry have to be thankful for.  It’s good to count our blessings and to be grateful for the ways we’re uniquely set up to WIN as we return to normal .

Here’s my list of things I’m grateful for as a fitness professional this holiday season:

PEOPLE ARE REALIZING THAT FITNESS MATTERS

I’m lucky enough to oversee our website’s chat system and I can tell you that I speak to a diverse range of customers every single day (remind me to tell you about the time someone asked me for pictures of my abs!).  But do you know what I’ve noticed more than anything through the entire pandemic?  People who’ve never taken much stock in fitness are now more desperate for it than ever.  I’ve spoken to new mom’s, business executives, grandmothers, and people from just about every walk of life who are viewing this pandemic as a wake up call.  We’ve only got one chance, and it’s absolutely vital that we maintain our health through regular fitness.  I know what you’re saying: ‘I’m a gym owner—people buying home equipment won’t help me at all.’  Well, I’ve got good news for you too. MANY of the people buying our equipment for their homes mention things like ‘until my gym reopens’, or ‘until things are safe again.’  This will NOT last forever, and when things do calm down I think we’re going to have a new wave of people who will view the days after this pandemic as a second chance to take fitness seriously.  Be there to welcome them with open arms!

SOCIAL MEDIA IS OUR (NOT SO) SECRET WEAPON

I think we’re all guilty from time to time of not acknowledging what a miracle social media is for the fitness industry.  In the palms of our hands, we hold the power to advertise our gyms and businesses, often for free!  On Black Friday, we provided a SledMill™ for a personal trainer who found it while poking around on Instagram.  By scrolling around with one finger, he found a piece of fitness equipment that will elevate his business, and which he will also be able to showcase on his own social media accounts.  Sounds simple, right?  But imagine this pandemic had hit us even 20 years ago.  The advent of social media has changed the way we play the game and it offers countless opportunities for growth, inspiration, and sales.  Even if your gym or business is locked down, you’d better believe that people are still watching.  How can you drum up excitement now so that they’re absolutely desperate to get back when we’re finally back in the regular swing of things?

THE END IS IN SIGHT!

Back in June, I wrote a blog post titled ‘Light At The End Of The Tunnel’, a starry eyed and naively hopeful entry about when we’d be returning to ‘normal’.  Looking back at it now, I’d like to apologize for jumping the gun (it’s been a long 6 months since then!). But now, at the risk of being too forward again, I think the end of this pandemic is finally, really, truly in sight. With pharmaceutical companies touting vaccines with efficacy rates north of 95%, it’s only a matter of time before we can begin to recover.  While we don’t have any definitive answers or timeframes, I hope it can help to lighten everyone’s spirits this holiday season that the world has made progress and that we’re far closer to the end of this pandemic than we are to the beginning of it.  Some people who’ve looked at gyms as something to be afraid of will finally be afforded the peace of mind to return once more.  

The guy behind the Front Desk at my gym might not’ve been a Christmas Ghost, but as I said goodnight after my workout and stepped back outside, I knew I’d had my Scrooge moment.  It’s perfectly normal for the stresses of the day to get to you. The antidote is gratitude - always. Having our health is the greatest blessing there is. Being in an industry where I get to help people improve this blessing is beyond what I could ask for. At The Abs Company We Believe that Fitness Changes Lives. Whether you are just starting out or are a seasoned exerciser we have solutions for you and we are always here to help.