Amy France: Fitness Is Now More Important Than Ever

Looking around, it’s easy to see the casualties of COVID. At the height of the holiday season, stores and restaurants lack the familiar buzz. Its been that way for months.

Less visible — but no less dramatic — are the economic effects on others.

Like personal trainers.

Before the pandemic, Amy France had a thriving business. A competitive runner growing up in Ridgefield and an elite racer who also spent 15 years as a senior executive assistant for hedge funds, she pivoted in 2008 to a career in fitness.

After certification, she worked as a Saugatuck Rowing Club trainer for 4 years, then moved to the Westport Weston Family YMCA.

Before the pandemic, Amy France (center, blue shirt) ran a popular Run Club at the Westport Y.

Before COVID, she had up to 70 clients. Young female athletes, men and women in their 80s, and everyone in between — all enjoyed personalized sessions.

The Y closed in March. France taught herself Zoom, and trained clients remotely. Some lacked home weights, so she took some from her basement gym, and put them in her mailbox for pickup.

When the Y reopened, only half her clients returned. She trained them in person; others. via Zoom.

When the weather was nice, Amy France trained clients outdoors.

The Y follows strict protocols. Everyone entering the building is screened. There are strict limits on numbers; appropriate distance is maintained; masks must always be worn, and training equipment is constantly cleaned.

Adhering to all those protocols — and moving between live and Zoom sessions — is physically and mentally exhausting.

Yet her work is important, France says. Deprived of regular workouts, clients have gained up to 30 pounds. Emotionally, they’re depressed.

As the number of cases continues to rise, physical and mental health are more important than ever, she notes.

“You can’t store up fitness to be called on later. Somehow we have to persevere and maintain fitness, no matter the obstacles.”

Amy France, with a Westport Y client.

9 responses to “Amy France: Fitness Is Now More Important Than Ever

  1. Amy would be a great gift for the holidays! Call the Y at 203-226-8981. Full disclosure: I’ve seen her in action as a fellow employee.

    Or if you know someone who has a trainer, a session helps both the trainer and client.

  2. Elise Ann Meyer

    Amy is the BEST– she has kept us in great zoom shape! Can’t wait to work with her in person again! Thanks for spotlighting this wonderful person!

  3. I have worked with Amy, and she is great. She really cares about her clients.

  4. Amy is the best! She’s always kept me motivated!

  5. Jennie G. Pickering

    that’s me outside with the purple headband with Amy- she is the best.
    Been working with her for over a year, once a week- best investment in yourself if you want to be strong and not have pain due to body weakness. I have zero motivation to excercise if not for her.
    thank you, Amy !!!

  6. Marc Sandy Block

    Amy is not alone in her devotion to fitness. Let me thank Nicole who did and does teach zumba at Westport-Weston Y and who also teaches virtual zumba for a group of us. Outstanding songs and choreo and, like Amy and Patty, inspire in tough times. Zumba doesn’t get better than “Johnny Be Good”, “Tippy Toes” and “Pega.” Also a shout out for Elyse (who was a zumba instructor at Wilton Y) who is also providing sessions, playing Michael Jackson and a variety of high octane Latin tunes. Dedication from both and — like Amy and the other Y folks. Muchas gracias.

  7. Eileen Lavigne Flug

    Amy’s fantastic. Six years ago, when I wanted to start training for a triathlon, Amy got me into great shape and gave me the strong foundation I needed for the tri training and for successful events She’s tough and fun, and she gets to you to do more than you think you’re able to.

  8. Monica Inghilterra

    I’ve known Amy for many years, & I don’t know anyone who is more dedicated to fitness than she is. If you’re lucky enough to work with Amy, you can be sure that she will do her absolute best to help you get in shape!

  9. After inactivity for such a long time, Amy’s session was so invigorating and uplifting. It creates so-called “Fighting Spirit”. Amy, thank you!