Personal Training in a Pandemic

Our newest trainer, Andrew, is not only a stellar personal trainer with years of NYC experience but also a stand-up comic and comedic writer. We asked him to write about what it’s like to be a personal trainer during a global pandemic…

In the age of the coronavirus, more people are working out at home than ever before, and at the same time, wish they could leave home more than ever before. Is there a way to work out safely at a gym? Yes. Do you have to wear a mask? Yes. Are you still away from your family for at least an hour? God, yes!

As a personal trainer and germophobe with a wife and two young children, the idea of returning to work was daunting. For seventeen years, my most common instruction to clients was “Breathe.” Compliance with that syllable now could compromise my family’s health. That is why a mask for both trainers and clients had to be unconditional. And while working out with your face covered may be annoying and uncomfortable, in this unimaginable time, the reward far outweighs the risk.

Countdown Fitness is the only gym I would step foot in during this pandemic. If cleanliness is next to godliness, then I declare Anel Dzafic, the founder of Countdown Fitness, the messiah. Creative yet circumspect, he has adapted his gym to the demanding circumstances to mitigate risk while maximizing the training experience. For starters, there are never more than two clients and their trainers present in the studio. The allure of a packed gym has expired; we no longer feed off each other’s energy but feel uneasy around it. And while large, corporate gyms rely on the members to disinfect their equipment, Anel and I walk around with a spray bottle tucked in our pockets to pounce the moment a machine is no longer in use. Each client and trainer have their temperature taken at the door, wears a mask, and the workouts are kept separate on the gym floor.

After six weeks back, I look forward to each day at work. Even though my new clients may think I was born with an N95 mask in lieu of a nose and mouth, I realize how much I craved the personal connection that a trainer and a client share. To push someone to their limit week after week and watch their body change is incredibly rewarding. Even the drive over to the gym now feels like a short vacation. After so much time at home, every second of silence is golden, every change of scenery is brilliant, and every adult who you speak with that you are not married to is a godsend.