In any initial meeting with a new client, whether they are looking for tailored personal training or to join a class, their goals tend to be fairly universal: “lose weight and tone up”.
During COVID, we have become familiar with YouTube fitness videos, live Zoom classes, Facebook and Instagram streaming and cashless payment systems. And more recently, outdoor fitness classes have been able to resume with increasing numbers – there is now an at-home or outdoor exercise option for everyone depending on how comfortable you feel with meeting in-person, and what your budget is. The future of gym classes, however, falls into something of a grey area…
As a trainer, I thoroughly enjoyed holding the indoor Bootcamp classes of old; loud music, lots of people, tons of stations with different equipment and a fast – paced changeover from one station to the next. I was able to keep prices low as the class numbers were high, pack the gym with as many people as wanted to attend, and push up the intensity until everyone was happily red-faced and breathless.
Just reading that description in the current times will probably fill most people with horror – lots of people, in close proximity, sharing equipment, breathing heavily and, even worse, sweating! So what are indoor classes actually going to look like now? Now that numbers will be strictly limited, equipment will have to be sterilised between each use, and well, you know… social distancing.
For a start, clients’ needs have changed. What people are looking for, after months of being mostly housebound and enormously stressed, comfort eating and stress drinking, is more than just an hour a week of anonymity in a large group; it’s more than just “lose weight and tone up”. People are in desperate need of real support – with exercise in and out of the gym but also with nutrition, with stress and with coping with the toll that this pandemic has taken on them mentally and physically. They are all really looking for that connection and support network with others who feel the same way – the human element we have all lacked in recent times.
Secondly, what we as trainers can offer has changed. I won’t be able to teach my large indoor classes – but I can teach smaller classes (and I mean much smaller – 3 to 5 people) in a very safe and strictly controlled environment. Smaller classes means much more tailored, bespoke programmes. And much closer rapport between attendees. Rather than being anonymous in class, you can be part of a small, supportive group who will have access to things like customised home workout videos, live weekly check-ins, tailored nutrition coaching (via our Intelligent Fitness app), monthly recipe packs, weekly challenges and continuous support with habit coaching. We will be able to look at every aspect of your wellbeing, from sleep to hydration to stress management.
The future of indoor classes has changed, but it has changed in a positive way – because COVID has forced us trainers to re-evaluate what you as clients really want right now, and it’s given us the time to put new systems in place to help. In our new Personal Training Centre, with our newly designed Small Group PT model, you’ll get the support system that you need for every area of your wellbeing. And I’m pretty sure you’ll lose weight and tone up too!
As Ireland starts to reopen again following the COVID-19 lockdown, gyms are finally, tentatively getting back up and running again!
As the gym we are based in is within a GAA club, and GAA guidelines are still currently for gyms to remain closed, we currently do not have a premises to operate out of. Like everyone, in practically every industry, personal trainers have learnt the importance of adaptability. By adapting, we have continued to provide services to clients in whatever way we can: online Zoom classes, yoga and one to one training sessions, as well as more recently, outdoor training and fitness classes. We are committed to continuing to offer all of these services for as long as there is a need for them.
We have had a long and productive relationship with Fingallians GAA. Noel was involved with strength and conditioning for the Fingallians Senior team long before the current gym even opened, and from the start of the new gym project just over three years ago, we oversaw the design of the gym, sourcing of equipment and management of the facility. It is a project we have taken great pride in.
We have loved breathing life into an empty shell of a building; watching our teams grow and develop and thrive; being a part of the all-inclusive community spirit of the GAA; forging great friendships and holding our wedding reception there in November.
We have literally laughed, cried, celebrated and commiserated through every team win or loss, every client’s achievement, small and large. We have loved every minute.
We don’t know how long the gym will have to remain closed before the GAA feel it is safe to reopen the doors. What has been made clear to us, is that when the gym is able to reopen, there will be a set of constraints placed on us that are so prohibitive that we will no longer be able to operate there: the time has come for us to move on.
We would like to thank outgoing Chairman and Vice Chairman, Tony Gordan and Brendan McGrath for trusting us to help them realise their vision for the gym at Fingallians. We would also like to thank Joe Evans of Fingallians Athletics Club, and Fingal County Council for their ongoing support of our business, both at Fins and beyond.
Thank you so much to Club Manager Feidhlim for all your support and help! And huge thanks to Dan Campion for helping us with our vision for Intelligent Fitness.
COVID-19 has taught us ALL the importance of adaptability. We are continuously adapting and seeking the best for our valued clients and with that in mind, in the coming weeks we will be opening our NEW personal training centre in Swords! We’re delighted that Alan Dunne of Alan Dunne Fitness will be joining us in the new venture.
We have been so amazed and touched by the support and kindness of all of our clients, fitness class members, friends, and coaches and mentors from Fins, that we can’t wait to repay your loyalty and support by providing you with a fabulous new state of the art personal training centre. Look forward to seeing you at the opening…
Unbelievably, it’s now been 16 weeks since the gym closed its doors and our lives changed completely. Over the last 16 weeks, we have continued to train clients in whatever capacity we can, adapting to the ever changing guidelines as to the safest way to do this.
We have managed to keep classes going right from the start, and to date Meredith has done exactly 105 online Zoom classes! Six weeks ago, we were also able to start offering small classes of three people and have been able to increase that number subsequently to classes of 14. From this week, we can have an unlimited number (well technically 200, but realistically that’s unlikely!) in our outdoor classes providing we continue to adhere to social distancing and hygiene guidelines, which we are committed to doing.
We are really excited to be able to work with clients and classes again in person, but understandably many people are still not entirely comfortable with meeting one to one, or coming along to a real-life class. It’s also “technically” now the school summer holidays, so there are plenty of parents who just can’t commit to getting to a class. With this in mind, we have decided to continue our very successful Zoom classes for July and August.
Initially, classes were run Mon-Fri for 20-25 minutes per day, and that format worked really well in lockdown but from next week (Mon 6th July), Zoom classes will be run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10am for 40 minutes. Each class will include a full body workout, with a focus on either cardio, core or yoga stretches (you can sign up via our shop).
Outdoor classes are going to continue in Malahide for the foreseeable future, as we work to provide a way of safely offering indoor classes. They will take place on a Tues and Thurs at 10am and 5pm. So between our virtual and outdoor offerings, you will be able to find a class or combination of classes that work for you (and if you are feeling really brave you can sign up for a class every weekday!).
One to one personal training is available both virtually and in person (outdoors), and will continue to be available outdoors for the next two weeks. In line with the GAA directive, the gym in Fingallians will finally be in a position to open its doors on Monday 20th July! We’re really excited to be able to get back to personal training in the gym from that point and we’re working hard behind the scenes to make sure that we can offer a training session and an environment that is safe for everyone, and also that we can offer a comprehensive online service via our website and new app.
So thanks to all our lovely clients and friends for bearing with us through all the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, and for so graciously and enthusiastically throwing themselves into our modified classes and programmes! As ever, we welcome your input and feedback so do keep in touch!!
It’s been nine weeks since schools and businesses closed and we went into lockdown against COVID-19. In that time, the world has changed, and we have learnt a very different way of living our lives.
Now, in Ireland, we’re facing the very exciting (and also slightly daunting) prospect of easing out of lockdown and back to “normality” – or at least, a new version of normal! We’ve been given a set of guidelines following five three-week phases, during which things like travel distance restrictions, business closures and social distancing measures will be eased and we can start to enjoy some of the things we have been missing so much for the past two months.
In line with the lifting of restrictions and the Government’s exiting lockdown plan, we are really happy to be able to now offer outdoor training in person! We have continued to work with our clients in an online capacity, running Zoom classes and one to one video sessions, but from next week, we will be able to meet in groups of four or less for the purposes of exercise. To comply with the COVID-19 guidelines, we will be offering outdoor training sessions for individuals or groups of two or three, with minimal equipment (sterilised between use), at a distance of 2m and with plastic gloves and hand sanitiser available for trainer and client.
In addition to that, we have been working hard to come up with our own Intelligent Fitness Exiting Lockdown plan for all of our lovely clients, and we now even have our very own app (powered by the lovely people at Just Coach) through which we can deliver even better content. We understand that the past nine weeks have been very difficult for most people – between the closure of gyms, travel restrictions, worry about the situation and lack of social interaction, the majority of people will have lost some fitness, gained a little body fat and possibly suffered with sleep, stress and mental wellbeing issues as well. Our easing out of lockdown plan is designed to help you get back to where you were physically and mentally, and we have designed it in five three-week increments, in line with Ireland’s plan to ease restrictions, so that by the time life can return to normal, you’ll be feeling a lot more like your old self too!
Phase 1 of our plan begins on Monday 18th May and is designed to help with every area of your life that has been affected by the extraordinary circumstances we’ve been living through. If you decide to sign up for the three week Phase 1 plan, you will get:
Access to 5 days per week of Zoom classes (Mon- Fri at either 10am or 6pm)
One outdoor fitness session per week in a group of up to three (plus trainer)
Private Facebook support group
Your choice of one of the following coaching programmes (delivered via our app)
Improve Your Sleep programme
Reduce Your Stress programme
Stop Snacking programme
Your choice of one of the following menu packs (delivered via our app)
Vegetarian recipe pack
Low carb recipe pack
High protein recipe pack
All of this is on offer for just €80 for three weeks! If you’d like to sign up to the package or to find out more about one to one training, drop us a like or give us a shout on 087 963 7666 and we’d be happy to help!
Meredith & Noel
Intelligent Fitness – providing intelligent solutions to your fitness needs
The inevitable has happened, and Ireland is in lockdown. The situation we are dealing with is unprecedented, and we are presented with a uniquely challenging set of circumstances; cut off from family members and social activities, we have never been more frightened, isolated, frustrated or sedentary.
As an industry, fitness professionals, coaches and nutrition experts work to help you with your health and fitness goals. And the fitness industry has changed overnight. We’re no longer able to work with you in person, hold a bootcamp class, meet you in the gym to train or roll out a strength and conditioning session for a team. But we are still here. We’re holding virtual bootcamp classes that you can do from your own sitting room, we’re filming exercise libraries that can be sent to teams, and we’re working with our one to one clients via video conferencing apps. We’re thinking on our feet and adapting to every new challenge that has been thrown at us, so that we can remain available to help you with your goals.
The terrain has changed a little though, and the goals have shifted. Our philosophy has always been to help you be the best version of you. But with the current situation, the best version of you has probably changed to “the best version of you under the circumstances”. And that last part is key; it’s the part that means you have to stop giving yourself a hard time about your lack of motivation or your food choices or your inability to get out and train. As your trainer, I am telling you that it’s OK to not be losing weight or gaining muscle right now, and I’m going to go one step further and say that you may well even gain a few pounds of body fat and that’s OK too. In the scheme of things, some of our health goals have had to be temporarily put on hold – along with our social lives, visits to the gym and meals out! We’re all adapting and that includes having to adapt your expectations.
The base line here is that we have to pick the biggest and most important goal and focus on that – and for everyone it has to start with mental health. Because when all of this ends (and it will!), you need to be mentally strong enough to do what is necessary to fight to get back anything you have lost as a result of not being able to exercise.
Protecting our physical health plays a huge role in preserving our mental health. Not everyone is in a position to get out and walk right now but if you are, do it! Walk as much as you can!! Walking is the most accessible, easy, uplifting form of exercise we have at the moment and it has the added benefit of providing you with fresh air and Vitamin D, which you get from the sun. It will also help you sleep better and quality sleep is essential for a healthy immune system. If you can’t get out, join our online exercise class, which we run via Zoom every weekday morning at 10am for 25 minutes (text me on 087 963 7666 to sign up!).
Have a daily routine – whether you are working from home, temporarily laid off, living alone or trying to organise kids, a routine is vital for your sanity. Eat, wake and sleep at the same time every day. Plan your other activities in advance and if you have none, find some! Read, listen to podcasts and audiobooks, meditate, keep a diary, learn to cook something new, have a virtual coffee with friends via a video conferencing app. Make use of the free resources that have been made available online. Plan your meals and shop accordingly (remember, Future You is a virtual prisoner in your own house – use that to your advantage when planning the weekly food shop!). Don’t drink – alcohol is a depressant and will also affect your sleep. Seek out sunshine, even if it is only through the living room window. Relish time with family and with pets.
The little things we do to protect our mental health now will help us to get back on track with our bigger fitness goals later on. So keep reminding yourself that – just for now – the best version of you is waiting in the near future. For today, you just have to be good enough.